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Best Top Tube Bag – 2022 Buyer’s Guide

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Eternally popular with triathletes, the secret is out. Top tube bags are a great way to carry essentials on the bike. 

They are a great place to store items that you will always need at hand. For some this could be nutrition and for others it might be camera equipment. 

In this article we look at what makes the best top tube bag to help you decide if it is the right storage option for you.

Top 10 Best Top Tube Bags Reviewed

 1. Revelate Designs Mag-Tank 2000 Top-Tube Bag (best overall)

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  • Mounting System: Velcro hook and loop and bolt-on option.
  • Dimensions: 8.5 x 4.5 x 4.5 inches
  • Weight: 5.2oz
  • Capacity: 1.4L
  • Waterproof? No

The Revelate Designs Mag-Tank 2000 takes everything that is good about top tube bags and dials the accessibility up to eleven. 

Instead of using a more traditional zip, the Revelate uses an innovative magnetic buckle to snap the bag closed with no fuss. No matter the terrain, all it takes is one hand to seamlessly open and close the bag.

The quick access makes it an ideal option for riders that like to combine cycling and photography. Being able to reach down, point and shoot means less chance of missing a great photo. 

Features:

  • Zipper free for quick access.
  • Bright yellow interior for good contrast.
  • Stiff sides to prevent bulging. 

2. Salsa EXP Series Top Tube Bag (best quality)

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  • Mounting System: Velcro hook and loop and bolt-on option.
  • Dimensions: 7.5 x 3.1 x 2.0 inches
  • Weight: 5.6oz
  • Capacity: 1.2L
  • Waterproof? No

The Salsa EXP Series Top Tube Bag is a great-looking bag with a minimalist aesthetic and deceptively large storage space. 

In addition to the main, water resistant, storage compartment there are also two full length mesh pockets on the inside walls of the bag. These extra compartments are great for bringing an extra bit of organization to the contents of the top tube bag. 

There is weatherproofing on the zippers for added protection and the padded insert at the bottom of the bag is a neat addition that helps to smooth out some of the bumps in the road. 

The two-zipper closure system is easy to operate with one-handed on the bike making it easy to get in and out of the bag.

Features:

  • Two internal mesh pockets.
  • Welded-in weather resistant design.
  • Two-way YKK zipper.

3. Topeak Tri DryBag Top Tube Bag (best for your tools)

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  • Mounting System: Hook and loop Velcro
  • Dimensions: 5.7 x 5.0 x 1.9 inches
  • Weight: 2.3oz
  • Capacity: 0.6L
  • Waterproof? Yes

Despite the name, the Topeak Tri DryBag is suitable for all types of bikes and makes for an excellent, waterproof top tube bag. 

The flap to access the bag is made of a durable, waterproof plastic that essentially lets rainwater fall off the sides.

Access to the bag is quick and easy using the Velcro-fastened flap. 

The main compartment is split into two and making it a great option for carrying your tools. There is plenty of space and the high contrast interior colour means finding what you need is easy. 

The bag is taller and narrower compared to other top tube bags and this effectively means that, once it is secured on the bike, there should be no issue with rubbing knees.

Features:

  • Sonic welding provides waterproof protection.
  • Bright interior for excellent contrast.
  • Great size and shape for carrying tools.

4. Timbuk2 Goody Box Frame Bag (best for smartphones)

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  • Mounting System: Hook and loop Velcro.
  • Dimensions: 7.9 x 3.1 x 3.0 inches
  • Weight: 5oz
  • Capacity: 0.4L
  • Waterproof? No

The Timbuk2 Goody Box Frame Bag is great for riders that can’t stand to be out of sight of their smartphones. The front of the bag has a touch-sensitive thermoplastic urethane (TPU) clear cover that gives you full access to your phone whilst riding. 

This is a great feature for navigating using your smartphone. The phone compartment is a tight enough fit that you don’t need to worry about your expensive phone flying out on a trail. 

The bag is secured closed using a Velcro lining and this makes access extremely easy. Once inside the compartment is spacious and there is really convenient storage for cash and credit cards on the back of the cover. 

The bag is held in place on the bike using two Velcro straps around the top tube and one around the steerer.

Features:

  • Touch sensitive compartment to keep smartphone in view.
  • Convenient credit card and cash storage.
  • The reflective accents add safety in low light. 

