The Best Handlebar Bags for Your Bike Adventures [Reviews]

Five handlebar bags with unique features to upgrade your one-of-a-kind bike rides.

“How do I carry all my stuff on a bike?” cyclists have asked for ages. Over the years we’ve had musettes, jersey pockets, racks, panniers, and now–handlebar bags. The recent pop in availability of these handy little dudes has allowed riders to be more liberal about what they bring on a ride, resulting in more snacks, comfier jersey pockets, better preparedness, and an all-around better time on the bike. 

But with so many different options to choose from, it can be overwhelming to decide which handlebar bag is best to hold all your accouterments snugly. While this article is by no means an exhaustive list of all the rad handlebar bags out there, we’ve put together a lineup of our favorites organized by capacity so you can choose one based on the items you want to carry.

Rapha Explore Bar Bag 

Pack this sleek, minimalist bag for a long day cruising along your favorite dirt roads. We found that the 2.4 liter main compartment holds a mini pump, plug kit, tube, tire levers, and multitool with space left over for a phone, wallet, and enough snacks for a five hour ride. The main compartment has elastic webbing sewn into the back interior wall for securing smaller items in place, and an external, easy-access zippered pocket on the front exterior lets you store small important items like house keys and cash that you don’t want slipping out on accident. The front panel also features a small tab in the center where you could attach a light.

The bag attaches to your handlebars with two velcro straps that don’t budge over rough terrain when the pack is fully loaded. Loop the thin band of cinchable elastic attached to the back panel around your headtube for extra stability.

One of our favorite parts of the bag is the straps that allow you to wear it as a crossbody or hip pack. The pinch-style buckle on the straps only requires single-handed operation, making it ideal for on-the-bike use, and the straps themselves feature a subtle, cute geometric pattern that makes us want to wear it around even when we’re not riding. The straps stuff into the back panel when not in use. Testers found they didn’t have to worry about the straps slipping out either–they stayed securely stashed though an 80-mile ride over unmaintained roads. 

The Rapha Explore Bar Bag also holds up well to precipitation: Testers found that it blocked out water for at least 30 minutes of steady rain. It probably holds up longer, but after a half-hour the rain let up and everything inside was still dry. Available in black.

Thousand Crossbody Handlebar Bag

If you love the look of the Rapha model but it doesn’t suit your budget, you can get this similar bag from Thousand for about half the price. The main compartment has a two liter capacity that can hold a flat kit, a 12-ounce water bottle, and a few snacks, with two interior mesh pockets on the back side for keeping medium-sized items like CO2 cartridges and Clif bars from floating around. An exterior zip pocket lets you store small valuables like loose cash or keys where they won’t be at risk of slipping out when you reach in to grab a stroopwafel

A stashable shoulder strap with a plastic buckle allows you to wear the back as a crossbody when you get off your bike, so you can walk around at the cafe stop or farmers market with your personal items handy. Unlike the Rapha model, testers found that this bag cannot be worn as a hip pack for all users, since the shoulder strap only shortens to a 44-inch loop at the tightest setting. 

The bag buckles to your handlebars and head tube with three thin, strong straps that feel like they’re made of something like seatbelt material, and are adjustable in length. The bike connection straps are fully removable and crossbody strap stuffs into the back panel when not in use.

It didn’t actually rain while we were testing this one, but the water-resistant material held up super well to lightly-applied moisture and the zipper didn’t leak until we ran it directly under a faucet for a few minutes (so, just don’t do that). It comes in classic black or a pretty olive color.

Topo Bike Bag

This funky, triangle-shaped bag holds whatever you need for the gravel grinder, group ride, or even just a breakfast burrito run. Yes, our tester found that the 3-liter capacity holds a full-sized Chipotle burrito, with room for guac on the side (you can snag a one-liter Bike Bag Mini for those quick rides where your food requirements are minimal). For those of us carrying burritos in our Topo Bike Bag, good news: The super-durable bag’s liner is made from waterproof truck tarp, which is easy to clean and will keep the bag’s contents cozy and dry. The water-resistant zipper keeps moisture from seeping in.

Webbing across the top and down the center of the rear panel allows you to affix the included velcro strips where you need them to attach the bag to your handlebar and steerer tube. While testers found them to be super secure, the short velcro strap wasn’t long enough to wrap around the steerer tube of her size XS bike. However the bag stayed in place just fine without it. There are also two stripes of daisy chain webbing across the front panel, but testers found little use for them aside from attaching a carabiner (but it’s super cute).

One of our favorite features is the small clip attached to a short length of webbing that holds your keys inside the bag, so they don’t go flying when you pull out your phone in a rush to catch your bestie’s wheelie on video. Another thing we love is the fun, aesthetically-pleasing color combinations the bag comes in.

Icemule Impulse

Bike commuters, Saturday night cruisers, and park picnickers, this one’s for you. This insulated handlebar bag has a carrying capacity of 4.5 liters, which is plenty of room for a tupperware of leftover pad thai and a can of Yerba Mate. Testers found ample room for three 16-ounce cans plus an ice pack. It can also awkwardly (yet securely) carry a full-sized bottle of wine, tipped at an angle, with a hunk of dill havarti and a roll of crackers in the bottom too. 

Icemule says the Impulse is designed to keep food and drinks cold for up to 10 hours. We found that the bag, filled with three tallboys and an ice pack, stayed at a drinkable temperature for around four hours in direct Arizona sun, and the ice stayed frozen for at least five. Both the interior and exterior of the bag are super durable, the 100% welded seams and the roll-top closure, folded twice, makes the bag fully waterproof. 

Two hooks on the front panel ensure that the bag stays rolled once you close it up, and two velcro straps with reflective taping secure the bag to your handlebar. An adjustable strap at the base lets you buckle it around your headtube for stability and the rear panel zippered pocket is a good place to store small items you don’t want to get wet (like a wine opener or cheese knife).

The detachable shoulder strap adjusts from 28 to 44 inches in length, but if you want to take it off and leave it behind altogether, the cooler bag has a simple handle on top as well. Available in gray, blue, or an ocean-inspired pattern.

Fjallraven x Specialized Handlebar Bag

Bring everything you need with this 9-liter cargo hold for your bike. If you’re bikepacking and want to dedicate your handlebar space to a bag of some sort, this bag and rack offers a ton of storage with incredibly easy access while you’re riding. The bag has two elastic mesh pockets on the interior front and back walls, two on either side of the exterior, and one big pocket across the lid for keeping items like food and GPS close at hand. The lid unsnaps to lift up like a book cover with the opening toward the rider so you can absolutely reach in to pull out a jacket, Nalgene, or handful of dried mangos as you’re riding. 

Even if you accidentally buzz a hole in the fabric with your tire like our tester did, the durable plastic construction of the rigid-sided bag holds up. If it’s not packed tightly, small items tend to rattle around in there on bumpy roads, which can be mitigated by packing a clothing layer on top of or below all the contents. 

One downside to this bag is that it only works if you purchase the $100 rack to mount it to as well, so it’s a sizable investment. But if you have a sizable load you want to carry on your handlebars, this might be the option for you. 

While the lid and seams are not sealed, the lining fabric is waterproof, which will go a long way in keeping your cargo dry. The bag is available in black, olive, ochre, and red.