Best Bikepacking Bags

Bikepacking Bags - Reviews & Guides For 2020

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Bikepacking Bags buying guide

Are you looking to explore the world at a more minute level? Bikepacking takes you away from the chaos and allows you to witness the small moments at a different level.

It is essential to invest in proper bike packing luggage to avoid any unnecessary hassle and enjoy your expedition. Bikepacking bags are the spacious solution to carry all the necessary items with you on your adventure.

Why focus on reading a buying guide before selecting a suitable bag?

With several style variants of the bags, it is necessary to understand all the pros and cons of these bags. Some hinder your moment but, at the same time, provide more space. So, it would be best if you deemed about all the characteristics before making a suitable choice. By reading a buying guide, you will get detailed information about all the aspects that can help you purchase the best product for your expedition.

Let us dive into the guide and go through all the essential characteristics.

Why opt for bikepacking bags? Benefits of these bags

Bikepacking is basically lightly loading a bike with essentials during adventure activities. It is one of the best ways to transport your essential items while performing high energy level activities.

When a person chooses to opt for bike packing bags, they decide to opt for less stress, effort, energy, etc. You do not have to carry the burden of your essential items directly on your shoulders.

Bikepacking bags are made in such a way that they are compatible with bicycles. The weight of your stuff is placed on the bike, which helps in decreasing the weight stress on your back.

Bikepacking bags are extremely beneficial in cases of adventure sports and activities such as hiking, trekking, mountaineering, and so on. One has to carry a heavyweight of all the essential items packed on his or her back during such activities. It leads to exhaustion, stress, and sometimes can also lead to injuries.

However, that is not the case with bike packing bags as they help reduce the weight and cope with problems of exhaustion, which is why they are mandatory when planning a backpacking trip.

Bikepacking VS Panniers

Are you stuck in deciding what to choose between bikepacking and pannier? Well, this puzzle is a tough one to solve after all the purpose of both of them is to carry luggage weight on your bicycle.

This is exactly why we have compared the pros and cons of both options. Read them for yourself, and you will know which one is better.

  1. Lighter than pannier

Bikepacking bags do not require any rack or heavy steel to carry the luggage. Because of this, they help in cutting off weight.

Carrying less weight is one major element that every person looks for, especially during adventure activities. Therefore the best way to cut off your struggles with luggage is to use bike packing bags.

  1. Easily mounted to any bike

You do not need to purchase a special bike or a special model for bike packing bags. These bags are suitable and can be mounted to any bike as they are attached with Velcro and straps.

These bags are even suitable for a bike that does not have braze-on required to mount racks. However, panniers are not ideal for any bike and are only compatible with models with specific features like braze-on.

  1. Better aerodynamics of bikepacking bags

There is no competition of these bags when it comes to aerodynamics. You can travel about 6.5% faster with bike-packing bags than panniers.

Unlike panniers, these bags do not have bulky sticking sides, and rather everything is streamlined. So, this improves the aerodynamics and the comfort level.

Sure the panniers help carry more luggage, but there are many more benefits of bike packing bags, which make it a clear winner.

Because of the even distribution bike packing bags are not only light, but are easily handled, no worries of rack breaking, components last longer, most suitable for rougher areas, easily rideable through narrow gaps, and so on.

Things to deem about while selecting an appropriate bikepacking bags

Types of bags

There are variations in the types of bags, and all of them have specific features. These bags are mainly described under four categories as seat packs, handler bags, frame bags, and top tube bags. However, alongside these, there are more variations in types available. The main four are further described below:

  1. Seat packs

These types of bags will protect your luggage from sagging or swaying. You can also find extra straps and bungee cords that will help you in attachment points.

The capacity of seat packs ranges between six liters to twenty liters. They also have an aluminum frame to support rigidity. These bags are one of the best ones if you have a lot of luggage.

They are built with features and materials that help in maintaining balance and ease. You can also pass through narrow gaps with these bags without any worry.

  1. Handlebar bags (usually roll style)

Bikepacking bags are attached directly to your bike without the requirement of a rack. The variations of such bags are numerous, but one type commonly used is the handlebar bags. The capacity of this ranges from 3 liters to 20 liters.

It offers more security, and you can use different sizes of bags depending on the gear. Many models provide additional attachment points with which you can even attach your tent.

Handlebar bags are, therefore, always sufficient for your luggage. It does not matter how much essentials you are deciding on carrying. They will still fit with a handlebar.

  1. Frame bags

Frame bags are the best when it comes to consuming spaces on the bike that may sound impossible such as the triangle shape between your knees.

