For my recent biking adventure in Patagonia there was a support vehicle to carry my belongings, so I only needed a waterproof bag to carry the essentials for a day’s ride. People will tell you Patagonia can give you the weather from all four seasons in one day, so you need to be prepared.
Aircraft luggage allowances made it a challenge to pack all the equipment I needed for the three-week trip in South America, so my plan was to use the Givi Canyon GRT712B bag as hand luggage as well as strapping it to the bike for the trip.
The bag needed to be large enough to put my helmet in and small enough to use as hand luggage. I never put my helmet in hold luggage as I want to know it’s not been thrown about as it’s moved around the airport and onto the plane.
I hoped this Givi bag would do these jobs for me, and on the whole it did.
My helmet fitted easily in the bag, along with the things you need in your hand luggage. There was even enough room for the winter clothing I knew I would be taking off when I arrived in Santiago. I was a little concerned the size may not pass the hand luggage test for the airline, although it was never questioned so it obviously didn’t stand out.
The other important test was the gear I needed to pack into it for the day's ride - a waterproof layer, heated jacket and battery, down jacket, waterproof winter gloves and a basic first aid kit. I also wanted to pack a change of clothes in case the support vehicle was delayed at the end of a day’s ride. These all fitted into the bag and I easily managed the required three rolls of the closure to ensure rain would be kept out.
The Givi bag has a top opening and the width of this makes it much easier to get at the contents than it is with a bag that has its closure at the end.
The bag comes with a shoulder strap, two buckle straps to fix it to the bike and two straps to piggyback further luggage onto to it. There are also hand straps that fasten together with a padded Velcro fastener.
The rolltop closure is stiffened on the top edge and fastens with Velcro, which makes it easy to get three rolls across the top and keep the water out.
A valve on the bag can be rotated to let out the trapped air once you’ve rolled the closure. Once the valve is closed it stops water getting in. Two adjustable straps at each end of the bag clip together to keep the roll in place.
The lining of the bag is yellow, which makes the inside of the bag lighter and also means it’s much easier to find things inside that contrast against a yellow background.
I found a zipped pocket inside the bag to be useful for carrying cash and smaller items that can easily fall out of the bag and get lost when you are rooting around in the bag.
The bag is fastened to the bike with two buckle straps that pass through large loops at the base of the handle or a strip of four MOLLE fixing loops on each side. The MOLLE strip looked flimsy and I was concerned I would break it. It didn’t break, though, as they are much tougher than they looked at first glance.
Givi only classify the bag as water-resistant, even though the materials and the presence of an air valve gave me every reason to believe it would be watertight.
I was right. On a ride to catch a ferry across the Magellan Straits I experienced torrential rain that the Patagonian wind was blowing horizontally at me. Once I was on the ferry the sea swell and spray made for a scary and wet crossing to Tierra del Fuego. I can’t imagine any conditions worse than this.
At one stage, during the ferry crossing, I was thinking how well the bag would perform as a flotation aid if things went really bad. Thankfully it wasn’t needed for this purpose, and everything in the bag was completely dry when I eventually arrived at the hotel.
In my opinion, the way the bag fixes to the bike is not the best. The straps fit around the bag and must be undone before you can unroll the top and get inside the bag.
Many bags now have straps that fit to the bike and the bag can be left in place when you need to open it. In my opinion this would be a much better fixing system.
The clamp closures on the straps are not easy to tension, and the clamp doesn’t fit through the MOLLE loops. The end of the strap without the clamp must feed through the first MOLLE loop, then under the bag and then through the MOLLE on the other side. I found it a bit of a faff.
This bag did what I wanted it to do and worked well enough for me on my trip. I find it a shame that Givi only describe this as water-resistant when my experience suggests it’s waterproof. I’m not sure I would spend this amount of money on a bag if the manufacturer wasn’t confident enough to say it was waterproof - and also one with a securing system that many manufacturers have since improved upon.