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Apidura Expedition Bolt-On Top Tube Bag Review: A Bikepacking Essential

Apidura is one of the most recognizable bikepacking bag brands on earth. They are a small team from London, UK, and they believe that bags should be built to last. They sent us an upgraded version of one of our favorite bags ever—the top bar Expedition.

Apidura Expedition Bolt-On Top Tube Bag Review: A Bikepacking Essential

I bought an Apidura Expedition top bar bag three years ago on the spot, with zero research and big expectations. The bag was an early velcro version of the Expedition, and over the past few years it has become more of a constant than the bikes it's been riding on. I love it and have put it through some serious usage.

My original Expedition held up brilliantly until one day last summer, when the zipper blew up on a bikepacking trip in the middle of nowhere. Although not entirely unexpected, I tweeted about it (as you do), and (happily) I promptly got a reply from Apidura. They told me they would be happy to fix it through their Revive Program. I sent the old bag to them in London which they then repaired and sent back to me. The zipper worked as good as new. Experiencing the Revive Program made me an even bigger fan of the company. There aren't many brands out there that would miss an opportunity to sell you more stuff.

Experiencing the Revive Program made a fan out of me. There aren't many companies out there that would miss an opportunity to sell you more stuff.

When I recently got a new gravel bike with top tube mounts, I was sure I wanted another Apidura top tube bag for it. I also knew that Apidura had updated the product over the past few years and was excited when they agreed to send me the updated bolt-on Expedition.

Form Factor

Compared with the old bag, the updated Bolt-on Expedition is slightly larger, however, it has retained its sleek and narrow form. The bag's actual dimensions are 23.5 x 10 cm (9.3 x 3.9 in) and weighs in at 110g. The Expedition may only be 4.5 cm (1.77 in) wide, but it comfortably fits everything I carry on a regular day ride, including a thin power bank, phone, keys, protein bar, airpods and a usb cable.

Fully Waterproof

As with all Apidura products, the bag is 100% waterproof with welded seams and an aquaguard zipper. The bag protects your valuables through a proprietary three-layer laminate fabric. This is an absolute must for me, as winters here on Vancouver Island see a lot of rain. My past Apidura bags have really lived up to the water challenge.

Toolless Mounting

The Expedition is a quick and easy install. The bolts that Apidura provides are made out of plastic, which seems a bit odd to me. (It's unclear if these plastic bolts are a cost saving tactic or if plastic is actually better for carbon frames.) When I bolted the Expedition onto my frame the plastic bolts almost cross-threaded in my steel frame. No biggie—if this had happened, I would have swapped back to metal bolts and washers. Lastly, it comes with a handy liner for the inside of the bag; this lines the bottom and hides the bolts to keep the inside nice and orderly.

Card Holders... Maybe?

While digging around in the bag, I was happy to discover two secret inner side pockets. I couldn't find any info on the pockets (I suppose secret pockets should be kept secret), but they feel a little too intentional to be accidental. This is a huge upgrade from my old bag. These liner pockets are great for any thin valuables you might need to carry with you, like bank or credit cards. I can't count the number of times I have put my bank card into my bag, only for it to get stuck to my phone and dropped at rest points. Luckily, I have never lost a card, and with these new pockets, my winning streak will likely continue. LOVE these.

Cable Port

The Expedition has a cable port at the front of the bag allowing you to power your computer or phone from a power bank in the bag. This has become pretty standard for top tube bags over the past few years, but it's new to me and is a huge upgrade for my setup. No more hiding my computer in a bag waiting for it to charge.

Wrapping Up

Overall, the Bolt-On Expedition feels great for day-long gravel rides or longer multi-day bikepacking trips. And like most Apidura products, the Expedition bag looks sharp. For $68USD / $87CAD the bag is a no-brainer. When you factor in Apidura's lifetime warranty through its Revive Program, the deal gets even sweeter.

I have high expectations for this Expedition, and certainly hope it lasts as long as my old velcro version.

✓ Pros
Super smooth zipper
Looks slick
Mary Poppins factor (holds more than it appears to)
Covered by Apidura Revive program
✕ Cons
Plastic bolts in a steel frame 🤷‍♂️
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