Basically, with these bags, you do not have to prepare additional storage. These bikepacking bags are very compromising and can adjust anywhere.

Frame bags also have different types of sizes available. You can choose accordingly, and they help in creating additional storage as well. Usually, the capacity ranges from 3 liters to 10 liters.

  1. Top tube bags

These bags do not hang under the top tube. Instead, they sit on top of it right behind the stem. This helps in creating balance and also in giving a classic look.

Even though they are small, they are very useful in carrying small essentials such as snacks. These bags are also very comfortable and handy, and they usually have the capacity of about a liter.

In short, they are the best buddies for small essential items.

Additional storage options

In case you have luggage for which the above types are not enough, don't worry as you always have the option of additional storage. Additional storage options are generally categorized as stem bags, top tube bags, bottle cages, cargo cages, and backpacks. They are further described and explained below.

  1. Stem bags

Stem bags are small pouches and are attached behind the handlebar. They are very user-friendly and comfortable. Their small size helps in carrying snacks, water, mobile phone, power bank, sunglasses, and other small essentials.

With the help of stem bags, you do not have to stop regularly to take out these small items by digging inside large bags or making a purchase.

  1. Top tube bags

As explained earlier, top tube bags are located next to the stem. Some people use this bag as additional storage, while others are enough for everything they have to carry.

These bags are small in size but are very efficient. You can easily pack all your food, water, mobile phone, camera, and other little essential items. Moreover, since they are set on the top rather than hanging low, they help maintain balance.

  1. Bottle cages

Another popular type of additional storage is bottle cages. These bags are the best for carrying water. They are also very easy to secure and fit even when your bike is not made for such purposes.

After all, water supply is one of the most basic requirements during adventure activities. With bottle cages, you can easily take out water whenever you want. These cages are also very comfortable and won't come in your way while you are paddling.

  1. Cargo cages

Many people confuse cargo cages with bottle cages as they are very similar functions. The basic difference between these two is that cargo cages have more storage than bottle cages.

Cargo cages are generally used to store gears or large water bottles. They are usually situated on the bike's fork. However, they can also be located down the tube and/or seat tube.

Some models of cargo cages require a three-hole mounting pattern. So, make sure to check the specifications that are suitable for your bike before making a purchase.

  1. Backpacks

The whole point of bikepacking bags is to avoid carrying backpacks. However, sometimes the best option you have is to use a backpack as additional storage.

Using a backpack does not mean carrying too much weight. The backpack can be packed in a way such that it remains light-weighted. It is best to use a backpack of a capacity of 20 liters or less to maintain comfort.

Size and volume

Getting the perfect size and volume bag for your luggage is necessary. If you don't do so, you will have to face numerous troubles in your journey or adventure. Believe it or not, it can be troublesome if the size and volume happen to be excess and bigger than the desired amount a bag can hold.

It will also become difficult to ride the bike as there are chances of the luggage meddling with the paddling. Moreover, if you will not be able to peddle, you will not be able to complete your journey successfully. Therefore it is important to maintain size and volume accordingly.

It is best to buy bike packing bags with more volume and a bigger size. Try to look for bags with capacity or around 20 liters. Make sure that the size and volume fit your luggage and the adventure you have planned. You can also opt for additional storage options to avoid problems with size and quantity.

Swaying

Another reason why bikepacking bags must maintain the perfect size and volume is to avoid problems of swaying. Swaying can cause issues with the ride and can ruin the whole adventure.

Extra plus size and volume can cause problems of sagging and swaying. And if the bag starts swaying from side to side, it will create a lot of disturbance in balance. Moreover, it will become difficult to pass through narrow gaps.

Chances of falling and getting injuries increases if you face problems of swaying. Therefore, it is best to prevent any risks that can lead to swaying.

However, if we face difficulty in accomplishing this task, then you can take the help of an additional saddle kit. This kit will help in maintaining the balance and resisting the sagging and swaying.

Straps

Bikepacking bags are usually fastened to the bike with the help of Velcro straps. However, there are more types available. Some of the packs can be bolted with braze-on or rubberized gear straps.

Some of the bags may come with a complex lacing system. Out of all these types, Velcro straps standouts the most, which is why it is the best option to purchase the backpacks with Velcro straps.

Waterproof, Dustproof and durability

Another thing to consider while purchasing a bike-packing bag is looking for waterproof, dustproof, and durability features.

Weather can be unpredictable, and you don't want your luggage to get wet and ruined while you are on your adventure. Because of this, it is important for the bag you purchased to be waterproof and not only water-resistant.

