Author: Willie Richards
HOW TO CHOOSE BIKEPACKING FRAME BAGS- ADVICE FROM AN EXPERT
What is a bikepacking frame bag?
A Bike packing bag that slots and secures within the bike frame’s triangle space. Choosing the perfect bikepacking frame bags can be tough because they come in a variety of sizes and shapes. Even more, they come in several sizes in order to fit various bike frames types, from your favorite road bike to your mountain bike.
If you think about it – this is such a great space to be utilized for loading up your loose camping cycling items. What’s more, some bike frame bag options will run the full extent of the frame space. To load out and secure a full frame bags you would have to remove your bottle cages.
But, if you want to keep your bottle cages where they are normally, bolted on to the down tube then a half frame bag option will be what you are hunting for.
Types of Bike frame bags:
- Custom Bikepacking frame bags
- Full frame bag – Utilizes the full extent of your bicycle frame cavity.
- Half frame bags – Frame bag option when your frame space is restricted or you want to keep the lower section of the frame cavity with standard bottle cage configuration.
- Full suspension frame bag – The frame bag is particularly designed to accommodate the suspension system and is usually smaller in size.
- Corner bag (Triangle frame bag) – A smaller type of frame bag that is wedged-shaped and slots between the top tube and head tube.
- Top tube bags – Secures to the top tube, a smaller bag ideal for snacks.
- Stem bags – Also known as a Snack bag ideal for items that you use often 500ml to 650ml in size.
- Down tube bag – Located at the bottom of the diagonal tube above the crank aids in additional storage capacity.
- Saddlebag – Secures to seat tube and seat rails used for packing clothes.
- Handlebar bags – Secures to the handlebar, Cylindrical in shape ideal for a sleeping bag, tent storage, or bivvy sheet.
Choosing your bike packing set-up, consider the following:
- What do you want to pack
- Check beforehand if all camping and bike items will fit into the frame bags
- Ensure your bike frame bag system properly fits within your bike’s frame
- Securely fastened onto your bike and needs to allow for little movement while out riding the trails
- Frame bag setup should be simple in design and easily accessed
- Enough storage space for camping stoves, sleeping bags, and internal pockets to allow for food and water storage
- Streamline in-frame bag design and product durability
- Weather resistant to keep your gear dry and protected on your bike packing adventure. Once you have loaded up your bike for the first time and see that sometimes the simplest bike setup might be the best bike packing frame bag option.
This is when you realize that research and planning go a long way in aiding you towards picking the best bikepacking frame bags. To be honest, all the gear that I am currently using on my gravel bike, are custom frame bags made or have been put together by a friend, who is also an experienced cycling nutter.
Saying that – there are plenty of great bike packing products I have reviewed for your next bike packing adventure.
Let’s delve into the different types of frame bag options. Importantly, see how the above points can be answered when choosing your frame bag set up for either your mountain bikes or gravel bikes.
If you going off-road in your full suspension bike, then the storage space cavity would be smaller due to the area where the shock absorber is situated. Also, you would most definitely be in the market for a smaller frame bag setup.
Securing your Bikepacking Frame bags
My personal opinion is to look for a bikepacking frame bags that makes use of Velcro straps and loop fasteners as a means of fastening. This allows for frame bag fitment to different styles of bicycling frames.
Ensure that the bag design does consist of adjustable Velcro straps. The adjustable straps will allow for adjustments for a proper fit when you don’t feel the need to load out the bag to the top.
If the bag design allows for a roll-top closure, then you can load different items and loads. The roll-top frame bags also tend to not have a Zipper which removes a potential area for bag failure. The downfall is there is no quick access to the bag while out cycling.
The storage capacity of your frame bag will most definitely be dictated by the bike type and frame size. It is best to ensure before purchasing a frame bag, that it’s a good fit and does not obstruct your cycling movement once loaded.
It’s beneficial to look for a frame bag that is manufactured from waterproof material and with a waterproof zipper. Good stitching and quality manufacturing are key.
Materials and Durability
The quality of the materials used for the frame bag manufacturing would ensure a quality product and it would stand to keep all of your items dry and protected on your bike packing adventure. Welded seams are another key point to be on the lookout for. To get back to the zipper – ensure that is of a worthwhile quality, as zippers are the weakest part of the frame bag. Overstuffed frame bags can lead to potential zipper failure when least expected.
Packing your Frame bags
When loading out your frame bag, ensure that heavier items are packed in the bottom of the main compartment. Camping gear such as your camping stoves and other items that you won’t need until you are setting up camp.
What’s more, a great added bonus is to have additional storage space for a water bladder. Also, the weight located in your frame bag can only aid in the load out and weight distribution when packing.
If your pots/ pans are loose and rattle in the slots, cut up a small piece of sponge and wedge it between the them. The sponge both stops the rattling and used to clean the cooker or pot/ pan after each meal.
Source: The Hiking Adventure