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Restrap Bar Bag Small review – versatile bag and holster bikepacking combo

This new holster and dry-bag combo from Yorkshire is versatile, vegan and frees up your bars, but what’s it like to use?

Restrap Bar Bag Small
(Image: © Guy Kesteven)

Bike Perfect Verdict

Versatile, bar top freeing, Yorkshire made, vegan dry bag and holster combo with good stability but high overall weight, despite thin sack and potential small frame/loose strap/paint rub issues.

Pros

  • +

    Sturdy holster and waterproof dry bag combo

  • +

    Keeps bar tops free

  • +

    Stable multi strap attachment

  • +

    ‘Large’ option available

  • +

    Lifetime warranty

Cons

  • -

    Heavy

  • -

    Might not fit small frames

  • -

    Beware paint rub and loose straps

The Bar Bag Small is the latest addition to the extensive bag range of Yorkshire bike packing specialists Restrap. The separate holster and roll bag combo adds weight but makes unpacking/repacking easy. The deep, bar spaced design adds capacity without cramping hand positions and it’s a solid mount as long as you’ve got the vertical space for it.

Restrap Bar Bag

The 'Bar Bag Small' is actually a two-piece kit including a waterproof dry bag and bar mounted holster (Image credit: GuyKesTV)

Design and specifications

Restrap have gone for a two part ‘holster and dry bag’ design. The stiffened ‘C’ shaped textured Nylon ‘holster’ is fixed onto the bars with two straps tightened with big spring loaded buckles for a fast fix. Two foam spacers are fitted as standard too, dropping the bag below the bar. Another two straps loop through two one of (or both) wide webbings straps that loop around under the fork crown. The ‘jaws’ of the holster are then tightened with another pair of straps fasten onto clip buckles, with Velcro tabs to stop the loose ends flapping. The holster is finished off with a black or orange cord locked ‘8’ bungee and Restrap’s signature vegan leather badge. 

In contrast, the dry bag is pretty simple. It’s a tape sealed single seam tube made out of lightweight waterproof fabric with a plastic rolling bar and snap lock buckles at either end.  

You can also get the Bar Bag Large which magnetically attaches a zipped, hardcase 3L Food Pouch bag to the top of the holster. All Restrap bags are made in Leeds, Yorkshire, UK and they’re covered with a lifetime defects and materials warranty. They also run an in-house repair service.

Restrap Bar Bag

Spring loaded buckles make for a fast, secure fit and spacers keep the top of the bar free for your hands. (Image credit: GuyKesTV)

Performance

The big advantage of the holster and dry bag design system is that once the holster is strapped securely onto the bars you can remove and refit the dry bag really easily. That’s a major plus compared to trying to pull things out of the ends with the bars in the way, or having to unmount the entire bag. The holster also does a decent job of protecting the lightweight dry bag too - from above and behind at least. It also keeps the whole set up stable and gives you a firm base for the bungee (and the Food Pouch if you go ‘Large’). 

The downside is that the chunky ‘holster’ with its heavyweight straps weighs more than some complete lightweight bag bag set ups. You also need to line up the slightly saggy dry bag carefully to stop it getting lopsided and getting too close to the bars even on a relatively broad, flared bar.

While the spaced, below the bars set up means you still get a full set of hand positions it also adds depth to the whole set up. Restrap themselves recommend at least 230mm of clearance between bar and tire and that’s not going to be possible with some smaller bikes. Obviously you could remove the spacers and cinch it right up to the bars if needs be though. While the holster straps that hold the dry bag have tidy tabs, there aren’t any on the fork crown straps. That means you’ll need to be careful to tuck loose ends out of the way of the wheels. They also add another area where the paint will need protecting from wear. Alternatively you can use the cunning new Restrap Bumper Bar that slides under the stem as a more solid secondary mount/paint protector.

Restrap Bar Bag

Back view shows the stabilising fork crown straps which might need the ends tucking up (Image credit: GuyKesTV)

Verdict

Restrap’s two piece Bar Bag system makes the dry bag a lot easier to get in and out of and creates a stable base with extra storage potential too. The holster is very solidly made and can be used for other loads besides the supplied dry bag too. Even though the dry bag is very light (which potentially raises some durability concerns) the whole set up is heavy. There’s also some potential small bike fit, loose strap and paint wear issues to think about.

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Tech specs: Restrap Bar Bag Small

  • Price: $163.99 / £109.99 / €131.99
  • Sizes: 14L (Small, tested) or 17L (Large)
  • Weight: 310g (holster) + 160g (dry bag) = 470g
Guy Kesteven
Guy Kesteven

Guy Kesteven is Bike Perfect and Cyclingnews’ contributing tech editor. Hatched in Yorkshire he's been hardened by riding round it in all weathers since he was a kid. He spent a few years working in bike shops and warehouses before starting writing and testing for bike mags in 1996. Since then he’s written several million words about several thousand test bikes and a ridiculous amount of riding gear. To make sure he rarely sleeps and to fund his custom tandem habit, he’s also penned a handful of bike-related books and talks to a GoPro for YouTube, too.


Rides: Pace RC295, Cotic FlareMax, Specialized Chisel, Vielo V+1 gravel bike, Nicolai FS Enduro, Landescape custom gravel tandem

Height: 180cm

Weight: 69kg