Updated on

Adventure awaits and that can only mean one thing – it’s time to load up your gear, grab your bike, and head out into the unknown. But a simple backpack won’t do; it’s time for you to invest in the best bike frame bag to make carrying all your gear that much easier and make riding bikes even more fun.

The variety of styles, shapes and sizes of bike frame bags available means it can get a little mind boggling trying to find the best one for you. We have sorted through the myriad of bike frame bags available and put together a short list of what we believe to be the best ones. These cover everything from small wedge frame bags right on through to full frame bags – not sure what these terms even mean? Then keep reading because we have explained everything below!

For more of our top biking gear recommendations, check out the Bike Handlebar Bags

LOOKING​​​​ FOR A GIFT FOR A

FELLOW BIKER?

Check out our gift guide that includes 100 ideas to surprise your biking friends.
From big ticket presents to stocking stuffers, there is something for everyone.

 

Quick Answer - The Best Bike Frame Bags

  1. Ortlieb Frame Pack
  2. Blackburn Outpost Elite
  3. Oveja Negra Super Wedgie
  4. Salsa EXP Series Half Pack
  5. Serfas Ark Expandable

 

Comparison Table - Best Bike Frame Bag

PictureNameWeightCapacityWaterproof?StylePriceRating
Ortlieb Frame Pack8.1oz6LYesFull Frame Bag$$$4.6
Blackburn Outpost Elite7.3oz - 10.8oz3.37 - 6.76LYesFull Frame Bag$$$4.3
Oveja Negra Super Wedgie7.3oz - 8.1oz3 - 4LNo, Classified WeatherproofWedge Frame Bag$$4.8
Salsa EXP Series Half PackN/A1.8 - 4.4LYesHalf Frame Bag$$4.2
Serfas Ark ExpandableN/A3 - 5LNo, Classified Water ResistantHalf Frame Bag$4.7
PictureNameWeightCapacityWaterproof?StylePriceRating
Want to learn more about a technical term? Check out our Features Explained section below.

Need buying advice? Take a look at these Things to Consider.

Reviews - The Best Frame Bags for Bicycle Touring

Ortlieb Frame Pack

Specs
  • Capacity: 6L
  • Dimensions: 19.6” x 11.4” x 2.3”
  • Mount Type: Velcro Hook & Loop
  • Style: Full Frame Bag
  • Waterproof?: Yes
  • Weight: 8.1oz
Features
  • Waterproof Material, Zipper and Construction Keeps Your Kit Dry
  • Internal Hook & Loop To Stop Bag Bulging
  • Reflective Logo

BEST FOR: WET WEATHER BIKE PACKING

Right at the top of the list is one of the most premium products on the market, with a price tag to match. In this case the price definitely stacks up with a range of high quality features, superb construction all backed by a reputable brand. The Ortlieb Frame Pack is a full frame bag with a capacity of 6L (9.5oz), so it’s going to carry a lot of gear. Designed with a large capacity in mind, it has an internal hook and loop strap to pull the sides of the frame bag together to ensure there is no bulging or sagging – which otherwise would make the bag hit on your knees as you pedal. 

Most notably the Ortlieb Frame Pack is made from heavy duty, yet incredible lightweight, waterproof nylon fabric, a waterproof zipper combined with special construction techniques that ensures seams are also waterproof. It is rated 4 times more waterproof than a standard waterproof jacket – you can be pretty confident that even in the heaviest downpour, your gear is going to stay dry.

Blackburn Outpost Elite

Specs
  • Capacity: 3.37 - 6.76L
  • Dimensions: 10” x 14” - 13” - 19”
  • Mount Type: Velcro Hook & Loop
  • Style: Full Frame Bag
  • Waterproof?: Yes
  • Weight: 7.3oz - 10.8oz
Features
  • Multi-Pocket Design To Separate Gear
  • Hydration Port To House Drinking Water
  • Soft Mounting Straps To Protect The Bike Frame

BEST FOR: THE ORGANIZED BIKE TOURER

A well designed bag can have a huge impact on the quality of your next bike touring adventure! The Blackburn Outpost Elite Frame Bag is a full frame bag that takes all the great features from their previous model and ramped it up with loads of extras.

High quality waterproof material was used in the construction of this bag along with waterproof zippers, yet it still super lightweight. The bag is also sectioned into a number of compartments with zippered entry, so you can stash various gear separately which not only makes it easy to locate but means you can keep your smelly socks away from your tasty snacks! 

