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Best bikepacking bags for your next adventure – carry everything you need and more

Best bikepacking bags
(Image credit: Vedangi Kulkarni)

The best bikepacking bags will ensure that, whether you are exploring some of the best UK bikepacking routes or taking part in a bike race across a continent, everything you need to carry along with you is strapped in safe, remains dry and doesn’t sway as you ride.

This guide will take you through a range of seatpost bags, frame bags, handlebar bags and top tube bags that you can refer to when finding your perfect bikepacking setup. If you're a fan of underseat storage, make sure you take a look at our best saddle bags for mountain bikes round-up too.

Our testing explained

For information on Bike Perfect's testing procedures and how our scoring system works, see our how we test page.

We’ve chosen the bags based on their practicality, versatility and affordability. For example, if you’re looking for a good frame bag or top tube bag for an ultracycling race, ease of access, waterproof features, and having that sturdy fit on the bike so that it doesn’t move around are all important.

Scroll down for a full lowdown on the best bikepacking bags or look at our ultimate guide to adventuring by bike for a crash course in bikepacking. If you’re new to it, you can also find plenty of useful advice and inspiration in our bikepacking tips feature.

Meet the testers

Vedangi Kulkarni
Vedangi Kulkarni

In 2018, Vedangi rode 29,000km around the world in 160 days, mostly solo and unsupported, at the age of 19/20, becoming the youngest woman to circumnavigate the globe on bike. Her happy place is anywhere outside, in the wild, and on the move. She loves to write about bikepacking, mountain biking and just about anything adventurous.

A man washing himself in a muddy puddle
Guy Kesteven

Guy's been writing and testing for bike mags since 1996. Over the years he's tested thousands of bikes so knows exactly what works and what doesn't. Guy is no stranger to multi-day bikepacking trips either.

Best seatpost bags (saddle packs)

Tailfin AP20 Trunk Top Bag

(Image credit: Tailfin)

Tailfin AP20 Trunk Top Bag

The best seat post bag if you use a small size frame

Specifications

Size/Capacity: 20L
Colors: Black
Features: 100% waterproof, easy to detach and reattach from the main frame, direct access and quick stash pockets, roll top

Reasons to buy

+
No interference with rear tyre
+
Easy to put on, easy to take off
+
Well designed
+
Extension bracket for smaller bike frames

Reasons to avoid

-
Expensive
-
Tricky to hike-a-bike with bigger panniers

If you’ve ever found yourself fiddling with the saddle bag straps every 200 metres, just so the bottom of the bag doesn’t get ripped because of the friction with the tyre, then welcome to the club. Tailfin offers a perfect solution for such an issue.

The lightweight bike rack onto which you can mount this trunk bag is held onto your bike at the rear axle. The waterproof material and rigid design makes for a sturdy combination that every bikepacker (especially someone who’s short) appreciates after a fair few bike-bag related mishaps. The roll top closure makes space for as much as you need to add to it. Although, do be warned that the criss cross straps are only suitable until the bag reaches a certain volume. 

Whilst this bag comes with a huge price tag, every feature included in it is well thought out. The stash pocket has more than enough space for all of your snacks, and the direct access pocket makes sure that you don’t have to open the whole bag up for something right at the bottom of it. 

If you’re looking for a long-term solution for all of your bikepacking adventures and are ready to invest in a solid setup, this one’s for you!

Ortlieb Seat Pack

(Image credit: Vedangi Kulkarni)
Expedition-worthy technical features that’ll last longer than your adventurous spirit

Specifications

Size/Capacity: 11L, 16.5L
Colors: Black Matt
Features: Waterproof, valve that allows to compress items for compact fit, lightweight design, vertical daisy chain for rear light

Reasons to buy

+
Waterproof, reliable design
+
Multiple sizes available to choose from
+
Additional support straps available

Reasons to avoid

-
Only one color option
-
Expensive

With a very well-thought-out design and attention to detail, Ortlieb seat pack is offered in two different sizes – 11L and 16.5L. The bag mounts onto your seatpost with two velcro straps. The base of the bag is thick, which gives it a rigid look when it’s folded up. 

The attachments to strap everything up nice and tight are bombproof. So is the actual material of the bag. That means, you can ride easy knowing that your dry clothes will remain dry, no matter what the weather’s doing during your ride. 

