A bit of background on our Bikepacking gear: The successful introduction a few years ago of our innovative lightweight carbon seatpost compatible Randonneur Rack and TailRider rack top bag set the stage for our very own line of bikepacking bags. Bikepacking bags available at the time all lacked key features which we felt needed to be addressed.

  1. They needed to be part of the frame and eliminate side sway.
  2. They needed to be easy to take on and off the bike.
  3. Fit any bike frame small or large.
  4. Have functional features, be waterproof and lightweight with best in class material.

PIcture above: Testing our Rollpacker bags in rainy NIcaragua.

The design:. The Rollpacker 15 & 25 (that is the 15 liter and the 25 liter model) feature side to side dual entry so think of it as a dry bag (tube) that rolls from both ends and hangs perpendicular to the frame rather than in line like the common wedge designs. This keeps the weight closer to the seat which helps handling of the bike especially with the larger 25l capacity offered. Both sizes can carry a significant amount of gear but keep in mind that they can also be compressed from both ends and carry large and small loads quite well.

Side to Side Dual Entry

We also wanted an extra waterproof pocket used to stash a camera, wallet and other small items that we like to keep close and readily accessible. This front pocket also allowed us to integrate an easy access, open slot pocket in between the front pocket and the main body of the bag. This is a great place to drop energy bars, arm warmers, gloves etc. Obviously, this open slot pocket is not waterproof but the compression strap secures and prevents gear from falling and a small drain hole at the bottom of the slot prevents water from pooling. Also, note the web loops on the top to tie-down a wet jacket or any other piece of clothing and the daisy chain at the back to hook up a blinker light and such.

Extra waterproof roll-top pocket and open slot in between main body and waterproof pocket

The Rollpacker comes with a lightweight aluminum “hanger” that attaches to the seat rails with a quick release attachment and that abuts to the seat post with a soft rubberized bracket that attaches with a velcro. The combination of these attachment points makes for a very stiff and solid connection of the hanger to the bike even though the hanger can be installed and removed in seconds. Furthermore, the hanger is compatible with carbon seat posts although we do not recommend using it with carbon seat rails.

Rollpacker attachment to seat post

The other great feature of the Rollpacker is the fact that the bag can mount over or underneath the aluminum hanger making it compatible with a huge range of frame sizes and wheel configurations. The arched seat rail & post adjustment of the hanger allows for a multitude of positions to achieve the perfect fit. Designing this hanger can look simple but it was actually quite a challenge. We’ve had to go back to the drawing board a few times before finally coming up with a design that works great and on pretty much any bike.

Fully adjustable lightweight aluminum hanger for over or underneath bag configuration

PIcture below: Extra-small bike frame with over-the-hanger bag configuration

PIcture below: Large bike frame with underneath-the-hanger bag configuration

Installing the Rollpacker bag onto the hanger is quick and easy. The bag has a sleeve both on the top and on the bottom of the main body of the bag. It is simply a matter of sliding the sleeve onto the hanger and buckling the compression straps for a tight and secure fit. The sleeve on the top of the bag is used for an under-the-hanger configuration while the sleeve on the bottom of the bag is for the over-the-hanger fit. So the Rollpacker can be installed on the desired configuration based on the clearance available over the rear wheel. This allows installing the Rollpacker on the widest range of bike frames, extra-small to extra-large, including rear-suspended mountain bikes.

Hanger sleeve on top and on bottom of bag with compression straps

And it’s waterproof: The shell of the Rollpackers is made of American-made X-Pac™ high performance nylon ripstop fabric. While the X-Pac™ fabric is waterproof, the seams and stitches to the bag create tiny holes that will let water through. So we integrated a waterproof liner both inside the main compartment and inside the external pocket. The liner is made of a nylon fabric backed with a TPU membrane that is 100% waterproof. And the seams to the liner are tape sealed (like a Gore-Tex™ jacket) for total waterproofness.

Picture above: Waterproof sealing tape being applied to seams of liner

Weight consideration: The complete hanger weighs 13 ounces or 360 grams. While weight is an important consideration especially in bikepacking, we feel that the added weight of the hanger is a very small price to pay to achieve these unique features of the system:

  • Rock-solid stability of the load.
  • Exceptionally quick installation/removal of the bag.
  • Perfect fit on the widest range of bikes including cases where no other bag configuration would work.

Hanger weight 360 grams / 13 ounces

Epilog: We’ve been testing the Rollpacker in different settings as well as on short and long bikepacking trips. Typically, Paul, our general manager carried the following in his rear Rollpacker 25 bag on a 3 week stint around Lake Nicaragua and in Costa Rica:

  • Pair of light shoes.
  • Pair of jeans.
  • Evening shirt and sweater.
  • Light towel and toiletry kit.
  • Acer Notebook.
  • Socks, underwear etc.
  • Bike multi-tool, spare tube & parts, first-aid kit in rear pocket.
  • Ultra-light wind/rain jacket stuffed into the slot pocket.
  • Rest of the gear and valuables went into the front Rollpacker.

