Here’s a roundup of Wildcat Gear Cycle bag reviews.
A Wildcat Mountain Lion handlebar system and a Wildcat Tiger seat pack arrived at my front door a year ago before I set off on my first overnight bikepacking trip along the South Downs Way. Bikepacking is the best lesson in learning to pack light and having a partner who treats you as an equal is another.
‘If you want to bring it, you’ll have to carry it,’ my boyfriend said.
I’d tried wearing a small rucksack but decided it was uncomfortable as I have a short body, big boobs and the back of my helmet was catching on the bag. Panniers and racks were considered though they take up a lot of space when not in use and they’re heavy and rattle about. After much research a Wildcat Gear handlebar and seat pack system were selected.
Dan was at work when they arrived so I read the instructions carefully and went outside to set up.
Wildcat Gear Review – Mountain Lion
This fits on the handlebars and goes under the forks to secure. It took me about an hour to get to grips with fitting it and I made a few mistakes putting clips on backwards or upside down. Now that it’s made up, it takes about five minutes to strap to the bike and as the old saying goes, ‘Practice makes perfect’. On that note, a second Mountain Lion was ordered a few months later and modifications had been made. A fiddly locking clip had been removed and the instructions improved technically and visually. Dan took twenty minutes to set his up for the first time and I removed the annoying clip on the old one.
We use 13L dry bags which take seconds to remove from the bike at night and a minute or two to secure in the morning. The first dry bag I used with my hardtail was damaged by friction from the front tyre. The forks were too bouncy and the set up too low. This is probably not an issue for most men, though I’m small and so is my bike.
Updated April 2015: Brake hoses and gear leads may need some wiggling to ensure they are unrestricted after set up. Before heading to Morocco in Dec 2014, I decided to get new hoses fitted to remove the possibility of kinking after I discovered a bit of chafe. My ideal bikepacking or touring bike will have manual disc brakes rather than hydraulic for this reason. for now, I’ll make do and mend.
The straps will rub against paintwork and you may wish to protect yours. There is a small amount of chafe where the webbing wraps around the dry bag. We use Alpkit Airlock XTra bags and they’re holding up well.
Overall, the retention system is robust, light and effective. Like I said earlier, we bought two.
This fits on the back of the bike and easier and quicker to attach than the Wildcat Mountain Lion. Packing an 8L drybag takes a bit longer but you will quickly learn how to customise and adapt your packing to make loading the drybag a simple job.
Updated April 2015: We now use 13L Alpkit tapered dry bags and these fit much better in the Wildcat Tiger as you can see from the image below.
Multiple straps attached under the saddle and around the seat post hold the bag securely in place and it hasn’t restricted my riding. Chafe is not an issue as the saddle system is a tapered bottomed capsule. My preference is for the bag to be as symmetrical as possible as it balances better and is aesthetically pleasing.
If you hear squeaking, ensure that all straps are tight.
We bought a second one of these too.
Ordered for our trip to Morocco in December 2013, it’s a (Size L) partial frame bag with a quality waterproof full length zip and a useful side pocket. It’s attached to Dan’s bike and big enough to hold a light two man tent or tarp, poles and sleeping mat. Riding is unrestricted and the construction strong. The lead from the headlight battery pack fits though a conveniently placed slot. Attachment takes seconds with a simple system of Velcro straps.
Since then, Dan has taken the plunge and ordered more wildcat gear – a bespoke full size frame bag that we took on a bikepacking trip to The Netherlands and also to the High Atlas Mountains of Morocco.
I consoled myself by making a DIY frame bag.
If you fly with your bike, Wildcat Gear systems are small, light and easy to carry. If you fancy hiring a bike when you’re away, you can bring your kit with you and attach it to almost any bike and have an adventure even when you’re on a work trip. I took the Wildcat Tiger on a business trip to the Italian Alps.
There’s a full kit list for you to download too.