The slots made for bike lights are well spaced and are available for the maximum capacity that you can fill the bag to, as well as the minimum that you can fold the bag to. Most of the bike lights fit very well through the slots and the angle of the lights doesn’t move once you’ve set it properly, although this might be more down to the straps for the lights than to the bags themselves.

The bungees on the top of the bag are great for carrying all that extra food that you couldn’t quite fit inside the bag. The air valve helps really well with compressing the contents of the bag and making it look as tidy as possible.

For more info, check out our full Ortlieb Seat Pack review.

Topeak Backloader

(Image credit: Vedangi Kulkarni)

Topeak BackLoader

Lightweight design and practical features at an affordable cost

Specifications

Size/Capacity: 6L, 10L, 15L
Colors: Green, Black
Features: Waterproof inner bag, safety light clip, air release button

Reasons to buy

+
Different sizes available
+
Lightweight design
+
Affordable

Reasons to avoid

-
Only one velcro strap for seat-post attachment
-
Load limited to 5kg

The Topeak BackLoader is available in three sizes, depending on your requirements – 6L, 10L and 15L. If you use a small-sized frame, the 15L might feel slightly longer than you'd expect. The seat pack attaches to the bike at the seatpost using one velcro strap and two attachments on each railing under the saddle. 

The fact that there’s just one Velcro strap can make the bag pop out further back on the bike rather than further up. That being said, the well-considered technical details on the bag make it incredibly user friendly.

There’s a dry bag available to store inside that has an air valve and is shaped exactly how the seat pack is, which makes it very easy to ensure everything is kept dry. However, it can definitely make stuff inside the bag less accessible. Considering the thin material of the seatpack itself though, the dry bag makes perfect sense.

Best frame bags

Wizard Works Framebagracadabra

(Image credit: Vedangi Kulkarni)

Wizard Works Framebagracadabra

Frame bags that stand out in colors and design

Specifications

Size/Capacity: 1.9L, 2.5L, 3.5L
Colors: Black Camo, Fluro Pink, Olive, Rust, Splatter
Features: Elastic lace on top tube instead of straps, oversized water-resistant zip, internal mesh pockets, elongated zip hoods

Reasons to buy

+
An elastic lace design for an unscuffed frame
+
Funky colors for the bold souls
+
Looks great on a bike

Reasons to avoid

-
Not easily detachable
-
Not entirely waterproof

With the perfect combination of practical features and bold style, this frame bag is for you if you’re down with the kids and love bright colored bags that stand out on the bike.

There’s an elastic lace design that weaves along the top of the bag onto your bike and if you’re in no rush, or won’t need to faff around with taking that frame bag on and off much, this option is great to save your frame and the bag’s zips from any scuffs and marks.

It’s important to note that the material used to design the bag is waterproof but thanks to the stitching, it can be tricky to confirm it as a waterproof bag. It’s definitely water-resistant though, and it’s highly recommended that you store your valuables in dry bags. 

The Framebagracadabra is available in three sizes, based on your bike size and storage requirements.

Ortlieb frame pack

(Image credit: Vedangi Kulkarni)
Built for the tough stuff

Specifications

Size/Capacity: 4L
Colors: Black Matt
Features: Waterproof, reflecting logo, ideal for all bikes with limited triangle space

Reasons to buy

+
Well-spaced straps that are weather-proof
+
Enough space for tools, and other heavy stuff
+
Waterproof bag, waterproof zipper

Reasons to avoid

-
Available only in one color
-
Only one size available

The Ortlieb frame bag is available in 4L in two types – one that uses a big ol’ waterproof zip system and another one which uses a roll top closure. This bag might come with a heavy price tag but promises to be fully waterproof with sealed seams and a good expedition-worthy design.

The waterproof zippers are thick and sturdy, which is great, but they can get stuck when opening and closing them on the go. But that isn’t unique to this particular bag – any waterproof zippers on any other bag will probably do the same thing. On the roll top version, closure is absolutely bombproof and suitable for heavy items.  

Another thing to consider is that there’s only one main compartment to store whatever you need, and it can only be accessed from one side. There isn’t a stash pocket on the other side. 

