A top tube bag is an integral part of your bikepacking set up, allowing you to be efficient while you continue to spin. Having a conveniently located bag for your necessities can make a significant difference in your times if you are racing, and the amount of time you spend off your bike if you are bikpacking recreationally.  We had the pleasure of testing a variety of different top tube bags from bike bag manufactures around the world. Below are reviews of three of the top tube bags we tested.

JPacks – Snakpak

IMG_2866 (1) J Paks is a growing company based out of Denver, CO, offering different and one of a kind styles of custom bike bags. Denver seems to be a perfect location. Being only a few miles away from secluded over night trips, owner, Joe Tonsager, has plenty of test under the design of his bags.

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The top-tube Snakpak bag is a spacious option and has the largest volume of any other bag in the throwdown.  It will hold days worth of power snacks and still maintains it’s sleek shape while fully loaded. While the Snakpak thrives when it’s full, because of its size, it can get a little floppy when there is nearly nothing in it – thus we tossed our tube, tool, tire lever, patch kit, and phone in there along with our snacks for day rides.  The Snakpak was also tested on the Arizona Trail Race 300 version and it was flawless.  This top tube bag is perfect for a longer trek where you need to carry enough food and supplies to sustain your energy for long periods of time. 

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One of the most common problems with top tube bags is compatibility. Many companies make their top tube bags to fit around their custom frame bags. While this is nice and convenient, it is also nice to have a variety of bags by mixing and matching from other companies. Jpaks has thought about this which makes them winners in our book. The bag comes with 5 nylon loops for cinching down to the top tube in various locations, with one velcro or two if needed for more stability (provided). It also comes with two loops against the stem for a proper fit with another provided velcro strap around your fork spacers.

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The bag features a single waterproof zipper to ensure  your belongings stay dry in all weather conditions. The zipper was smooth, yet not one hand friendly when the bag was relatively empty. It is a single body system making for less stitching and thus less worry of your bag breaking down, with this and plastic inserts for stiffness, the bag holds a fantastic shape. This bag is a reliable addition to any bikepacking setup, and our go-to bag for extend trips without resupply, or winter bikepacking.

MSRP: $40.00

 

Revelate Designs – Gas Tank

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Revelate Designs is no slouch in the bikepacking world, once starting as Epic Designs before Specialized did it’s thing. Erik has played ball in the bikepacking world for a while now, he has undoubtedly gone through some of the most trial and error in the industry. When you find something that works you keep it. That is what he has done with the Gas Tank, Revelate’s top tube bag that has simply remained the same for years.

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The Gas Tank is a medium size bag in comparison to it’s counterparts. The bag gives you the option with a velcro divider to make two separate compartments or one large one if you choose. The Gas Tank is unique as it is the only two zipper bag in the throwdown. The two zippers access the same large opening. This could be a useful feature when you need to see what your looking for, otherwise we think they could do without it to simplify the bag. With bike bags, simplicity is key.  With more zipper, there is more zipper to break. The zippers are indeed waterproof and are very easy to pull with one hand while riding. relevate 3   The bag has two attachment points, a grippy velcro loop through strap around the top tube that doubles back, and a tapered stem attachment with velcro straps to cinch down around the stem. Both attachments along with the foam liner of the bag give the Gas Tank a fantastic, sturdy feel while on the bike. You can purchase the bags in 4 different colors, Camo, Black, Red and Gray. MSRP: $55.00  

Wanderlust Gear – Beargrass

wanderlust Wanderlust – quite literally, the desire for wandering. We can all admit to some form of wanderlust throughout our daily life. Whether it be day dreaming about your next bikepacking adventure, or just your after work spin. Wanderlust Gear can help you make that strong desire a reality with their handcrafted and lightweight cycling gear. wanderlust 4 The Beargrass Top Tube Bag comes in the perfect size of 8’’ long x 4’’ tall x 2.25’’ wide. The size allows you to have ample space for storing bars, gels, cameras, maps or any other compact items for easy access during your ride or race. Wanderlust states that the Beargrass “was designed to be slightly larger in size than most of the existing options out there and provides more carrying capacity without compromising maneuverability when riding singletrack. Basically… more snacks.” Well, that’s wonderful, because we love snacks. wanderlust2 This top tube bag is constructed using the most durable and waterproof XPAC VX21 fabric on the top and side panels, and for extra protection, they use 400 denier coated nylon for the locations where the bag touches the frame. The inside of the bag features two removable HDPE inserts for rigidity. Wanderlust uses a water resistant zipper with a “zipper garage” at the closure to provide extra protection from the elements of your belongings. The bag attaches to the frame using two velcro attachments. The stem strap can be placed in one of three loops to attach to your stem depending on height. The attachment to the frame uses a loop through system that doubles back to tighten according to the tube width. The only con of the bag is that the frame attachment strap does not allow for multiple attachment loops like the stem strap does, so it must be placed on your frame where it is. This made for slight difficulty when trying to avoid squeezing the cables. The Beargrass comes in a variety of solid colors, bright orange is my favorite! wanderlust3 Wanderlust Gear is sewing and designing products to feed your wanderlust year-round out of Missoula, Montana. They have many gear options ranging from custom frame bags, to insulated pogies – each product with their stamp of approval after being tested in the backcountry of Montana.   MSRP: $35.00

 Check out part 2 here!

7 Comments

  1. Thanks for the comparisons. I would love to see more more concrete details.

    The snakpak has the largest volume, but by how much? Can you quantify how many snickers/clif bars each bag can hold?

    Outside dimensions, weights, and prices for all the bags would also be very useful.

    Thanks!

  2. Hey, if possible, please include one or more of our US-made top tube bags in your review.

  3. Pingback: Top Tube Bag Throwdown Part 2 | Bikepackers MagazineBikepackers Magazine

  4. Pingback: VIDEO: Top Tube Throwdown Cliff Bar Challenge | Bikepackers MagazineBikepackers Magazine

  5. Any of the bags that use a metal zipper pull will probably make noise. Yes, I’m a noise freak. Best bet is to cut off the metal zipper pull(s) and thread some line thru the slider and make an overhand or figure-8 knot.

  6. I have the smaller version of the Apidura top tube bag. I have the same issue with the stem strap. Wondering what you used as a spacer.

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