How to Choose a Bike Bag

How to Choose a Bike Bag
You're just getting into biking and you realize that you have a lot of gear to lug around on the trail. You could fit some of it in your hydration pack, but you don't want to weigh down your back with a big, bulky backpack stuffed with tools. A bike pack is a great solution, but picking out the right one isn't always easy.
 

Instructions

Difficulty: Moderately Easy

Step 1
Consider your average bike trip. How long do your go out for? How much gear do you need to bring? While you should always have room for the proper mountain bike tools, you will need a lot more room if you'll be taking multi-day trips as opposed to short afternoon rides.
Step 2
Plan your bag or bags for the type of bike ride you'll be taking the most. Then you can get additional bags as needed. If you intend to take any short rides, it would be wise to purchase a small bag in addition to any large bags so you don't have to lug around a clunky, large bag to hold a few small items.
Step 3
Consider how much gear that you will be storing directly on your bike. Think about tools, food, maps and navigation equipment, extra clothing and any other gear that you'll need to take. Gather the gear together and get a visual of the size bag that you need.
Step 4
Consider a rack. If you'll be touring or lugging a lot of gear, you may want to use a rack on the front or back of your bike along with panniers. A bike trailer is another option.
Step 5
Think about where you're riding. If you'll be riding tight singletrack surrounded by tight foliage you want to keep the profile of your bike as slim as possible and should not purchase bulky bags that stick out on the sides of your bike. You might want to opt for a trailer in this case.
Step 6
Consider where you want your bike bag. There are a variety of different places that mountain bike bags can be mounted. A bag that rests under the seatpost is the most common, but you could also mount a bag on the handlebars or on the frame itself where the top tube meets the seat tube. The latter can serve as a shoulder cushion when doing a hike-a-bike. Larger bags can hang off of both sides of the bike.
Step 7
Don't forget balance. Most small bags are centered on the bike, but when buying large bags and panniers, you need to keep the weight centered so that it doesn't impact your balance when biking.
Step 8
Find several bags that meet your needs and compare water resistance/proofing and ease of use.
Step 9
Make sure that the bag you choose is easily adjustable and will fit onto your bike. It should be capable of tightening down sufficiently so that it doesn't move around while riding. A bag that is expandable/collapsible is helpful when moderating your gear load. A bag with several compartments and dividers can help keep your gear organized and easy to access when you need it.
 

Tips & Warnings

 
Look for an included rain cover so that you can protect all your gear in the event of a sudden storm. Some riders prefer to carry their gear on their back and maintain a lighter, more maneuverable bike.
 
Look for an included rain cover so that you can protect all your gear in the event of a sudden storm.
 
Some riders prefer to carry their gear on their back and maintain a lighter, more maneuverable bike.

Article Written By Joe Fletcher

Joe Fletcher has been a writer since 2002, starting his career in politics and legislation. He has written travel and outdoor recreation articles for a variety of print and online publications, including "Rocky Mountain Magazine" and "Bomb Snow." He received a Bachelor of Arts in political science from Rutgers College.

Don't Miss a Thing!

All our latest outdoor content delivered to your inbox once a week.

FREE UPDATES

Subscribe

We promise to keep your email address safe and secure.