In a nutshell, the Rollpacker is a true joy to use. It pushes the envelope in terms of functionality and stability within the bikepacking philosophy. Don’t hesitate to send us your feedback and comments on the bag and on your bikepacking experience, we love it and we listen!

Arkel Microtour

The Arkel boys out on a sub 24 hour overnighter. Had a blast being filmed by drone and using/testing our new Seatpacker and Rollpacker bikepacking bags and some of our panniers as well. What a great feeling to be out on our bikes for some quality R&R. The ride out was wet at times but ended with clear skies and an amazing sunset, perfect timing for a quick dip in the river before dinner. The time spent with the crew chatting and eating around the campfire was awesome! Woke up to clear skies and rode home in perfect riding weather.

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A trip of 4000 km by bike through 6 countries in Europe during 4 months. Justine Rochibaud, 24, set herself quite a challenge! The goal is to collect 50 000$ for L'Arche l'Etoile of Québec, a non-profit organization where people with and without intellectual disabilities share life together, living and working in community.

The reason behind this challenge
Justine's big sister, Elise, lives in a L'Arche household for two years now. Her family wanted to make sure Elise finds a place with a family-like setting where she could feel surrounded and loved, just like at home. L'Arche is the perfect place because it provides an environment of mutual relationships where people with intellectual disabilities can reach their full potential. By seeing how happy and blooming her sister is within this welcoming community, Justine decided to get involved and help L'Arche in its mission. Roulons pour que ça m'Arche was born.

This trip is also a personal challenge for Justine who has never done a cycling trip before. « I am quite a sporty person and I have often ridden a bike for the past few years. However, I am seriously into biking for only two months. » During her 4000 km trip, Justine will visit 10 L'Arche houses in 6 European countries : France, Belgium, Netherlands, Luxembourg, Switzerland, and Spain.

The mission of L'Arche 
L'Arche was founded in 1964. The aim of this non-profit global organization is to create communities which welcome people who have intellectual disabilities. Today, L'Arche exists in 37 countries worldwide, including Canada. Its mission is « to make known the gifts of people with intellectual disabilities revealed through mutually transforming relationships. L'Arche seeks to respond to the distress of those who are too often rejected, and to give them a valid place in society. »

L'Arche l'Etoile of Québec was founded in 1976. It includes 4 households and a day center.

The aim of this fundraising initiative
The main goal of Roulons pour que ça m'Arche is to collect 50 000$ for L'Arche l'Etoile. The organization has significant financial needs, and the money raised will help to open a second day center in order to welcome more people with intellectual disabilities.

During her trip, Justine will volunteer in every L'Arche household she will visit. She will take advantage of this opportunity to gather and share ideas, good practices, and strategies used in the different L'Arche houses, and bring them back to Québec.

Recently graduated with a Bachelor's Degree in Accountancy, Justine wanted her fundraising campaign to be as transparent as possible. Every dollar given will go directly to L'Arche. To do so, Justine has found sponsors to cover her personal costs: bicycle, bike gear, transfers, and food. This is where Arkel steps in.

The commitment of Arkel
Here at Arkel, we love building quality gear that last, and we also love supporting the causes that are dear to our heart. That's why we have chosen to sponsor Justine in her bike trip through Europe by providing her with panniers. « I have been told Arkel products are high quality and very strong, so I am very thankful for their support. » said Justine.

Arkel is already dedicated to community empowerment through our commitment with CRDITED Estrie - a social service program for folks with Intellectual Disabilities and Pervasive Development Disorders - which goal is to bring these lovely people to work for a company in a real world work environment. The lively crew from CRDITED works every day within Arkel workshop. Supporting Justine's fundraising initiative was perfectly making sense to us.
In April, our team was pleased to meet both Justine and her sister Elise who came to visit our company.

This amazing trip starts on the 10th May. You can support and follow Justine through her website and her Facebook page.

Good luck Justine in this great adventure!

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This is another amazing story of some of the riders that Arkel is proud to sponsor and to share their story with the world. What they have accomplished is truly remarkable. If you have an Arkel handlebar bag from 2003 or know someone who does please read and share this story so we can help them with their search to complete their display and so you can get a 2015 Arkel pannier in return!

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John, Gaetane and their kids David and Shifra head out on bikes from Vancouver, BC to Mexico to bike4orphans and more!

"We want to ignite a fire of compassion in our hearts and inspire our children to look beyond themselves and our comfortable well fed Western World to care about others less fortunate.
As we bike and blog we will be raising awareness and funds to get us there and leave gifts behind."

You can follow thier adventure here:

Now Available from Arkel: Fat Bike Pannier Racks.

Calling All Fatties! Arkel now offers the ultimate rack for your big bad bikes! These OMM Sherpa rear racks are specifically design for Surley Pugsley, Moonlander and Salsa Mukluk bicycles.

Pair the Old Man Mountain bombproof Sherpa rack with Arkel's bestselling XM's series bike panniers. Or deck it out with Dolphins or the Bug, our backpack/pannier combo. 

Old Man Mountain Sherpa Rear Rack for Pugsley equipped with a set of black XM-28s. This is one mean looking fat bike touring setup!!

More details on the fat bike racks : Click here

More details on the XM-28 panniers : Click here