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 four of the top tube bags we tested. For part one, click here!

Apidura Top Tube Pack (extended)

Top Tube Bag Apidura is a young, yet innovative bike bag company based out of London, England. The concept behind Apidura is what sets them aside from other bike bag manufacturers. “It’s about traveling farther, faster and more comfortably.” Like many other bike bag manufactures, Apidura is putting their focus on creating rackless packing systems for bicycle touring to provide more comfort in an ultra light form. Founder of Apidura, Tori Fahey, explains their motivation for starting the company… “very simply, we started the business because we love traveling by bicycle and we believe that rackless packing systems offer a vastly superior experience to conventional bicycle touring systems.” What really sets Apidura’s business concept aside from the rest, is that they don’t only wish to create great packing systems, but they also strive to contribute to, and build, a more vibrant bikepacking community. In addition to this, their packs are built for all types of rigs and trips… their gear can be used on anything from bike packing to lightweight distance road cycling. Top Tube Bag The Apidura Top Tube Pack (extended version) is an excellent addition to your bikepacking set up. All of their packs are made using Dimension-Polyant VX21 for the main body of the pack. This is a 4 layer laminated fabric which offers a combination of superior waterproofness, ultra high abrasion and tear resistance, low stretch and is extremely lightweight. The velcro system on the Top Tube Pack is unique to other bags that I have seen. They use a Hypalon-bonded velcro which has almost a thin rubbery texture to the outside. It provides strength, grip and low-abrasion surface which rests against the bike frame. Top Tube Bag The size of this pack is excellent. It is more long and lean than other top tube bags that we have tested, and can fit on either the stem of your bike, or as a rear top tube attached to your seat post. This pack is more narrow which is perfect for those riders who have issues with hitting their knees/legs on their packs. The narrow size does not take away from the functionality of the pack. It easily carried all of my standard bike essentials as well as a few bars. It also unzips and zips effortlessly with one hand. The only issue we encountered was with the tapered steer tube strap, the bag will not fit perfectly without a number of spacers under the stem of your bike. Overall, this is a great versatile pack that is perfect for daily rides and extended trips. MSRP: £40.00 or $55.00    

Oveja Negra Threadworks Snack Pack

Top Tube Bags Oveja Negra…“the black sheep” of bike bag manufacturers. Although Oveja Negra specializes in custom built frame bags, they also have a fleet of additional products that are sure to impress. Starting in Leadville, Colorado, and recently re-located to mountain bike heaven, Salida, Colorado, Oveja Negra has made a name for themselves in the last two years… and a good one at that. Top Tub Bag Oveja Negra’s top tube bag comes in two different sizes. You can either order a larger top tube bag for the steer tube, or a smaller bag for the seat tube. We had the pleasure of testing their larger top tube bag for the steer tube and it is hands down one of our favorite bags as far as fit and functionality goes. Top Tube Bag The top tube bag is made from their Xpac VX21 and VX42 fabric with the highly water resistant Cordura 500d as the outer material. The pack has an extremely durable, custom welded and die-cut hook and loop cam strap with a YKK water resistant zipper. For the mounts, they used an adjustable stem mount with two location options as well as a loop attachment to the top tube. The pack comes with a removable intermediate top tube mount for extra security if you wish to use it, but it is perfectly secure without it. Oveja Negra Threadworks claims that this pack fits 5+ candybars. We had ours stuffed for a day ride with a tube, tool, 3 bars, a gu and a cell phone. Top  Tube Bag So, why was this our favorite? The Snack Pack by Oveja Negra probably has the most stability out of any pack in the Top Tube Throwdown. It fit perfectly to every bike we tried it with, and no matter if it was stuffed full, or half empty, it maintained its stability on the bike and was always easy to open and close with one hand. It is clear that there was a lot of thought put into the design of this pack. It is a durable and functional addition to your bikepacking set up – you won’t be disappointed! MSRP: $50.00  

