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I don’t know this for sure but I’m willing to wager a big bag of Tangfastics that since its introduction, the Wildcat Gear Mountain Lion has probably become the most popular piece of bar mounted bikepacking luggage in the UK. It’s simple, lightweight and holds your precious belongings very securely no matter how rad and gnarly you’ve convinced yourself you are. 

Most people tend to fit a tightly stuffed 13L drybag to their Mountain Lions, usually bursting with sleeping bags, mats and other assorted overnight paraphernalia … I don’t think it’s a coincidence that the Mountain Lion is designed for drybags with a capacity of up to 13ish litres. I know from experience that it’ll accept a bigger bag but it’s not ideal, depending on the make and size of drybag you do start to run the risk of it coming into contact with your front tyre and while the 2 straps still hold the bag tightly, they can start to make the contents bulge slightly … but obviously that largely depends what you’re carrying.

I suppose the simple solution is to just stick with your 13 litres as a maximum. Whatever you can’t squeeze into that available space will just have to stay at home. That would certainly be one option but sometimes circumstances don’t allow things to be quite that clear cut. What if your planned destination is a little less hospitable than Oxfordshire in July? What if a -20°C sleeping bag and a jacket with loft measured in inches weren’t only there to keep you warm … they were there to keep you alive? I can also think of a few less dramatic situations that might warrant carrying more than usual, perhaps you need to carry gear for someone else or you’re planning an extended trip so extra clothes aren’t a luxury, they’re a necessity?

If you do find yourself having to carry more ‘up front’ than the usual 13 or so litres, you might be interested in the Mountain Lions portly stablemate – the Wildcat Fat Lion.

Anyone ever say your bike was too big and it looked like you were riding a gate?

As the name suggests, the Fat Lion was originally designed for a fat bike, specifically Aidan Harding’s fat bike and the 2014 Iditarod Trail Invitational … obviously 13L isn’t really an option when you’re riding 1000 miles through Alaska in winter. The design shares some characteristics with the Mountain Lion while others are unique, consider it a Mountain Lion on steroids. Although conceived for use on bikes sporting 4″ tyres or bigger, there’s nothing to stop anyone with larger than usual loads from using one … I believe it could even be fitted to a bike with tyres narrower than 2″ without the world ending.

On my next few trips, I shall be packing my -20° bag, great big jacket and other stuff I’d usually leave behind … I’ll let you know how the fat one and me get on.

Wildcat Gear


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