Thursday, December 20, 2007

Product Review: Headland CMT Seat Pack

I'd been meaning to write a review of this for quite some time, but I keep on forgetting. Today, a reader submitted the following quandary, which finally got my butt into gear (thanks, Alan!):

Can you tell me what type of bike seat bag you have on this bike: (link to my profile) I liked the looks of it, and would like to get one for one of my bikes.


The seat pack in question is the Headland CMT (Compression Molding Technique) as seen in my profile photo:

I don't have a better photo of it on my bike, and I can't get a good indoor shot that gives it justice. The one I have is the medium-sized model, which is pretty big for a seat pack -- ample for an urban-assault commuter's flat kit, for example.


The Compression Molding Technique results in a rugged, dense foam pack that's got a durable outer rubberized coating. After almost a year of use, the CMT looks as good as new. The outer coating doesn't absorb water, either. While it's not water-proof, what's inside will probably stay dry in all but the most torrential of deluges, barring complete immersion in water.

On the back of the pack, a plastic strap is riveted, which can be used to hold a belt-clip tail light. This plastic strap, with my Mars 3.0 blinky, broke off on a group ride. I'm not sure I'd recommend mounting a tail light on the CMT seat pack. I replaced the broken strap with a pair of zip ties, which seem to be working quite nicely.

Highland eschews the traditional Velcro rail and seatpost straps for some more intuitive attachment methods. A plastic clip with a rubber strap firmly grasps almost any size of seatpost effectively, while a spring-loaded clip snaps onto the saddle rails. There are other manufacturers using similar methods, but all the other seat packs I own attach with velcro.

The inside of the CMT is lined with a soft padded fabric, and you can see the release mechanism for the seat rail clip. The CMT comes off in mere seconds, just as easily as installing it. If you're locking up your bike in a high-crime area, this is a benefit, as you can simply take the pack with you.

A total perimeter double-zipper and Faux-leather hinge at the front of the pack gives it the ability to open all the way up for easy access to all your goodies:

If you carry a lot of goodies like I do, then you'll appreciate the CMT's cavernous payload capacity. I keep my emergency lighting, presta/schrader adapter, CO2 inflater with 3 Cartridges, a spare tube, tire levers and glueless patches inside. There's still room for some spare AA batteries or my Park Tool MTB-3 in there, but I simply don't have the need to carry anything else in my seat pack. Keep in mind, there's another model even larger than this!

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