We catch up with Kedan Griffin, who is the Bike Bag Dude, the man behind some of the world's most coveted bikepacking gear.
Photos: Tim Bardsley-Smith
Kedan Griffin has been stitching up bags for cyclists looking to explore anything from their backyard to alpine tundra for close to a decade. What started as a passion overtook a family home, and now fills a commercial space near Newcastle. Maybe Kedan setup Bike Bag Dude at just the right time, as Instagram is flooded with emotive images of cyclists packing their essentials into a frame bag and taking off to escape the daily grind. From a long day out in the local bush, to massive sojourns crossing continents or mountain ranges. Bike Bag Dude bags can be seen helping people escape the world over.
AMB: Sewing custom bags from sailcloth in Newcastle might seem like a bit of a hobby for some – but how far around the world do your bags go?
BBD: BBD’s range is far and wide — we have sent gear to over 25 countries and regularly send gear to the States and Europe. The States would be my biggest market behind Australia - I seem to have a cult like following over there.
"Some people want hidden spots to hide guns and weed! U.S. clients habe different recreational drug laws so they have different needs and ask if I can accomodate them"
AMB: We’ve seen small top tube bags from BBD, all the way to full frame bags and even custom double wheel bags you made for us to test. What are the limits of what you can create? Have you had any crazy requests?
BBD: Limits… The only real problem I have with creating new things is the hardware that needs to be on it. I don’t make pannier bags for example as the mounting hardware is just too difficult for us to source and attach at the correct spots.
But in general - If I have a template sent to me - I can make the bag to fit.
I have had some crazy requests come in though, and there is one that I get a fair bit. Some people want hidden spots to hide guns and weed! US clients have different recreational drug laws so they have different needs and ask if I can accommodate them. I actually had to go to a local gun shop and ask to see a gun - I had never seen or felt the weight of a handgun in real life.
AMB: BBD is known for the custom process, and delivering exactly what people need. Is that the only thing that sets BBD apart from other bag makers?
BBD: The custom process and colour choice is definitely a big feature of what I do, but the main reason I do so well is the bags I make are a step above what is available anywhere else. I am the only person in the world that seam tapes their gear to keep water out. To me the main requirements for bags used for bikepacking and other adventures are volume and dryness — I seem to be in front of other builders in respect to these two details.