From Hand-Crafted to Precision-Crafted
From the day we founded Apidura, we have striven to do things differently and challenge the status quo. At a time when bikepacking bags were a cottage industry, we decided to embrace a precision-crafted approach. It’s what allows us to push boundaries and create innovative bikepacking gear that’s waterproof, lightweight and durable.
It’s never been easier to find bikepacking bags to suit your bike and the terrain and conditions you ride, but this hasn’t always been the case. When we started making packs, riders could choose gear from a small number of handmade bikepacking bag manufacturers working out of spare rooms or making gear to order. It was hard to get anything ‘off the shelf’ and choices were extremely limited. Most handmade bikepacking bags were only available regionally or designed around the needs of local riders, leaving plenty of international bikepackers out in the cold.
Frustrated by the lack of technical gear available compared to other areas of cycling (and similarly weight and technology-focused sports), Apidura’s co-founder, Tori, decided to bridge the gap herself by applying a ‘precision-crafted’ approach to bikepacking luggage. By focusing on the function of the bags and working with advanced tools and materials, she knew Apidura would be able to produce something more technically advanced than any of the handmade bikepacking bags available at the time. This meant evolving from a handmade to a hands-on, precision-crafted approach that integrated technology and modern fabrication techniques to raise the standard for bikepacking gear.
You could spend hours agonizing over component choice and the setup of your bike, yet be forced to settle for hand stitched bags that weren’t waterproof or feature rich. That disconnect seemed strange to me. My goal in creating Apidura was to explore just how far you could push bikepacking with modern construction techniques and a focus on function over form.
Our precision-crafted approach starts with talented craftspeople. All our products start their life as hand-crafted prototypes in our design studio to test ideas and prove concepts through field testing and review. These hand-crafted beginnings form the starting point from which we can incorporate more sophisticated technology to push forward toward a more technical and refined end product. To achieve this, we work with carefully selected technicians at our manufacturing partners; technicians who have world-class skills and are highly trained to use advanced machinery (like the RF welders that make our packs completely waterproof).
This approach means working closely with our manufacturing partners so that they function as an extension of our team, rather than just suppliers. It means regularly spending time on the production floor to collaborate, improve processes and experiment with new ways of doing things. Working with manufacturing partners who produce gear for other sports means that we can learn from and with others to incorporate new ideas and learnings into our process.
It also means going to the source, to the start of the supply chain, and working closely with the textile mills and trim producers to create raw materials to our exacting specifications, rather than settling for what’s conveniently available. This requires a much deeper understanding of the materials that we are using and how they respond to different stresses (moisture, abrasion, temperature, etc.), but allows us to create higher performance products that are precisely tailored for purpose.
It’s a highly intensive approach, but the results make the investment worthwhile and have forced us to challenge some mainstream perceptions and rethink the way we do business. It’s meant acknowledging and embracing the role that advanced equipment and fabrication techniques can play in making better quality products. It has meant a conscious choice to invest in knowledge and people, and to maintain flexibility in production in order to access the most appropriate technology and equipment as the sport evolves. This means that we are not fixed to or held back by a single technology but can be dynamic based on where we see the future of product design.
This dynamic approach enabled us to transition our core products from conventional stitched designs (which could never be fully waterproof, due to the punctures created by the stitching process), to fully waterproof welded products – indeed, we were the first to bring welded bikepacking bags to market back in 2016. This might have been more difficult if we had been tied to a narrow means of production, rather than working with a broad range of suppliers able to brig different approaches and technologies to the process.
We’ve also been able to incorporate computerised laser cutting when preparing our pattern pieces for production. Computerised laser cutting dramatically reduces fabric waste, while increasing cut quality and consistency compared with the conventional hand and die-cutting methods used in micro-scale production.
We view our manufacturing partners as an extension of our team. We work closely together to solve design and production challenges, and we can leverage thier depth of experience to bring us up the learning curve more quickly when we’re working with new technologies. Because they work on products outside of cycling, they can bring fresh insights and out of the box thinking to the discussion.
Precision-crafting has brought us a long way from the DIY ethos of the early bikepacking scene and allowed us to break down barriers to entry, bringing freedom of choice in what you ride, where you ride and who you ride with. It has allowed us to innovate and push the limits of pack design with new ideas, materials and construction to create functional and lasting products that help you push your personal, emotional and cultural boundaries.
When you’re on a bikepacking trip, you rely on your packs for your very survival, keeping your clothes and supplies safe and secure. Our precision-crafted approach means you never need to worry about the weather, the terrain or worst-case scenarios – you can focus wholly on the ride and explore your boundaries.