Author Topic: Carradice questions  (Read 7717 times)

Danneaux

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Carradice questions
« on: April 17, 2016, 04:02:01 AM »
Hi All!

Flush with modest gifts of some combined Christmas and birthday cash, I am casting acquisitive eyes toward a ginormous Carradice Camper Longflap (and possibly one of the offered quick-release supports), thinking it might just the ticket  for some one-bag ultralight cycle-camping. The dimensions look workable for my minimal kit that will allow for hot meals and riding and sleeping dry and warm doing 700-800mi/1127-1287km summertime weeks Away.

I have developed several questions to put to the Thorn Forum Hivemind; thanks in advance for your answers:

After years with semi-porous homemade panniers lined with bin liners, I have become a confirmed Ortliebian, primarily for their truly waterproof characteristics. If the weather changes for the worst, I ride through it on days sometimes stretching from dawn to dusk, and use my tent only for sleeping. With this in mind, I wonder: How truly waterproof has Carradice's waxed cotton canvas proven to be for owners? I fear it may not be as waterproof as my Ortliebs (spoiled much?) and might have me returning to bin liners or dry sacks to keep things arid inside. For references to these fears, see exchanges here:
http://www.bikeforums.net/long-distance-competition-ultracycling-randonneuring-endurance-cycling/248741-waterproofing-carradice.html I wonder if anyone makes a Camper Longflap-sized saddlebag from Ortlieblike heavily coated Cordura "Plus" fabric with heat-sealed seams?

It seams Carradice bags need periodic freshening of the wax treatment to maintain waterproofness. Have you done this, and if so, how often? Do you re-treat it inside and out, or on just one surface, letting it seep through?

Despite warmer-drier summers in recent years, Fall, Winter, and Spring in my locale tend to be wet and my bikes are stored in an unheated garage. Have you found the waxed cotton to mildew or develop mold in such conditions? I'd like to avoid the all-permeating smell and appearance of mildew. I recently unearthed my late father's canvas hiking Trapper Nelson-style backpacks and bedroll from the late 1940s to mid-1950s and while they are in nearly new condition, they have a stockage d'odeur that renders them unusable by me -- difficult, as sentiment precludes me parting with them.

Are there any traits or characteristics of the Camper Longflap that put you off you'd wish to share?

On my side of the world, a Carradice Camper Longflap and Bagman uplift together can run the better part of $300 plus shipping from stateside suppliers, multiples more than my gift-money will cover. I remember members have occasionally made pilgrimages to Carradice to snag deals on "seconds" that sold for bargain rates and looked unblemished to the casual glance. This leads to a couple more questions:
      If you bought a Camper Longflap or noticed one while there, do you recall the general price? I'm trying to get some idea of the potential savings.
      If you live nearby Carradice or are planning a visit there, might it be possible to piggyback a purchase on yours? I would pay purchase and shipping costs, of course.
      Alternatively, if someone has a gently pre-loved example they wish to sell for less than the price of new, please PM me.
      Oh! Color. I see they are available in green with honey leather straps or black with white, but no black-and-honey combinations. Do you have a preference, and why? I'm leaning heavily toward black to match my Ortlieb handlebar bag....

EDIT: Or, do I really want a Super C? It appears to be within 1l the capacity of the Camper Longflap, but I am a little hazy as to any advantages. I see it uses plastic buckles and nylon webbing and I have not yet found it in a longflap variant. I think the longflap would be very handy for the extra capacity needed in my intended use.

All the best,

Dan.
« Last Edit: April 17, 2016, 04:25:17 AM by Danneaux »

Neil Jones

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Re: Carradice questions
« Reply #1 on: April 17, 2016, 08:24:45 AM »
Hi Dan,

Although I can't answer your question regarding athe Carradice Camper Longflap specifically I can give you my own general opinion of the Carradice bags that I own and use.

I have the Carradice Super C front and rear panniers which I've owned for about 10 years and to be honest don't get used as much as they should but they make an appearance if I need to carry anything bulky from the shops or work, they are very tough and have never leaked once. The bag I use daily is a Super C Rackbag which I've owned for about 13 years. It too has never leaked once although if I am carrying anything I am worried would suffer from wetting I put it inside an Exped Dry Bag for added insurance. Bearing in mind I live in Wales which is a pretty wet part of the world I think they've done me proud.

