Best handlebar bags 2024

The best handlebar bags will let you carry a good proportion of your bikepacking gear or just your extras for a day ride

Image shows a rider using one of the best handlebar bags.
(Image credit: Future)

The days when the best handlebar bags for bikes were just made of canvas with room for a couple of snacks or inner tubes have gone. Nowadays, bike handlebar bags have become super-sophisticated and, above all, weatherproof.

The rise of bikepacking means that the best handlebar bags can add a lot of capacity without impairing your riding or interfering wth your handlebars or your controls. There's a lot to take with you if you want to be fully kitted out for bikepacking, so you can buy bike handlebar bags with 10 litres volume or more. They're a favourite place to stash a sleeping bag, warm jacket, food, waterproofs and other kit that's not too heavy.

On the other hand, there are smaller bags that work well for the essentials for a longer day ride when the weather looks suspect, for commuting, or when you just want to avoid loading up your jersey pockets.

So this guide is divided into larger handlebar bags, which typically carry 5 litres and up, and smaller handlebar bags for day rides.

Read on for our guide to the best handlebar bags or scroll down further for a buyer's guide to help you choose the best bar bag for your needs.

Best handlebar bags for bikes

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Best high capacity handlebar bags

Image shows the Ortlieb Bar Pack which is one of the best bike handlebar bags

(Image credit: Future)
Best quick release system

Specifications

Volume: 11 litres
Weight : 551g
Access: Roll top
Attachment: Quick release mounting bracket

Reasons to buy

+
Loads of storage
+
Compression straps
+
Bracket mount avoids damage to bike or bag

Reasons to avoid

-
A bit wide for bars less than 44cm wide

The Ortlieb Handlebar Pack QR uses a tool-free mounting bracket that avoids rubbing and doesn't leave you with a bulky mount bolted to the bike when you're not using the bag. It takes a bit of time to get used to fitting it, but once you've got past the learning curve it's a neat system.

The 11 litres capacity means that there's loads of space. It's sealed with a strap and there are two volume adjuster straps at the base. It's made of waterproof material and has taped seams for extra weatherproofing. There are a couple of mesh side pockets too.

The Ortlieb bag is wide though and we found it really needed 44cm bar width to fit comfortably.

Read our full review of the Ortlieb Handlebar Pack QR

Image shows the Restrap Bar Pack which is one of the best bike handlebar bags

(Image credit: Future)
Best for easy access

Specifications

Volume: 10 litres
Weight : Not specified
Access: Roll top/velcro second pouch
Attachment: 2x straps with cam buckles

Reasons to buy

+
Loads of room
+
Space for a D-lock in front pocket
+
Easy access

Reasons to avoid

-
Bar mount straps may interfere with some bikes' cabling

For large capacity bikepacking bags, the Restrap is hard to beat. The main compartment has a roll top for easy, weatherproof access and there's a decent size secondary compartment closed with a velcro strap, for a total of 10 litres of carrying space, plus a bungee cord for even more kit. An orange lining helps with finding kit inside.

The Restrap Bar Pack's nylon strap that closes the roll top also pulls in the sides of the bag, acting as a volume reducer to avoid rattling and it has reflective strands to make the bag easier to locate in the dark.

Attaching to the bike uses spring loaded cam buckles. They can't be repositioned, which might impact how well they work with some bikes' cabling, although the bag comes with foam bar spacers which might help.

Read our full review of the Restrap Bar Pack

Image shows the Topeak Frontloader Bar Bag which is one of the best bike handlebar bags

(Image credit: Paul Grele)
Best for off the bike (thanks to removable dry bag design)

Specifications

Volume: 8 litres
Weight: 500g (harness and dry bag)
Access: Side
Attachment: Harness

Reasons to buy

+
Well made
+
Often straight forward to fit
+
Useful capacity for bulky but light kit

Reasons to avoid

-
Can be awkward fitting to some bikes due to their cable routing

The Topeak Frontloader bar bag system enables you to carry bulky yet lighter items on your next adventure. Its removable dry bag design is particularly helpful for taking your kit with you once you've arrived at your destination.

Primarily aimed at bikepackers this bar bag will keep your kit dry as it uses a 10,000mm waterproof rating dry bag, which is a similar rating to a good hill walking jacket. The bag can be accessed from either end, and both ends having a rollover and clip system to seal the bag. There is also an air valve to release excess air from the bag to keep it compact.

The harness is mounted onto the bars using two straps as well as optional spacer blocks (up to three per side) to allow versatility of placement. There is a strap (and paint protecting sticky strip) which can add stability by going around the head tube. The harness has another two straps to secure the dry bag in place. You are able to leave the harness in situ and ride without the dry bag should you need to.

