Top Bags for Mountain Biking

Depending on the type of rider you are, you might find a different need for different bags for your rides.  As a mountain biker, usually what you're looking for narrows down to two items: how much water can you carry, and can I fit much else in the bag?  

We've narrowed the choice down to the top three backpacks, top three belt bags, and the top three saddle bags for mountain biking.

Top 3: Best Mountain Bike Backpacks

#1) CamelBak M.U.L.E.



M.U.L.E. is a lightweight, ventilated hydration pack for mountain bikers that features an air director back panel to channel airflow and keep you cool on the trail.
The removable stability belt provides additional fit and stability, while the ventilated harness keeps you comfortable during long rides or races with its lightweight design and breathable mesh fabric. The adjustable sternum strap offers a range of adjustments for a custom fit and increased stability, while the secure phone pocket makes it easy to access essentials on the go without removing your pack.


FEATURES:


  • MAGNETIC TUBE TRAP - The unique magnetic tubing trap makes it easy to remove and replace your water reservoir, so you can stay hydrated on any ride.
  • VENTILATED HARNESS - The M.U.L.E.'s ventilated harness keeps you cool while riding in hot weather, and its padded waist belt provides additional support when carrying heavier loads
  • ADJUSTABLE STERNUM STRAP - An adjustable sternum strap helps stabilize the pack when riding downhill, and a chest strap with an emergency whistle lets you know if someone's coming up behind you

#2) CamelBak Skyline LR 10



The Skyline LR 10 Bike Hydration Pack is the ultimate in bike hydration. The Crux Lumbar Reservoir with Integrated Compression shifts weight and support to your lumbar region, while the Dual Wing Belt transfers weight to your hips. The ventilated hip belt keeps essentials close at hand, and the 3D Ventilated Mesh Harness keeps you cool while riding. A secure phone pocket keeps your phone safe and easy to access.


FEATURES:


  • LUMBAR RESERVOIR - The Skyline LR 10 has a 100 oz. lumbar reservoir that's perfect for long rides, and the Crux Lumbar Reservoir is designed to keep your back cool and dry.
  • DUAL WING BELT - The dual wing belt provides extra stability and comfort without adding weight or bulk. It also features an integrated pocket to securely store your phone while you ride.
  • VENTILATED HIP BELT - The ventilated hip belt keeps you cool on hot days with its mesh design, so you can focus on the road ahead of you instead of how hot it is outside.

#3) MARCHWAY Tactical Molle


The Molle hydration backpack has a versatile design that carries three liters of water with you wherever you go as well as a couple front pockets for various items.  Made of water repelling nylon that is very strong and durable, this backpack has great value at an stellar price.

At 19.7 inches long by 8.7 inches wide and 2.6 deep, the size fits nicely on your back while still being able to carry three liters of water with you wherever you go.  The bladder itself is BPA free and has no added taste.  The big opening allows you to add ice if you'd like a cool drink while you ride and the mouthpiece can rotate a full 360 degrees to make drinking easier.  

The two pockets for storage provides ample room for a wallet, phone, keys, and many other items.  It includes mesh inner pockets for amore secure hold on the items you want to protect the most. There is also a small lanyard with clip for items you may want to access quickly but still have no worry of losing them.

One caveat with the MOLLE: Make sure you clean the bladder before first use.  You may find that the bladder has a residue on it both inside and out, which is easy to clean but makes for an unpleasant first use if you forget this step.

For the price, the MARCHWAY Tactical Molle is a great backpack for your next mountain biking adventure!


Top 3: Best Mountain Bike Belt Pack Bags (aka Fanny Packs)

#1) CamelBak Repack LR 4 Hydration Pack



Khombu’s CamelBak Repack LR 4 Hydration Pack is the ideal pack for hard-charging riders who need more than a bottle but less than a full pack. The 50oz/1.5L reservoir is easy to fill and clean, and comes with our Quick Link System™ that lets you hook it up to your favorite hydration bladder hose without having to remove the reservoir from the bag. A load-bearing hip belt optimizes fit and keeps essentials close at hand, while integrated carry pockets keep your tools and repair kit organized.

