The 18 best handlebar bags + bikepacking packs – Rolls, Harness + Top Loader – for cycle touring, commuting, road bikes, MTB, & drop bar gravel bikes!
Reviewed and compared by us for 2023!
Some travelers do not consider thehandlebar bag as essential for cycle touring, although you certainly won’t fail your bike trip without one, it’s still one of my favorite pieces of equipment when traveling by bicycle, and I often carry one also for my MTB and road rides.
Choosing the best bike handlebar bag is not easy, there are quite a few out there, some may be more suited for daily bike commuting or short bikepacking trips, while others are specifically designed to withstand the hardships of long bicycle expeditions.
With the rise of the bikepacking style, a new generation of handlebar bags has come out, and more and more people are considering the handlebars as a perfect space to store your gear.
In this blog post, we’ll cover both classic-style handlebar bags and bikepacking handlebar packs, trying to help you choose the best bag for your needs.
Let’s dive into the product comparison first, or you can jump to the bottom to read our general advice about how to choose the right bike handlebar bag.
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How we compile our gear guides: during the almost 10 years of cycloscope.net our team personally tested dozens of similar pieces of gear. For what we can't test personally, we involve other people in the cycling community to give their feedback and opinion about gear they have used. Our decade-long experience in bicycle touring enables us to find the key cons and pros of every product we mention.
If we talk about accessibility, the two side roll closures make everything in the bag easily reachable. Moreover, you can easily carry extra equipment with the attached compression belts and drawstrings. And, if you need even more volume, you can attach the Ortlieb accessory pack to it and get 3.5L (or 213.6cu inch) more capacity.
Lastly, the mounting system of the Ortlieb pack has a spacers and two straps that feature extra-long velcro closures. These help in attaching the bag to the handlebar while maintaining balance and stability.
Foam pads were included to be placed on the handlebar straps and fork strap; they elevate the bag from the frame, preventing any friction between the bag and the frame. The bag extended forward from the handlebars rather than hanging beneath them.
The bag’s closures featured solid pieces of plastic, making it easier to twist and close the ends.
Ortlieb declares its handlebar pack is compatible with off-road drop bars, racing and hybrid-style handlebars and it is also suitable for carbon handlebars. If you have drop handlebars the 9L version, quite shorter, could be more appropriate.
2. Revelate Designs Harness + Saltyroll Handlebar Bag
Min. and Max. Length: 13 in – 21 in or 33 cm – 53.3 cm.
Volume: 12 Liters or 732 cu in.
Max Weight: harness weight limit is 6.8 kg or 15 lbs.
Compatibility: the bag should be paired with Revelate Harness, Salsa cradle or similar. The Revelate harness is unsuitable for cantilever or road style front brakes featuring a vertically exposed cable. It is compatible with with drop bars; while the width of the primary mounted bag is constrained, you have the choice to select a drybag with a larger diameter.
This bikepacking handlebar bag is another great product to opt for if you are heading out of your house for a trip. Its various state-of-the-art features make it one of the ideal choices for touring. One of those cool features is its waterproof design with RF welded seams.
The fiberglass cross stiffeners provide strength to the fixing area. It has dual entry to ensure easy access to all the stored items.
The size works great for rolling up a regular packing cube and an extra small one to stash your clothes. Plus, that daisy chain loop thing is neat – helps keep the bag secure using some Voile straps, great for customizing attachments.
Revelate is a legend in bikepacking bags, with great frame bags, stem bags, and seat packs in their catalogue, so pretty much everything they produce is worth it. This bikepacking handlebar bag’s exceptional quality and waterproofing capabilities enhance its overall appeal.
Well, if you are not looking for more volume then this bag will be a good option for you. As it has 8 liters of volume, it can be used to store sleeping bags, spare clothing, and other camping gear. The two quick-release mounts are strong enough to attach the bag to the front of the handlebar. And removing the bag from the harness is a very smooth and quick process.
If we talk about accessibility, the bag has 2 roll side closures that enable easy access to the stored items. Moreover, you can also store extra items by using the two external straps. It also includes a waterproof bag that guards your gear against water, the bag also has a built-in air release feature.
So, planning a short voyage? Get going with this awesome piece of gear storage!
Dimensions: Roll bag 11.8” x 2.55” x 1.18 inches or 30 cm x 6.5 cm x 3 cm.
Volume: Roll bag 14-15 L, Rectangle bag 5-6 L.
Long velcro straps for attaching extra gear on the outside. Flexible mount with adjustable height.
Now, this is a product that has it all! Yeah, this awesome product from ROCKBROS offers you a great modular solution, you can get a total volume between 19 to 21 litres. Other than that, it provides the ultimate convenience of accessing your gear via its dual roll-down closure at each end. This allows for instant and easy access at any time.