Perhaps the fact that this bag only comes in one size could be a sticking point, but truth be told, if it’s a half frame bag that you’re only storing the tools, electronics or slightly heavier stuff in, and you’re going with a bunch of other bikepacking bags as well within your setup, then you don’t really need a bigger one.

For more expert opinion, see our full review of the Ortlieb Frame Pack.

Topeak Midloader

(Image credit: Vedangi Kulkarni)

Topeak MidLoader

Practical design at an affordable price

Specifications

Size/Capacity: 3L, 4.5L, 6L
Colors: Black, Green
Features: Water-resistant, durable, attachment by hook and loop fasteners for easy removal and assembly

Reasons to buy

+
Ease of assembly and removal
+
Multiple sizes and colors available
+
Very affordable

Reasons to avoid

-
Not waterproof
-
Might interfere with the pedaling motion

The Topeak MidLoader is an affordable, well-fitting (to any bike that doesn’t have the rear suspension going down the top tube), and highly water-resistant frame bag.

You can get this in green and black colors and in three different sizes based on your frame size and storage requirements. I’d definitely recommend measuring your top tube length before you choose a size, just so you get a bag that fits snug onto your frame. 

With hook and loop fasteners and three velcro straps, this bag provides secure attachments to the frame. There are zips on both of the sides and they both lead to the same compartment. Be careful of this, because it’s very easy to leave one side open and then wonder, 10km down the line, wherever on earth your charging cable is!

Best top tube bags

Alpkit Caledonian Mini 4L

(Image credit: Vedangi Kulkarni)
Store everything you need in an organized manner

Specifications

Size/Capacity: 4L
Colors: Mustard, Denim
Features: Two-sided, pannier style setup which increases carrying capacity and makes organizing easier, water-resistant and durable fabric

Reasons to buy

+
More storage space
+
Easier to organize stuff
+
Great colors
+
Both velcro flap and zipper

Reasons to avoid

-
Not waterproof
-
The velcro flap can come undone

If you’ve got an endless list of things to be kept handy during your ride and are always running out of places to store those things, this one’s for you! Alpkit’s Caledonian Mini top tube pannier bag offers 4L worth storage space. It is made out of waxed cotton and hence is water-resistant and durable. 

It can be easy to get excited over this setup and over-fill it though, so do be warned about your legs rubbing against the bag when pedaling, if it is too full. Another thing to consider is  that you have to balance the weight on both of the sides of this top tube bag. 

Although this bag isn’t waterproof, the amount of extra storage space you get makes up for it. That, and the two beautiful colors it’s available in – denim and mustard. Alpkit definitely know how to make good stuff in great colors.

For more info, check out our full Alpkit Caledonian Mini 4L review.

Wizard Works Go-Go Top Tube Bag

(Image credit: Vedangi Kulkarni)
Bold colors with great attention to detail and design

Specifications

Size/Capacity: 0.8L, 1L, 1.5L
Colors: Black Camo, Fluro Pink, Olive, Rust, Splatter
Features: Secure attachments using three velcro straps, extra spacer that can go underneath the stem bolt and attached to the bag for a snug fit, cable port

Reasons to buy

+
Secure attachments
+
Bold colors
+
Water resistant
+
Customize online

Reasons to avoid

-
Not waterproof

Wizard Works Go Go top tube bag is available in 3 sizes – 0.8L, 1L and 1.5L – and five different colors. The material used to make the bag is waterproof but the seams are stitched together and hence, you’re advised to store anything important in a dry bag. That being said, it is guaranteed to be water-resistant. 

It attaches to your bike using three velcro straps. Wizard Works clearly cares an awful lot about how the bag fits on your bike and has made an extra spacer available to go under the stem bolt to make this bag fit more snug. 

There’s a cable port available under a waterproof hood for all of your charging/headphone cable requirements. The Go Go top tube bag stores everything you need really well, doesn’t sway from side to side or give you a leg chafe. What’s more, it definitely fits way more than you’d expect.

If you’re looking for a practical top tube pack for an adventure, this one’s for you. For more info, check out full our Wizard Works Go-Go Top Tube Bag review.

