From single-day rides amongst hotels to month-lengthy singletrack assaults, these 5 strapping bags will support launch you into bikepacking.
Bikepacking is a rewarding way to tackle significant miles on a quick spending budget of time. And the sport has come a lengthy way in the final 15 years.
After doable only via the support of monstrous, gear-consuming panniers, today’s bike bags spread the load more than a half-dozen bags that strap inside the empty spaces of the bike frame.
From tarmac to trail, we’ve spent the year pedaling bags about the planet. These 5 bike bags rose to the top rated.
But very first, a small primer on bags.
Bikepacking Bags Explained
As an alternative of a significant bag swinging off the side of a rack, the existing era of bikepacking bags is lashed to the bike’s frame, taking benefit of otherwise unused space. The shift in load distributes the weight, increases usability, and stabilizes the bike.
Modular by style, bags can flex to the requirements of each ride. Going quick? Lash a single bag. Add much more bags to meet distance and load specifications.
The following are prevalent bike bag elements that you will obtain out there when sleuthing for a kit.
The monster load-hauler of bike bags, the frame bag sits inside the bike frame’s triangle, exactly where you want to pack heavy products.
Complete-frame bags match inside the whole triangle and generally have a divider, splitting the space into a top rated and bottom half. This enables some organization and keeps you from obtaining to dig for supplies though on the trail.
Half-frame bags ride just below the top rated tube and can match a 2L bladder or a weekend’s cache of meals. Based on the frame size, they can let adequate space to nevertheless access two water bottles bolted to the frame.
Mainly because the bag requirements to sit inside the frame of the bike, match is king. Some bike bags are created to match distinct bikes. Other individuals want to be cautiously measured ahead of time for a right match.
Pro tip: Take into account a frame bag with a vibrant-colored liner, shedding light on the storage space.
Seat bags strap about the seat rails and lash to the seatpost. They come in a assortment of sizes that meet the requirements of diverse pursuits.
The crucial is to select a bag that matches the ride. Smaller sized bags are for quick or sporty rides and generally ride much better on singletrack. Reserve larger bags for lengthy-haul adventures that take you deep into the wild.
Some seat bags are modular, with a holster that remains strapped to the bike. The gear fits in a removable roll-top rated bag. This solves the in some cases annoying course of action of unpacking and re-weaving the seat bag to the bike.
The most significant challenge with seat bags is sway. The bigger the bag, the much more tail wag you can really feel on the bike. Some providers present a rigid frame that clamps to the seat’s rails. This coordinates with dropper posts and assists stabilize the load and your ride. In basic, the much more technical the ride, the smaller sized the seat bag should really be.
A further annoyance is trapped air. Most of the seat bag systems have a roll-top rated closure. And even though the dry-bag style keeps your gear from acquiring soaked, it also packs air.
Newer bags have an air-release valve that enables air to escape as you cinch your load. This keeps the load exactly where you want it — close to the bike.
Pro tip: Pack heavier products that you may perhaps not want instantly below the seat in the bottom of the bag, and stuff lighter or higher-use products close to the back.
Price range tip: Snap a waterproof stuff sack about the seatpost and lash the rest of the stuff sack to the seat rails.
Handlebar bags strap below the handlebars and behind the head tube. They generally roll up like a burrito and snap shut on each sides.
The advantage is that they retain your kit dry and can match amongst the drops of a road bike. Bigger loads can match below flat bars. The crucial is to obtain a technique that fits the bars with out crushing the bike’s cables.
After lashed, these loads can be complicated to access. So contemplate packing handlebar bags with camp gear, like sleeping bags, pads, and camp garments.
Some providers present a harness technique that can lash bulky products like a packraft. A harness can also hold a stuff sack.
Best-tube bags are one particular of our preferred accessories. As the name implies, they ride on top rated of the top rated tube, maintaining higher-use products close at hand.
Regardless of the ride, we just about constantly retain this bag strapped to the bike. On shorter rides, they can hold a telephone or repair kit. On longer rides, the bag enables fast access to meals or higher-use gear.
A superior top rated-tube bag is straightforward to open with one particular hand. Most ride up front, behind the bike’s stem. Other individuals can ride in back by the seatpost.
A further terrific accessory is the bar bag. These pouches can strap to the handlebars or top rated tube and are a best spot to tuck an additional water bottle, meals, a tiny camera, discarded gloves, or even a cup of coffee.
Some pouches are tighter than other folks. Even though these can safe a bottle from bouncing, they can make it complicated to place the bottle back in the pouch.
Bags are most generally fastened to the bike with Velcro straps. A handful of can be bolted to the frame via water bottle or accessory braze-ons. Some are lashed with complicated lacing systems or rubberized gear straps. A handful of new models now strap to the frame with thick rubber bands.
Removable straps let you to service bags to the bikes in the field — offered you have a replacement strap. All that mentioned, we’ve under no circumstances observed Velcro fail.
Finest Bikepacking Bags of 2019
Now onto the bags. All through the year, we’ve tested bags on road, gravel, singletrack, and mixed terrain. Even though there’s an abundant quantity of cottage providers making fine bike bags, they generally sell out swiftly. So we’ve mainly kept this list to kits you can readily obtain out there to acquire.
And though most brands present a suite of bags, some bags excel much better than other folks. Beneath, we outline our preferred brands for every category of riding as effectively as the most effective bag in that line. Really feel absolutely free to mix and match to meet your distinct bikepacking requirements.
Finest Gravel Bags: Apidura Expedition
London-primarily based Apidura gives Race, Backcountry, and Expedition bike bags. All bags are lightweight and have a beautiful aesthetic style.
