A relative newcomer to the bikepacking market, Vaude have launched with what has proven to be a pretty well thought out one-stop package for the adventurers out there. The complete set - a 12 litre saddle pack, 19 litre bar bag and 8 litre frame pack - add up to a pretty impressive 39 litres of hauling capacity if packed to the gunnels, enough to get anyone through a few nights once stuffed with lightweight and packable kit.
On the move we did find the frame bag tricky to get gear in and out of without removing, so it was quickly tasked with bits that wouldn't be needed regularly. For that it worked well, and the rubberised frame straps held everything in place through some pretty rough Scottish terrain. We used it on a hardtail where fitting wasn't a problem but, depending on your frame design they suggest it could be used with rear suspension too. None of our full-sus bikes would entertain it however.
The bar bag splits into a holster and dual entry dry bag - fix the holster for the duration of the trip and just clip the bag in and out when needed. We liked this method of fitting, with the system allowing easy dropping out of the bag for fast access during the day, aided by the double sided dry bag that mean we didn't have to empty it out every time we needed something packed at the far end. Foam spacers included for the holster made sure the bags didn't put too much pressure on our cables. It worked well.
The saddle pack is a similar 'bag and holster' design but while you could use any dry bag you want in the front holder, the rear is a tapered design to fit in the tapered holster perfectly. The design meant we had to hone our packing to make sure there wasn't wasted space in the narrow end - stuff it with small items like spare base layers to use the bottleneck was our lesson - but it all filled and gripped the post perfectly once we tuned in. Again, leaving the holster on the bike made repacking the next morning a breeze; just pack the bags up and drop them into the holster, clip in and go. Others with direct fitting bags had to faff around with seatpost straps while we watched on smugly.
Materials are light but hardy PVC tarpaulin with welded seams to keep the water out, and we found the bags shrugged off everything we threw at them with ease. A great kit to get you out there.