Framework Designs Sight Seeker Basket Bag Review
Updated last year, the Framework Designs Sight Seeker is a basket bag with a versatile attachment system, magnetic side pockets, and it’s handmade in Australia by a woman-owned and operated business. We’ve been testing one out for several months for this review…
Action shots by Nathan Reimer (@____nathan____)
When Framework Designs’ owner and operator Tia Evans sent over the Travellers Panniers I reviewed this spring, she also included the latest iteration of the Sight Seeker. Updated last year, the Sight Seeker is designed around the dimensions of the popular Wald 137 basket but has different attachment options depending on your desired setup. It’s built to be useful for picking up groceries or commuting around town and also solid and sturdy enough for rough bikepacking.
The Sight Seeker is one of three basket bags in Framework Designs’ lineup. The Haul All is a larger version, which is designed to fill the massive footprint of a Wald 139 basket. The Commuter is designed for the smaller Wald 137 but has features that are specific for commuting, such as a padded laptop sleeve, removable backpack straps, and about 2L more capacity than the Sight Seeker. Because of its design, it sits higher above the basket and doesn’t roll down quite as tight as the other two models.
The Sight Seeker provides a generous ~14L of storage when rolled shut. It’s main compartment is accessed via a large roll-top closure and an aluminum g-hook buckle. There is one large and two smaller stretchy internal pockets to keep loose items organized, plus two additional rider facing sleeves with drainage holes for stashing quick access items or wrappers. There are also two expanding side pockets with some slick Fidlock magnetic buckles. The bag is designed so that these buckles can be used to quickly secure the bag to the basket—perfect for quick rides on smooth terrain when you want to remove the bag easily. For commuting or running errands, there are D-hooks on both sides for an optional shoulder strap.
The Sight Seeker is made of the same waterproof canvas material as the Travellers Panniers I reviewed. It’s a poly/cotton blend that has proven to be durable and reasonably lightweight. Not to mention it has a similar timeless aesthetic as heavier Cotton Duck canvas. The inside of the bag is lined with a lightweight waterproof liner, so while the seams aren’t 100% waterproof, I have had no water egress in some fairly heavy rain this spring. The bag is padded with 6mm foam on all four sides and thicker 12mm foam on the base. It holds it shape enough to not look sloppy, but has plenty of give for stuffing in gear or to make room for awkwardly shaped cargo.
The base of the Sight Seeker is really where it sets itself apart from other basket bags I’ve tried. At each corner there is a velcro strap designed to loop through the base of the Wald basket, providing a pretty stable setup. There are additional velcro straps, integrated into the main webbing g-hook buckle, that can provide additional security when looped through the basket. Pair all of the above with the Fidlock buckles, and you’ve got a nearly wiggle-free basket bag setup that’s totally suitable for rambling down singletrack and rough trails. For some added versatility, Framework Designs added a crosshatch of webbing on the base of the bag for those wishing to strap it directly to large porteur-style racks like the Surly 24-pack/Soma Demi. Framework Designs recommends using Voile Nano Straps for this type of setup.
Setup and Observations
Like most Weld-specific basket bags, the Sight Seeker fits in the Wald 137 perfectly. Compared to the larger Wald 139, the 137 is a safer bet for running between most drop bars and I’ve found it better suited for rough terrain. Since I’ve been switching the Sight Seeker between several bikes this spring, I’ve gotten in the habit of leaving the bottom velcro straps unattached and instead rely on the front, back, and Fidlock buckles to keep it in place. The four bottom straps are pretty much mandatory for rough terrain, but they can be a little awkward to loop through the basket and back onto the bag, depending on what rack you’re pairing it up with. However, it’s a durable and fool-proof design, so I’m not complaining. In the same vein, the front and back straps were a little awkward to loop through when the rack was secured to my Rawland Rando rack, especially due to the fixed tombstone. Once they are installed, they hold firmly, but the first install was slightly cumbersome.
While I didn’t find myself using the rider-facing sleeves that often, the expanding side pockets were great when the main compartment wasn’t full. Fidlock buckles are a joy to use and are secure enough to keep their contents safe and better protected from weather. There are lots of little thoughtful features that demonstrate Tia’s attention to detail; the drainage holes on uncovered pockets, the snap buttons on the roll-top closure, the elastic webbing keeper on the main closure, finished seams throughout, and the webbing/velcro strap base. The quality and construction of the bag appears to be top notch, and the overall design leaves very little to be desired. It’s hard to imagine how the Sight Seeker could be improved upon.
- Handmade in Australia by a woman-owned and operated business
- Poly/cotton canvas is waterproof and looks good
- Lots of little useful details
- Versatile attachment system for commuting, bikepacking, and quick errands
- Pricey, but on par with other high-end handmade basket bags
- Velcro straps can get a little annoying at times, depending on the rack
- Sits a few inches above basket due to side pockets/height
- Not 100% waterproof, but very weather resistant
- Capacity: 14L
- Material: Poly/Cotton Canvas
- Weight: 840 grams
- Place of Manufacture: Melbourne, Australia
- Price: $285 AUD (~$200 USD)
- Manufacturer’s Details: FrameworkDesigns.com
Just like the Travellers Panniers, the Framework Designs Sight Seeker is well built, thoughtfully designed, and easy on the eyes. Between the versatile mounting system and magnetic buckles, it mixes in some fairly modern tech with a timeless aesthetic that is much more an extension of whatever bike it lives on than a bag you’ll take on and off. The velcro straps have more of a learning curve compared to other basket bags I’ve used, but the result is sturdy and versatile, and I can’t imagine them failing or coming loose while out basket-packing. I look forward to see what else Tia comes up with, as so far I’ve been nothing but impressed.
Currently the Sight Seeker is out of stock directly through Framework Designs, but Tia has plans to restock them in the coming weeks. Head over to the website and add yourself to the waitlist function to be notified.
Make sure to dig into these related articles for more info...
Please keep the conversation civil, constructive, and inclusive, or your comment will be removed.