FEATURES:

  • LOADED WITH FEATURES - This pack is loaded with features to keep you going all day long. The 50 oz reservoir is removable and can be filled at a water source or filtered for safe drinking. A hook and loop closure makes it easy to open the bladder compartment, while an integrated carry pocket holds essentials close at hand.
  • COMFORTABLE AND CONVENIENT - The load bearing hip belt distributes weight evenly across your hips, allowing you to hike longer without fatigue. An adjustable sternum strap keeps the shoulder straps in place, so they don't slide off during rigorous activity.
  • BUILT TO LAST - This hydration pack was built for rugged use in the great outdoors! It's made of durable materials that are designed to withstand wear and tear from daily use.

#2) CamelBak Podium Flow Bike Hydration Belt


The CamelBak Podium Flow Bike Hydration Belt is a minimalist hydration belt designed for cyclists. The included mud cap provides protection against dirt and debris, keeping the drinking tube clean. It features an easy-to-clean, BPA-free reservoir that has a high flow rate to keep you hydrated without weighing you down. Available in Black or White colors, this lightweight belt features a soft elastic harness with reflective graphics for visibility. This product is covered by CamelBak's Lifetime Warranty against manufacturer defects.

FEATURES:

  • The minimalistic design of the CamelBak Podium Flow Bike Hydration Belt is designed to provide a high flow rate and secure your water bottle while riding.
  • The belt includes a mud cap to keep dirt out of your drinking tube when not in use.
  • The included Podium Dirt Series Bottle features an ergonomic handle for easy carrying, sport top for fast refills, and large opening for ice cubes.

#3) CamelBak Flash Belt


The CamelBak Flash Belt is the ultimate hands-free hydration and simple storage solution for runners, walkers, and hikers. The belt features a secure zippered pocket that's perfect for keeping your phone or other essentials safely stowed on your next long run or hike. An adjustable waist buckle ensures an optimized fit while breathable air mesh helps keep you cool and comfortable. Reflectivity adds visibility in low light conditions to help keep you safe.

FEATURES:

  • HANDS-FREE HYDRATION - This pack is a fully featured reservoir for your adventures. It's the perfect size to take you through a full day of work or play, and its hands-free design makes it easy to stay hydrated on the move.
  • BREATHABLE AIR MESH - The air mesh harness keeps you cool and comfortable while you're out on the trail. Its breathable construction also allows heat and sweat to escape so that you can focus on what matters most: having fun!
  • ADJUSTABLE WAIST BUCKLE - The waist buckle lets you customize your fit for maximum comfort during extended wear. It's adjustable in both directions, so it will always be just right! And when it isn't being used, it tucks away neatly into its own pocket.

Top 3: Best Mountain Bike Saddle Bags

#1) THRLEGBIRD Mountain Bike Saddle Bag


The THRLEGBIRD Bike Saddle Bag has been designed to meet the needs of all mountain bikers. It comes with Velcro straps for mounting, so you have a lot of flexibility when setting this seat bag up.

One of the key features is that is it's made of waterproof material so you can rest assured knowing that your valuables won't get damaged by rain and snow.


It also has reflective fabric, so if you're taking a late-night ride, you'll be highly visible and safe. Lastly, this saddle bag comes with a large compartment for the storage of items you need, including a spare tire tube if you feel so inclined.


Pros:

  • The easy access to the large compartment can't be beaten and alone qualifies it as one of the best mountain bike saddle bags.
  • The capacity of this compartment is big enough for tools and everything you need.


Cons:

  • If you don't have it perfectly snug, it can move around a bit.
    Some people have found it TOO big for their needs.

#2) KlickFix Seat Pack Micro 200 Mountain Bike Saddle Bag


One of the best things about a KlickFix Seat Pack as a mountain bike saddle bag is that it is designed specifically for your bike's saddle and fits nicely under the bike seat. This means you know it will fit perfectly, no matter how much you hang off the back or in front of your bike—you'll still have plenty of room in there for all your gear. They are also extremely easy to attach. The special quick-release system allows you to easily remove your seat pack in seconds.

The KlickFix Seat Pack mountain bike saddle bags are waterproof and feature an expandable capacity that will hold just about anything you need on any given ride. It comes with two side pockets and a zippered pocket on top that you can use for more valuable items. A great feature is the reflective piping and badge, which help you be more easily spotted when riding in low-light conditions, making them an excellent choice for trail use and mountain biking.