Best handlebar bags

Alpkit Airlok Dual 13L

(Image credit: Vedangi Kulkarni)

Alpkit Airlok Dual 13L

Fits your whole sleep system with an affordable price tag

Specifications

Size/Capacity: 13L, 20L
Colors: Black, Orange
Features: Waterproof and durable TPU fabric with taped seams, foolproof attachment

Reasons to buy

+
Affordable
+
Plenty of ways to adjust the bag

Reasons to avoid

-
Tricky fit if not filled properly

Alpkit’s Airlok has a basic design without too many bells and whistles that just works. You can fit your full bivvy setup inside comfortably and attach it to your bike very easily, using two straps that go around the actual bag, and are most efficient when the bag is properly filled.

It’s available in two sizes – 13L and 20L – but the latter can definitely seem a tad too bulky and interfere with your front tyre if you’ve filled too much inside. 

The bag is entirely waterproof with taped seams so you don’t have to worry about getting your sleep setup wet. The straps that attach this bag to your bike can also be used to stash a windproof under or dry your swimsuit on whilst you ride!

I’d definitely recommend this one for anyone looking for the simplest way to store your sleep setup whilst bikepacking.

Ortlieb Handlebar Pack

(Image credit: Vedangi Kulkarni)

Ortlieb Handlebar Pack

Feature-rich, bombproof design, built for the wildest of the wild

Specifications

Size/Capacity: 9L, 15L
Colors: Black Matt
Features: Hooks for attaching an Ortlieb Accessory-Pack, suitable for carbon handlebars, mounting straps with convenient velcro closures, lightweight design, high luminosity 3M Scotchlite reflectors

Reasons to buy

+
Feature rich
+
Easy assembly
+
Available in different sizes

Reasons to avoid

-
Expensive

Ortlieb handlebar pack is available in two sizes – 9L and 15L – in Black. You can attach it to your bike quite conveniently using the two points of attachments using velcro straps. The bag is pretty light and 100% waterproof. You can even attach the accessory pack right on top of it pretty easily using the provided hooks.

Once again, with this bag, it’s definitely important to choose the size that would work with your bike size, to avoid any interference with that front tyre. If you do notice any, there are two straps that can be tightened to reduce the volume of the bag slightly and make it fit better within the frame.

If you find that the length of the bags is interfering with how you change gears and where you hold onto the handlebars to brake, it’s worth hooking the roll top closures to the handlebars so that you effectively squish the ends of the bags a bit.

This bag is incredibly feature rich and absolutely bombproof, so if you’re looking for something for an ultra-race involving river crossings and that (HT550, anyone?), this one’s for you!

How to choose the best bikepacking bags

Does the size of the bag matter?

It depends what you’re planning to use the said bag for. For example, if you’re planning to go on an expedition, then you’re gonna need all the storage space that you can possibly have, while still keeping things light. If you’re looking for bags to carry during an ultra-race, weight is something to consider – you want to go as light as you can whilst carrying what you need. In that case, a smaller sized bag, with practical features that’ll be user-friendly on-the-go is what you’ll need. There are a million ways to strap extra stuff to your bags; so as long as what you 'need' is stored safely in an appropriate sized bag for that, you should be good to go.

Do all of my bags need to be fully waterproof?

You can use bags that aren’t fully waterproof if you’re storing everything that’s inside in a dry bag. Ideally, even when bags are sold as waterproof, things like electronics, dry layers and important paperwork (passport, visa form, etc) should always be stored in a dry bag, just to be sure that you’re avoiding any damage. 

Do I need a bag specific to the type of bike that I’m riding?

Ideally, yes. Based on what you’re riding, the bike geometry will be different and how the bags fit on the bike will be different. For example, a seatpost bag made for road/gravel bike geometry might not fit a 29’er mountain bike or one with a dropper post at an optimum position and might rub against the rear tyre if overfilled. 

Freelance writer

Vedangi Kulkarni is an adventure traveller, endurance athlete, public speaker, writer, expedition manager and a business owner. In 2018, she rode 29,000km around the world in 160 days, mostly solo and unsupported, at the age of 19/20, becoming the youngest woman to circumnavigate the globe by bike. She’s always keen for an adventure, be it cold water swimming, long distance hiking or cycling, climbing, mountain biking or travelling through  remote places. Her happy place is anywhere outside, in the wild, and on the move. She loves to write about bikepacking, mountain biking and just about anything adventurous and has penned articles for Singletrack World and Nat Geo Traveller UK as well as Bike Perfect.