The mounting straps are made from a soft material to protect the paint work on your frame. They are also completely adjustable so you can micro fit the bag to your bike frame. Not to mention this frame bag is available in four sizes – so you can choose the one that will best fit your bike.

Oveja Negra Super Wedgie

Specs
  • Capacity: 3 - 4L
  • Dimensions: 13"x9"x14"x1.5" - 15"x10.75"x17.5"x1.5"
  • Mount Type: Velcro, Hook & Loop and Cam-Lock Strap
  • Style: Wedge Frame Bag
  • Waterproof?: No, Classified Weatherproof
  • Weight: 7.3oz - 8.1oz
Features
  • Two Pocket Design To Separate Gear
  • Adjustable Strap For Micro-Adjusting Fit
  • Foam Liner To Protect Paintwork

BEST FOR: SUMMER ADVENTURES

This bag has clearly been designed by someone who does a lot of bike packing on a variety of different bikes. The well thought out design allows you to fit this frame bag into a huge range of sizes and styles of bike, so no matter if you have multiple bikes or buy a new bike, this bag will likely fit. The mounting straps are also adjustable and padded, so you can tweak it to get the perfect fit and protect your paintwork at the same time.

The Oveja Negra Super Wedgie has two pockets – the main compartment plus a slim compartment which is perfect for stashing your phone or a map. It’s considered weatherproof, with a water resistant liner. However, be warned that this bag is not completely waterproof. 

The thing that sets this frame bag apart from the others is its shape and design. It is a shorter length, so it sits in the front wedge section of the frame allowing you to use the rear water bottle cage, which is perfect for hot summer days when you need to carry more water.

Salsa EXP Series Half Pack

Specs
  • Capacity: 1.8 - 4.4L
  • Dimensions: 14” x 4” - 20” x 6.75”
  • Mount Type: Velcro and Daisy Chain
  • Style: Half Frame Bag
  • Waterproof?: Yes
  • Weight: N/A
Features
  • Padded On All Sides For Ultimate Frame Protection
  • Adjustable Strap For Micro-Adjusting Fit
  • Hydration Port At Front Of Bag

BEST FOR: GRAVEL ADVENTURES

Looking for the perfect companion for your next gravel adventure? The Salsa EXP Series Half Pack Frame Bag could be it. The design is a half frame bag that straps to the top half of your frame, which leaves the water bottle cages on your bike accessible. The perfect size for carrying a small amount of supplies and gear, but not so big that it’s too cumbersome for commuting, this bag is ideal for a single day or weekend adventure. 

Extremely high quality and waterproof materials means this bag should stand the test of time all while keeping your gear dry. Plus the material used is quite structural which helps to stop the bag sagging and bulging when it’s loaded up.

The bag is designed with a main storage compartment and a secondary slim storage compartment with mesh pockets to keep your gear organized. It also features a small specially designed hole at the front that allows either a hydration pack hose or even a light cable to fit through if you’ll need extra water or plan on riding at night.

Serfas Ark Expandable

Specs
  • Capacity: 3 - 5L
  • Dimensions: 5.5” x 17” x 2” - 9” x 17” x 2” When Expanded
  • Mount Type: Velcro Hook & Loop
  • Style: Half Frame Bag
  • Waterproof?: No, Classified Water Resistant
  • Weight: N/A
Features
  • Expandable Storage Increasing From 3L To 5L
  • Adjustable Strap For Micro-Adjusting Fit
  • Additional Attachment Points On Exterior Of Bag

BEST FOR: UNKNOWN ADVENTURES

If value for money is the name of the game, the Safras Ark Expandable Frame Bag is going to be hard to beat, as it’s basically two frame bags in one. Featuring an expandable section that simply zipps open, it transforms from a half frame bag to a full frame bag and your storage capacity increases from 3L to 5L. 

If you’re not sure what the day’s adventures hold, this bag will have you prepared for anything. The features are well thought out, including a hole for a hydration pack hose, external straps for additional mounting points, and adjustable mounting straps to ensure you can get the perfect fit on your frame. Its weather resistant exterior means a little bit of rain or a splash through a river isn’t going to be too much of a problem either.

