Reviewing Mountain Bike Gear Bags – Are They Worth It?
Mountain bike gear bags are far and away one of the most underappreciated piece of equipment that you can use to improve your mountain biking experience. Inexpensive and very versatile, in our opinion mountain bike gear bags represent a major improvement over the traditional backpack that many amateur riders use to carry their gear during a ride. Often times new mountain bikers will use something like a school backpack or a backpacking pack to carry their gear and while this is certainly a solution, specialized gear bags are definitely the way to go if you want to take your mountain biking to the next level.
What Makes a Mountain Bike Gear Bag Different?
This is one of the first questions we get when we tell people that they should look into investing into a gear bag so decided it was finally time to give our answer to the whole community of mountain bikers.
First, gear bags are specifically designed with the mountain biker in mind, what this means is that every feature of the bags we will review has be purposely build to make your riding life easier. Compare this to a normal backpack which is designed to carry notebooks and pencils and you can immediately tell the difference between the two.
Second, mountain bike gear bags come with a huge number of compartments that are easily accessible and highly organized. This allows you to quickly and efficiently scan your pack for anything you might which can get very frustrating when your backpack is unorganized.
Third, a gear bag has specialized compartments for different tools that you may need on your ride, and have more options than a saddle bag. Mountain biking is an outdoor adventure sport and as such you never know what you will run into on the trail. Gear bags come with water proof compartments, compartments for extra clothing and shoes, compartments for snacks and everything else you might need. This is great to have on the trail because you can venture our knowing you have everything necessary to whether whatever mother nature might throw at you.
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Best Mountain Bike Gear Bag Reviews
Now let’s get into some of our teams personal favorite mountain bike gear bags so that you can choose between a wide variety of high quality gear bags to choose from.
Our Teams Consensus Number One – Thule RoundTrip Gear Bag
High quality and lightweight, the Thule RoundTrip Gear bag is the mountain bike gear bag that is used personally by three of our five team members here at mountain bikes lab. After asking our team what their favorite feature was of the Thule RoundTrip they all gave the same answer, it comfortable. When buying a high quality gear bag you will often find many of the same features, all of which are necessary, however sometimes it is difficult to find a gear bag that really stands out from the rest of the crowd. This bag does exactly that. It comes with all the necessary features that you would expect from a mountain bike gear bag, water proof compartments, lots of space, and made from a high quality material. However it has one thing that many other bags do not. It is extremely comfortable and easy to wear while riding.
After going through multiple gear bags looking for the right one, I can confidently say that this was the most comfortable gear bag that I have ever ridden with, and considering it was our three of our teams number one choice we can safely say you cannot go wrong with the Thule RoundTrip gear bag. It’s compartment organization is top notch, keeping all of your gear neatly separated, it has both a water proof pocket for electronics and a crush proof pocket for delicate items like sunglasses; and as we’ve said time and time again it is not a burden to ride with this bag on. Our team’s number one mountain bike gear bag is the Thule RoundTrip Duffel and frankly it’s not that close of a competition in our minds.
Our Runner Up – Fox Racing Men’s Backpack
Worn by our only in house mountain bike racer, this duffel bag is perfect for the more adventurous mountain biker, or the person who is really looking to take their mountain biking to the next level. Designed to act more like a backpack rather than duffel bag this mountain biking gear bag is exceptionally sturdy and will stay on your back through the roughest terrain you can find. The young man on our team who rides with this pack swears by its comfort, durability, and spacious interior. Unlike the Thule RoundTrip this is more of a racing pack and has space for a hydration pack similar to a camelback. This is a great feature as it allows you to stay hydrated throughout your ride however it comes with the draw back of less space for your gear.
Overall this is more of a hybrid between a day back and a gear bag however because of our team members strong endorsement we felt compelled to add it to this short list. It is difficult to find high quality gear bag and although this is not technically a gear bag for a majority of riders it will work quite well. In our professional opinion this would be the ideal bag for a rider who mostly does single day rides and does not require tons of gear when they hit the trail.
The Budget Option – Outdoor Products Mountain Bike Duffel Bag
Like the Thule RoundTrip this is a high quality mountain bike gear bag however it certainly lacks some of what makes the Thule gear bag so excellent. This is more of a budget option for someone looking to get a bag designed for mountain biking but not willing to spend too much money for a high end version like the Thule. This is the bag that is currently used by one of our team members and is our number two overall mountain bike gear bag. Like the Thule RoundTrip this is a decently comfortable bag however its lower quality is the reason for its lower ranking. The straps on the Outdoor products duffel bag made of a lower end nylon and the clasps are all plastic. Additionally, the stitching certainly leaves something to be desired in terms of strength. This is the ideal bag for a rider who is not going on long strenuous journeys are is just looking for a decent bag made for mountain biking. Our team member who uses this bag uses it specifically for her shorter day trips and loves it due to its cheap price and light weight. When buying anything often times the more inexpensive something is the lower quality you will get and that is certainly true with this mountain bike gear bag. However if you are looking for a budget option that will serve well for day trips in our experience this bag holds up.
Thankfully because of the diverse nature of our team here at mountain bikes lab we have a wide variety of the types of mountain bikers that work for us. From the classic mountain bikers, to the racers, to the long multiday treckkers, here at mountain bikes lab we have expertise and experience from a range of different mountain biking niches. Overall our most used and favorite mountain biking gear bag was certainly the Thule RoundTrip. This bag is extremely spacious, very comfortable, and has the versatility to handle a range of different mountain biking needs. If you are looking for a high quality bag the Thule RoundTrip will not disappoint, and after being used by three of our team members for over two years we have no complaints. Our runner up, the Fox Racing bag is designed more for the single day mountain biker in mind and comes with a hydration slot to keep you comfortable all day long. Finally our budget option, the Outdoor Products mountain bike gear bag falls into the same niche as the Thule RoundTrip however we would not recommend this bag for any long distance rides. In our experience finding a high quality mountain bike gear bag can be quite difficult so we hope that this review answered some of your questions and put you on a path towards finding the right gear bag for your needs.