Seeing a pro romping in the final kilometers of a bike race is the essence of minimalism. Nothing in their pockets or bottle cages, just laying out watts in a lightweight, speedy manner. We civilians all need at least a little in the way of water, food, tools, and some extra clothes. The farther we’re going and the more removed from civilization, the more important these things get.
Consequentially, we need containers for our stuff. Usually a bag or bags, in some fashion. Sometimes the bags are affixed to the bike, sometimes the body. How big the bags are depends on the task at hand. The best bike bags carry what you want, how you want; choosing for purpose is usually a wise idea.
Bike bags run anywhere from a teeny road bike or MTB saddle bag that just barely fits a tube and two tire levers; to massive panniers designed for transcontinental tours. Luckily, TPC carries a wide range of bags that will suit your needs. A top tube bag can typically fit some gels and bars. A smaller handlebar bag, like a burrito bag, can fit a jacket and food. Inside the main triangle, you can typically fit a frame pack, aka bikepacking bag, like those made by Ortlieb.
Sometimes, it’s better not to have anything hanging off the bike, especially when riding rough trails. Water bottles have been known to fly off bikes, while pumps drop off and even secure saddlebags have been known to come loose. As a result, there are a variety of hydration packs.
A bag on your back has a certain appeal, particularly if you need to carry more than 50 ounces of fluid on a ride. But that’s not the only reason for a hydration backpack, and there are hydration hip packs for people who want to carry a light load off their bikes. Osprey has several MTB hip packs, which contain a reservoir and drink tube, as well as space for tools, food, and gear. Backpacks can be as small or large as you need. Usually, larger ones are reserved for epic backcountry rides or bikepacking, whereas small ones are ideal for quick day trips. Take the Deuter Trans Alpine 30, a bike backpack so named for 30 liters of storage and room for a three-liter reservoir; it can carry enough for an overnight adventure.