Review: Swift Ozette Randonneur Bag

When I first came across Swift Industries, I didn’t even have a use for the Ozette randonneur bag and yet, I really, really wanted one. My last touring bike was set up for a handlebar-mounted bag. At the time, I chose Arkel as a manufacturer and I still have it, but I wasn’t happy enough with it to put it to use on the new Geekhouse tourer. I wanted my front weight as low as I could get it and the Arkel sat too high. The older model bag also wasn’t water proof. Or even water-resistant. Not ideal for a touring rig. The 2013 model is water proof, however.

Two large panniers and a large randonneur-style front bag is all I need for touring portage. The Ozette randonneur bag has so far, been the perfect choice for the Geekhouse. Without leaping to any great tech-overview, I’ll just say that Swift and Geekhouse are a good pairing and when it comes down to it, the 10.5 litre capacity of this bag is a large improvement over what I was used to with the Arkel (which has 10 litres of space but the aforementioned weight distribution makes it a less than ideal option).

Along with the large compartment, there are five external pockets and a top map-case. The two back pockets will fit an iPhone, a point and shoot camera, film and anything else you’d need to access without reaching under a jacket and into a jersey pocket. The front pocket is out of reach while riding, so things like first aid, camping supplies, or what have you would go there. The map-case is big. Big enough for maps or cue sheets. Each of these are covered with a loop-secured, top-flap. For quick stashability, the two side pockets do wonders. All in all, I fit everything I’d need for a long ride, like a Brovet, just fine.

All of this from a classic design and a waterproof construction. Now, securing the bag to the appropriate rack is the most important part. My Geekhouse rack is wide enough to where the velcro straps hold the base of the bag just fine. With a “tombstone” rack extension, I could slip it in the bag’s sleeved support but it wasn’t enough to keep the Ozette laterally-stable. Two zip ties did the trick but I’ll still use a decaleur for increased support, at which time, I’ll remove the zip ties. This will enable me to use the handy shoulder strap Swift supplies.

Right now, out of the box, so to speak, the Ozette randonneur bag is a customizable, modern-spin on a classic design. I picked my colors, added it to the shopping basket on Swift’s site and it showed up under a month later. All for $210. I have nothing against Berthoud, Ostrich or other manufacturers, I just wanted to support a new, smaller company in Seattle. Plus the olive looks great on the bike. See more at Swift Industries and if you’re still reading without clicking through the Gallery, check out more detail photos there!