The bag can be easily secured to the handlebar with 2 nylon straps that also have side-release buttons. The extra-large velcro straps with spacers allow you to add extra gear if required.
This roll-down type bag also packs another small add-on pouch with 6 L capacity. It can be used to store some necessary handy items like snacks, gloves, headlamps, etc.
All these features make it a sure-shot choice for bike riders and explorers. This handlebar bag has been on the market for more than 5 years and continues to get great reviews.
The Blackburn bag set is a bit different from the others on the list, How?
The Outpost Elite Handlebar Roll presents an impressive and adventure-ready harness and dry bag solution. Comprising two distinct components, the Handlebar Roll offers a versatile setup:
a stable mount complete with an adjustable alloy face plate that seamlessly connects, through a harness, to snugly secure your gear beneath the handlebars.
2. a detachable waterproof dry bag.
This dual-part configuration not only simplifies the loading process but also ensures even weight distribution—a crucial aspect when packing your equipment amidst the untamed outdoors. Additionally, the dry bag comes equipped with molle straps and elastic cordage, allowing you to attach external items like your camping mug, topographic map, or rain attire.
The Blackburn bikepacking bag has an aluminum frame that ensures a sturdy platform for carrying extra gear. Moreover, the welded seam construction of the bag provides a clean finish to the bag on both the inside and outside.
It also reduces the bulk weight of the materials and improves performance. Incorporating a scuba-style air bleed valve, this feature enables you to compress your bag as tightly as necessary, offering peace of mind by preventing any concerns of leaks.
Apidura operates as a family-owned enterprise with the objective of crafting the finest technical gear for bikepacking enthusiasts.
The Apidura EXPEDITION HANDLEBAR PACK is available in two sizes: the 9 liter version and the 14 liter version. The smaller bag is ideal for short trips, or endurance road racing while the larger version is ideal for those who travel by bicycle for a rather long period of time and still need to carry more equipment with them.
You’ve got a dual roll-top closing to keep your stuff safe and fit more in as needed. Plus, there’s a hands-free air vent that lets you squish the bag down easily, and welded seams to keep everything dry no matter what.
We recommend buying the 9 liter which can be extended with the 4.5 L accessory pocket, in this way you will have a more modular set up that you can modify according to the type of trip you are going on.
Miss Grape is an Italian company born in 2012, more than a company, until a few years ago, it was a one-man band, founded by Michele Boschetti. Now they sell their bikepacking bags all over the world and are one of the most active players in innovation, as evidenced by their new harness “Il Coso” (translated into the thing).
The Tendril 4.10 fastens using two tension buckles that secure a strap equipped with loops. These loops then connect to open-hook metal buckles, facilitating swift and effortless attachment and detachment. Additionally, foam blocks are strategically placed to create distance between the bag and the handlebar.
This handlebar bag was designed with the idea of being able to carry everything you need to spend the night out, sleeping bag, sleeping pad, clothes, etc.
The design is simple, unpretentious and of quality, and the lifetime warranty certainly makes us recommend this product.
The Topeak Tourguide is a full-featured handlebar bag with a QuickClick quick-release bracket and shoulder strap that makes it easy to take it with you.
For extended touring, day trips, and commuting, this bag features a special space to mount your cycle computer, a clear map cover, a 3M reflective strip, and safety light mount for increased low-light visibility, and an included rain cover for additional weather protection.
Topeak’s QuickClick system is built into every bag they make. This Topeak’s proprietary quick-release mounting system allows fast and easy tool-free mounting and removal of the bag.
A simple slide and click and the bag is secure. To remove, a simple push of a button unlocks the system for easy removal.
The Durango is a cheap handlebar bag for those who are on a budget. It attaches to the handlebar with a 3-point tension mounting system. It features a large exterior pocket with a covered zipper and Scotchlite reflective trim.
This is a well-made bag for the price. If you are expecting high-end touring gear, this is not it. Although the plastic insert definitely helps the bag hold its shape, the bag itself droops due to the strap mounting system.
The Bushwhacker Durango needs a rain cover to be waterproof. A useful and cheap handlebar bag for everyday commuting and occasional touring.
Ortlieb doesn’t need any introduction. This German brand is leading the bike touring bags market for decades. The Ortlieb Ultimate 6M Classic has been tested by thousands of long-distance cyclists on countless bicycle tours.
Made of waterproof polyester, it includes a top reinforced with magnetic closure and the proprietary Ortlieb locking system that provides stability and security, once the bag is fixed to the handlebar, both the top and the bag can be secured with one hand.
Wallet, ID, and keys can be safe inside the interior compartment with a zipper, which incorporates also a carabiner for the keys, while a detachable shoulder strap allows you to carry the bag with total comfort when off the bike.
