German waterproof bag maker Ortlieb’s bikepacking line-up adds a new style of Frame Packs, making it easier to get to your gear, while still keeping the water out. Plus, a pair of all-new small Fork Packs are like little waterproof panniers to let you carry more gear on your adventure rides, snapping quickly onto the fork legs of gravel & mountain bikes alike…
Ortlieb bikepacking new rolltop closure Frame-Pack RC
Packing your Ortlieb bikepacking bags just got more user-friendly with the addition of two new roll closure (RC) frame packs. Ortlieb’s bikepacking packs are known first most for their complete waterproofness, but to get into the original Frame-Packs you need to open and close the massive, stiff orange zipper that guarantees that water stays out. It works, but is difficult to manage from on the bike. And I can personally attest to catching the skin on the back of my hand in the zipper when trying to close an overly stuffed pack when I wasn’t paying close attention. Ouch!
Now, a new roll-top closure offset to the driveside just under where the bags meet the toptube, make it easier to get to your gear while staying waterproof. The full-length waterproof roll closure is similar in concept to their Accessory-Pack, but is held shut by orange silicone ring loops below the main velcro straps that secure the bag to the toptube. There are even extra hooks in case the loops are not tight enough for you.
Ortlieb says that the top needs to be rolled three times to fully seal, giving it a IP64 rating which is dustproof and waterproof against splashes in inclement weather. But it is not waterproof if immersed underwater, like the zippered bags.
Beyond the wide-opening top, the made-in-Germany Frame-Pack RC bags are otherwise the same as the zippered bags. They are made of the same matte dark gray PVC-free, PU laminated ripstop nylon fabric, with fully sealed seams and reflective logos.
Frame-Pack RC – Pricing & options
Two sizes of the deeper triangular Frame-Pack RC are available and feature an internal velcro cross-tab to prevent bulging. The smaller 186g 4L bag is priced at 100€, and the larger 232g 6L bag at 120€.
One long narrow bag is also available, called the Frame-Pack RC Toptube, that fits more closely under the toptube to leave room for water bottle cages in the front triangle. The 4L toptube bag weighs 170g and sells for 100€.
Ortlieb bikepacking all-new Fork-Pack mini fork panniers
Essentially a scaled down set of fork panniers that don’t require standard racks, Ortlieb bikepacking’s all-new small Fork-Pack attaches to a special quick release Quick-Lock mounted to your fork.
The Quick-Lock ‘cage’ can be mounted to forks with any braze-on rack or cage mounts, or to suspension fork lowers, and lock into the back of the Fork-Pack just like quick release panniers.
The small 3.2L Fork-Pack itself is built much like the rest of the Ortlieb bikepacking gear, heat-welded from matching dark gray/black matte PU laminated ripstop nylon, with orange straps and reflective details. The Fork-Packs have a boxy structure due to their material construction and the internal structure to support the quick release attachment mechanism on their back, and feature a simple rolltop closure that gives the same IP64 waterproof rating as the new RC fame bags.
190g Fork-Pack is sold one at a time for 50€, and include the 85g composite Quick-Lock carrier (which will also be available separately for use across multiple bikes.) Slightly heavier Cordura versions in black or red are also available to match your other Ortlieb trekking bags.
Need something bigger? Larger Ortlieb Gravel-Pack panniers (seen sitting lower than the Fork-Packs in the images above) offer 25L of storage for the pair, attached to more conventional low-rider racks.
All of the new 2021 Ortlieb bikepacking bags are expected to be available soon through regular retailers.
Update: Ortlieb tells us the new roll-top frame bags will be available from the 1st of January 2021, while the Fork-Packs are available effectively now, early September 2020.