5. Blackburn Outpost Top Tube Bag (best bolt-on bag)

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  • Mounting System: Hook and loop Velcro with bolt-on option.
  • Dimensions: 9.3 x 31.5 x 47.2 inches
  • Weight: 6.5oz
  • Capacity: 0.5L
  • Waterproof? No

The Blackburn Outpost Top Tube Bag offers lots of organizational potential thanks to its myriad of different pouches, including a handy mesh pocket on the front to give easy access to smartphones.  

To maximise the organization the main compartment of the bag can be divided using a Velcro divider. The bright red interior of the bag provides excellent contrast, even in low light, and really helps to quickly find what you need.

There are also small pockets on the side of the bag that are a great place for storing nutrition. 

The Blackburn Outpost can be fitted to the bike using straps but the bolt-on option provides more security and makes for a cleaner look on the bike. 

Features:

  • M5 bolt-on option is great for a clean look on the bike. 
  • Mesh pocket on top for smartphone.
  • Easy to find items with the bright red interior.

6. REI Co-op Junction Top Tube Bag

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  • Mounting System: Hook and loop Velcro.
  • Dimensions: 8.2 x 4 x 2.5 inches
  • Weight: 5.9oz
  • Capacity: 1.3L
  • Waterproof? No

The REI Co-op Junction Top Tube Bag is a simple yet effective bag that sports some pretty retro looks. 

The storage comprises one large main compartment that is accessible through an easy-access double zip. There is also a handy side pouch that would make a great place for storing any fuel your need on your ride. 

This is a back to basics bag that does the simple stuff well. The durable nylon fabric has enough weather-proofing to keep everything dry if you are caught riding in a rainstorm. 

The bag is securely attached to the top tube using the ubiquitous Velcro straps but in contrast to most top tube bags an adjustable bungee cord is used to secure it to the head tube.

Features:

  • Handy full length outer pocket.
  • Dual zipper is easy to open and close on the bike.
  • Reflective logo for added safety.

7. Trek Bontrager Pro Speed Box

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  • Mounting System: Hook and loop Velcro
  • Dimensions: 7.9 x 2.5 x 3.0 inches
  • Weight: 1.9oz
  • Capacity: 0.46L
  • Waterproof? No

The Trek Bontrager Pro Speed Box is a low profile top tube bag that has just enough volume to be a useful addition to any bike.

There is nothing innovative about using Velcro to attach the bag to the top tube but the way the loose ends of the Velcro straps are routed internally means they do not flap around in the wind. 

Aside from the main compartment, there are mesh elastic pockets on either side of the bag that add to its overall versatility. 

Features:

  • Useful external mesh pockets. 
  • Internally routed excess Velcro straps.
  • Low profile.

8. ROCKBROS Top Tube Bike Bag 

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  • Mounting System: Hook and loop Velcro
  • Dimensions: 8.7 x 3.9 x 2.2 inches
  • Weight: 3.5oz
  • Capacity: 1L
  • Waterproof?: No

The ROCKBROS Top Tube Bag is a great option for riders on a budget but still want full waterproofing. It is rated to IPX4 standard meaning that the contents should remain dry if you are caught riding in a rainstorm. 

The design is understated and elegant with nice straight edges and lines. 

Unlike most top tube bags, The ROCKBROS top tube bag is rigid and so it won’t bulge even when stuffed full of your riding essentials.

The two side pockets off the main compartment help to organize the contents of the bag and are great for keeping your smartphone out of harm’s way. 

Features:

  • Versatile external elastic rope for storing items within easy reach.
  • Rigid bag that won’t bulge.
  • Great weatherproofing at a great price. 

9. Topeak TopLoader Top Tube Bag

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  • Mounting System: Hook and loop Velcro
  • Dimensions: 9.3 x 4.7 x 2.8 inches
  • Weight: 169g
  • Capacity: 0.75L
  • Waterproof?: Yes, with the integrated rain cover.

The Topeak TopLoader Top Tube Bag makes excellent use of the spacious main compartment. 

For the ultimate in weather resistance, Topeak have taken a decidedly low tech route and integrated a rain cover. 

If you suddenly find yourself riding through a sheet of rain, you can remove the rain cover from the pouch and protect your bag and contents. 