The bag is suitable for bars of up to 31.8 mm and tapered handlebars but unfortunately not suitable for carbon bars. The front carries a 3M Scotchlite reflective element. It’s compatible with Ortlieb maps and mobile covers. The bag comes in 3 different sizes, small 5L, medium 7L and large 8.5L.
Specifically designed for DSLR cameras the Ibera Bike Mini Camera Pak is the small version, a bigger version is also available for those carrying more lenses or bigger DSLRs. The stored gear can be easily accessed.
The bag has a sturdy click mounting system which makes it suited for extended bike tours, besides daily commutes and day trips.
It fits large DSLRs, lenses, and additional camera accessories which are sure to stay in place thanks to the padded removable divider, with reinforced sides to protect fragile items.
The lid is angled with a clear map sleeve for easy viewing of maps or even a phone.
With multiple compartments, external bungee cords, a padded shoulder strap for off-the-bike use, reflective trim to add to low light or nighttime safety, and an all-weather rain cover shield, this bag looks like great value for its price.
Another king brand when it comes to bicycle touring and outdoors, in general, is Vaude. The Aqua Box is a great single-compartment handlebar bag, made of fully waterproof PVC-free tarpaulin material and featuring a strong and reliable Klick-Fix adapter.
It features reflective elements, an inner removable zip pocket, and a shoulder strap. The quality is very close to the Ortlieb but the price tag is lower.
The Swift Industries Catalyst Pack is 100% made from recycled materials. The top flap of the bag has twin daisy chains, allowing you to secure extra gear, and it also incorporates reflective tape to enhance visibility.
You’ll find a zippered pocket on the flap, providing easy access and storage for smaller items. To ensure on-bike stability, there’s a compression strap beneath the top flap that can be cinched to control weight and volume effectively.
The bag’s design includes a telescoping neck that prevents spills when you access the main compartment. For added rigidity, structure, and stability, there’s an internal batten at the attachment points and an HDPE liner.
As part of its package, the bag includes a foam spacer kit comprising 6 foam spacer blocks and two 9-inch Voile Nano straps.
We got to test the previous version of this handlebar bag during our recent North European tour, and we can guarantee not a single drop of water gets in, even under a serious downpour like those we constantly experienced in Norway.
This revamped version of the MSX-Mainstream Handlebar bag definitely sets itself as one of the best handlebar bags in the market.
Stiffened with rigid plastic on all sides, with a reinforced lid and the bomb-proof Click fix mounting system, this is as sturdy as a handlebar bag can get. It can be loaded with up to 8kg of stuff!
It comes with a flexible internal separator to create different compartments as the user pleases, it also has two internal pockets (one on the lid and one on the inner side) and two small external side pockets to ensure everything is stored properly and always on hand.
An additional velcro on the top of the lid allows you to put on a map case or any other velcro element.
Two side rings to attach to the included shoulder strap turn it into a very comfortable “purse” to carry on your walks. The strap is padded and doesn’t hurt even when the bag is fully loaded. If you are interested, here you can find our in-depth review.
Classic Style VS Bikepacking Style
The new generation of bikepacking handlebar bags is mostly rolled waterproof bags using a harness to attach them to the bars. They are generally used to store a sleeping bag or even a small tarp tent.
Although I find this style cool, good-looking, and maybe more aero-friendly, I think there are a lot of disadvantages that make the handlebar bag lose its original, and in my opinion most interesting feature.
These front bar bags often open on one side, making this almost impossible to reach the gear while cycling, most of the time will be necessary to untie the bag from the bars.
You may argue that there’s no reason to access your tent or sleeping bag while cycling, and my answer will be “so why are you storing it in the most accessible place?”.
Traditional handlebar bags, on the contrary, open from the top, usually with a lid on the side of the rider, this way allows easy and quick access to what’s inside.
The best solution would be to opt for a bikepacking handlebar pack with the possibility of attaching another small bag on top of it, as the Rockers, Ortlieb and other brands do.
Why you Should Consider a Handlebar Bag
This ease of access to some of the gear is just great. Having what you might need while riding within hand reach, taking it out without dismounting from the bike it’s a huge game-changer.
Besides that, most handlebar bags have a quick-release system that allows you to take them off the bike with a single movement and bring them with you as messenger bags using the included shoulder strap.
The handlebar bag is the best place to store your valuables, such as ID, passport, wallet, keys, and everything else you really do not want to lose or have stolen.Detaching the bag from the bike and bringing it with you every time you leave your rig unattended will make sure you have your dearest items always with you. My favorite piece of gear to put in the handlebar bag is, by the way, my camera. Whether you use a DSLR, a compact camera, or just your phone it is just amazing having the possibility to shoot a picture without getting off the bike, you can just stop, take the camera and shoot!
Some bar bags are specifically designed to store DSLR cameras and lenses, with padded interiors and dividers.
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