Good looking and fully waterproof bikepacking luggage at a really great price. Just watch for wear on the sharp corners
- Genuinely waterproof
- Impressively stable
- Well shaped stiffeners
- Premium looks
- Affordable price
- No bolt-on top tube pack yet
- Stiff corners accelerate wear
Altura is the luggage and clothing house brand of UK distributor Zyro Fisher and has always delivered solidly practical and durable gear at an affordable price. The company been ramping up the quality and innovation recently, too, and the Vortex 2 bikepacking bags we’ve been using for the past few months works great and looks great for a really good price.
Probably because it’s designed in the UK, the Vortex 2 luggage range doesn’t mess around with its weatherproofing. Stiff fully waterproof 210D polyester fabric with welded seams, roll-top closures and clever GETBLOCK waterproof zips mean all the bags we tested are certified to IPX6 standard (high-pressure sprays, very heavy rainfall). The straps and reinforcing panels are ‘Hyperlon’ and abrasion-resistant, not stretch PVC. While the construction is mostly bonded, the limited amount of stitching has proved very durable even when we’ve yanked straps extra hard or overloaded bags with bikepacking gear to test them to the max. The close-knit ‘hook-and-loop’ fabric stays secured really well though with no peeling up at the ends to let excess grit/mud in. It’s the GETBLOCK ‘zips’ that really impress though with totally waterproof sealing yet super easy, single-hand slider movement that’s far better than the fight we normally have with immovable waterproof zips. The sharp edges of the box structures do make them more prone to wear than a ‘soft’ bags though with a very small patch of rub through on the bottom corner after 400km.
Vortex 2 top tube pack
There’s not a whole bunch you can do with a top tube pack but this is one of the best we’ve used. The stiffeners in the sides help it keep its tapered box shape rather than it flopping about or bulging out towards your knees. You can move the front stem strap and two top tube straps along their loop ladders to tube attachment points and while it can keel over occasionally it’s mostly really stable. Internal sleeves let you keep narrow things out of the main pocket and the super easy to use GETBLOCK zip means you can actually get into it with one hand while riding. It’s big enough for a useful amount of snacks, battery packs, compact camera or essential tube/tool kit. The fully waterproof build means no hole for a charger cable, but it also means your valuables or half-eaten food won’t get soaked. Both grey and red versions get reflective detailing but there’s no bolt-on version in the range yet.
Vortex 2 waterproof seatpack
The seatpack also gets rhomboid side stiffeners as well as a top/nose/bottom piece that curves round from under the saddle to form a base plate out to where the side straps are anchored. The saddle rail straps use a V-shaped yoke that the adjustable webbing straps hook onto to make mounting/removing easier. The roll-top tail of the bag is secured by adjustable side straps, too.
Together with the stiffened shape that makes the bag impressively stable even when well loaded or wrestling up hills out of the saddle but the sharp corners are vulnerable to accelerated wear. You get a hang loop, a rear light loop and a bungee cord cargo ladder on the top side for extra external stowage. The 12L capacity is enough for most fast and light missions but there’s also a 17-litre version for £79.99 and a ‘Compact’ 6-litre version for £59.99 but that doesn’t get the elastic stowage web on the top.
Vortex 2 waterproof front roll
There’s no frame or holster for the front roll but a stiffened back panel increases stability and there’s a two-position head tube/cable strap to stop fore and aft sway. Two foam spacers on each of the hook and loop bar straps give a bit of cable clearance between bag and bar so you can still get your hands on the tops, too. Double-ended roll closure still leaves up to 5 litres of main compartment capacity without rubbing your thumbs if you’re on the hoods on 42cm bars. If that doesn’t bother you there’s also a 10-litre top-loading version for £79.99. Both designs get a deep front pocket for bars/phones/wallet with a GETBLOCK waterproof ‘zip’ that slides so easily you can even use it while riding without disturbing steering. Two external adjustable straps with snap buckles on the front let you lash light but bulky stuff on the outside too.
Altura has done a great job of making its bikepacking luggage genuinely waterproof even in heavy day-long rain. Clever strap arrangements and stiffening panels keep the bags stable however rowdy things get and the excellent GETBLOCK zips and other details are really impressive considering the very keen pricing. The only potential concern is accelerated wear caused by the sharp corner of the saddle pack stiffener but they’ve proved impressively durable otherwise.
The range also includes frame bags, an ‘Anywhere Drybag’, map/tablet and phone case with more traditional pannier, bar bag and rack pack options though check waterproof ratings for individual items as they can vary.
Tech specs: Altura Vortex 2 bikepacking bags
Top tube pack
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