Going on overnight bike trips requires you to be able to pack the stuff you need on your bike. Bike packing requires equipment that can seem very specialized for really only one purpose but that doesn’t have to be the case. If you’ve invested money into a bar, extra-large saddle or frame bag, you can easily put those to use in different circumstances. Whether it’s doing groceries, commuting to work or transporting extra luggage from point A to point B, bike packing gear and commuting gear can go hand in hand.
Bar bags are becoming increasingly popular on group rides, gravel adventures and even road bikes to carry extra supplies that would be bulky in pockets. Most bar bags don’t have a very large carrying capacity. Their size makes them suitable for holding spare tubes and snacks on rides. For commuters, their size is perfect for your cell phone, wallet, keys, perhaps a smaller bike lock, spare lights and supplies to fix flats. Just remember to remove the bar bag if you lock your bike up and leave it cause they are easy to remove so would become an easy target for a prospective thief.
Large saddlebags used for bike packing often have a carrying capacity that makes carrying clothes, a tent, shoes and other bulky items possible. If you only bike pack a couple of times a year, you may struggle to get your money’s worth out of the bag. If you can’t attach panniers to your bike and don’t want to carry about a bike pack, try packing your work supplies in the saddlebag. They are quite fast to take on and off the bike. With the increased carrying capacity, you will also be able to fit some groceries and other things in them. You likely won’t have room to transport a laptop but other work essentials might right just right in your travel saddle bag.
Frame bags also have a nice amount of carrying capacity making them a good tool for commuting. Though narrow, if they are efficiently packed, a frame bag is suitable to transport a range of contents from a change of clothes, to your lunch or documents. Frame bags can be a little time consuming to install and uninstall and limit the use of a bottle cages so aren’t ideal for all commuters. The thing is, they are super handy for bike packing so you may be looking for ways to use yours more often. Try bringing a change of clothes or using them to run errands to get more use out of yours.
Sitting on the top tube. A bento box bag are popular for riders looking for easily assesible snacks on their rides. You may not commute long enough to require mid-ride refueling but they do have enough space to carry certain essentials around similar to what can fit in a