Nuclear Sunrise Stitchworks – Titan

Top Tube Bags The Titan Tank is Nuclear Sunrise Stitchworks’ rendition of the top tube bag. You want to be prepared for the worst, and what’s better than having a Titan within arms reach. Owner, Dave Wilson, has been making Titan Tanks for a few years now, but last fall he finally nailed down the perfect design. Dave has experience in ultra bikepacking races, including his plan to attempt the northbound route of the Tour Divide this year. His experienced sewing career and knowledge of bikepacking make him a great person to work with when dialing in your next setup. Top Tube BagsThe Titan is one of the largest bags we have tested in the Top Tube Throwdown. We were sent a Titan with a camo material, which is unique to his other color options. Attached to the bottom of the bag is a velcro strap that doubles back through a plastic loop ring to secure down to the top tube. Attached to the underside of that velcro strap is a grippy membrane that not only keeps your bag very secure, but it also prevents frame rub. There are three loops on the front to attach the bag to your stem spacers. the three loops make it easy to accommodate different stem and spacer heights which we feel is a very important feature in any top tube bag. Top Tube Bag The zipper system is very unique. It comes with an inverted waterproof zipper, and on the outside of the bag, the XPAK covers the zipper – because of this, the bag is guaranteed to keep the elements out. Inside is a bright yellow nylon fabric which helps with contrast when looking for things inside. A foam liner is sandwiched between the camo and yellow nylon on each side of the bag, this gives the bag its shape, and helps maintain its durability. On the inside of the bag are two pouches sewn in to the right wall – one large enough for an iPhone, another smaller pouch which is a perfect size for small parts, maybe headphones. IMG_3646 The Titan is very stable whether the bag is filled or nearly empty. Because of the tensioning in the mounting system, the zipper also works the same if the bag is full or empty, which is a must while feeding and riding. The narrow nature of the rear end of the bag prevents your knees from rubbing. We do wish the zipper was a bit longer so we could open up the bag to see things a bit better, but that may take away from the ease of single hand opening and closing. The Titan is an all around fantastic bag that will store plenty, keep your grub/phone dry, and stay snug on your top tube. MSRP: $50.00  

Lone Peak Kickback

Top Tube Bags

Lone Peak Packs have been making cycling packs since 1979, residing in Marysville, Washington. It is safe to say Lone Peak has a great grasp on bike bags.  Gary Hubbert and Lone Peak have been at the forefront of such an awesome movement, but at the same time their dedication to customer service shows how important the customers are to them. Loan Peak has a lifetime guarantee, if a seam or zipper malfunctions, they’ve got you covered. Top Tube Bag We were pleased to test out the Lone Peaks Kickback II top tube bag. Lone Peak has made touring gear for ages, they understand that bikepacking is taking off and have decided to join in on the fun. Lone Peak has been making their bags out of 1000 D Cordura for 35 years. It is a tough, water resistant fabric, and it will likely outlast your bike. They continued to use the same fabric in their top tube bags on the outside. The bag also features two strips of reflective material on each side of the bag for safety. The bag comes with two different velcro straps to connect to the top tube. The one up front is nice to have, but not necessary if you need to use the space for a frame bag strap. The stem strap is sewn in the middle of the front of the bag, making it ideal for any stem height. Although it may look a little odd, it functions as needed when stretched up or down to accommodate the stem height.Top Tube Bags We really like this bag because of it’s external waterproof pouch on the right side. Its a perfect place to fit your cell phone, credit card, money or maps. The main compartment is hidden by a recycled tube, which covers the non-waterproof zipper. Not only is recycling awesome, the bag functions and looks fantastic with the tube cover. Inside is a 420D silver pack cloth lining, in between that and the outer Cordura is a thick piece of foam to protect the frame, and for impact protection. Also connected inside is what they call a ‘key fob’ to attach important little parts or keys. Top Tube Bags The bag was very secure while riding on some very demanding trails. We decided to put all the tools up front as well as some snacks. It was not full, but because of the thick foam we did not worry about anything rattling and damaging the bike frame. The one thing we noticed was the rear end of the bag was a bit wide, so on the occasion it would hit a knee. It is relatively short and wide, while still avoiding any standover issues on smaller frames. If you’re in the market for a very reasonably priced bag look no further than Lone Peak’s Kickback top tube bag. MSRP: $34.95 Stay tuned next week for our Cliff Bar comparison on all 7 top tube bags. For part one, click here!  

7 Comments

  1. Kristi Yorks

    Thanks for the reviews, loves! Just ordered my first top tube bag…excited!!

  2. I think you mean “VX21”, not “VX12”. https://www.apidura.com/about-us/materials-design/

  3. Pingback: Top Tube Bag Throwdown Part 1 | Bikepackers MagazineBikepackers Magazine

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  5. Was hoping Part-2 would have some measured weights and dimensions for all of the bags.
    Also, I noted, as in the photo of the Nuke Sunrise bag, that the top tube strap is wrapped around the exposed derailleur cable inner wire. OK to do that with a brake hose, but wrapping the strap over the cable, instead of running the right against the top tube, adds friction to the cable and might wear a groove in your top tube.
    Perhaps it was just a quick way to mount the bag for a living room camera shot.
    To clarify why I’m asking for weights: I added up all the weight from my bags: two feed, gas, gerry, frame, seat and bar. The total weight was about 3 pounds. There’s potential to remove fat from the bike with careful bag selection.

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