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Friday, November 30, 2012

Old Carradice, New Carradice.

Somewhere under all that stuff is a Nelson Longflap.
Time to talk about the true bag of the Retro-Grouch, the British-made transverse saddle bag. There were many makers of this bag back in the olden days, but the only maker that has survived into this modern era is Carradice. So Carradice is the bag seen most often. And I've got a few.

The old Nelson Longflap given to me by Todd Boulanger last December has seen service on the Long Haul Trucker, regularly getting stuffed with gear on my various bike camping and touring excursions over the year. After all that wear and tear, the 30 year old bag needed some TLC. So I removed it from the LHT and brought it to my local outdoor repair guru, Matt at Mountain Soles. I picked it up on Tuesday.

Mountain Soles patched a couple places on the bottom of the bag, and also patched the area around the left buckle, as it was starting to pull away from the bag.

They also replaced one of the flap snaps (ha!) that had fallen off. This required more patching.

Another minor repair that I ended up doing was replacing the screw to the wooden dowel, as the original one here is MIA.

This is one of the things I love about traditional bags and their canvas: they can be repaired. Now hopefully I'll get several more years of life out of this bag. Now it will see duty on the Raleigh Crested Butte.
Old and new.

As for the LHT, well I did something crazy: I bought a BRAND-NEW Carradice for it! I've managed to pick up my last three Carradices used, so this was a big deal. I would have loved to find another used Nelson or Camper Longflap for a reasonable price, but they rarely come up on the local Craigslist, and the ones on eBay are either overpriced or worn out if they ain't. And buying a brand-new Carradice in Portland is easy, as there is not one but TWO stores that carry them: Citybikes and Clever Cycles.

The Carradice stock at Clever is a new development. At the end of October Clever had one of their rare and random sales, where all bags were 20% off, including Carradice. Getting a discount on a new Carradice is a very rare thing, so I jumped on it and got a new Nelson Longflap for a hair over $90. I would have gotten a Camper Longflap if they had one, but alas, the shop employees pounced on them when they got their first shipment. (As I would have if I worked there.)

Anyways, I figured I did really well with the Nelson Longflap, and while the Camper offers more volume (24L vs 18L), sizewise the Camper isn't much longer. So the Nelson will do. And she looks fine on the LHT.


  1. Looks good, I will be purchasing a long flap for my birthday. It should work greal on my threespeeds.

  2. I'm a big fan of the Nelson long flap. Your older one looks great, with the expert repairs adding to the beausage.

  3. I love my CC Longflap too. I've done several two and three week tours out of mine and I'm always amazed at how much can be stuffed in there. Your old one loookes great. The more beat up the better! Jack

  4. I've got a Nelson longflap as well as a Barley, I can't get enough of Carradice stuff. It's kinda like Brooks but without the retro-hipster pricetag :)


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