Water-resistant bags can keep your luggage safe to some extent and that too for a limited period. However, with waterproof functionality, your luggage will be 100% safe.

Dustproof ability is also important. Would you like to clean your bag after a heavy and energy-consuming trip or lay down in peace? The latter indeed sounds more preferable. And to make that possible, it is important to purchase a bag with dust proofing technology.

Nobody wants to spend money again and again on the same product, which is why durability is crucial. When purchasing a bike-packing bag, always cross-check the material for its strength and stretchability. The stronger and stretchable the material will be, the more durable the product will come out to be.

Some bike-packing bags are built with such materials that they can last forever, even while traveling the roughest and toughest routes.

Closing system

Another mandatory thing to consider while selecting bikepacking bags is the closing system. The closing system refers to how a bag is sealed in the end so that the stuff inside it won't fall out. Some of the best closing systems involve roll top, buckle system, flap or over flap, and zipper closure.

  1. Roll-top

In roll-top bags, the top is sealed together, and the bag rolls over itself to close down. The roll-top closing system is the most common in waterproof and dustproof bags and is one efficient way to keep the luggage safe.

  1. Buckle system

The buckle system involves a plastic closing device. It is made up of two pieces that are tightly close together to perform a successful closing system. To open a buckle lock, press the two pieces at the edges, and it will release.

  1. Flap or over flap

Flap or over flap is a new security system used to cover the top of bike packing bags. This flap is often magnetized to protect the luggage from the following opening while riding the bike.

  1. Zipper closure

Zipper closure is one of the most common closing systems that involves chains or zippers to close the luggage. It is a very simple method and is also very effective and compatible with waterproof or dustproof systems. You can also attach an extra lock at the end of the zipper or tie it with thread for additional security.

Weight

Considering the weight of the bike packing bags is important as you already have to carry the weight of your luggage, and adding additional weight to it does not sound very appealing.

Bikepacking bags are usually light-weighted and have enough space for storage. There is no doubt that the adventure becomes more enjoyable with less weight to carry. Also, overloaded bikes can be very difficult to handle as the balance is disturbed frequently.

Therefore, always look for light-weighted bags if you don't want to end all your energy on paddling the heavily loaded luggage on the bike.

Water Capacity

It is obvious that you will feel more thirsty when you are riding a bike and that too in the mountains with luggage. You must look for a bike-packing bag's water capacity before you decide on making a purchase.

You can use a bottle or cargo cages to ensure the water capacity. Top tube bags are also helpful in storing water. Many handlebars or stem bags come with additional storages that are made for holding water bottles. Make sure to choose something from this to ensure your safety with water.

Ride type and protection

Last but not the least factor to consider before purchasing a bag is the ride type and protection.

The best thing about an appropriate bike packing bag is that it is suitable for any ride type. It simply means that any bike can be turned into an adventurous one by using bikepacking bags. However, some bags are most suitable and perform the best with a certain type of ride.

You must consider whether your bike will be suitable for the bag you are thinking of purchasing and whether your bike will be able to handle the rough routes of the mountains.

One of the most common problems that people face on the adventure is the wear and tear off the bike and its beautiful patterns and designs. The bike is bound to get dirty and the design to wear off after traveling miles on the rough roads.

However, there is one potential solution to avoid such problems. You can use helicopter tape or electrical tape on the areas where you think protection is needed. Search tapes help keep the design or the ride clean and safe and protect them from any unknown obstacle.

FAQs

  1. Are there some tips to consider while using the product?

Yes, if you are new to using bikepacking bags, it is important to start slow. Some of these tips are given below:

  • You can commence with frame bags that are easiest to settle on the bike.
  • Do not load any heavy stuff on your bike. It will help in keeping the bike lightweight and easy to handle.
  1. Why should you opt for Roll-top bags?

Roll-top bags are quite safer than the rest of the bag types. Not only are the contents inside them waterproof, but they also have a well-structured design. Their padding keeps the items inside them completely protected.

  1. How can I decide the ideal bag size?

For size estimation, you should first look for the number of days you'd be on the trip. For a one-day trip, the size can be anywhere between 15-20 kgs. However, for more days, the size may vary.

  1. How can I maintain my bag?

It is very easy to keep your bag clean. You can machine wash it right after you return from your trip. Then, let the bags get dry in the air. It will help in keeping them completely polished.

Final Words

Selecting the appropriate bag makes all the difference in bike touring and bike packing. In this buying guide, we have provided in-depth detail of all the features of the bikepacking bags.

Evaluate all the features with your requirements and select the one which keeps your bike light and nimble. With a suitable bag, you are all set to go on your dream expedition on your favorite bike.

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