Have you headed out for a ride only to realize that you forgot your helmet, clipless shoes or any other essential gear? If you are anything like us, you have experienced this (maybe more than once) and kicked yourself for not being more prepared. While planning and getting ready for the night before is ideal, there are times when you get an impromptu text from your buddies asking if you are up for a quick pedal. Some riders have rituals to keep things in check so nothing is forgotten, while others need some help to stay organized.
In this feature, we dive into some great gear bags that can simplify putting together your gear. Each bag has been tested extensively. We cover the usual hits and misses while highlighting the type of adventure that each gear bag is suited to. Let’s get packing!
Tech features: First up in our huddle is the PakGo pack from Topeak, which is designed to carry all your cycling gear in one easy-to-pack bag. The PakGo features a waterproof lining and a hard shell with three divided compartments and six side pockets. Furthermore, there are dedicated compartments to keep your helmet, post-ride clothes, water bottles, and other essentials neatly organized, packed and ready to go. Not only can this bag be carried by multiple handles, but there are also removable shoulder straps so you can convert it into a backpack.
Field test results: This is a perfect, compact and organized option for day trips; however, it could easily hold two to three fresh kits with all the other essentials and function as a multi-day gear bag. We like that each compartment has a designated purpose. Unfortunately, the shoulder straps were a bit thin for our comfort, but since the case is so compact, we mostly used the carrying handles.
• Separate waterproof lining and drain holes
• Labeled compartments for organization and safekeeping
• Outer helmet storage for more room inside
• Thin shoulder straps need a bit more padding
STAR RATING: ★★★★½
Weight: 2.82 pounds
Best use: Cycling gear case to and from riding
ENDURANCE 9.0 TRAVEL DUFFEL
Tech features: Our second option from Ogio is the same price as the PakGo but with loads more storage for the serious action sports enthusiast. The Endurance 9.0 features backpack-style shoulder straps for comfortable carrying. There is an expandable and ventilated wet/dry storage area below and a unique, crush-resistant, lockable, armored pocket for glasses/goggles. Furthermore, it offers hideaway stretch-mesh external helmet storage, ventilated shoe pockets that hold multiple pairs of shoes, a plethora of zippered pockets/organization compartments in front/back storage panels, and two full-size insulated water bottle pockets. The pack is made with a lightweight, high-tensile-strength fabric that is abrasion-resistant.
Field test results: We think it’s superb that the Ogio 9.0 duffel has compartments and space for multiple types of sports equipment. The feature we used the most was the wet/dry storage. This was great for separating wet or sweaty gear from fresh apparel. Overall, the pack was very comfortable as a backpack, but it is a bit large if you are looking for something compact.
• Multi-use with dedicated compartments
• Large volume
• Separated wet storage
• Plush shoulder straps
• Bulky if you are looking for something compact
STAR RATING: ★★★★★
Capacity: 58.3L expandable to 74.5L
Best use: Multi-sport use for travel to and from
EVOC TRAIL PRO
Tech features: This next pack from EVOC is a riding pack that is made with performance in mind. The Trail Pro is built to be lightweight while including an integrated back protector for rider safety. Other included features on the Trail Pro are the packable rain cover, hip-belt compartments, storage for a 3-liter bladder that is sold separately, a fleece pocket for glasses, mesh pocket organizers, and straps to carry a helmet. This pack comes in three capacities (10 liters, 16 liters, and 26 liters) and two sizes (S/M and L/XL) priced from $220–$260.
Field test results: While the main feature is the support gained from the back protector, we also love this pack’s fit. The Trail Pro was ideal for trail riding when we planned to be out all day. The 16-liter size we tested was perfect for packing food, water, a small camera, a snack, a jacket, and our elbow/knee pads. Overall, this is a great pack for riding and keeping things tidy. The simple layout makes it easy for a rider to develop a system to pack up and be ready to stay out all day.
• Integrated back protection
• Easy organizational layout with extra space
• Rain cover to keep gear dry
• Top-notch quality comes with a steep price tag
• No included hydration bladder
STAR RATING: ★★★★
Capacity: 10L, 16L (tested), 26L
Best use: Trail-riding day pack
Tech features: While some of our readers may recall our review of this USWE pack in our May 2021 issue, we couldn’t help but add it to this huddle. The Patriot 15 from USWE features the award-winning NDM (no dancing monkey) four-point harness system. This daypack is built to carry your helmet, pads, tools, nutrition, action camera, jacket, first-aid kit, phone, wallet and keys all inside the organized compartments. Of course, this pack is hydration-compatible, and we were able to fit a 3.0-liter bladder inside. As with the EVOC pack, the bladder is not included, but both do have an integrated back-protection system.
Field test results: The extra protection and back support made us feel more comfortable, even with the Patriot 15 fully packed. As with all USWE bags, there is no bounce when riding, no matter the terrain or load. We think the Patriot 15 is the ultimate package, especially if you purchase the action camera harness. This pack has allowed our test riders to capture an entire day on film while storing every bit of essential supplies needed to stay out on the trails. The Patriot 15 allowed us to pack smart and be safe on whatever trail we were tackling that day.
• Big volume to carry riding gear, bike tools, hydration, food and action camera
• Very stable to ride while loaded up
• Back protection gives added support
• No included bladder
STAR RATING: ★★★★½
Extras: $49.99, action camera harness; $34, USWE 3L hydration bladder
Best use: All styles of riding, POV video
IN-N-OUT GREEN DUFFEL BAG
Tech features: We featured this exceptionally well-priced duffel in our “Buyer’s Guide” for this year. While this likely won’t be the first item to pop up in a bike pack search, you’ll be glad we mentioned it. In-N-Out (yes, the burger company) has a fan store where they happen to sell an affordable travel duffel. We’ve observed prices drop to $15 for this bag! The bag has very basic features. It includes one inside mesh pocket, one side pocket, a shoe pocket that is part of the main compartment and a shoulder strap.
Field test results: One of our test riders has been using this bag for over three years now. It has been remarkably durable and offers quality that no one would expect at this price point. We’ve used this bag to travel on flights, go to the gym, and, of course, keep our cycling gear ready for the next day out on the trails. If you are the type of rider who likes to keep things simple, you love hamburgers, and you aren’t opposed to saving a few bucks for a travel gear bag, this is your answer.
• Amazing value for the quality
• Multi-use, but perfect for a pre-/post-ride pack
• No backpack shoulder straps
STAR RATING: ★★★★★
Best use: Multi-sport use for travel to and from rides