Updated on April 2, 2022
Bikepacking bags can be used on any type of bicycle, from full-suspension trail bikes to lightweight gravel races, without the need for racks or panniers. It is possible for riders to assemble the ideal two-wheeled adventure kit by combining different combinations of handlebar bag, frame bag, seat bag, and accessory bag.
All three questions must be answered in order to arrive at a solution. Are you prepared to travel with a significant amount of equipment? Describe the kind of riding you’d like to do.
What’s your spending limit? We’ll compare the finest bike bags based on these three criteria.
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Bags with Frames
Will you be carrying a lot of equipment? Frame bags are a wonderful place to start if you’re going on a multi-day ride and need to pack your tent, sleeping bag, camp stove, etc. With the right style of bike, frame bags can provide a lot of storage space.
Big frame triangles on bikes like the Endurace, Grail, Grizl, and Exceed allow for large bikepacking packs to be used on the road, gravel, and hardtail mountains.
As a result, it is simple to pack for a multi-day journey, as a larger frame bag offers capacity for a full hydration bladder, food, and outer layers. The lower the bike’s centre of gravity, the more stable it is to ride with heavier objects at the bottom of a frame bag.
A frame bag’s dimensions and the location of the straps’ attachment points should be taken into consideration while making your selection.
All you need to do is measure the inside of your frame triangle’s tube lengths and pick a bag size that corresponds to those measurements.
While a custom-built bag that is made to fit your bike’s front triangle may be the ideal alternative, the cost of such a bag may deter some people from investing in such an option.
You can save money by using a half-frame pack that occupies only a small portion of your frame’s real estate. Even with two water bottles, half-frame backpacks provide a surprising amount of additional capacity.
Frame bags are more difficult to use and offer less storage space on full-suspension mountain bikes.
The Neuron is a wonderful choice for a more isolated bikepacking journey on technical terrain, but due to the rear shock it only has space for a much smaller frame bag.
Adding more gear to your handlebar bag and seat pack will be necessary, or you can decide what to leave at home.
Bikepacking Bags of the Year
Sleeping gear can be stored in a handlebar bag.
Bags with Handlebars
Handlebar bags, sometimes known as front rolls, can be used for a variety of purposes and are available in a wide range of sizes.
It is common for high-quality backpacks to feature a third strap at the bottom to hold the bag to your bike’s frame and prevent it from bouncing around on rough terrain.
Handlebar bags of two litres or fewer are an ideal complement to a race-ready road or gravel bike since they provide convenient storage for minor items such as snacks and a phone.
A 2 – 10 litre mid-size bikepacking backpack is ideal for long-distance excursions on drop-bar cycles because of its low profile and ability to fit between the drops.
It’s common for flat bar mountain bikes to have handlebar bags of 15 litres or more. Having such a large amount of storage space comes in handy when preparing for long backcountry treks.
Despite the fact that bikepacking-specific bags are excellent, they carry a higher price tag. Using ski straps, you may attach a waterproof dry bag or compression sack to your handlebars as a low-cost handlebar bag.
To be sure, it isn’t the most elegant approach and will take some effort to get just right. Bikepacking harnesses are a good halfway ground.
You can securely attach a variety of bags to the handlebar with handlebar harnesses and even secure multiple bags for extended journeys using handlebar harnesses.
Make sure you don’t overload your handlebar bag with too much gear, as this might have a negative impact on the bike’s handling.
Bikepacking Bags of the Year
There are a number of sizes and styles of bikepacking seat bags.
Bags for the Backseats
Seat or saddle bags, on the other hand, have been a standard on bicycles for decades, even if many bikepacking packs are relatively new.
Seat packs include straps that run through the rails of your bike’s saddle and then attach to the seatpost to keep them in place.
A spare tube and a few tyre levers may be carried easily in a saddle bag, while larger packs can accommodate things like camp stoves and sleeping bags.