We’ve been employing Apidura’s Backcountry series for a handful of years now. The bags are lined with a light-colored material to brighten up the interior — a plus when digging via your kit.
The material is robust adequate to endure scuffles with brush and gravel but light adequate to not weigh the bike down. Zippers have a clever one particular-finger pull to let you to unzip and rezip bags with out interrupting your ride.
We discovered the bottle-holders a small as well snug for multiuse. It is not rather significant adequate to holster a camera bigger than a point-and-shoot.
Apidura bags can be costly, and we’ve observed a zipper blow out on a top rated-tube bag soon after a handful of seasons. But general, Apidura strikes a balance of durability and low weight, excellent for lengthy gravel rides.
Our preferred bag from Apidura: Expedition Frame Pack ($103)
Finest Singletrack Bags: Revelate Styles
In the mid-2000s, Eric Parson blew up bike forums with a bike rafting trip along the wild Alaskan Kenia coast.
Rafting open water, pushing bikes via brush, and riding more than an isolated, boulder-strewn coastline, Parson’s carried his gear in a set of custom bags created in his basement. That trip launched an market and led to the existing state of bikepacking as we know it.
Usually innovating on how to make a superior issue much better, Revelate Styles regularly performs and reworks the facts. The trends it incorporates one particular year grow to be mainstream in everybody else’s lineup the following year.
Even though Revelate Styles gives kits for each variety of cycling (road, ultra, every day), its bags are the most sturdy in the batch — employing Hypalon slings, robust clips, and sturdy, abrasion-resistant supplies — and are constructed for accurate backcountry bikepacking.
We’ve been testing the Shrew this summer time, a tiny-ish, 3L seat bag that holds the bare essentials for these lengthy, single-day pushes in the backcountry. It is best for twitchy trails.
Our preferred bag from Revelate Styles: Shrew Seat Bag ($57)
Finest for Mountain Bike Camping: Blackburn
Even though Blackburn has only lately joined the bag marketplace inside bikepacking culture, the organization has years of encounter below its tires — and its bike bag kits show it.
Blackburn gives two lines of bags, the Outpost and Outpost Elite. Even though it is one particular of the much more fussy systems to set up, the special innovations discovered in the Elite lineup make it a notable consideration.
The bags are welded from waterproof material and paired with a watertight zipper, maintaining the contents of the bags dry. And since the bags are so significant, there’s seriously no limit to what you can pedal into the woods.
The brand gives the complete-frame bag in 3 sizes to support dial in close to-custom match, and it lashes to the bike with a set of Velcro straps. A divider assists organize the contents and lessen any lateral bulge. A pair of slim, external pockets can hold meals, wrappers, or a map.
Turning to the seat and handlebars, items get a small funky. Each the seat bag and handlebar “harness” technique are mounted to the bike with metal hardware clamps that bolt about the seatpost and handlebars. Each and every has a pairing, removable bag that you can take into the tent or hotel soon after the ride though leaving the harness on the bike.
Each the seat and handlebar bags have a release valve to let air out. We discovered the handlebar bracket will fit only round bars and will not pair with oblong, aero diameter bars.
All round, Blackburn brings a effectively-believed-out kit that is functional, sturdy, has clean lines, and goes light on the wallet to boot.
Our preferred bag from Blackburn: Outpost Elite Handlebar Bag ($160)
Finest for Going Quick on the Road: Roswheel Road Series
Roswheel gives 3 bag collections: Touring, Road, and Offroad. All of the bags have welded seams and roll tight for waterproofness. Rubberized TPU-coated zippers retain water from soaking via the bags and into the load.
We tested the Roswheel Road Series in Slovenia this fall and fell for the quickly-and-light road rides.
What differentiates the Road Series from the rest of the crop are the proprietary lightweight rubber bands that strap the bags to the bike. Velcro straps are attempted and accurate, but the hook-and-loop technique can pull at Lycra, damaging an costly kit. Roswheel ships all Road Series bags with an assortment of “fast-fix” rubber bands that let bags to bungee about almost each size frame.
The downside, of course, is if you shed a band, you will want a further. So you will want to bring an additional set in case you shed or blow a band.
The Road series is out there in a saddle bag, a seat bag, a frame bag, a top rated-tube bag, a handlebar bag, and an accessory bag that straps more than the handlebar bag. And the frame bags are out there in tiny, medium, and significant to match almost each frame size. The Road series comes in black but has reflective strips for evening visibility.
The bags are clean and uncomplicated but do not have a vibrant liner like other bags, so it can be difficult to obtain a dark pair of tire irons buried in the bottom. A clever ventilation strip enables air to push via roll-top rated bags so your load is constantly tight and clean.
Our preferred bag from Roswheel: Best Tube Bag ($35)
Finest for Heavy Loads: Porcelain Rocket
We would be remiss not to share one particular of the very first bags on the marketplace, Porcelain Rocket. The man piloting the Rocket, Scott Felter, is an American expat living in Canada and is the only cottage market bag manufacturer to make our list — but for superior purpose. Eschewing new fads and zippers, PR embraces fail-proof roll-tops and clean, functional styles.
The bags are costly, and yes, you may perhaps want to wait till subsequent season to snag one particular. But the bags are exquisitely created by hand in Felter’s Calgary shop.
Our preferred bag: One particular rises to the top rated that is worth mentioning — the Microwave Panniers ($210). They’re tiny, transportable, modular, and can carry a 12-pack of beer. The holster remains in the bike, and the removable dry bag can serve as a grocery bag or an straightforward way to ferry gear from the bike to camp.
Have a preferred bike bag? Let us know in the comments for future updates to this short article.
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