Expert review: Vaude Karakorum
The Vaude Karakorum is made of coated polyester. Thanks to this strong material and the content of 68 liters you transport a lot of clothing and camping gear with the Karakorum. The hardback Pro system ensures that the pannier always stays in a straight form, even during packing. Unfortunately, the bicycle bag is not waterproof, so that your stuff rain wet during a heavy rain shower. Vaude does supply 1 large waterproof rain cover of polyamide. It fits all 3 components of the bag. This, however, causes problems if you do not take all the components with you or if you want to take a walk with the easily unzipped backpack. The rain cover will then no longer fit.
The inside of the side bags consists of 2 compartments. You open it at the top, so you quickly grab a raincoat, for example. On the inside is also a zipper, so you make of the 2 compartments 1 compartment. This is useful when you transport big things. Furthermore, the pannier has several compartments on the outside, which you can easily open. In it you stop your mobile, keys or roadmap, for example. You also use the upper bag as a backpack during a walk. What makes the Karakorum a multifunctional bag. An additional skill is that you store the shoulder straps of the backpack in a zippered compartment. This means you do not suffer from loose hanging strings.
The Karakorum consists of 3 bags; 2 on the side of your luggage carrier and 1 on top. You also use the bags separately. The upper bag can easily be attached to the side bags with a zipper on both sides, making the 3 bags a whole. The side bags can easily be attached to standard luggage carriers with the Quick Mount and Release (QRM) system. If your luggage carrier has a different tube thickness, it is just a tinkering with the Allen key to adjust the correct position of the hooks. After that, the bags remain firmly in place. Cobblestones, tarmac, sand and gravel roads are then no problem at all.
You use the Karakorum for long and short journeys, because all parts can be used separately. The backpack is useful if you go out on essential things without cycling. The pannier is easy to attach and sits securely on the bike, even if you ride on difficult, passable roads. The downside is that the Karakorum is not watertight and the supplied rain cover only fits all three bags together. Despite this I like to take this bag with me during a multi-day bike ride.