Monday, October 5, 2009

Sackville Trunksack: How Fitting for a Rear Rack!

I have talked ad nauseum about my Carradice Barley bag, and so I thought it was time to review my other bag, the Sackville Trunksack. As far as I know, it is available exclusively from Rivendell, and you can read their product description here.

The Sackville Trunksack is a handsome box-shaped bag, in a dark-olive waterproof canvas with golden-brown leather trim and brass hardware. The large size is designed for the rear rack. It fits Pletscher-style racks perfectly, neither leaving portions of the rack uncovered, nor overhanging from any part of the rack. It looks great on many different types of bicycles, including the Motobecane mixte above and the Raleigh Lady's Sport on the first photo.

Here are some views of the bag. The zipper closure with two separate zippers is very convenient, as it allows you to open and close the bag from any side while remaining seated on the bicycle.

The leather flaps hide the zippers from view and prevent rain from entering.

3/4 view. The colour of the leather flap is an exact match for Brooks "honey" (pictured ont he 1st photo of the Raleigh here) and a shade lighter than the Brooks "brown" (above). The reflective strip is an extra benefit.

Rear view. The leather strap in the back is positioned perfectly for mounting a light, providing a great solution for rear lighting (if you recall, this was my only criticism of the Carradice Barley).

Close-up of the light attachment. Very secure; no wobbling or slanting even during very bumpy rides.

The complete lack of wobble is one of the biggest benefits of the Sackville Trunksack. This is achieved by the tight and precise attachment system: leather straps with snap closure.

The brass hardware is rather attractive.

Inside, the Trunksack is like a large box or chest: There are no compartments. This can be both a good thing and a bad thing. It is good in the sense that you need only to open it once, and all of your stuff is immediately accessible. And it is bad in the sense that, especially if you are messy, your things will soon become jumbled due to the lack of compartments. For me, the benefits of the ease of access outweigh the drawbacks of the lack of compartments - but this is a personal preference.

My one complaint about the Sackville Trunksack, is that it has no structural support and therefore does not retain its form unless it is full. You can see that almost all the photos show various degrees of sagging. We are trying to make a support for it either out of wire or plexiglass, but it is not yet complete. In the meantime, I try to keep it maximally filled.

To sum up what I love about the Sackville Trunksack:
. It fits my rear rack perfectly, securely and free of wobble
. The box shape and the colour scheme are aesthetically appealing
. It is very roomy
. The single zip closure provides easy access
. It is waterproof
. The rear light attachment is excellently designed

And what could use improvement, is the sagging issue.

Edited to add: As of April 2010, I no longer own this bag - having traded it to a fellow collector for another bicycle-related item. I liked the bag, but ultimately prefer Carradice-style saddlebags.

22 comments:

  1. ". . .if you are messy, your things will soon become jumbled . . ."

    The solution, although a bit prissy, is to use stuff sacks/dry bags inside the bag to organize your things.

    "what could use improvement, is the sagging issue."

    And you take one of those dry bags and blow it up like a balloon, creating a space filling bladder that keeps the bag from sagging and your things from jouncing around. In a saddle bag something like a Therm-a-rest pillow can do the same thing, and then, hey, you've got a pillow! And if you know where your towel is as well, you're set for anything. Just DON'T PANIC.

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  2. The Co-Habitant likes to use little bags and thins to organise, but I haven't the patience for it : (

    I usually keep a down vest in there, which fills it out nicely - plus I can keep adding other things and they will still fit, because the down vest will simply compress!

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  3. Ooh! One of those sure would look nice on my Surly.

    I swore I wasn't going to buy another trunk. Need/want-need/want...

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  4. Sweet! That would look nice on any of my bikes.

    Use some coroplast as stiffeners, or perhaps some thin sheets of polyethelyne. Coroplast can usually be found for free in the form of old advertising signs and campaign signs. ;-)

    Aaron

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  5. A great-looking bag and nice and roomy too. Have you contacted the manufacturers re the 'sagginess' when not filled to the brim? It could be something they may rectify in the future if it's an issue for enough users, and/or they may be able to retrofit some kind of frame for you.

    The stiff but lightweight foam stuff found in camera bags may be what you need to line the inside walls of the bag and stop it from sagging. Not sure where you'd find in (in Australlia Clark Rubber shops sell similar stuff).

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  6. Thanks for the great review!
    I'd been thinking about maybe making a canvas bag that would attach to the rear rack. It would be bigger than this one, but it's great to get the details of a similar product.

