I can’t stand wearing a backpack while riding. There, I said it. Maybe I have overly strap-averse shoulders, or maybe it’s carryover from my days as a rolly-backpack user in grade school. Whatever the case, I’ll do everything in my power to avoid putting weight on my back when I’m on a bike, whether it’s commuting, trailing riding, or touring. If you’re like me and love the idea of ditching the backpack, a good framebag could very well be your ticket to happiness.
The beauty of the framebag lies in its versatility. Does your bicycle have a traditional style frame with at least a moderate amount of space between the top tube, down tube and seat tube? Great news, your bike is frame-bag compatible! No need to worry about rack mounts, fussy installations, easily-lost or broken hardware, and the like. All that’s needed to properly equip your rig is a basic familiarity with the wonder-product known as Velcro. This simplicity also makes swapping bags back and forth between different, similarly-shaped bikes a breeze.
Some bags, like the Blackburn Outpost, are highly adjustable and even expandable, to enable a single bag to fit a spectrum of frames and accommodate a range of gear volume. Others, like the Specialized Burra Burra bags, are less adjustable but come in a selection of multiple sizes to cater to different frames. Then there is the option of a custom-made frame bag, constructed by a skilled specialist to exactly fit the contours of your frame. This option often provides the utmost quality available, but, as is often the case with such things, does come with a higher price tag.
Your bike is your pack mule. It is, quite literally, a tool of conveyance. So why not put it to work carrying your stuff and unburden your upper body? The average frame bag can easily carry commuter essentials like a compact change of clothes and a Tupperware full of tasty leftovers, and is equally suited for the two-wheeled tourist looking to stash anything from tent poles to cans of baked beans. After getting my first taste of the #framebaglifestyle, I’ve never gone back.