Sometimes you need to carry gear on your way to work or on your training ride and the best way to do that is a bicycle specific and bike friendly designed cycling bag/pack. Aero Tech Designs carries many different options to fit many different riding styles and bike setups.
Packs such as saddle packs, handlebar packs and frame bags mount directly to your bike, while panniers, baskets and rack trunks attach to a rack.
Whether you’re commuting to work, riding to the grocery store or setting out on a multiday tour, you need a way to carry everything from a bike tool and spare tube to food and camping gear. There are lots of options for carrying your things.
Named after the French word for baskets, panniers offer roomy storage, protection from weather and the ability to quickly disconnect from a rack on your bike so you can take your gear with you. They attach to racks using a simple system of spring-loaded hooks, clips or bungee cords. They can be used singly or in pairs, and are designed specifically for front or rear racks. Small items tend to get lost in large panniers, so consider using stuff sacks to get organized.Caution: Make sure your heel does not contact the bag during your normal pedaling rotation. Too-large panniers (or those improperly mounted too far forward) can cause this impact and an unsafe riding situation. Saddle Packs
Also called a seat bag, saddle bag or underseat bag, this fits under your bicycle seat and usually attaches to the rails of the saddle itself. Larger models can carry a few extra items. Keep this mounted to your bike to ensure you never leave home without the essentials.Handlebar Packs
This attaches to your handlebars with clamps or straps. It offers easier access and often more room than a seat bag. Some models feature a clear plastic sleeve on top to display a map—a popular choice among touring cyclists.Caution: Be sure the bag you choose does not affect your ability to operate the brakes or shifters on your bike, and do not overload it as extra weight carried up this high can affect balance. Rack Trunk
Rack trunks are smaller than panniers but larger than seat bags, making them a happy medium for carrying extra clothing, bike tools and lunch. Many have plastic sheets to reinforce the base area and retain the shape of the bag. Packing is simplified by some sort of pocket system or divided storage. Some trunks even offer integrated rain covers.Frame Bags
Most frame bags attach to the top tube of your bike and are sized to keep food, phones, tools and other essentials within easy reach. Larger frame bags for bikepacking and touring can hold hydration reservoirs.Commuter bag or backpack
If you're planning a day trip or commuting and need to bring a lot of items, this type of bag helps to carry it all in one place and still gives you a casual look on the streets. It helps distribute the weight onto you rather than the bike.
Some bags adjust via compression straps or expandable collars. This allows you to carry loads of varying sizes without having the unused portion of the bags flapping in the wind or the load shifting as you move on your bike.Ease of Access
Handlebar bags are more accessible than panniers or seat bags, making them a great choice for small, frequently used items. Other characteristics to consider: How many openings are there? Zippers or flaps? Are there small pockets for organization or simply a large, undivided space?Water Resistance
If you're an all-conditions rider who doesn't shy away from rain and road spray, look for a bag rated as "waterproof" instead of "water resistant." Waterproof bags are made from a rubberized material to keep the contents dry even in a downpour. Many feature a roll-top closure to prevent water from getting in.Attachment Options
If you park in public areas, you'll probably want to take your gear with you. Panniers attach to racks using a simple system of spring-loaded hooks, clips or bungee cords and are easy to disconnect. For seat bags, look for one with a quick-release mounting bracket rather than a set of buckles or rip-and-stick straps.Caution: Be sure that your bags attach securely to your bicycle. Loads that are not secured can shift during your ride unexpectedly and cause a loss of control.
Looking to make your lifestyle a little greener and a little healthier? Bike commuting to work is a popular option, but another often-overlooked activity is even simpler: Use your bicycle to run errands in and around your neighborhood. You may be surprised by all of your gear-carrying options.For Medium to Large Loads Daypack: It conveniently attaches to you rather than the bike. Your options are many; look for a pack with a relatively narrow profile for maximum stability. Daypacks are a good choice because they balance the load between your shoulders. Their downside is that, on warm days, you may end up with a sweaty back. Messenger bag: Popularized by bike messengers, this offers a single long strap to sling over your shoulder. Many include a cross-over stabilizing strap and a padded handle to carry it like a briefcase. Interior compartments are usually designed to hold a laptop and other office needs. Some offer extra room for errands. The downside is that their asymmetric carrying position is a bit less stable than a daypack. Panniers: Often used in pairs, these attach to the rear rack (and sometimes the front rack) of your bike. They are a great solution for groceries or larger amounts of work/touring gear because they take the load off of your back (or simply add more capacity). Some include secure clip systems. Shopping baskets: These grocery-bag sized carriers come in versions that can attach to the handlebars or to a rear bike rack. Many are sized specifically to hold a grocery bag. Some are detachable with a handle, so you could use it as a shopping basket inside the store, too. Bike trailer: You have a couple of options here. You can use the sturdy gear-only trailers (shown here) favored by touring cyclists. Or, you can repurpose your child-carrying bike trailer as a grocery hauler as well. Options for Small Items Handlebar bag: This attaches to your handlebar to carry small items for easy access. Some have a clear, waterproof compartment so you can see your map or a shopping list. Saddle bag (a.k.a. under-seat bag): This fits directly under the saddle. It is usually used to hold core bike-repair items and other small necessities. Rack trunk: If you have a bike rack on the rear, these bags fit directly on top and hold enough small gear for many riders.
After determining what essentials to take on a ride, you’ll need a way to carry them. Options include saddle packs, handlebar packs, rack trunks, frame bags, panniers and backpacks.
For shorter recreational rides, a small saddle pack that fits a spare tube, patch kit and a multi-tool is probably sufficient. On longer rides and commutes, handlebar packs, rack trunks, frame bags, panniers and backpacks that hold your repair kit essentials and leave room for food, clothes and more will come in handy.