It does, however, sort-of defeat the purpose of a top tube bag at this point. All the benefits of quick and easy access have now been lost with the rain cover on. 

Despite the roomy storage, the bright yellow interior of the bag makes it great for finding stuff even in low light conditions. 

Features:

  • Hidden pull-out rain cover for ultimate waterproofing.
  • Bright yellow interior is great for finding what you need.
  • Handy, moveable internal divider to optimise storage. 

10. Deuter Energy Bag (best budget bag)

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  • Mounting System: Velcro hook and loop
  • Dimensions: 2.0 x 2.8 x 5.5 inches
  • Weight: 2.3oz
  • Capacity: 0.5L
  • Waterproof? No

Despite its budget price, the Deuter Energy Top Tube Bag looks great on the bike. Without reinventing the wheel, it is just really useful.

The bag is attached to the top tube using a couple of Velcro straps and two Velcro straps instead of the more traditional single strap around the steerer. 

In terms of waterproofing, the contents should stay dry for around fifteen minutes in a rain shower.

In terms of storage, the Deuter Energy bag sits on the lower end of the scale and, in keeping with its overall simple design, it has just one main compartment. This should give rough capacity for around 7-8 energy gels if you plan to carry nutrition.

There is also a small, external side-zip compartment that is ideal for storing cash and cards.

Features:

  • Reflective strips add visibility.
  • Double steerer tube straps for added security and extra compatibility.
  • Handy and secure external side-zip pocket. 

How To Choose A Top Tube Bag For Your Bike

Mounting Types

Attach a top tube bag to a bike frame with supplied Velcro strapsPin

Most top tube bags feature a hook and loop Velcro mounting system. It varies from bag-to-bag but in general there will be at least one strap securing the bag to the top tube and another securing the bag to the head tube.

Bolt-on mounting systems are also common and are usually found on touring bikes

Read more: Touring Vs Road bikes

Video: Installing Bike Bags

Capacity

The capacity of the top tube bag is perhaps the single biggest consideration for riders and wholly depends on what you plan to use it for. 

A lot of riders like to keep camera equipment within easy reach in a top tube bag and this usually means bags with a larger capacity. 

For others the top tube bag is an ideal place to store nutrition when out on a ride where a smaller bag will do.

Access

Top tube bags are a great option because of their easy accessibility on the bike. The stuff you need is right there in front of you. 

No matter how good the other features of a top tube bag are, if you can’t open it easily out on the road with one hand then it becomes almost redundant. 

The majority of top tube bags use a zipper system to open and close the bag but there are subtle differences between each design. Some top tube bags have foregone the zipper altogether and instead use a magnet-buckle design.

easy access to essential items stored inside a top tube bagPin

Weather Proofing

Whilst we would all love to ride in perfect, sunny conditions all the time inevitably there will be times when we find ourselves suffering through a downpour. 

If you like to ride with expensive camera equipment in your top tube bag then waterproofing is a necessity. 

Frequently Asked Questions

Will A Top Tube Bag Get In The Way Of My Knees When Pedalling?

Some top tube bags are better than others in this respect. To prevent this look for a bag that attaches securely and has more rigid sides to stop them bulking out. 

Can I Fit A Phone In A Top Tube Bag?

Most top tube bags will fit a modern smartphone. Some even have special integrated compartments to protect the phone. 

Should I Get A Saddle Bag Instead?

Saddle bags are more discrete on the bike but they do not allow for easy access when cycling. If the priority is easy access to nutrition/ equipment then a top tube bag is the better option. 

Final Thoughts

With the increased popularity of gravel riding and even bike packing adventures, top tube bags are no longer frowned upon by cyclists. 

The Revelate Designs Mag-Tank 2000 Top-Tube Bag is our overall winner mostly for the innovative accessibility on the bike. For quick access, it is an unbeatable design.

For those on a budget, the Deuter Energy Top Tube Bag competes admirably against more expensive top tube bags. The REI Co-op Junction Top Tube Bag wins in the battle of looks with a distinctly retro design. 

Top tube bags provide vital storage space in an easily accessible way. Using one means no more bulging jersey pockets or muddy saddle bags. 

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Mark W
Mark W
I’m a cycling enthusiast, and the founder and chief editor of Bike Push. If I’m not working on this website, then I’m out on the bike clocking up the miles. I want to help others get the most out of cycling.

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