Apidura Food Pouch: Peak District Approved.
All stem bags are not created equal. Here’s a look at Apidura’s unique take on a classic catch-all bag, the Food Pouch.
Words and photos by Mike Howarth
British based Apidura entered the UK bikepacking scene back in 2013. Their introductory product range exuded innovation, meticulous detail and high production values to rival many of the established US based luggage manufacturers. They’ve since become a well known and respected brand for UK based riders and beyond, yet their product range has remained compact and focussed.
The beginning of 2016 saw Apidura release a series of new products which began plugging gaps in their core product catalog with the notable inclusion of a full framebag, food pouch and perhaps most interestingly a waterproof seat pack (more on this in a forthcoming review). First up we’ll look at Apidura’s food pouch.
The Food Pouch
The ‘packing’ part of bikepacking often feels like a game of Tetris. As the contents of the handlebar roll, seatpack and framebag slowly knit together, various tweaks and repacking sessions later you’re still left scratching your head with a pile of gear remaining on the floor.
Where does this go? Like a faithful friend the trusty stem bag comes to the rescue for these types of suboptimal kit implosions and last minute panic additions.
Thinking back over the past few months it’s staggering just how versatile a stem bag can be. Stowing everything from sunglasses, a compact camera, trail food, and even an avocado for a South America inspired binge. On longer rides, I often find myself using it as an extra water bottle holder, for gloves, caps and arm warmers when the weather is unpredictable.
Like a chameleon they have the ability to mould to your needs for each and every ride, and when used correctly a stem bag becomes integral to good housekeeping and administration on the bike, ensuring you to have the right thing to hand at the right time.
There was a time when all stem cells were created equal. Inspired by the Revelate Designs Mountain Feedbag, many retained the same shape and form, not to mention the uncanny ability to swallow a kitchen sink if you put your mind to it.
On first acquaintance, Apidura’s food pouch is a departure from this tried and tested template. Immediately obvious is Apidura’s colour treatment—its emblematic grey and yellow detailing. Finished in Dimension Polyant VX21 for the main body.
On closer inspection the food pouch is positively diminutive in stature. Apidura have opted to scale back carrying capacity, and omitted several key features offered by other bags on the market such as a drawstring toggle closure and external mesh pockets.
Apidura opted for a three point attachment system, using a combination of handlebar and stem connectors plus an adjustable webbing strap that loops around the fork crown.
This additional attachment point beefs up the overall stability of the feed pouch, with virtually no sway which is often true of some of the larger food pouches once laden down with a large water bottle or a generous helping of Haribo for the day’s exertions ahead.
A slotted webbing strap at the top of the food pouch enables the velcro straps to be positioned to suit your individual cockpit set up, as well as allowing for left or right bar configuration depending on your requirements.
Notably the velcro straps are made from Hypalon, a smooth, low abrasion material, which plays nicely with carbon bars minimizing the tell tale rub marks of bikepacking bags which begin to dull the manufacturer’s finish.
Once out on the trails you begin to appreciate Apidura’s ascetic endeavours with the food pouch. Pointing a rigid 29er up and down some of the rougher and rocky trails in the English Peak District the food pouch attachment system not only proved rock steady, but knee and bag contact were completely absent.
Apidura’s approach to the closure system is another key area that they have worked their magic on. Eschewing a button toggle in favour of a simple retaining hook to secure the drawstring, I was skeptical of the system, initially improvising a knot in one of the drawstrings convinced the contents would inevitably spill out on the trail.
After several rides, both food pouches stayed firmly shut, and I began to understand the thinking behind the design decision. Not only is it a further exercise in weight savings, but it makes for a simple one handed closure system—particularly so when you are using full finger gloves.
- Stripped back design and low weight will appeal to weight conscious racers – weighing in at just 55g each.
- Rock solid and stable, even when the going gets rough.
- Simple one handed operation.
- No knee/bag fouling.
- Small carry capacity – 0.8l
- No external mesh pockets.
- Weight 55g/1.94oz
- Height 16cm/6.3in
- Diameter 9cm/3.5in (top) 6cm/2.4in (bottom)
- Volume .8L
- Price £35.00
- Place of Manufacture China
- Contact Apidura.com
The Peak District’s tightly packed valleys are characterised by short sharp climbs, with plenty of steep rocky sections which require quick bursts out of the saddle. As is often the case this is when things get a bit weird. Stem bags generally sway around and you end up adapting your pedal stroke to keep your knees from fouling the bags. Thanks to the food pouch’s small form factor, tapered base and third attachment point, Apidura have successfully managed to overcome problems common with other stem bags. Keep Pedaling.