Bike packing bags

How you’re going to carry your gear

There are a few main ways to carry all the gear needed for your adventure, the most efficient and most popular way of doing this is to use bike packing bags. More traditional riders may prefer to use pannier racks as they can be more sturdy and carry more gear. But as the times emerge, more brands are able to make strap on bags that can securely carry heavier loads making the pannier racks a thing of the past. Pannier racks are heavier, create more wind resistance, and can get in the way. Not to mention the negative impact they can have on carbon frames. In our combined experience, we would recommend bags over racks.

It is possible to spend a small amount on bags, but you may find it hard to be able to carry all the necessary gear you need. By all means, if you have the money, go out and fully kit your bike up with Apidura bags. You’ll love it. But from our experience, we recommend for you to go out and go for a bike-packing adventure and once you get back you will better understand what you’re going to need, that aligns with your personal desires.

In most cases you will want to set your bike up with the following bags:

Seat packs:

The seat pack may seem a bit over the top to the untrained bike packer, but in fact, it’s one of the most important pieces of kit you’ll need. In most cases, a large rear saddlebag will be wedged under the rails of your seat and then strapped to the seat post. Seat packs can range in size anywhere from around 5 liters up to 14 liters in more extreme cases.

Some variables to take into consideration:

       Waterproof isn’t always better. Water-resistant will do fine. If riding in extremely wet conditions you can even add in some dry bags to ensure the water doesn’t seep into your gear.

       The ease of removal is important if you need quick access to your gear. If the removal process is complicated and difficult, it can make it very unpleasant to use during wet or cold conditions.

Handlebar packs

Handlebar Packs are the most common and easy way to store your gear. Higher quality brands have innovated better designs that feature high-quality mounting options to avoid excess rattling and movement when riding on difficult terrain. Some brands have also introduced additional accessory pockets for quick to grab tools or food. Remember that the handlebar pack should stay relatively light as it sits up quite high on the handlebars therefore has a big effect on the steering and balance of the bike.

Some variables to take into consideration:

       The size of your handlebar pack has to fit within the geometry of your bike, for example, if you have a drop-bar bike, don’t go out and buy the longest handlebar pack that you can find, as this setup most likely won’ fit the geometry of your bike.

       Remember that the handlebar packs are often positioned quite high up on the handlebars, which has a massive impact on the steering capability of your bike.


Frame packs

Frame packs are the most useful of the packs, they come in multiple sizes. Frame packs will also come in full-size frame bags and smaller sizes, these can allow for easy access to water bottles.  Full-sized frame packs can store a multitude of your essential items. Depending on the accessibility of water on your route, it may be beneficial to take a hydration bladder within your frame bag.

Some things to take into consideration with frame bags:

       Watch the quality and strength of the zips, if the frame bag is stuffed tightly, it will create excess pressure on the side zips. If these zips break during your ride, the frame pack will essentially be useless.

       Detect the waterproofing of your chosen bag, make sure it is either waterproof or at least water-resistant for those unfortunate rainy days.

       Make sure that the frame bag you purchase is the right size for the geometry for your bike.

       If you decide to use a full-frame bag, be aware that additional hydration methods will need to be used.

I know, it sounds daunting, but honestly, once everything is set up, you will be able to wrap your head around it all. Essentially you just need to decide what you’re bringing and how you’re going to pack it within your multiple bags. Once that is sorted, all you need next is some training and a challenging route to ride.

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