The KlickFix Seat Pack Micro 200 is a fantastic saddle pack that will accommodate all of your needs on any type of ride.

Pros:

  • Adds visibility with the attached rear light
  • Waterproof
  • Surprisingly large

Cons:

  • Only one compartment within the opening
  • Some riders have had a rare issue with the zipper splitting open.

#3) BV Strap-On Mountain Bike Saddle Bag


A great feature of this bag is that it comes with reflective trim. This is perfect for nighttime rides when visibility might be low, and you need to make sure you're seen. The BV Strap-On Saddle Bag also has a strap-on mounting system which ensures it stays on the bike no matter what. Furthermore, the bag features a mesh pocket which makes packing light items easy and quick.

Pros:

  • It's very easy to install, and I love the reflective strips on it.

Cons:

  • The seams aren't as sturdy as the other saddle bags on this list

Conclusion

We’ve discussed the best mountain bike bags at different price points, as well as what to look for in a bag that is durable and will last. We have partnered with some of the best brands in the industry to provide you with a wide selection and high-quality products. Whether you need an ultralight bike pack, or want something that can hold all your gear for an extended trip, we are confident you will find what you’re looking for here.


For Further Reading: Mountain Bike Bag FAQ's

What are the different types of mountain bike bags?

There are many different bags on the market, but depending on what you need them for, there are a few types to consider.

There are saddle packs, backpacks, and even vests. Saddle packs will have enough room for a light lunch and extra water. They're also pretty comfortable to wear while riding. Backpacks can carry much more than a saddle pack or vest, but they might not be as comfortable when you're riding uphill. Vests can be tough to find a good fit because most of them were designed to be worn over your cycling clothing; they might also restrict your movement when you're pedaling up steep hills.

For mountain biking, you'll find the most use with a hydration pack. These usually hold 30-liters or more in roomy pockets and have a water bladder that lets you drink while riding. They're also ventilated to keep you cool while pedaling hard through the woods.

If your rides take place primarily on the road, then you might want to look at backpacks instead of hydration vests. The main reason is that most water packs are insulated and meant to keep the liquid cold; they're also a hassle when riding in warm weather. Instead, try a regular backpack with large compartments for food and clothing; make sure it fits your body well and has a waist belt to help keep it in place.

Bike saddle bags are small, sit under your bike's seat, and attach to the seat itself and the seat post. They have one or more pockets to keep light items such as a tube patch kit, snacks, spare inner tubes, cash, or a couple of extra folded clothes in. These saddle bags are usually waterproof, so they're great to keep your phone or camera safe from sweat.

There's also bike frame bags, which attach to the frame of your bicycle rather than its wheels. They're usually large enough to hold a full-size spare tube and tire, a small tool kit, multi-tool, energy bars or snacks, a portable camera, and a cellphone charger.


How do I choose a mountain bike saddle bag?

If you're not sure what you need from a bike saddle bag, there are a few things to take into consideration when choosing what will be the best saddle bag for your needs.

Size is an important factor in whether or not a saddle bag will suit your needs. If you don't want to carry too much stuff with you on the bike and would prefer something smaller, then a smaller saddle bag might work for you.

If, however, you want a little more carrying capacity to accommodate some basic survival kit as well as spare clothes and food for an overnight camp, then you might need something a bit bigger.

It is also worth mentioning that many mountain bike bags can attach smaller saddle bags to the outside of their main compartment. If this is something you're interested in, take a look for this feature on the bag. Some bags may even come with a smaller bag included.


What do you need in your mountain bike saddle bag?

Riding to work is a great workout, but you can't forget your lunch. That's where a seat bag comes in. There are lots of different options for what you can put in it, and most come with a rain cover to keep everything dry. Some people like to put their phone and wallet, so they don't have to worry about it during the ride, while others just use the bag for snacks or lunch. The choice is up to you!


How do I choose a mountain bike backpack?

There are many factors to consider when choosing the right mountain bike backpack for you. The first and foremost is what type of rider you are. If you're a single-track rider, then a more streamlined pack that can accommodate your hydration needs would be appropriate. Likewise, if you're an enduro rider with long rides in remote areas, then some extra compartments to hold food and other supplies will be necessary.

