Why I Love the Porcelain Rocket Meanwhile Basket Bag
Photos and words by Morgan Taylor
Porcelain Rocket’s Meanwhile basket bag has a lot going for it. It’s lighter than their previous basket bag, fully waterproof rather than mostly water resistant, has tote handles for off-the-bike use, and costs less to produce. Hello, progress! I ordered one for my Wald 137 basket as soon as they became available. Yet, when I started using the bag, I wasn’t immediately taken with it.
We’re Picky About Bags
If you follow along at Found in the Mountains, you’ll know we’re pretty into our Wald 137 basket bags – and useful bags in general really – and I had a couple of qualms with the Meanwhile compared to Porcelain Rocket’s original basket bag that I was using before.
That bag – the co-branded project between Porcelain Rocket and Nebraska’s Monkey Wrench Cycles (check out Kyle’s super rad Shop Visit here) – has seen a ton of use on both my and Stephanie’s bikes, from fully loaded tours, to two years of Swift Campout, to daily commuting and grocery getting.
Being that Porcelain Rocket sells in Canadian dollars for a nice price, lots of folks up here have picked one of these bags up over the past couple years, in lots of cool custom Cordura colour combos.
The original sewn-with-Cordura Monkey Wrench bag and the seam-welded Meanwhile have a number of things in common. They are both custom fit to the popular sizes of Wald basket – the smaller 137 and the larger 139 – with a rectangular footprint and expandable rolltop. The opening of the rolltop is lined with hook and loop, making for easy rolling. And the buckles on the ends of the rolltop solidly cinch down with a webbing strap from under the basket.
Most importantly, they both share Porcelain Rocket’s extreme attention to detail and expedition-worthy build quality. Every single product that goes out the door of Porcelain Rocket’s Calgary, Alberta shop (we visited Scott and friends in 2015, see the Shop Visit here) is worthy of being taken as far as you can imagine, and you only have to look to their Instagram page to see proof of that.
We find the rolltop design to be an excellent companion when expandable capacity is an asset, such as when grabbing groceries, or out on tour. The rolltop lets you batten down the hatches with when the going gets rough, but also expands to more than double in capacity – and still buckles down – when you hit the discount avocado jackpot.
Meanwhile, in Canada…
In the spring of 2017, Porcelain Rocket made a huge leap forward, with the purchase of an RF welder. Beginning with the 52hz frame pack, Porcelain Rocket’s been churning out innovative fully waterproof products that still hit the expedition-level, handmade quality we’ve come to expect from them.
Meanwhile is essentially the evolution of the Monkey Wrench bag. But, because of the simpler production process, it’s only $80 Canadian dollars. Seriously! Waterproofing is exactly what an everyday commuter needs in the Pacific Northwest, and so you can understand why I was excited to add one to the collection. While I normally prefer to have some colour in my life, Meanwhile was only available in Porcelain Rocket’s signature LightBlack™ waterproof fabric.
So, what bugged me about the updated bag besides the colour? Well, to begin, the Monkey Wrench bag has a lining of thin foam padding built into the basket portion of the bag; the Meanwhile has no padding. Next, I found the LightBlack™ fabric to be quite crinkly while rolling. Now, functionally this isn’t a problem but it’s simply less enjoyable than rolling up the Cordura MWC.
Every Single Day
Yet, over the next month or so, as the bag became my go-to – on the bike, packing up my coffee outside kit, and all day at my job as a teacher who sometimes visits up to six classrooms in a day – my initial complaints subsided, and I came to truly enjoy my Meanwhile. Professional enough off the bike with its smart tote handles, still just as cavernous as the Monkey Wrench, and better suited to our wet climate.
In daily use, I found that I didn’t really miss the padded lining, and never thinking about water ingress overrode my worries about the crinkly stiffness of the fabric. Only one complaint remained. The colour. I recently approached Scott with a special request. Could I have one… in brown?
He said they had just enough of their GoldenBrown™ fabric left. I felt very lucky. And it turned out amazing. To my surprise and delight, the new fabric wasn’t nearly as crinkly as my original one, and Scott tells me the most recent LightBlack™ fabric is also softer to the touch.
We Can Be Twinsies
My one-off turned out so good, in fact, that after a quick poll of the audience, they decided to order another roll of GoldenBrown™ and offer up a limited edition run of my custom Meanwhile for everyone. Awesome! These have been up on the Porcelain Rocket site for a few days, and Scott tells me they’re going quick.