Fellow German company Vaude, based in Tettnang close to Lake Constance in the very South of Germany, has an interesting range of waterproof bike bags. It looks like Ortlieb has some competition for good quality waterproof bike bags and panniers, and from within their home borders.
To be able to say, “I can fully rely on them“, is what counts when it comes to waterproof bike bags and panniers for a globetrotter like Maximilian Semsch. As a passionate cyclist and filmmaker, he prefers to travel ecologically on his bike, able to experience people, land, and nature up close and personal. He finds it liberating to rely on only the essentials. This also means to be able to transport all his belongings on his bike. As the globetrotter says: “The more minimalistic one travels, the greater the demand for quality. I more or less entrust my entire life to my Aqua range of waterproof bike bags, so it’s important to know what I can rely on”.
Vaude constructs the Aqua waterproof bike bags from sturdy PVC-free tarpaulin at its German headquarters. The durable material has a textured surface that resembles the scales of a fish, thus indicating, as does the series name “Aqua”, that it is waterproof. The bags are 100% climate neutrally manufactured, whereby Vaude compensates for unavoidable emissions through the climate protection organisation myClimate. The Aqua series models were the first products VAUDE produced in the 80s in its bike segment. As real Vaude classics, they belong to its bag repertoire to this day.
Hand-Made Waterproof Bike Bags
Each waterproof bike bag is made by hand on specialized machines. In many individual operations which include the cutting of the pattern pieces, the high-frequency welding process, the attachment of the linking systems as well as quality control and subsequent packaging. Here, careful attention is paid to environmental protection. The sophisticated packaging for the delivery of the goods to retailers is made of cardboard. It serves as a pocket presenter at the point of sale to ensure that products are visibly and effectively positioned, and then doubling as a carrying aid for the end user who can take it home without requiring an extra tote bag.
An important criterion for sustainability is also the long-lasting durability Vaude strives for. All elements attached as QMR hooks, buckles and straps are available as spare parts and designed so that they can be easily replaced if necessary. Vaude even guarantees the free replacement of parts at an onsite repair service under its 5-year warranty.
The hardshell back of the front and rear panniers has been completely redesigned. The plate of the Hard Back 2.0 consists of sturdy plastic in a honeycomb design which is extremely impact absorbing and abrasion resistant. All edges exposed to high wear and tear are additionally equipped with non-slip feet. The lower guide hook is easily adjusted by hand without the need for tools, and can be rotated 360°. The hook to attach the pannier to the rack has rotating adjustability for easy and quick adjustment. This allows for custom fitting to any gear rack. The pannier backs are symmetrical and can be mounted on either side of the bicycle. The locking system has also been further developed. Now the panniers can be directly locked on the QMR hook with a small 145/20-sized padlock or combination lock.
The Aqua Series consists of seven different models that have been created to mix and match together. The Aqua Box handlebar waterproof bike bag is ideal for everything that you need to have close at hand and directly in sight when en route. The bag is securely and easily mounted via the KlickFix adapter system to the handlebars, and just as quickly removed as well. If needed, the lid can be opened easily with one hand, and the shoulder strap that comes with it lets you wear it comfortably over your shoulder when walking around town.
The Aqua Front, Aqua Back, Aqua Back Single and Aqua Back Plus front and rear panniers all come with a roll top closure that lets you adjust the bag to the size of the load, and ensures that it is 100% waterproof. There are various ways to close the bags, depending on how full they are and whether they are attached to a bike rack or carried over your shoulder. I welcome the fact that there is an extra inner pocket which helps keep things organised, and the larger Aqua Back Plus model also has additional welded on outer pockets for more organisation.
The Top Case tops it all. This large waterproof bike bag can be attached on top of the rear panniers and buckled up to stay in place. This offers an additional 30 litres of storage space for longer bike treks and travels. One extremely practical feature is that the bag has a large opening that lets you pack it comfortably from the top, and it can also double as a separate travel bag or worn as a backpack. The Top Case is available in two material versions.
Accessory bags complement the waterproof bike bag series and can be integrated into the different models. The two BeGuided Small and Beguided Big clear plastic pockets can be attached via Velcro straps to your handlebar bag. I love this old-school version of “Sat Nav” (Sat on your bike, with maps to NAVigate! – and I know it should be “sitting” to be gramatically correct). Clear pockets keep your map clean and dry and can also provide dry and visible storage for a smartphone or tablet. With a practical roll closure they’re quick to use and close at hand. I regularly ride with a bike bag and love being able to grab a snack or whatever as I ride, leaving more space available in my jersey pockets.
The small SortYour Box organizer pocket can be attached inside the handlebar bag to provide storage for valuables such as a mobile phone, wallet or keys. This I also find to be an attractive feature, so it’s easier to find specific things: it’s amazing how well some things manage to hide in my handle-bar bag! You can attach the strap of the handlebar bag to the small pocket and wear it as a waist-pack for your sightseeing rounds off your bike.
The large SortYourBag organiser pocket fits inside the front and rear panniers. As a removable, divided mesh pocket with practical compartments, it can be taken out and used for toiletry items. It also comes with a hook that lets you hang it up in the hotel bathroom or take it to the showers at camping sites. One side of the pocket has a soft fleece surface so it can be filled with clothes and the like to double as a great pillow when snuggling down under the stars. Great features for when on a tour by bike.
The Addita Bag is designed as a practical mesh pocket with volume expansion. Integrated in either a front or rear pannier, you can store your dirty or wet clothes in here to keep them separate from the rest. Two side straps also let you attach it to the outside of your pannier, so your clothes can dry while you do the riding.
The little Toolbag Back and Toolbag Front pocket helpers can be used wherever you need them, including inside the main compartment of any Vaude rear pannier. Store your bike tools, valuables and other smaller essentials in them to keep things tidy and neat. The bags can be rolled up and simply stored inside any other bag or pack when you don’t need them.
That strikes me as a comprehensive and well-thought out offering. I look forward to seeing them when they are exhibited at the Eurobike Show.
Bike & Cycling News – SpyCycle
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