Review: Revelate Designs Periphery Pocket

 

Perfectionism isn’t always a virtue – no one is going to notice that your tyre logos line up with your valves when they’re caked with mud, and oftentimes it’s best to just crack on without sweating the small stuff too much. I’m willing to bet though that Eric from Revelate would disagree, and his constant tinkering and experimenting with the designs of his company’s bikepacking gear is arguably one of their strongest assets.

 

The Periphery pocket doesn’t have a tricky job to do, it’s a wee bag that sits in front of your handlebar bag and accepts maps, gloves, snacks and annoyingly often a piece of fruit which I will then forget all about, only to rediscover it a couple of days later as an ingrained, pulpy sludge spread all over everything else. So far, so simple, and the original pocket was much loved by Annie and me on longer trips with lots of little extra things that needed to live somewhere but remain accessible. In our unenlightened state we assumed that it couldn’t be much improved, but all the while Eric was beavering away coming up with Pocket 2.0. The first batch of the new Periphery Pockets landed with Andy at Backcountry Biking in Aviemore around a month ago; I’ve been using one in the meantime and getting stuck into the tiny, nerdy details to see if small differences amount to a better bag…

 

The Periphery Pocket will still attach to the front of a sweetroll or harness using two clips at the top and two at the bottom, wrapping all the way around the larger bag to keep everything super stable. Size-wise it’s also much the same, with the big difference being that roll-top closure -I know, I know, things have come to a pretty sorry pass when you’re here reading my witterings about the closure methods of small accessory bags, but you’ve read this so far so stop fretting and embrace your inner geek.

img_1036
Little details… That red strap makes a whole world of difference when it comes to keeping things cinched down and streamlined

Being a roll-top means a couple of good things, the first of which is no zip! If there’s not a zip there then the zip that isn’t there can’t break, and that can only ever be good. Secondly, being it means that the bag is now extendable (or shrinkable?) so that you don’t end up with just a couple of items rattling round in a half-full bag. My favourite feature is the metal hook closure, which has two anchor loops depending on how full the pocket is, and which cinches down to further minimise floppiness, which was the only major drawback of the old pocket (well that and the curse of the zip).

 

I used the Periphery Pocket as a camera bag for a micro 4/3 camera and spare lens on a long 2-day ride last weekend, and really appreciated the ability to cinch things down securely. It was very, very nice to use, and much more in keeping with the minimal, compressible philosophy of the other bags. In addition, the tendency of the two upper attachment straps to work loose under constant jiggling was dramatically reduced from what I’m used to, which I put down to that tighter fit. When temperatures briefly rose high enough to take off my big gloves, they found a home in the pocket when it was unrolled to full capacity and the metal hook was attached to the upper position instead of the lower.

p2120051
The Periphery Pocket serving as a camera bag en route to Inverness last weekend.

Packing the pocket still needs a little thought – at the end of the day the less weight you have dangling in front of your bars the better – and yes there’s only so far you can improve a wee front bag. However, the new version isn’t just good for novelty’s sake; it’s far nicer to use out on the trail, and with no zips it should do its job for years to come. With a fully waterproof, camera-specific version of the pocket in the works, I’m keen to compare the two and to see if Eric has cracked the tricky question of how to get a camera off your back effectively on lengthy rides…

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s