Get Low, and Go: Making the Most of a Full Frame Pack
Expert advice on how to use the Apidura Expedition Full Frame Pack, our waterproof storage option for carrying heavier loads over long distances.
There is a strong case to say that the Full Frame Pack should be the first Pack to look to as a potential storage space. After all, there is no more effective way of keeping a bike’s centre of gravity both low down, and along a narrow central plane. The main triangle of a bicycle frame is a large area of space that the Full Frame Pack utilises neatly and efficiently, creating that rare combination of a high-volume storage option, with low impact on bike handling.
Keeping a low centre of gravity is key for any cyclist, but it’s particularly necessary for the heavier setup of a touring bike, especially considering the unpredictable terrain that comes as part and parcel of long-distance riding. The waterproof, seam-welded fabric construction is equally as befitting of the needs of tourers riding through all conditions and climates.
If used in conjunction with a Saddle Pack or Handlebar Pack on longer adventures, the Full Frame Pack affords the ability to store heavier items lower down. This saves higher storage locations for lighter items like clothing or sleeping gear, and keeps handling true. What’s more: If used as a standalone Pack (as is the preferred setup of some ultra-distance racers), it has exactly the same effect.
Full Frame Packs in Action
Apidura Ambassador and long-distance bike touring expert
Apidura Ambassador, Tour Divide veteran, and director of the Adventure Syndicate
Apidura Ambassador and former world record holder for cycling across Europe
Why do you choose to use a Full Frame Pack?
Ed: It is extra storage capacity that doesn’t really impact on the handling of the bike. I use it on trips where extra storage is vital, and other people might contemplate panniers. The Full Frame Pack offers the most stable and secure space on a bikepacking setup, even more so than smaller Frame Packs.
Lee: I choose a Full Frame Pack because I like the way the bike feels when riding technical terrain, as all the weight is kept central and low. You can also fit a remarkable amount of stuff in it!
Paul: Firstly, the weight is really low down on your bike, which improves handling, and secondly it keeps your bike more aerodynamic. Aerodynamics often get overlooked in ultra-distance riding and races, but it really does matter.
What adventures have you used a Full Frame Pack on?
Ed: I took a Full Frame Pack across Tibet, and a trip through Kazakhstan, China, Mongolia and Russia. For these remote places, where the remoteness means you need more stuff, it’s the obvious choice.
Lee: Mine was baptised on the Tour Divide, but has remained a permanent fixture on my bike ever since.
Paul: For my record-breaking ride across Europe, I just used a Full Frame Pack, combined with a Top Tube Pack for essentials.
What do you tend to store in yours?
Ed: The Full Frame Pack is ideal for extra food that is needed on remoter trips, so compact food items like spaghetti, oats, and sugar, but also tools, spares, and a first aid kit. Essentially heavy items, because weight kept here doesn’t impact on the handling of the bike.
Lee: I keep my bike repair stuff and pump just above the bottom bracket, then pack my medical and electricals. On top of that I still have room for my waterproof jacket and a 750ml bottle, and my phone if it’s being charged from my dynamo. It’s like the tardis.
Packs to get low with
Carrying Water in a Full Frame Pack
Full Frame Packs use all of the space available in your bike’s frame, making it challenging to carry water bottles if you don’t have extra mounts on the fork, under the down tube or space in a snack pouch or two. Most people find the best solution is using a hydration bladder inside the Full Frame Pack. The Apidura Innovation Lab Frame Pack Hydration Bladder is the most efficient use of space possible, adding 1.5l of water carrying capacity and shaped to make full use of the space at the base of the frame pack. The Innovation Lab Frame Pack Hydration Bladder fits all Apidura Full Frame Packs, alongside other frame packs with similar dimensions.