Best handlebar bags 2022

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

Why you can trust Cycling Weekly Our expert reviewers spend hours testing and comparing products and services so you can choose the best for you. Find out more about how we test.

Best high capacity handlebar bags

Best Bikepacking Bags: Alpkit Gravel Bag

(Image credit: Future)

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.

ortlieb bar pack

(Image credit: Future)

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.

Best Bikepacking Bags: Restrap Bike Pack

(Image credit: Future)

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.

Passport bar bag

(Image credit: Future)

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

Another bag attached with two velcro straps, the Passport bar bag is made of nylon with a reinforced base and welded seams and includes two light mounts and a reflective printed logo.

It's a dual ended barrel type design with roll closures, so that it's easy to add or remove volume as needed. Passport's bag is not expensive either. With 11 litres capacity, there's plenty of volume for bikepacking kit.

Miss Grape Tendril bar bag

(Image credit: Future)

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.

Best smaller capacity handlebar bags

Evoc handlebar pack attached to a bike

(Image credit: Luke Friend)

Specifications

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

Reasons to buy

+
Easy to fit with BOA dial to tighten in place
+
Waterproof design and materials
+
Adequate capacity for day rides

Reasons to avoid

-
A little small for bikepacking

The Evoc Handlebar Pack BOA is a handy size to carry extras on a ride. It's advertised as waterproof and comes with a single taped seam, although we didn't ride in wet conditions to find out. It's a roll style design with openings at either end of its rigid sausage shape, meaning that access to contents on the go isn't s easy as a top opening.

Attachment to the bike uses a clip that's then tightened in place using the BOA dial, making for very rapid fitting. We didn't find that the bag got in the way when riding either on the tops or the hoods.

With 2.5 litres capacity, the Evoc Handlebar Pack is too small for bikepacking adventures. There's a 5 litre option available too though that would double your carrying room.

Apidura Racing Handlebar Mini Pack

(Image credit: James Bracey)

Specifications

Volume: 2.5 litres
Weight : Not specified
Access: Box top with velcro
Attachment: 2x velcro straps plus cord around head tube

Reasons to buy

+
Rigid structure helps keep its shape
+
Very easy to fit to the bike

Reasons to avoid

-
A little awkward to close while riding
-
Contents tend to rattle around

The Apidura Racing Handlebar Mini Pack is designed for the road rider who wants a little more storage space. It's made of waterproof fabric, reinforced so that it keeps its shape. 

It has a simple top held down by a velcro strip. We found this a bit awkward to use while riding and ensure that its storm flap fitted properly. But fitting to the bike was easy thanks to its two velcro straps. A third cord around the head tube holds it in place and there are foam spacers to keep the Mini Pack away from cables.

We did find that contents rattled around over uneven surfaces, unless we carried a jacket to wedge it all in though.

Best Bikepacking Bags: Chrome Urban Ex Bar Bag

(Image credit: Future)

Specifications

Volume: 3 - 5 litres
Weight : Not specified
Access: Roll top
Attachment: 2x velcro straps plus cord around head tube

Reasons to buy

+
Decent volume
+
Roll top makes for easy access
+
Comes with shoulder strap for off-bike carrying

Reasons to avoid

-
Securing strap for the opening a bit fiddly to use when on the go

This Chrome Industries pack feels well made and it comes with a padded inner to protect contents and taped seams to keep out the weather. Closure is via a rolled top. It works well, although we found the strap that secures it difficult to use while on the move. The 3 litre capacity is expandable to 5 litres thanks to the roll top.

Attachment to the bike is via two velcro straps that are long enough to surround aero bars and a stabilising elastic drawcord around the head tube. They are easy to mount and dismount and make it easy to take the bag with you when you stop, while the included shoulder strap makes carrying off-bike that much more simple.

Buyer's guide to bicycle handlebar bags

Here's our guide to what to consider when you're looking for the best handlebar bag for your carrying needs.

What volume do I need?

If you're carrying a full bikepacking rig, you'll probably need quite a bit of capacity on your bars to fit everything you need to go bikepacking on your bike. But if you're just after some extra capacity to take a waterproof jacket and some food with you, without loading down your jersey pockets, you'll probably get by with a lot smaller pack. 

Work out the volume you'll need to carry to narrow down your choice of handlebar bags that should meet your needs.

Will it fit on my bars?

The first thing is to consider if a handlebar bag will fit on your handlebars without impeding your ability to grip them. Think about all the usual positions you ride in.

Some of the bags above need quite wide handlebars just to be able to fit between the hoods, while we've fitted others with similar capacity to 40cm bars without problem. Also make sure that you can ride comfortably in the drops - flared gravel bike handlebars help here.

Also look at the attachment points and whether your bag will interfere with grip on the tops. Often the straps for the bag will pass over the bike's cabling, so make sure that this will still work properly. Many of the best handlebar bags include foam blocks to help space the straps away from cables.


How weatherproof is it?

If you're planning to use your bag a lot, chances are it's going to get wet at some point. You want the weather to stay outside, not get in.

Look for fully taped seams. Roll closures work well to keep out water, although waterproof zips are also an option. Standard zips will let in water. In any case, we'd recommend using separate dry bags inside the handlebar bag for anything that it's important to keep dry.

How easy is it to remove?

The last thing you need when getting ready for a ride is a huge faff fitting a handlebar bag. If you're leaving your bike somewhere, it's going to be useful to be able to remove your bag quickly as well.

On the other hand, if you've got a full set of bikepacking bags on board, you're going to have to leave most of them there if you're stopping for a shorter period. 

Most riders keep their more valuable items in their handlebar bag, so easy removal and portability may be useful traits. You may be trying to remove a bag with cold, tired hands if you've had a whole day's riding and are just setting up camp.

So check that your choice of handlebar bag is reasonably easy to put on and remove from your bike, but not so easy that a thief can just walk off with it.

What other features should a handlebar bag have?

There are bonus features to consider too. Are there reflectives? Can you mount a front light? Does it fit well around your cycling computer? Will it sag onto your front wheel? Can you adjust the volume?

If you're going to want to access contents on the move, also think about how easy it is to open and close a bag without stopping. Side pockets or bungee cord webbing can be useful to carry extras that you may want to get at quickly and will up your total carrying volume.

Thank you for reading 5 articles this month* Join now for unlimited access

Enjoy your first month for just £1 / $1 / €1

*Read 5 free articles per month without a subscription

Join now for unlimited access

Try first month for just £1 / $1 / €1

Founded in 1891, Cycling Weekly and its team of expert journalists brings cyclists in-depth reviews, extensive coverage of both professional and domestic racing, as well as fitness advice and 'brew a cuppa and put your feet up' features. Cycling Weekly serves its audience across a range of platforms, from good old-fashioned print to online journalism, and video.