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  7. "I usually keep a down vest in there . . ."

    Yep, that'll do it, and if you put it in a dry sack, hey! You've got a pillow.

    There a number of fussy, little details about this bag that have prevented me from owning it already (I already have the Nitto Top Rack to put it on). They're just me and my fussiness, but I'll elaborate anyway, because that's just the sort of thing I do.

    No longer available in black. That may actually be the biggest. I be Mister Black&Tan. Grant says you should feel like a cowboy opening your bag. Olive drab makes me feel like a private third class. No thanks. My bike is my horse, not my Jeep. My role model is Lee Van Cleef, not G.I. Joe.

    The leather rain flaps. They're a fussy item and a bit of an affectation. Give me a standard fabric rain pocket or just leave 'em off.

    The number plate: Not only a bit of an affectation, but rather blatantly a conspicuous consumerism affectation. I have a few lycra jerseys (I admit it). They're all monotone (same for my T-shirts). Not even a little "Polo Type" logo on the chest. I am not the brands I buy, nor am I in the advertising business (but make me an offer). Put the thing on the inside: where it belongs.

    Two more D-rings: On the ends, to attach a shoulder strap (the four already there are well positioned to attach a carry handle). The stuff IN my bag IS me. They are my tools, what I DO; therefore what I am. I already have a messenger bag. What I want in a trunk is essentially the same thing fitted to my rack when on the bike; and my shoulder when OFF the bike; so I don't have to carry everything in my messenger bag over longer distances.

    Which brings up; The Rant:

    Stop relectorizing every damned thing labeled "bike stuff." It makes the stuff look like shit when off the bike (and sometimes even on it; are you listening Carradice with your day-glo orange patches?) and I've already got lights and reflectors on the bike, thank you very much. Yes, there IS such a thing as being "too visible," (it can irritate, and even further confuse drivers as to just what they are seeing) and there is no advantage to being more visible than visible. They're just going to say "I didn't see you," anyway. Really. The blindness is psychological, NOT visual.

    Just sayin'.

    At the moment I am just using furoshiki until I can find or make a trunk that suits me. Oddly enough, it works. It's even reasonably "cowboy," - if you're Japanese.

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  8. kfg - You make some fine points. I did not know that these bag was at some ever available in black and tan. My tastes run the opposite of yours in this respect, in that I love army drab and mil spec green. Give me any shade of puke green - from olive to khaki to sage - and I am happy. I also like the gray of Berthoud bags and Inujirushi bags from Jitensha Studios. I am upset that the VO handlebar bag only comes in black and tan.

    Regarding over-reflecting - The only bag I wear both on and off the bike is my Chrome messenger bag, which has reflective straps and makes me very visible when walking in the dark. It does feel strange, especially should I want to, say, privately embrace the Co-Habitant in an alleyway or break into a jewelry shop. Inconvenient, to say the least.

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  9. You've got me interested now. Right now my rear Pletscher rack is useless, and the bag would solve that problem. But I could never leave a bag this nice on my bike locked up in Chicago, and removing it everywhere would be a pain. Maybe one day...

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  10. It takes 4 seconds to remove it and 15 seconds to put it back on, Dottie.

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  11. Oh, also, you can put a small cable/lock/something through the bottom of the leather strap so that it's impossible to separate the bag from the rack without cutting the leather.

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  12. MDI - That may be so. But come on, can you imagine attaching and detaching the thing 10 times a day and carrying it around every time a lady leaves her bike to go into an office, shop or restaurant? I wouldn't use this bag if I couldn't leave it on the bike, it's unrealistic.

    As for the cable lock idea... maybe, but wouldn't that uglify the whole setup?

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  13. "I did not know that these bag was at some ever available in black and tan."

    At the time I ordered my Quickbeam black (also the color of my Quickbeam) was the ONLY fabric color. For some reason they had trouble getting a sufficient supply of black, even for the small quantity they needed, so they switched to olive (which is in ready supply, because they make it by the gazillion yard bolts for - third class privates. Go figure).

    "the VO handlebar bag only comes in black and tan."

    The tan of these is too tan for me. I could dye it, but that's always a time consuming and messy business.

    "Give me any shade of puke green"

    Oh my God! You're the ENEMY. I had no idea. I've been lamenting lately that a lot of otherwise very fine bikes are currently only available in some sort of "Monkey Shit" paint job and wondering who would actually buy such a thing. Now I know. :)

    ". . .should I want to . . . break into a jewelry shop."