With regards to maintenance I give the bags a coating of the canvas wax which I find best to use if I've sat the tin of wax in warm water for a few minutes to soften up then apply using a cotton cloth then I run a heat gun on a low setting all over to allow the wax to penetrate the canvas, outside only. I was finding that the Velcro straps that hold the bag on to the rack had lost it's stickiness, I contacted Carradice and they said they would put new ones on for 8 including postage, I took up their offer and the bag should be good for at least another decade.

All my bags are kept in an unheated garage when not in use and they have never suffered from mildew, they can give off a smell similar to a new Barbour jacket when new which I find quite nice although some don't.

I've never owned Ortlieb bags but have heard they are superb quality and I suppose if you want something to be guaranteed 100% watertight they may be the route to go but I find Carradice bags have more character and heritage, a bit like a Brooks saddle. I also like to support small firms that continue making quality products here in the UK.

To be honest Dan I don't think you will go wrong with either choice, both are great quality and it may boil down to personal aesthetics, perhaps you'd like the bag to match your barbag or paintwork etc.

Good luck with your upcoming purchase anyway, and hope to see a few photos of your lightweight camping bike in action.

Regards,
Neil


leftpoole

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Re: Carradice questions
« Reply #2 on: April 17, 2016, 09:54:48 AM »
Dan,
My input!
I have been Camping with a Force Ten tent (Nitro lite) trangia mini, food, clothing, sleeping bag (down) and Thermarest mat. All in and on a Carradice Camper! (plus a bottle of Budweiser)
The Super C is larger in use but the Camper L/F is smaller because of the folding flap.
I always wrap any contents in poly bags by the way although never had a Carradice product leak.
Best,
John
« Last Edit: April 17, 2016, 09:56:58 AM by leftpoole »

DAntrim

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Re: Carradice questions
« Reply #3 on: April 17, 2016, 11:11:40 AM »
Hi Dan,

I have had the Camper Longflap for the past 21/2 years, used on a daily basis commuting to & from work (laptop / clothes / food) , weekend overnighters and on tour, in all weathers the UK decides to throw at me and it has never needed reproofing, indeed the aged look it has now adds to the appearance. As I keep mine in the house, cant answer the question regards odours, but the missus doesn't moan  ;)

The directions on the Carradice wax tin for reproofing are.....
Brush off any excess dust or dirt. Place tin in hot water to soften the wax. Apply with a clean cotton cloth. Smooth over surface paying particular attention to seams and lids. Finally, apply heat from a hot air gun or hair dryer so the wax disperses evenly into the fabric.

For mounting the bag I purchased the bagman QR expedition, removed the metal support and attached the bracket to saddle rails, letting the weight be supported by the rear rack. After trying many packing options, on a short break I can take trangia triangle / stove / mess tin - 4 days worth of breakfast / evening meals, down bag, Exped downmat, spare clothes, android tablet, washing kit, spare tools in side pockets, the tent inner, pole & pegs secured under the longflap (to my mind the main advantage of the longflap), tent outer and waterproofs strapped outside, any longer away and I need to add a set of Super C front panniers.

I paid full price from Carradice for the longflap / bagman direct from Carradice, but have since used ebay to get Super C panniers / bar bag and barley saddlebag, as slight seconds direct from Carradice shop, never had any issues with them.

Never had any water ingress into the longflap and don't pack anything inside drybags.

Hope this helps
Carlos

« Last Edit: April 17, 2016, 11:24:42 AM by DAntrim »

Bill C

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Re: Carradice questions
« Reply #4 on: April 17, 2016, 01:45:31 PM »
got both the super c and a couple of camper longflaps, much prefer the camper LF over the super c
the camper in green and honey is far nicer than the black version, if they made green and honey super C panniers i'd be in heaven, still i've got the kendalls

bagman quick release is great,very useful
the bagman wire/stainless support bracket,not worth it, the support holds small loads but anything heavy and it's like riding with stuff attached to a trampoline, i took the wire support off and use the rack for support

what's wrong with Frost River?

mickeg

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Re: Carradice questions
« Reply #5 on: April 17, 2016, 03:26:11 PM »
I have the Nelson Longflap.

