Bikepacking Hacks: Budget & DIY Handlebar Bags

Getting into bikepacking can seem expensive and overwhelming, but it doesn’t have to be. In our first Bikepacking Hacks video, Neil talks through a few free and cheap ways to carry gear on your handlebars…

As we all know, bikepacking bags typically don’t come cheap. Most reliable readymade bags and locally fabricated custom bags are certainly worth the investment, but if you’re new to bikepacking and just want to give it a whirl, the entry cost can be hard to swallow. Fortunately, there are options at all price points. On my first pannier-less trip, I strapped a few dry bags onto my 26″ full-suspension mountain bike, pedaled off into the forest, and had a great time. It was pretty easy, really, using stuff I already had. In the first video of our new Bikepacking Hacks series, Neil talks about three different approaches for budget and DIY handlebar bags using inexpensive products or what you’ve already got lying around. Watch it below, then scroll down to find a recap and relevant product links.

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  • Bikepacking Overnight, Dry Bags
  • Bikepacking Overnight, Dry Bags
  • Bikepacking Overnight, Dry Bags

As Neil demonstrated, there are a lot of ways to mount gear to the handlebars using some form of a DIY handlebar bag or inexpensive parts. Here’s a summary of the options he showed featuring prices and relevant links. If you’ve used another variation and would like to share it, let us know in the conversation section below.

DIY Handlebar Bag 1: Tyvek Burrito & Straps ($0)

Perhaps the cheapest and easiest option we’ve found is to use a couple of bungees or straps that you have lying around and a piece of Tyvek—an inherently waterproof and durable home-wrap construction material—as Neil described in the video above. Double its use as your shelter’s ground cloth for a win-win.

DIY Handlebar Bag

DIY Handlebar Bag 2: Dry Bag & Voilé Straps ($14-$39)

The second option is a little more of an investment, but it will likely be more waterproof and stable. For this, use a 10-30L dry bag. Hopefully you have one on hand, but if not, you can make your own—see the Related Content grid at the bottom of the page. Or, Sea to Summit offers this standard dry bag for about $25 in 13L and 20L sizes. If you want something burlier, the $37 Big River dry bag comes in the same sizes and has a small loop you can use to help secure it to the headtube. As Neil mentioned, if you’re using drop bars, you may want to get a wider one to better accommodate your belongings. To secure it to your bars, use a pair of 25″ Voilé straps ($7/ea). They’re the best straps money can buy, so you’ll likely get a lot of use out of them, even if/when you upgrade to a handlebar bag.

  • DIY Handlebar Bag
  • DIY Handlebar Bag

DIY Handlebar Bag 3: Tyvek or Dry Bag & Handlebar Bracket ($18-$57)

If you want to up your game a little more, free up some space on the handlebars, and provide some wiggle room for your bike’s cable housing, this mini rack/bracket is a solid option. It’s not as well made or bombproof as the similar Rockgeist BarJam (as mentioned in the recent review), but it’s a worthy option if you’re just starting out. Find it here for $18.

  • Bikepacking Hacks - Straps
  • Bikepacking The Kokopelli Trail - Self-supported

Budget Handlebar Option: Revelate Salty Roll ($40-$54)

Last but not least, the Revelate Salty Roll is an excellent kit addition that can be used independently with straps or integrated into a harness system when you decide to upgrade. And for $40, it’s hard to beat. The Salty Roll is a 15-liter seam-sealed, waterproof, dual-opening bag that measures 7″ (17.8cm) in diameter and 24″ (61cm) long with three rolls of each closure. It has a seven-slot daisy chain to secure straps and weighs about 185 grams. Find it over at

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Bikepacking Bags

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