If you're anything like us, you love gear, and probably more than once this scenario has played out. You've been browsing online for a bike bag (or maybe you've never bought one before). You finally decide to pull the trigger and get something, only to get it home, strap it on your bike, and realize after a few rides it just doesn't suit your needs. So now there it sits in your basement or garage never to see those dusty trails or sunny days again. Yeah, we've all been there lol!

That's why we put together our "Things to Consider When Buying Bike Bags". Lets jump right into it, shall we?!


Bike Bag Styles

Handlebar Bags:

Easy access to frequently used items like phones, snacks, sunscreen, and keys.

This bag either straps or clamps to your handlebars, but make sure it doesn't impair your ability to use your brakes or shifters. A great choice for bikepacking, commuting or casual riders. This is a great first bag to buy, in our humble opinion as it fits almost any riding needs. 

Stem Bags/Snack Packs:

Perfect for easy access to water bottles or snacks.

This bag straps or clamps onto your handlebars/bike stem and typically features a cinch-top closure. Some bags feature exterior pockets for a phone or other snacks and a lower bottom attachment point. A great choice for commuting, long rides, or any bike adventure.

Note: This bag style tends to pull weight to one side of your bars, so we suggest mounting/using two and balancing the weight between them for a more comfortable ride and less sway.

Frame Bags:

Perfect for holding food (groceries) , tools, small & medium sized gear, hydration reserves or compact soft goods. 

There is a wide variety of frame bag sizes/styles available, with most frame bags mounting to the bottom of the top tube and connecting to the down tube and seat tube using clamps, straps, cording, or in some cases a bolt-on option. When buying a frame bag there are many things to consider and it requires you to understand the geometry of your bike so the bag will have a proper fit. If you have any questions about bike geometry, feel free to reach out to us or your local bike shop professional. These bags are a great choice for bikepacking and touring.

Top Tube Bags (top mounted): 

Perfectly suited with easy access to extra tubes, tools, snacks, or other essential goods while you ride.

These bags mount similarly to frame bags but sit on top of the top tube and typically attach to the headset of the bike as well. A great choice for commuting, bikepacking, and touring.

Saddle Packs:

Perfectly suited for small tools like bike levers, tubes, patches, or multi-tools. These packs are also called Seat Bags.

These packs mount under your seat using the seat rails and with some of the larger styles can attach to your seat post. Be sure your seat can accommodate the mounting style of the saddle pack. A great choice for pretty much any rider. Worth mentioning here are saddle rolls or seat rolls. These are similar to a saddle pack but are a slimmed-down version with slightly less storage space and are often meant only for bike tools and replacement tubes.

Rack Trunks:

Best suited for longer trips or for riders who require more storage space for items such as food, rain jacket, tools, etc.

These packs range in size/style, but typically have reinforced bases to maintain the shape and make packing easier. They mount at the rear of the bike and require a rear top rack. Make sure the rack trunk you purchase works with the brand of rack you have mounted on your bike. A great choice for riders going on longer trips needing room for clothing storage.


Possibly the largest on-bike storage option available. Panniers are perfect for long-distance trips, camping gear, groceries, and more.

These packs again range in size/style but require either a rear or front rack mounted on your bike. Front-mounted panniers are typically smaller to reduce the amount of weight. Make sure, much like rack trunks, that your panniers will work with your bike rack as not all systems are compatible. 


Last but not least are baskets. Perfect for groceries, commuter bikes, and riders who want a durable ridged option.

Baskets range in size and can be either rear or front-mounted; with the rear baskets typically mounting on the side of the bike. Front baskets tend to be smaller and mounted to the handlebars with bottom supports or stays. One of our favorite basket styles are the removable baskets that double as a shopping basket, making grocery shopping more convenient. 


Bike Bag Features

When looking at bike bags, consider the following things, as well as their level of importance to you and how you'll be using the bag. In other words, what key features do you want or need?

Weather Proofing:

Is the bag waterproof or is it weatherproof? We consider weatherproof good for about 95% of us. Weatherproof uses water-resistant materials, bound seams, and should be lined with a second water-resistant textile.

If something says it's "waterproof" make sure it uses waterproof materials and check that the interior seams of the bag are "seam-sealed" or if the bag is constructed using an ultra-sonic bonding or chemical bonding process. The last two terms, ultra-sonic bonding and chemical bonding refer to constructing the bag with no sewing or stitching, therefore creating a 100% waterproof environment.

Ease of Access:

How easy is it to access the bag based on your desired riding style? If you are right-handed or left-handed this can make a world of difference when riding a bike and trying to open a bag. 

Note: When in doubt, stop riding and dismount your bike to access your bags.  

Bag Compatibility/Attachment Options:

This is a big one. Make sure the bag you are buying fits your bike and that it doesn't interfere with breaking, shifting, or peddling (panniers specifically can catch your heel peddling). Also check if your bike has braze-ons (threaded holes on the seat tube, down tube, or top tube). These braze-ons can make mounting bags simple and convenient. 

For frame bags, make sure the bike geometry will work with the bag (ie, make sure the shapes fit together)

Adjustment Options:

If you're looking at bags for bike touring, bikepacking, or a city bicycle you plan on using to get groceries, adjustability is a key feature to consider. Roll top bags, compression straps, expandible cuffs, and even bungee attachments make your bag more versatile allowing you to adjust your carry capacity. 


User Needs 

Finally, User Needs. There are a few things to consider here, but in the end, you're the only one who can say what your needs are. However, here are a few things to think about when looking at making a purchase.

Where You Live:

If you live in New Mexico, Texas, or someplace like Arizona, well, rain isn't going to be a major concern for you. However, if you live in Washington State, New York, Michigan, or anywhere that gets a lot of rain or snow, you're going to need to pay attention to weatherproofing.

Your Bike:

Hopefully, when you bought your bike, you had an idea of how you were planning on using it. We're not trying to be silly or rude here. The truth of the matter, however, is that many folks get hand-me-downs or get a "good deal" on a bike from a friend and don't realize the bikes true intended purpose. This is where doing a little googling will help, after all, not everyone works in a bike shop or knows about bike geometry or bike styles, hell, we're still learning and we make the freakin bags lol. If you need help, please feel free to ask us. We love bags, bikes, and getting people set up and feeling confident. Bikes are fun, they make us happy, and we want that for you too.

Another thing to consider here is, not all bikes can accommodate all bag styles nor are they meant to. So double check you can mount the bag you're thinking of purchasing.

Your Physical Needs:

Are you left or right-handed? Are you short or tall? It might seem silly but trust us, we make bags for a living. If you're right-handed and your frame bag unzips on the left side it can make or break the experience for some folks. It's the small things that make the difference.

Desired Use:

All we're saying is don't buy a handlebar bag and expect to carry groceries in it, lol. The right tool for the right job. 


Well, there you go, a few things to think about next time you're looking at buying a bike bag. Hopefully, this was helpful but if you still have questions feel free to reach out and contact us, we're always happy to help!