The Restrap Bar Pack is the best handlebar bag that we’ve yet come across. The roll top entry to the large main compartment makes it easy to access your items, while the compression straps keep everything in place. A secondary compartment with a Velcro flap closure means you can still access items while riding, and an integrated D-lock holder is great for bringing a bit of security with you on your adventures. It’s not even overly expensive compared to the competition, but we’ve yet to see anything else that comes near in terms of functionality.
Roll top entry
Bungee cord webbing
Easily accessible front pocket
Built in compression straps
Keeps its shape very well
Can carry a D-lock
Bar straps only have one position on the bag
Restrap is a homegrown UK brand which began from a bedroom in 2010 but has grown to occupy a large workshop in Leeds, Yorkshire. Design and manufacture is kept completely inhouse, making this a UK brand through and through.
In being first and foremost outdoor enthusiasts, the people at Restrap have developed a handlebar bar bag packed with useful features and good design elements. This bag is simply a must for bikepacking. (opens in new tab)
The construction: Restrap Bar Pack
Made from a robust waterproof textured nylon, the Restrap Bar Pack provides 10 litres of storage capacity, with the main compartment benefiting from an internal stiffener, providing the bag with its shape.
The closure system of the main compartment is a roll top, which makes it very easy to reach in and access your things. This is kept closed by two buckles, one on each side. Very cleverly, the nylon strap for pulling this tight is threaded between two loops, so that it will also compress the sides of the bag. This keeps your items securely packed and minimises any rattling.
On top, there’s some bungee webbing, which is a very useful addition for keeping a waterproof or your favoured bikepacking snack (I tend to go for croissants). This bungee cord also has reflective details woven into it to help increase your visibility – as well as making it easier to find the bag in the dark.
On the front there is a secondary compartment with a simple Velcro flap closure for keeping items you want to be a little more accessible. Brilliantly, it has also been designed to be able hold a D-Lock – which is a massive help for bikepacking, as finding a good place to store a lock can be quite hard to do.
The straps for attaching it to the bike can’t be moved from their one position, so there is potential for it not playing too nicely with your bike’s cables and GPS / light mounts. The straps used are spring loaded cam locks, which are a lot easier to operate than ones where you have to thread the strap through the buckle. Foam spacers are also included to provide a little room for the brake and gear cables.
The Restrap Bar Pack is by far the best I’ve used for bikepacking. The large amount of storage means that if you’re staying in accommodation rather than camping, you can easily get by just using this and a giant saddle bag. Making for a simpler set up and one where you’re not rubbing your knees on any frame, top tube, or stem bags.
The closure system with the two buckles and the compression they provide is brilliant, keeping your things firmly in place and preventing rattling. It does, however, make it a little impractical to access your item from inside the main compartment when on the move.
But the presence of the additional front compartment, with its simple Velcro flap, means that items such as energy bars and anything else you might want access to while riding are still easy to get to. And the fact that this will even hold a D-lock is a huge bonus.
There are two colourways of this bag, one is an understated black and the other is a highly visible orange. Both of these benefit from a bright orange lining fabric, which makes it significantly easier to find your smaller bits and bobs.
With the straps attaching to the bike stuck to just one location, it did make things a little more complicated with certain gear cable and GPS mount arrangements. It would be an improvement if there were two options for where these straps attach to the bag. But I was able to move things about in such a way that this didn’t really cause me significant problems.
At £104.99, the Restrap Bar Pack is at the upper end of the price bracket, but it’s not the most expensive by any means. There are bags which have more capacity but have worse closure systems – of the ones that have a roll top, this is the largest I know of.
The Miss Grape Tendril Waterproof Handlebar Bag (opens in new tab) is £110.00 and offers up to 17L of storage capacity – if your handlebars are wide enough. This uses the side roll entry system, which is a lot less easy to use than the top roll system of the Restrap bag.
The Topeak Barloader Waterproof Handlebar Drybag is the next largest roll top handlebar bag that I know of, at 6.5L compared to the 10L of the Restrap Bar Pack. The Topeak bag misses out on many of the useful features of the Restrap Bar Pack, such as bungee webbing, compression straps, secondary pocket and D-lock holder. It is much cheaper though, at £58.99.
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Starting off riding mountain bikes on the South Downs way, he soon made the switch the road cycling. Now, he’s come full circle and is back out on the trails, although the flat bars have been swapped for the curly ones of a gravel bike.
Always looking for the next challenge, he’s Everested in under 12 hours (opens in new tab) and ridden the South Downs Double in sub 20 (opens in new tab). Although dabbling in racing off-road, on-road and virtually (opens in new tab), to date his only significant achievement has been winning the National Single-Speed Cross-Country Mountain Bike Championships in 2019.
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