The type of riding you intend to undertake and the amount of gear you intend to carry are critical considerations when looking for seat packs.
Many bags swing back and forth when they’re weighted down. In order to use your Grand Canyon or Spectral’s dropper post, you’ll need a smaller bag with an unique mounting bracket that works with the dropper post and is sturdy enough to limit swing when riding tricky descents.
Swing can be completely eliminated with the use of seat packs that have special rails attached to your frame.
If you’re more concerned about volume than swing, you can buy seat packs with 17 litres of storage space.
When it comes to ready-made and waterproof bikepacking bags, the more expensive options are better.
In addition to using your existing dry bags, seat bag harnesses allow you to attach a compression sack to the underside of your saddle and seatpost using ski straps, if you’re feeling particularly handy.
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Bikepacking Bags of the Year
Extra accessory packs are useful for bringing along additional goods that you may require while out in the field.
If you’re only looking to add a few extra snacks to your road or commuter bike, a little bag that attaches to the stem, handlebar, fork, or even the downtube is a perfect way to accomplish it.
Snack pouches, commonly referred to as stem bags, attach one side to your handlebars with little straps, and another side to the stem of your bike. Stem bags are ideal for storing items you need readily at hand.
As long as you don’t forget anything else, it doesn’t matter what it is. A solid stem bag may be a valuable addition to any bikepacking setup.
Bags that are attached to the bike’s top tube are known as “top tube bags” or “fuel tanks,” and they are commonly affixed to the stem or the seatpost.
Using top tube bags, which are similar to stem bags in function, you can store little items that are easy to get to. Even a little Bluetooth speaker can be held in one of these pouches.
Riders seeking to increase their storage capacity even further have the option of purchasing fork or down tube bags.
Even if your touring or gravel bike doesn’t have braze-ons for mounting additional cages and bags, there are smart third-party solutions that can create additional mounting points for your fork and allow you to bring additional cargo cages and bags with you.
Special bags that attach to your bike’s downtube provide additional storage space in an otherwise underutilised location.
Bags that allow you to pedal as long and as far away from your starting point as you need to are the finest for bikepacking. So, take some time to consider your riding style and use this advice to choose the best bikepacking configuration for you.
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Best Gravel Bike Bags
Multi Frame Pack Surly.jpeg 2020 Evoc
With just enough room for a tube, tools, and some snacks, the Evoc Multi Frame Pack is a handy 1L frame bag. Even though it’s costly, it’s strong, well-stitched, and even includes frame saver tape for a variety of frame types for gravel and mountain bikes.
14-year-old Ortlieb Bikepacking bag
Ortlieb’s Frame-Pack Toptube has a capacity of four litres and is built to Ortlieb’s usual high standards of quality and waterproofness. It’s easy to modify and a fantastic choice for riders who want easy access to their bottle cages.
If your bike’s frame is compatible with the BBB’s Middle Mate frame bag, it’s a wonderful deal.
There are only two pockets, a bright inside colour divider, and five straps to attach it to your bike’s frame, so it isn’t the most durable frame bag on the market. On top of that, it’s a steal at just £35!
With five litres of storage in one main pocket and two smaller zipped ones, the Ventura Frame Bag Max is a
waterproof bikepacking bag at a reasonable price range.
With a side zipper for easy access, Vaude’s Trailframe roll-top bag is a robust and waterproof roll-top bag.
The straps can be a bit of a hassle to put on and take off, but it’s a straightforward design that’s solid, useful, and easy to put on and take off.
Hey, all I am Joe Marino I love to ride bikes and teach others how to ride them. Most of my articles are about which bike is best for others. I am passionate about cycling and it shows, whether I am writing about a $25 bicycle from any random website or a $5000 Santa Cruz.
I have always been the guy who gets calls from friends while at work asking which bike they should buy. I have written about the best city bike for commuting, the best folding bike for use on public transit, and even what to keep in mind when shopping for kids’ bikes.
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