I put a piece of cardboard in it to act as a stiffener.  Fortunately, I have not had too much rain in my travels,the cardboard held up well.  Looking at it from the side, the cardboard was a U shape, so it was in the front part (nearest the seatpost), bottom and back.  I have heard that Coroplast works better than cardboard, but I have not gone to a sign maker to buy any, ... yet.

I have no experience with re-waxing the fabric.

Regarding wet weather, as I said I have been reasonably dry where I used it.  But if I planned to go out and get wet in your kind of weather, I would look for a lightweight dry bag or two, perhaps like the ones made by Sea to Summit.

I think I got mine from Wiggle.com about 3 or 4 years ago.  Last year I got my Carradry panniers at Evans cycles.  I just checked, both Wiggle and Evans do not have the saddle bag you are interested in.  But, do a google search with the phrase sale price in the search term, there may be other sources at good prices.

I leave a pair of toe clip straps on the attachment points on the top for when I want to roll up a jacket or something like that to strap on top.

In the photos you can see that mine sits on top of my panniers, so I can't advise on the best way to support it when it is full and there are no panniers under it.  You can see from the photos that I usually use mine with the flap in the non-extended position.  But the long flap is great for when you buy more groceries than you planned.  All of these photos are from my Pacific Coast trip. 

The last photo is cropped from the third photo to make it easier to see, you can tell the flap is extended because of the extra straps hanging from the lid.  Take a good look at that last photo, it was as full as I could get it.  I do not know what the Camper Longflap looks like when it is completely full, but you can see that the my Nelson Longflap in the photo would be pretty unwieldy if it was not well supported by the panniers underneath it.

I have only seen mine, which is black, no opinions on other colors.

Andre Jute

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Re: Carradice questions
« Reply #6 on: April 17, 2016, 04:14:39 PM »
A couple of opinions:

1. If you can get a leather-strap version, avoid the velcro. The amount of use you give your gear, the velcro will have to be replaced several times over the life of the bag. Even if the cost at Carradice is only 8, which seems very reasonable, where you live carriage will escalate that to real money.

2. I have a Goretex jacket that I curse any time it rains heavily. Nikwax does nothing for it. The heated wax procedure may work but personally I think the Ortlieb idea of a synthetic material that starts wetproof and stays wetproof is superior to waxed cotton in all respects except heritage.

3. If you have to match the black of gear you already have, you have to match it; unmatched luggage looks careless unless it is deliberately done for style or function. However, I will say though that the green cotton duck and honey leather Carradice Cape Roll that I had for a bit (I gave it to someone who inherited a vintage Raleigh in just the right colour because it didn't suit my needs) looked rich whereas the black with white straps looks utilitarian and the black  shows dirt earlier and worse. The green looks good much longer than the black.

Donerol

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Re: Carradice questions
« Reply #7 on: April 17, 2016, 04:24:37 PM »
We have used Carradice bags for years. Living in the west of Scotland they have been subjected to a lot of rain but have always kept the contents dry. We sometimes use light polybags inside but that is just to keep stuff organised - the polybags usually have holes. One pannier once developed a couple of spots of mildew after it had been put away damp in the understairs cupboard for a long time, and probably 'caught' it from some old boots which had been affected. It scrubbed off easily and there was no damage. My husband leaves his pannier permanently attached to his bike, so it lives in the  wooden bike shed all year round.  The shed is unheated and damp (rainwater is allowed to run in under the back door and out under the front door), but thanks to the deliberate gaps under the doors it is well ventilated, and there has never been a mildew problem even though the pannier is frequently dripping on the outside by the time he gets home.

Super C plastic buckles are quick release and easier to use with frozen fingers, but in your place I would prefer the greater flexibility of the longflap option. A lot of people like the green, but IMO it fades to a rather tatty grey, and shows the dirt more. I always seem to manage to get black on my hands from the rims when locking my bike up, so I stick to the black  bags which always look smart.

I've just seen Andre's post - beauty is in the eye of the beholder! Green and honey looks naff to me and I think the black looks good much longer than the black - LOL!