The system can carry up to 8 litres or 5kg of kit, but if you're using drop bars you will be restricted in volume as the bag will interfere with your brake/shifters. With a straight bared bike you can expand further from side to side. The system didn't affect handling when loaded with 2.5kg of kit including harness and dry bag, and it stayed stable over rough ground.

It fitted easily to most bikes tried, however one bike was tricky due to its cable routing interfering with placement. If this is your regular bike and this happens then you may need to re-cable the bike to take this into account...

Read our full review of the Topeak Frontloader Bar Bag

Image shows the Miss Grape Tendril which is one of the best bike handlebar bags

(Image credit: Future)
Best for carrying a lock

Specifications

Volume: 11 litres
Weight : 325g (claimed)
Access: 2x roll ends
Attachment: 2x velcro straps

Reasons to buy

+
Loads of room
+
Space for a D-lock in front pocket
+
Easy access

Reasons to avoid

-
Bar mount straps may interfere with some bikes' cabling

The Italian Miss Grape line covers all the bikepacking essentials, including the Tendril bag that straps to the bars via two quick release webbing straps, with two foam block spacers if you need them to keep cables free running.

It's another tube design and made of PVC, with roll down ends fastened by buckles. There are two webbing straps to lash kit to the outside of the bag. It fits fine between 40cm bars. We tested the waterproofing on a wet Welsh night and found the contents completely dry in the morning.

We've also tested the Miss Grape Bud bag, which lashes onto the rear side of the bars, adding extra space for snacks or a waterproof.

Read our full review of the Miss Grape Tendril 10.7 Waterproof Handlebar Bag

Image shows the Alpkit Gravel Bag which is one of the best bike handlebar bags

(Image credit: Future)
Best value handlebar bag

Specifications

Volume: 5 litres
Weight : 214g
Access: Roll top
Attachment: 3 velcro straps

Reasons to buy

+
Decent price
+
Easy access through roll top
+
Two side pockets and webbing add storage for extras

Reasons to avoid

-
Non-taped seams may let damp in
-
Main strap has a tendency to work loose

With a roll top and 5 litres capacity, the Alpkit Gravel Bag works well whether you're off on a bikepacking adventure or just want to carry your extras more easily. The roll top makes for a lot easier access than other options, even if you're wanting to stow bulkier items. 

The Alpkit bag is made of waterproof materials, although without taped seams, water will find its way in when the weather is really wet.

Attachment to the bars uses three velcro straps, there's bungee webbing on the front of the bag for extras like a waterproof and small side pockets. The internal space isn't divided and we did find that the main strap securing the opening had a tendency to work loose over bumpy ground, but overall this is a great bag for the price.

Read our full review of the Alpkit Gravel Bag 5L

Image shows the Specialized/Fjällräven handlebar bag and rack

(Image credit: Andy Turner)
Best for easy access to a large main compartment

Specifications

Volume: 9 litres
Weight: 703g (bag), 331g (rack)
Access: Flip up lid with press stud button
Attachment: Via the brand's rack

Reasons to buy

+
Huge capacity for food and clothes
+
Easy removal from fitment
+
Stylish
+
Shoulder strap for off bike usage

Reasons to avoid

-
Needs to be full to stop items rattling and moving
-
It is absolutely massive and can be obtrusive
-
No mounting point for fitting a light on the front of the bag
-
Closing mechanism not the most secure

The Specialized/Fjällräven Handlebar Bag works with the brand's rack (sold separately) to provide a sturdy and capacious space for storing essentials - including bulkier items such as warmer layers. The flip open  lid also gives quick access to the nine litre capacity bag, whilst the rigid structure makes it easy to pack. 

The build quality is fantastic and the weatherproofing good enough to keep contents dry in most conditions, thanks to the Vinylon F exterior and recycled nylon interior. 

However, one area which lets this bag down is that - unless the bag is packed full - the contents can rattle around a lot on the road, let alone on gravel trails. It also is not very easy to open when moving, especially when wearing gloves. When travelling at speed, often the air resistance will force the  lid shut.  

Fitting the bag onto the bike requires the Specialized/Fjällräven Handlebar Rack, which can be purchased separately. The bag fits on and off easily, so it can be taken inside when leaving the bike outside for any period of time. The removable shoulder strap helps with this too.

Read our full review of the Specialized/Fjällräven Handlebar Bag

Best smaller capacity handlebar bags

Image shows the Evoc Handlebar Pack BOA which is one of the best bike handlebar bags

(Image credit: Luke Friend)
Easiest to secure

Specifications

Volume: 2.5 litres
Weight : 220g
Access: Rolled ends
Attachment: Quick release BOA dial mounting bracket