The part of bikepacking I love the most is the freedom; the ability to adventure and explore, and cover upwards of 100 miles in a day.
If you are bikepacking, you really don’t want to carry a heavy backpack, as it can be uncomfortable and cause back pain over extended riding periods. Instead, bike bags and racks are typically used by bikepackers to carry camping gear. Bike trailers are another option. However, that greatly condenses the routes you can do, as most routes have some tight areas. Additionally, a trailer contains many more moving pieces (read: more things to go wrong on the trip).
Note: this article is designed to build on GGG’s first roundup of bikepacking brands, 10 Cottage Makers of Bike Bags & Bikepacking Gear to Check Out! If you missed it, be sure to also give that article a read.
Now let’s dive in!
Ope we’re talking bags, not the game that you play in the parking lot tailgating for all you Midwesterners, but the bags that mount on your bike, and some awesome companies that make them!
Bags are lighter, and usually easier to mount to your bike than racks. However, they can be less sturdy and also have less carrying capacity.
Bikepacking bags typically top out at about 40L of storage. This is why it’s important to also invest in a lightweight shelter, sleep system, etc., if you’re planning to rely on bags for a bikepacking adventure.
Alaska-based Revelate Designs offers many ways to haul stuff on your bike. Their handlebar harnesses allow you to strap a dry bag and/or water to your handlebars. I personally used Revelate’s handlebar harness on a bikepacking trip and it works great — easy to mount and stayed put through some of the chunkiest gravel I could find. Frame bags, seat bags, stem bags and cargo carriers round out Revelate’s extensive offerings.
The brand got its start when the founder went on a two-month bikepacking trip in India. On that trip, Revelate founder Eric Parsons and his friend were hauling trailers. They soon realized they were not big fans of that setup. Launched in 2007, first from a basement and then a friend’s garage, Revelate is considered a bikepacking pioneer.
Cedaero makes bags for bikes, including custom frame bags. Not all frame bags fit every bike perfectly due to differing geometry, which is why getting a custom built frame bag is the best option for many bikepackers.
Cedaero was founded in 2017 after the founders got frustrated with throwing out broken gear. “We really don't like putting stuff in landfills, so we overbuild everything we make,” the brand proudly states on its website.
Cedaero offers water-resistant bags as well as waxed canvas bags. They also just released a camera-specific handlebar bag that is very unique! All Cedaero products are designed and built in their shop in Minnesota.
Bike racks provide another way to haul gear! Racks are heavier but can carry more, making them ideal for longer trips or routes with limited resupply opportunities. They’re more stable too. If your bike does not have the mounts for a rack, never fear, the geniuses in the bike industry have options for you!
Old Man Mountain makes bike racks that can be used as front or rear racks, interchangeably, and they don’t need frame mounting points either. These racks are universal and work with all bikes, including fat bikes, which is extremely rare. Old Man Mountain racks can also have up to a 50lb weight limit, higher than any of the other racks listed here! Made from aluminum, the racks are lightweight, stiff and strong.
Old Man Mountain was founded in 1996 in Santa Barbara, in a garage. The bikepacking brand is now based in Bend, Oregon.
Aeroe was founded in New Zealand more than a decade ago, and wants to make bikepacking and adventure easier for everyone! Their racks are unique in that you don’t need any special axle adapters to mount them, making installation very simple.
Aeroe’s signature Spider Rack allows up to 36L of storage on the back, which is significantly more space than a bikepacking bag would afford. They also make a ‘cradle’ to be used on a handlebar or front fork, to mount additional items.
Aeroe designs its gear to allow for bikepacking on singletrack and the use of a dropper seatpost (super unique!). Better bike handling is an area of needed improvement for the bikepacking industry, and it’s exciting to see how Aeroe is moving this forward. I’m looking forward to many singletrack adventures with my Aeroe gear. Patrick and Mike (the owners and founders) are super helpful as well, and constantly in the lab cooking up new products!
Tailfin is based out of the UK and offers a variety of unique ways to carry bikepacking gear! They offer carbon fiber racks with panniers, ways to mount small bags all over your bike, and various other products!
Mounting Tailfin products to a bike is extremely simple and their instructions are well written (not like Ikea’s furniture).
I’ve personally used their suspension fork mounts and they’ve worked wonderfully — allowing the comfort of riding a bike with suspension (aka shocks) AND the convenience of extra gear storage. Having a suspension fork also makes a bike capable of handling more terrain and trails, and ultimately that’s what bikepacking is about … adventure!
Based in Minneapolis, Minnesota, Wolf Tooth was founded to push the envelope on what can be done in cycling.
They offer a lot of unique components that you can’t find anywhere else, including: handlebars that can store bike tools inside them; a water bottle cage mount adapter to carry two water bottles in place of one; a part that allows seat bags to be mounted to a dropper post called the Valais; lots of custom color bits to really customize your bike; and so so so much more.
Wolf Tooth is run by bike nerds at heart, and you can tell how much thought (and grease!) goes into their products. Wolf Tooth also started a bike manufacturing company called Otso, and their innovative spirit can be seen in the bikes that they build as well.