by Stan Purdum
Bikepackers view their bike frame’s triangle as a place to carry some of their gear, and several manufacturers have accommodated these riders with bags made to fit that location. There are bags that fill the whole triangle, bags that fill only part of the triangle, bags that work in the cramped triangles of full suspension bicycles. Some bags are even custom made for specific bikes. Here’s a roundup:
The Ortlieb Frame-Pack utilizes the entire triangle of your bike, and it comes in two sizes to fit a variety of frames. The large has 6 liters of space, the small has 4 liters, and Ortlieb provides an easy means on its website to determine which one will work with your bike: full-size PDF templates of both sizes you print out and tape together. The bags are made of waterproof nylon with a waterproof zipper. They attach by means of Velcro straps to your top tube, seat tube and downtube.
Ortlieb Frame-Pack Toptube
This 4-litter bag hangs right below the top tube, leaving room for water bottles or other items in the frame triangle. So waterproof, says Ortlieb, that “you can even cross rivers on your bikepacking tour without worrying about your stuff getting wet.” Features a side zipper and attaches by means of Velcro straps to your top tube, seat tube and downtube.
Revelate Designs Ripio Frame Bag
This bag will fill your whole triangle, and comes in four sizes — S, M, L and XL, that have, respectively, 5, 6.3, 7.7 and 9 liters of space— so it will work with many different bikes. There’s a sizing chart on Revelate’s website and PDF templates you can print out.
The Ripio has three zippered compartments: one on the non-drive side near the top of the bag with dividers that organizes small items; one near the top on the drive side and one lower on the drive side with a horizontal divider that opens to create one large compartment. Constructed with waterproof woven panels with water-resistant zippers fitted with corrosion-proof sliders for long zipper life. Features an exit port in the main compartment for a hydration tube or battery wire.
Revelate Full Suspension Frame Bag
This bag is designed to fit frames with horizontal shock placement along the top tube. It fits into the small and otherwise wasted space of the remaining triangle. Revelate says, “The Full Suspension frame bag comes in three sizes. A size 1 does not necessarily correlate to a small, nor a 3 to a large.” Bags range in size from 2.5 to 4.1 liters. The company recommends using its provided printable PDF sizing chart to best determine fit. Bag is constructed with the same materials as Revelate’s other frame bags. Exit port in zipper hood allows pass-through of a hydration tube or wires.
$40-53, depending on size (Amazon)
Topeak does not offer a full triangle bag but offers three sizes of its Midloader (3, 4.5 and 6 liters), which hangs below the top tube. Constructed of lightweight, water resistant and durable materials, it mounts and removes quickly with hook and loop fasteners. Two water resistant zippered openings provide access to all your gear from either side.
Arkel, which has a long and strong presence in the bike-bag market, and which already makes other bikepacking bags, is just coming out with frame bags in its 2020 offerings. They will provide top tube bags in three sizes: 3, 4 and 6 liters. No other descriptive information is yet available.
Blackburn Outpost Elite Frame Bag
$120-140, depending on size
Designed to use the full triangle, these bags come in four sizes: 3.37, 3.65, 5.15 and 6.76 liters. In addition to its main cargo space, the Outpost Elite Frame Bag has two zippered pockets with drain holes for when things get damp. Made with waterproof, lightweight materials.
Blackburn Outpost Frame Bag
$65-75, depending on size
This bag, which comes in three sizes, hangs from the top tube but does not fill the whole triangle. It has, however, a zippered expandable lower portion for when you need more room. The large bag, for example, has a 5.25-liter capacity when the zippered portion is closed, but a 6.95-liter capacity when it is open.
Bedrock Custom Frame Bag
Bedrock’s Custom Frame Bag is not one bag but many, sold in several configurations to fit almost any bike. The “custom” part of the name refers to add-ins available for extra cost. For example, you can choose to add internal pockets, MOLLE and dividers as well as bolt-ons.
Specialized Burra Burra Framepack 8
The Burra Burra Framepack 8, which hangs below the top tube, is constructed from coated nylon, with weather-resistant, urethane-coated zippers, making it resistant to inclement weather. Two welded side pockets create storage with easy access to your small ride essentials. Specialized doesn’t state the bag’s capacity in liters, as its competitors do, but says the bag’s dimension are 50 x 5.5 x 15 cm.
Trek Bontrager Adventure Frame Bag
$64-72, depending on size
Trek does not offer a full triangle bag but its Bontrager Adventure Frame Bag, which hangs from the top tube, is available in three sizes: 2, 2.7 and 3 liters. The pack is organized with one main pocket and one smaller compartment pocket. Made from water resistance materials with robust zippers. Has a high-vis lining to help you find your gear quickly.
Rapha Waterproof Frame Pack
This pack, which rides under the top tube, is waterproof and holds its streamlined shape while in position on the bike. A full-length waterproof zipper on the drive side of the pack gives access to the main compartment while the corresponding zipper on the opposite side opens a slip pocket for smaller items. The inside of the pack has a hi-vis pink lining to make it easier to find smaller items. The pack is fixed to the frame at five separate points for a secure fit. Available in three sizes to accommodate a range of frame sizes.
Apidura Expedition Full Frame Pack
This one fills your bike’s triangle. It’s constructed from a lightweight fabric, welded together at the seams to create a watertight seal. Two zippers on the drive side with protected closures ensure that kit stays dry, even in a sustained downpour. Also has a battery lead/hydration hose port. Available in 7.5-, 12- and 14-liter sizes. Apidura also has smaller frame bags to fit a variety of frame configurations
Salsa Exp Series HT Frame Pack
These full triangle water-resistant frame packs are designed to fit Salsa’s hardtail frames perfectly. The bag has an internal hook-and-loop divider for separating gear and managing storage, and non-driveside flat pocket for storage of maps, tools, phones, wallet, etc. Comes in eight sizes, ranging from 4.2 to 11.6 liters to fit specific bikes in Salsa’s lineup.
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Stan Purdum has ridden several long-distance bike trips, including an across-America ride recounted in his book Roll Around Heaven All Day, and a trek on U.S. 62, from Niagara Falls, New York, to El Paso, Texas, the subject of his book Playing in Traffic. Stan, a freelance writer and editor, and Methodist minister, lives in New Jersey. See more at www.StanPurdum.com.