Secondly, it's important to consider volume requirements. Whether it's for fitting all of your gear or just enough water to last throughout the day, understand the amount of volume that you need and purchase accordingly. Thirdly, don't forget about how much weight the pack you're purchasing can carry. You may find that the bag you like can't carry much weight, hampering your ability to bring all of your stuff with you.

Another aspect to consider is the performance of the bag as a whole. Make sure that all straps and zippers are of high-quality construction and have a good warranty behind them. Specifically, check out if there is any extra padding where your back will make contact with the pack itself, which can go a long way in cutting down on any discomfort you might feel on longer rides. Also, consider the presence of loops and accessories to hold water bottles, tools, a helmet, or other convenient items in place.

Finally, don't forget about style and color! Style is subjective, but there are many options out there that make use of different colors and designs to help distinguish your bag from everyone else's.

It's important to also consider the conditions in which you'll be riding since this can make a big difference in regards to how many supplies you need to carry with you. For example, out in the desert, it would be wise to bring as little weight as possible. In contrast, bringing along extensive amounts of rain gear is necessary if you're going to be riding in a wet, rainy area.


How do you pack a mountain bike backpack?

Before you get started, decide how much gear you want to bring. Different mountain bike bags aren't created equal, and some can carry more than others. Packs with side pockets are best for carrying items you need to quickly access, such as your cell phone, snacks, or sunglasses. Packs without side pockets are best for heavier items like a jacket or spare tire in rainy conditions. Here are some further tips:

  1. Pack the items you will need more frequently in the front of the bag, where they will be easily accessible.
  2. Pack your heavier and bulkier items in the back of the bag, where they will be less likely to get squished when riding over rough terrain.
  3. Use a waterproof sleeve/bag for anything you don't want to get dirty. To avoid the bag being dragged around by your handlebars, attach it with a carabiner to an anchor point on your bike.
  4. Pack soft things (like clothing) loosely to prevent them from getting too compact and wrinkled.
  5. Pack your heavy items (like food) such that they will be as low and close to the center of the bike as possible. This will help you minimize leaning over so much.
  6. Don't bring too many things with you, or else you'll have to take a break from biking sooner than you would like!


What is a bike pannier for?

A bike pannier can be used to carry cargo on a bicycle. It is an item of luggage that can be mounted on the front or rear of a bicycle and usually provides storage capacity for tools and kits, spare parts, clothing, and other important items. Panniers can also be mounted on luggage racks.

Eventually, what you want to go for is a pannier bag mountain bike. A pannier bag mountain bike comes with a rear pannier rack that fits all bikes and allows you to carry more stuff when cycling. 

Purchasing the correct size of the front and rear pannier racks is very important, especially if you are going on a long journey with your bike. There are specialized shops that deal only with panniers and bicycle accessories across the globe. These shops will help in determining the correct size of pannier bags to purchase for your mountain bike.

Panniers come in two different styles. The first type is just a hard shell with no suspension or support features on your back. These hard shell panniers are very useful for short-term bike trips and light loads, up to about 20 pounds in weight.

However, if you're planning to go on long journeys over rough terrain, you definitely need the second type of pannier, the fully enclosed pannier bag. This type of pannier has a suspension system that suspends from your bike's front forks and can carry heavier loads for longer distances.


Can you bike with a heavy backpack?

In most cases, yes. While it may be difficult for you to bike with a heavy backpack, if you're not too far away from your destination and have easy terrain to bike on, then it's quite possible to carry your heavy backpack while biking. If you are biking with a heavy backpack or any sort of load that's weighing between 15 and 20 lbs, take it easy if you can — the terrain doesn't have to be difficult for you to get where you need to go.

The reason why it's recommended that bikers with heavy backpacks take it easy is that when you bike, the backpack will be suspended from your body. So any unnecessary jerks or movements can make for an uncomfortable ride and even hurt yourself.


How do you carry heavy things on a bike?

One way to carry heavy things on a bike is to use a back rack and attach that to the bike. Another way would be to get a trailer.

Some people have also been able to come up with creative ways of attaching things to their bicycles that are not originally intended for such purposes, such as bungees. However, such techniques are very specific and may require you to make modifications to your bicycle or the things you're attaching.

There are also several types of bags which have been made for carrying heavy items on bicycles, such as children. These can be attached with straps or clips to the sides of a regular bicycle, or one can be fitted specifically to your mountain bike.