This guy does the Longflap at 78 and will post worldwide.  However presumably you would be hit for customs dues.

IanW

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Re: Carradice questions
« Reply #8 on: April 17, 2016, 04:27:38 PM »
Hi Dan,

I have been a long-time user of various Carradice cotton-duck saddlebags (and recently handlebar bags and panniers).

I had a "Cadet" saddle bag (i.e. no "long-flap" and no end pockets") since the late 70's.
I re-proofed it once by rubbing re-proofing wax onto the outside and then using a hair-drier to distribute /permiate the wax.
I only sold about a year ago because it was not large enough to hold a pump and a U-lock.

I have no less than 3 x Low-Saddle Long Flaps.
One owned from new since 1986.
The second I got s/hand off eBay in approx 1990
The third was an un-wanted cast-off from a friend a year or so later.

The latter two are on my recumbent trike on either side of a rack over the rear wheel (think short height panniers).
The original is used on my RST, used with a Bagman Quick Release (Expedition version but also with the wire frame eschewed in favour of a Thorn rack)

Two of them have as yet not needed reproofing, despite standing outside in the rain quite often.
But that is not to say that they are utterly leak-proof.
So when I am carrying any water-damagable electronics, then I use a dry-bag / polythene bag as addtional protection.

The third, cast-off one, was in a rather poor state: old, dirty, faded and mildewed.
I removed the wooden dowel and hand-washed it in soap and water and then swabbed the mildew with dilute bleach.
I left it to completely dry out and then reproofed with wax (as I did to the "Cadet" above).
And now, apart from the colour fading, it is almost as good as new.

IFF I wanted yet another saddlebag AND I wanted better waterproofing
then I think the design of the Super C saddlebag and in particular the lid flap
looks like it would provide significantly better waterproofing than a "long-flap".

But I happen to like the load capacity expansion provided by the "long flap".

If you decide to opt for a long-flap then here's a modification suggestion:
In addition to the 2 press-studs that hold the excess flap length when not needed I have also added strips of velcro at either end to make the folded long-flap into a pocket.

I also have a pair of Super C rear panniers and a Super C handlebar bag.
These were all bought s/hand but they have only been owned by me for less than 3 years.
So I cannot really provide a personal long-term ownership report.
But so far all 3 have been completely water-tight including when used on a rather soggy 10-day trip down beside the Danube.

My spouse is a bit more "economical" when it comes to  choosing bike panniers and so she has bought various "cheap" panniers and handlebar bags over the years.
They have all leaked, broken, or otherwise perished over the years, so I think she has probably actually spent at least the same amount as me but has little left to show for it while I still have a perfectly servicable set of Carradice stuff.

Bill C

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Re: Carradice questions
« Reply #9 on: April 17, 2016, 04:54:15 PM »
.

I put a piece of cardboard in it to act as a stiffener................................................Looking at it from the side, the cardboard was a U shape, so it was in the front part (nearest the seatpost), bottom and back.  I have heard that Coroplast works better than cardboard, but I have not gone to a sign maker to buy any, ... yet.



i have done the same as mickeg for a stiffener, but used a thin flexible cutting board from tesco, came in a pack of 3 or 4 ebay have them http://www.ebay.co.uk/sch/i.html?_from=R40&_trksid=p2055119.m570.l1313.TR0.TRC0.H0.Xflexible+cutting+board.TRS0&_nkw=flexible+cutting+board&_sacat=0

like mickeg i've thought about making one out of correx sheet, but was worried about the sharp edges

i already have the correx so if you'd like a bit to try mickeg i could send you a bit to your measurements, i have plenty of black and some white
it's worth putting in a stiffener as i wore a small hole in my black CLF where something hard (shopping) rubbed on the rack and wore through
« Last Edit: April 17, 2016, 05:06:35 PM by Bill C »

mickeg

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Re: Carradice questions
« Reply #10 on: April 17, 2016, 05:25:15 PM »
...
i already have the correx so if you'd like a bit to try mickeg i could send you a bit to your measurements, ...

Thanks for the offer, but for now I will decline.  In USA it is often used for political signs, and this year there are likely to be a LOT of political signs going up over the next half year.  And most will be disposed soon after that.