    Bit of an infamous case from about 20 years ago. A guy held up a corner mart and ran away into a woody place. He would have gotten clean away, but he was wearing those sneakers with blinkys in the heels. Some people are just too stupid to steal.

    "But come on, can you imagine attaching and detaching the thing 10 times a day . .. "

    Ten times a day, maybe not, but two or four; yeah. That's exactly the sort of use I want one for. It's not that big a deal. Just take a deep breath and relax a bit first. The rest of the time, for quickie runs or more frenzied bopping about town, I have my purse. Oh, wait. Messenger bag! Messenger bag! It's NOT a purse.

    Dottie: have you ever considered learning to tie furoshiki? Then you just put a "small dog" basket on the rack, or do the "wine box" thang. The basket stays on the bike, but the furoshiki just lifts out and goes with you. OK, yeah, you COULD do the same thing with any old purse, but furoshiki are cool; and if you put a sweater or something in it; Hey! You've got a pillow.

    This is what I'd do myself, but I think Lee Van Cleef would feel silly riding around on a horse with a yappy dog basket dangling off of it.

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  14. Eeek, my typos! Cut-and-paste is a dangerous game. You have a black Quickbeam - sweet! I was considering one in silver, but common sense and lack of money stopped me. Do you ride in hilly areas? What gear ratio do you have it set up with?

    Yes, I would probably be one of those insane kids lusting after a bike with a "monkey sh*t" green paint job. Want to make something of it?
    : )

    Would love to see photos of furoshiki on a bike!

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  15. "Eeek, my typos! Cut-and-paste is a dangerous game."

    Oh yeah. Been there, done that; and sometimes with far more embarrassing results. Turns out all those editors and proof readers we employ for printed media really do earn their keep. Who knew?

    "I was considering one in silver . . ."

    Yeah, mine's the silver batch (full Riv fancy fork crown on that batch too, I suppose to help deaden the shock of the price jump). I made 'em blackenize it for me, and put on the old decals with the gold lettering on an ivory field. VERY classic looking. I notice that just a few months later they started offering the Betty Foy in black with gold decals, now I don't KNOW that my bike hanging around the shop for awhile had anything to do with that, but . . .

    ". . .common sense and lack of money stopped me."

    I have an uncommon sense of common sense. Oddly enough, although the economy has left my personal VALUE somewhat battered, it left me with a bit of CASH looking for a place to go. I like bikes and have always considered a good one money well spent, especially in a bad economy. I remember the 70s. I'm getting on a bit now and I'm retooling my bikeyness (much of my stuff is stuff I originally bought IN the 70s and getting on a bit now, i.e. is unrideable for one reason or another) to get me through the next couple of hundred thousand miles without having to worry about it down the road, as it were.

    "Do you ride in hilly areas?"

    I live in the Mohawk Valley, in a van down by . . . no, wait. I DID save the house (the family one in Marblehead went bye, bye; hence some of the cash), but it is down by the river. When I leave home I have my choice of four directions: up, up, up, or up. Up stream is at least a bit less up than up the Adirednecks or into the Taconics, but it is, by definition and the laws of physics, still up.

    "What gear ratio do you have it set up with?"

    The stock gears, plus a 16 tooth fixed cog which is what I normally ride. I got a 42 tooth chainring as well, but find the stock 40 is just right with the fattish Jack Brown tires. The 42 will end up on my Redline 925 (my current townie) when I put 110 BCD cranks on it (it comes stock with BMX four bolt rings. I want to standardize my bikes as much as possible, so I only have to lay in one set of spares for the future. The acquisition of the Peugeot has really messed up THAT idea).

    I'm not the kid I used to be, but I'm an ex-racer from the steel bikes and iron men era (although I DID ride a titanium Teledyne for few years); and an "elf" (also known as a "Starving European Weasel"). I don't have the muscle mass to apply a lot of force, put can put out some power by spinning. A medium fixed gear gets me around just about anyplace at a reasonable pace and I've got the "bailout" gear for the odd real nasty. And it's a seriously sweet bike to ride. I mean SERIOUSLY sweet. I can play penny whistle while riding it. Or Uke. Don't think I'll try fiddle though. I have SOME common sense.

    "Want to make something of it?"

    Personally, no. You have a lovely little blog. You seem to be a lovely sort of person. You like lovely bikes, except for this OOOOONE little personal failing. I'll let it pass, but I might wish there were fewer of you so there wasn't a market for the things. Oh well, you can spray paint anything flat black (although it won't stop a cat from putting up a fuss about it. What's wit dat?)

