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5 bags for bikepacking and what to stick in them

Optimize your adventure setup

Photo by: Hiep Vu

You can bring a lot of gear on your bikepacking treks with the right setup. What you run can depend on your bike and what you need to be comfortable on your journey. Here’s a look at five bags, along with packing tips from pro roadie Rob Britton, who has a lot of experience with multi-day trips. In 2018, he prepared for the road world championships with a 1,700 km ride from Calgary to Port Renfrew, B.C. In fall 2018, the Rally Cycling rider and two friends travelled around Japan for nine days. “Which end of the bike you pack what gear, I think, is personal preference,” he says.

1. Vaude Trailsaddle 12 seat bag

The waterproof stuff sack of the Vaude Trailsaddle 12 seat bag ($140) attaches to a frame that stays strapped to your bike. Once you park for the night, you can take the 12-L bag off easily and get at your things.

Britton’s Tip: “All my clothes are in here as well as some off- bike sneakers (in a separate dry bag),” he says of the contents of his seat bag. “I will usually pack it in reverse order of what I may need for the day. So camp/off-bike clothes go in first, and the leg warmers, raincoat, extra gloves and hat go in last. Try to compress and roll this down as much as possible to avoid major sway, especially when you’re standing on the pedals.”

2. Geosmina Large Top Tube bag

The Geosmina Large Top Tube bag ($80) has an inner chassis that adds to the structure and stability of the 1-L piece. Inside, a divider can keep the contents in order.

Britton’s Tip: “This is a hipster bikepacking bento box,” he says of his top-tube bag. “It holds my Snickers, and I love it.” He also carries at top-tube tool bag with his all-important Leatherman and ground coffee.

3. Axiom Seymour Oceanweave Framepack P3.5

The Axiom Seymour Oceanweave Framepack P3.5 ($70) is made from reclaimed fishnets. The material has a waterproof coating, while the seams are water-resistant. Six hook-and-loop straps keep the 3.5-l bag from swinging.

Britton’s Tip: “Sometimes I will keep a raincoat in here. For the most part, it’s just accessories and stuff that doesn’t fit nicely into the other bags,” he says of his frame bag. Items include rope – “For things,” he says – and a flask of bourbon.

4. Vaude Trailfront 19 handlebar bag

The Vaude Trailfront 19 handlebar bag ($120) may work best on a riser-bar bike as its 19-L stuff sack has a length of 65 cm, but the Trailfront’s frame does sit nicely between 40cm bars. The well-designed straps on both pieces keep everything neat when the bag is bundled between the drops.

Britton’s Tip: “I keep my entire sleep system this bag. People ask why I don’t use a bivy. Simply put, my tent weighs slightly more and takes up only slightly more space and is infinitely more comfortable than a bivy, especially when it’s cold and wet outside.”

5. Geosmina Cargo Cage Fork bag

The Geosmina Cargo Cage Fork bag ($80) has a frame that you can clamp to the fork blade or attach with bolts. Putting it on can be as easy as putting on a water-bottle cage. The waterproof roll-top bag holds 4 l of gear.