Danneaux

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Re: Carradice questions
« Reply #11 on: April 17, 2016, 09:25:54 PM »
Thank you, All!  Such helpful and useful input for me to consider. I've read and gained something from each of your posts, but Carlos' comes closest to what I am trying to accomplish with my use and has almost the same inventory as I would expect to carry.

Any additional thoughts are most welcome, and I feel much reassured.

Now, I need to keep my eyes open for a Camper Longflap and q/r mount at a good price!

Thanks again,

Dan.

martinf

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Re: Carradice questions
« Reply #12 on: April 17, 2016, 09:31:22 PM »
I've had Carradice cotton duck saddlebags (Nelson Longflap and Camper Longflap) for a long time (more than 20 years).

The Nelson stays more or less permanently on my old 700C derailleur bike, which doesn't have racks fitted, this bike now gets used only on day rides, and generally in good weather as I've gone off cleaning derailleurs now that I have a lot of hub gear bikes.

The Camper gets moved around between my bikes, I've sometimes used it for survey work (outdoors for 10 hours a day), often in fairly wet conditions, with no noticeable leakage.


After years with semi-porous homemade panniers lined with bin liners, I have become a confirmed Ortliebian, primarily for their truly waterproof characteristics. If the weather changes for the worst, I ride through it on days sometimes stretching from dawn to dusk, and use my tent only for sleeping. With this in mind, I wonder: How truly waterproof has Carradice's waxed cotton canvas proven to be for owners?

- Very good, but I use bin liner/dry bags because in very wet weather a bit of water gets in when I open the bag to take something out. The D-rings on the flap are useful for strapping wet kit onto the outside of the bag where it doesn't affect the dry stuff inside.

It seams Carradice bags need periodic freshening of the wax treatment to maintain waterproofness. Have you done this, and if so, how often? Do you re-treat it inside and out, or on just one surface, letting it seep through?

- It doesn't need doing very often. I tend to forget, its time I did my two saddlebags again as they are looking rather shabby.

Despite warmer-drier summers in recent years, Fall, Winter, and Spring in my locale tend to be wet and my bikes are stored in an unheated garage. Have you found the waxed cotton to mildew or develop mold in such conditions?

- No mildew yet. My garage is unheated and a bit damp. But both my saddlebags are fitted with a quick-release system, so can be removed easily if necessary, so I could store them inside the house if I could be bothered.

« Last Edit: April 17, 2016, 09:33:16 PM by martinf »

mickeg

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Re: Carradice questions
« Reply #13 on: April 18, 2016, 12:02:38 AM »
Dan, you have fabrication skills that exceed most others, I am sure you could make a quick release pretty easily.

Consider a copy of something like this:  http://www.rivbike.com/product-p/r13.htm

And for the support that goes under, I do not know if you will put it on a bike with cantilever mounts, but some people have put the little front Nashbar rack that goes on cantilever mounts on the rear to keep things from hitting the wheel.  This of course would depend on  how high your saddle is above the wheel, as it would have to be esentially the perfect height since the rack would not adjust for height.
http://www.nashbar.com/bikes/Product_10053_10052_167593_-1___

I did a quick google search and found this example of the Nashbar rack:  https://gspiess.wordpress.com/2010/02/08/saddlebag-mount-hack/

Or, skip the Nashbar type rack and just use a bracket that clamps to the seat stays to hold the bottom of the bag.  I am sure with a piece of 5/16 inch steel rod, a die for threading, some 5/16 inch nuts, and a couple pieces of bar stock, you could make a good bracket to clamp on the seat stays.

Danneaux

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Re: Carradice questions
« Reply #14 on: April 18, 2016, 02:47:34 AM »
Thanks for the kind words and suggestion, mickeg. I'd like to do this on a budget if possible, so saving the cost of a commercial q/r is appealing; the creative juices are flowing, and I think I might have an idea...! I appreciate your included links; very thoughtful.

All my bikes have rear racks, but one goal here was to remove the rear rack from the intended bike and so shave a bit more weight from the bike to offset the touring load and bag, but on second thought, the aluminum-rod rack I'll be using doesn't weigh much, and could well support the bag from below.

All the best,

Dan.