I decided to go with a Sea Line dry bag and strategically placed straps for my seat post bag. A custom made bag has never really interested me all that much for a few reasons:
b) time required to fabricate and receive
c) I wanted the challenge of making my own
I thought about what I wanted for a long time and even sketched out a basic design starting with a normal stuff sack. The more I thought about it though, I wanted a tougher material that had a little more integrity to its overall structure. I stopped by an Army/Navy Surplus store to pick up some material to make the straps and I started looking at stuff sacks, but nothing was really working for what I had in mind. That's when I got the idea of using a dry bag. I picked one up for 20 bucks at REI and for the last couple of days I have been figuring out the best placement for the straps and working on attaching them.
Here is what I started with. I wasn't too keen on the red color, but my other option was some weird green. So I went with the red hoping it would look somewhat decent with the red on my bike:
Perfect for what I wanted. Waterproof, but also, it is expandable and collapsible and has a TON of room for its light weight.
I originally just superglued the straps as a temporary means of holding them in place, with the intent to return later and hand sew them securely. The glue worked amazingly well. I tested it out by pulling the straps away from the bag and I could not pull them off.
Hmmmmm, maybe I could get out of stitching them on...
Bad idea. They have to be reinforced with stitching.
So here are some pictures of the bags on my bike. I am anxious for my sleeping bag to arrive and fill the seat bag with everything. For purposes of these pictures, I just shoved some dirty socks and towels (very easy to find on my floor) in it to provide some shape:
My goal is to go with a very minimal, but well planned and intelligent setup, with some room for adaptability and trailside modification. That in itself will be a big key for me in races like the AZ 300 and the CTR. I am going to forego a handlebar bag because all the gear I need is going to fit into what I have now.
My 24 OP partner, Erick, lent me his seat post bag to try out as well. I will definitely give it a go and compare the two out on some local singletrack to get a feel for the differences. He handmade this bag and used it last summer. This thing puts my creation to shame as far as design, craftsmanship and complexity...Wow. Very impressive.
I am looking forward to the next three days of riding. I am hoping Bear Creek Canyon and Evergreen's roads will be melted and clear by noonish tomorrow. Saturday and Sunday's rides won't be solo. Yeah! I do like to ride with people who push me. Saturday will be climbing with gears and Sunday I get to chase a strong singlespeeder. All this and work too. Love it.
Setup nearing completion. Stay tuned.