    "Would love to see photos of furoshiki on a bike!"

    I'm still getting it "photo ready" (need to change that ghastly guard ring for something nice looking and I still don't have the proper seat post and saddle on yet). When I do it's been my intent to shoot it 'shikized anyway. I wouldn't be averse to forwarding copies. Don't know when it will happen though, this stuff called "life" likes to interfere with my plans. Thought it would be done a few months ago.

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  16. Poor me, I could only make/improvise this for myself. (As I've mentioned somewhere I am a born cheap-skate). I made 4 cases - each is somewhat wider than the rack - they are made of ply-wood, paticle board or plastics. Exterior is covered with durable materials such as canvas (stuck on with appropriate glue/adhesive), they are painted, decorated with decals or my own'art' , made water-proof with clear 'varnish'/polyurethane (etc). All have hinged lids/covers with locks. One has a movable and 'alterable' compartments - for my cameras and lenses etc (with paddings, of course).
    Another (the one made of plastics) has a fitting styrofoam box with lid inside - into which I put reusable cooler packs - for transporting ice-cream , meat, sea-food ... from supermart(s) to home.
    The others are for general use - my portable office/library :-D .
    On the outside of each base I screwed on 2 lengths of L10"xW 1/2"(half inch)x Thickness 1/2" 'sticks' .. they are fixed such that their distance apart fit on the outer side of the width of the rack - so that I could just slide the box through the rack and prevent the container/receptacle/case from 'moving side to side'(wobbling?) when I cycle. To prevent the box from sliding backward or forward and 'jumping up and down' :-D haahaa, I drilled (2) holes at the base of each box so that I could insert a removable clamp which would clamp onto a crossbar of the rack.
    I could remove and change box to meet the need of the occasion. Btw. the height of each box is tailored according to its use.
    (I've made 2 other -'cuter ones'-for sister.)

    Just sharing my 'cheap-skate' ideas with hobbyists around. ( For me I save money - for more/new cameras, books etc. ;-)

    Excuse me for any typo errors -my fingers don't obey my mind ..sometimes (don't get the wrong idea(s),huh!? .. I'm only talking about when I type! :-D )

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  17. "Just sharing my 'cheap-skate' ideas with hobbyists around."

    I don't necessarily consider that being a cheapskate. (in fact it can be more expensive than just buying something Chinese from Nashbar). I have been considering it as the optimum (for me) solution that simply isn't available unless you make it yourself. Variations on the theme can yield interesting effects as well, such as placing the canvas on the inside (yes, more maintenance) and making decorative lightening cutouts in the plywood shell; or framing it in a Japanese cabinetry style (the overhangs are great for attaching chords/bungies and the cross members can be made removable for folding the thing flat).

    Similar methods can be used to create the rack mounted equivalent of a saddlebag, or to convert any old existing standard duffel (perhaps obtained on the cheap from Goodwill or Wally World) into same.

    In the mock ups I've been playing with I started using a cross bar clamp on the bottom like you, which is more secure against theft, but where more ease of removal is desired a snap/velcro strap performs the same function.

    The essential downside to a rigid shell is that you can't overstuff and it's a bit more awkward to carry off the bike.

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  18. Nice. I've been looking at Inujirishi Bags since I am in Asia. They are nice like this one you have. I'm always aiming to tour so I ended up going with a modern 8L MEC Handle Bar Bag 'cause of the supportive frame which reduces stress on my conventional front brake and gear cables (MEC's ethical trading policy also attracted). This front bag has rings so I attached a strap + can take it off and carry it like a camera bag over the shoulder when I get to work.

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  19. David - Does Inujirishi offer bags for the rear rack that match their handlebar bags? Jitensha Studios does not mention any, but maybe for the Asian market?

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  20. Hi how do I stick this website in as a nice link I wonder? I can do it on my blog but not in comments hmm...Are these rear rack bags possibly? http://inujirushi.net/inujirushi/9.3/55404/

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  21. Thanks for the link David. I am so sad that I can't read Japanese. That last bag on the right looks like the Brooks Glenbrook that my husband has on the back of his Pashley.

    Unfortunately there seems to be no easy way to imbed link into the Blogger comments; you have to use HTML code around the word or phrase you want to link.

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  22. And you have not just a genuine fountain pen, but a lever-filler fountain pen! Way cool. Thank you for this bag review; it helped me narrow the choices down.

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