 

 

THINGS TO CONSIDER WHEN BUYING BIKE FRAME BAGS

Choosing a frame bag isn’t as easy as you might first think, so it’s really important to understand what to look out for when weighing your options. The main consideration is in working out the right sized bag to fit your bike frame – there are a lot of measurements involved as you probably noted in the specifications listed above, so we are going to unpack those complex algorithms and make it really simple to ensure when you purchase your bike frame bag it actually fits your touring bike.

SIZE IS EVERYTHING

Measure your bike frame twice and purchase your bike bag once!

This a key step when looking for a bike bag. Knowing the dimensions on your frame will ensure that you select an option that will actually fit comfortably within your bike frame. Many frame bag manufacturers release their frame bags in various sizes and even shapes to allow you to choose ones that fit. More often than not, the higher priced frame bags will have these options and the lower priced options will be a “one size fits most” situation. An XS, S, or XL frame will likely mean that one size fits most bikes.

  • Step 1: Measure the length of the underside of the top tube on your bike
  • Step 2: Measure the length of the inside of the seat tube on your bike
  • Step 3: Compare these measurements to the frame bag Important to note: It’s better to choose a frame bag that is a bit too small rather than a bit too big as it will bunch and sag if its oversized.

 

STYLE

There are three main styles of bike bags:

Full Frame Bag

These take up the entire inside of the frame. You will have to remove any water bottle cages from the inside of the frame.

Half Frame Bag

These hang from the top tube and only take up roughly half of the frame. Depending on the size and design of your frame, you should be able to keep one water bottle cage on your bike or two if you run a larger frame or the design allows.

Wedge Frame Bag

These tuck into the front wedge or triangle of the bike frame, leaving the rear water bottle cage in place.

 

CAPACITY

Choose a bag that is going to comfortably carry what you need because there is nothing worse than riding along with an overstuffed frame bag. Not only can it bulge and knock against your legs when pedaling, but you can also damage the bag and break the zippers if you overload it, making your frame bag unusable.

Check out this guide on how to pack ultra light for your next adventure.

 

WEIGHT

This consideration is less about the weight of the bag itself, but more about the weight you are going to put inside it. Although it may fit 4L of gear, you probably don’t want to put 4L worth of rocks in there. It’s going to damage the bag and really affect the handling of the bike. The Ortleib Frame Pack specifies 6L and 9.5oz, so use that as a guide when packing your frame bag.

 

WATERPROOF VS WATER RESISTANT VS WEATHER PROOF

Fair weather riders will have no problem with a bike bag that is considered water resistant or weather proof. A light rainfall or splashes from a puddle or creek will not be a problem with any of these ratings. But if you are hardcore and ride rain, hail, or shine, then look for a bag that has a definiate waterproof rating. It’s no fun finding your map, phone, snacks, or spare pair of socks swimming inside your frame bag.

It’s also worth noting the better water protection the frame bag has, the more likely it will be to able to keep dust out of your frame bag too.

 

 

FEATURES EXPLAINED

CLOSURE SYSTEMS

HOOK AND LOOP: This is a mounting system that is a strap of velcro that loops through a plastic ring – the strap folds back on itself to tighten. Excellent for being able to micro adjust the fit.

DAISY CHAIN: A strap or elastic that loops across itself multiple times and is usually fixed with a toggle. Allows you to easily loosen and tighten.

HYDRATION PORT

A small opening that fits a hydration hose. This feature allows you to store liquid in a hydration pack inside the frame bag and thread the hydration house out. These hydration ports are also commonly used for cables such as a light cord connecting to a battery.

SOFT STRAPS

Many frame bags are fitted with specially designed straps that minimize damage to the frame when a frame bag is attached.

PADDED BAGS

Higher end models of frame bags generally feature padding where the frame bag meets the frame to ensure the contents of your bags don’t rub or damage the paintwork on your bike.

EXTERNAL STRAP

Sturdy pieces of nylon strapping material that is attached to the bag. This allows for additional items to be slid inside or attached to the bag.

READ MORE

For more of our top bicycle touring gear recommendations, check out these popular articles:

About The Author

Fiona Morris is a writer, marketing consultant, cyclist and coffee addict, based in Bright, Victoria. Living in the cycling mecca of Australia, she is a keen mountain biker, road rider and loves hitting the gravel roads too. Fiona regularly travels the world competing in cyclocross, exploring new places and trying her best to #livethedream.

Related Posts

0 Shares
Tweet
Pin
Share
Email
Flip