If you are a bike touring or bikepacking enthusiast, you are most likely familiar with Revelate. You may even own one – or several – of the brand’s bike bags.
Eric Parsons, Revelate Designs CEO, bikepacking expeditioner and racer, founded the Alaskan-based brand in 2007 after finding a need on one of his long-distance bike tours. He discovered that bike trailers previously used to carry gear on trips and expeditions, were a big piece of equipment that can fail on the trail and impede a long-distance bike trip or race. So, he sought out how to engineer a minimalist, lightweight solution to carry gear on the bike – and made it happen!
Today, Revelate is considered the pioneer in bikepacking gear. It has built global distribution along with a community of loyal ambassadors ranging from elite athletes, weekend road warriors, and bike commuters. The company is still based in Anchorage Alaska, where the expansive wilderness offers endless adventuring and pushes a high design standard to build its gear to excel in.
We are very proud to be considered a close partner, as X-Pac® has been a key ingredient to its designs since the beginning. Eric and the Revelate team established X-Pac® fabrics into the bike market, and with every growth spurt they’ve enjoyed, we have too! And we continue to celebrate our growth and partnership together.
We recently spoke with Eric and Bekka Mongeau, Revelate Marketing, who were great to share how Revelate was formed, how it stumbled upon X-Pac® fabrics, and the exciting products that will launch this summer with our new recycled RVX30 fabric. We hope you enjoy!
I started experimenting with fabrics when I started making the bike bags. Some of the only technical materials you could easily get back then were Spectra and Dyneema ripstops. I was dabbling with those until I noticed X-Pac® materials being used on climbing packs – this was around 2006-2007. I was like, oh, this is really cool fabric, but I had no idea how to get it. At that time, the website for Dimension-Polyant was basically a European site for racing sail cloth, with zero content about its outdoor fabric.
So, I cold-called a pack company who was using X-Pac® at the time to inquire how to find the material, letting them know I wanted to use the fabric for bike bags, not for backpacks. They were great and helped me make a connection – then I immediately got to work.
I saw the benefits of the fabric immediately. It was really nice to work with and perfect for the bags I was making. And at the time, there was no one in the bike community using X-Pac®. We hit the ground running with it and quickly incorporated it into almost our entire product line. It has been a really great partnership right off the bat!
It checked all the boxes really. It has a nice, stiff hand, and is dimensionally stable – meaning it does not have a whole lot of stretch in it. Another big draw is the laminate’s light poly interior face. This lighter color inside of a bag makes it easier to find things. It also has a technical aesthetic and cleans up well. You can get it covered in mud, hose it off and it still looks good.
I started using X-Pac® when I was still sewing everything myself. I was making custom frame bags and doing small runs of Gas Tanks. Then came the early seat bags and handlebar bags. Once we got a manufacturing partner onboard to help, we launched the first mass market set sizes of both partial and full frame bags which were the Tangle and Ranger. These bags were really the core of a bikepacking setup and got a lot of people hooked on using the gear.
As to the secret to our product’s longevity – our bags are built to last with super durable materials and timeless design. We have ambassadors who will send us photos of old and new Revelate products side by side. It’s cool to see the difference over time, and even though they are old, they are still living – and still functioning!
Yes, we can attest to X-Pac®’s low threshold for failure. I’ve seen bikepacking bags that have tens of thousands of miles ridden on them. They might be a little dirty and scuffed up here and there, but they’re still very functional and going strong.
I think Revelate is known as the leader for bike packing bags and our team of athletes/ambassadors are doing these crazy races in extreme environments like ours in Alaska where failure is not an option.
Our own Dustin Eroh who is a product designer here, is an avid racer and adventurer has been doing exceptionally well this year. He just won the Kenai 250-mile race here in Alaska. He is personally designing, using, and testing our products in rough conditions – and that’s what you get when you get a Revelate Product. We kind of pride ourselves and it’s in our Alaskan brand blood – that we’re designing for, testing, and personally using our own products with fairly extreme conditions in mind.
Oh, it definitely runs the spectrum. We’re building and designing for the above-mentioned competitive or “hard” user, however that’s not necessarily who it is being sold to. We do not design our line by user profile. It’s just what we do – that’s our brand. You can go into REI as a weekend warrior or a bike commuter and buy the same thing an athlete or expedition user would, and for the same purpose, and it will work just fine.
If someone is just getting into biking and they get something from Revelate, it’s a piece of gear that they can still reliably use even ten years down the line when they are getting into bigger adventures or longer rides, which is cool.
Yes, we just launched a bag with X-Pac®’s new RVX30, called the Rifter, one of our popular frame bags. Actually, Lael Wilcox, a 36-year-old Alaskan endurance cyclist, recently put the Rifter to the test on the Tour Divide, an annual mountain bike race that traverses the 2,745 mile length of the Rocky Mountains from Canada to the Mexican border. Lael snagged the title as the first rider to cross the finish line in the women’s category in this year’s race in 16 days, 20 hours!
Dimension-Polyant was wonderful to collaborate with on this fabric, which is a special version of its new RVX30 Black. It features a 100% post-consumer recycled polyester face fabric that’s domestically sourced and then laminated at Dimension-Polyant’s facility in Connecticut. The fabric has a 50d polyester backing taffeta, which is also made with post-consumer recycled polyester. The backing taffeta provides extra strength, stitching holding and internal abrasion resistance. It also provides brightness on the inside of the bag – a great benefit we were looking for – that alleviates the need for an internal pack liner. X-Pac® RVX30 also carries the Dimension-Polyant cleenTEC® seal, indicating the material is guaranteed climate neutral and utilizes recycled fibers.
Well, thank you. We were originally Epic Designs but had a trademark dispute. Thankfully we were super small at the time and decided to change rather than face legal fees. I was racking my brain and then one day, when I was Nordic skiing, the name sort of popped into my head. I was thinking of words like revolution or revolving – an action kind of feel – combined with ‘elation’, like happy. Revelate! One of my friends said the name has the Latin root to carry things. So, I guess the name was a good idea then!
Yes! But will have to keep it under wraps for right now. We understand Dimension-Polyant has some very exciting X-Pac® materials it is developing a little bit later this year on the more performance, high-tech side, which we will be one of the first to try out because of the close partnership that we’ve had over the years. We are grateful that they turn to us to give them a first shot with honest feedback on their material development. And we feel a sense of pride when the fabric is finally developed and incorporated into our product line. That’s true collaboration and partnership.
Thanks so much for taking the time to learn more about Revelate! For more information on the brand and its collection of amazing products, please visit its website, https://www.revelatedesigns.com.