Product review: Carradice CarraDry SQR bag

Carradice Carradry SQR bag 

Saddlebags, the erstwhile tourist favourite, are experiencing a renaissance along with classic steel frames and Campag bits. Carradice’s CarraDry SQR is a new take on the saddlebag concept using modern materials (treated PVC) to make a cavernous bag that will survive a dip in the Thames, or a ride on the Somerset levels, without getting the contents wet. The bag is of the long (parallel to the wheel) variety rather than the more traditional perpendicular kind and attaches to the seatpin via a bracket rather than directly to the saddle. 

Carradice uses the tried and tested Ortlieb-style roll top closure, to ensure water-tightness, married to a lid that includes an underside clear pocket and the usual Carradice multiplicity of loops for attaching items on the outside.  

You also get detachable internal pocket for valuables, two external waterproof zipped pockets, loops for a carry strap, reflective piping  and a rear lamp holder.

The capacity is an enormous 15L expanding to 18.5L which is enough for a sleeping bag and change of clothes. The SQR attachment system is effective and fast to use. Once you have a attached the bracket to your seatpin (you need 60mm of seatpin on a 56cm frame – more on smaller frames), it is just a case of tugging the quick release and lifting off the bag. The finish of the bag is immaculate and materials top notch.

The saddlebag shrugged off a spell in the shower with aplomb and, despite its size, doesn’t interfere with pedalling at all.

Ortlieb, the main rivals in waterproof gear, produce nothing in this size and, per litre of capacity, are more expensive. The CarraDry SQR bag does, however, have  obvious competition in its own stable: the Carradice cotton duck 'originals,' unchanged for decades, can’t match the Carradry for waterproofness but their style is more classic. The price of a similar sized 'original' (Nelson model) is exactly the same (£75) as the Carradry SQR, but you’ll have to add the cost of a bracket (£28) unless you have saddle loops.