Whether you’re heading out on a bikepacking adventure or you’re simply nipping to the supermarket, bike trunk bags are handy storage solutions for bicycles.
If you cycle to work or school then these bags become essential.
Bike trunk bags are fitted to a frame that sits above your rear wheel. They are much better than traditional backpacks as they remove strain and pressure from your shoulders and back.
There are lots of bike trunk bags on the market. Many are designed with a specific purpose in mind.
Those aimed at commuters tend to have multiple compartments including specific tablet or laptop sections. General bags for running errands usually have a single large compartment that you can throw all your stuff in.
Choosing the right bag can be a bit of a minefield. Often, we tend to go for the cheapest option but these don’t always meet our needs.
To help you out, we’ve pulled together some of the best bike trunk bags available and given them a thorough examination.
We’ve highlighted their greatest features and impartially explored their weaknesses.
Hopefully, you’ll find the right bag for your commute or holiday on our list.
If nothing takes your fancy, we’ve put together a buyer’s guide that covers the key features and questions about bike trunk bags. This information will help you make an informed purchase when you do find your perfect bag.
So, let’s strap up and dive in!
Already in the saddle and ready to go? Here’s our top pick:
- Made from carbon composite leather.
- Has two lateral and two lineal straps.
- Multiple storage compartments.
- Fold out panniers.
- Added height on main compartment.
- Converts into a messenger bag and a holdall.
- Bottle holder.
- Removable compartment organizers.
OUR TOP PICK
This is the most expensive option on our list. It is produced by Rockbros, a Chinese bike accessory company. They have a huge range of well-reviewed products for all aspects of biking.
The bag is made of carbon composite leather which is much more durable than either polyester or nylon. It has extra thick padding on the base and sides to protect your belongings. The padding is substantial and helps give the bag for as well as padding.
A great touch is the removable sectioning walls. You can place them wherever you want in the main compartment to help you organize your kit. The main compartment also has an extendable portion which allows you to carry taller items.
By far the best feature is the fold away panniers. The two side compartments can be unzipped to produce two very large panniers that hang down the sides of your wheel. With these in use, the bag has a capacity of 35L which is unbeatable.
While the leather isn’t waterproof, the bag is shipped with a rain cover which will protect your belongings. The cover is a high visibility cover that will keep you safe on dark and stormy nights.
The bag is fairly heavy due to the construction materials but the shoulder and hand straps make carrying it fairly easy. You will need to get used to the weight of it when cycling.
- High-quality materials.
- Large storage spaces.
- Multiple compartments.
- Water bottle holder.
- Rain cover provided.
- Convertible carry options.
- Foldaway panniers.
- Extra attachment straps.
- Padded for protection.
- A little bit heavy.
This is a versatile bag that you can use for the whole day, not just your commute. It has a durable shoulder strap for you to carry the bag and strong velcro straps to keep it attached to your bike.
This bag has a padded base and sides so it holds its shape even when it’s empty. This makes it much easier to access your stuff, especially when it’s fairly empty.
The padding also serves to protect your items. This is especially true of the double padded base which stops your items from bashing against the rack.
The bag is made from 600 water-resistant denier nylon. This means you’ll need a waterproof cover to fully protect your belongings. The seams and zippers are reinforced to prevent leakages and offer more support.
You have a decent amount of storage options with this bag. There are three side pockets, a drink pocket, and the main compartment.
The storage capacity isn’t listed but one reviewer has helpfully measured the bag. They say that it happily carries a six-pack and some snacks. You know, that standard unit of measurement…
In any case, you’ll find that there is plenty of space in this bag for clothes, books, or groceries.
The only major issue seems to be with the fitting. The bag attaches to racks with one strap at the base and two straps on the front.
The base strap goes around the rack while the front straps attach to your saddle or the front of the rack.
However, some rack models seem to be too wide for the base strap or too short for the front racks to attach to.
Overall, this is a functional bit of kit that could do with some refining. It’s perfectly fine for errands and a commute as long as it’s paired with a waterproof cover.
- Can be converted to a messenger bag.
- Decent carrying capacity.
- Several differently sized compartments.
- Padded and reinforced to hold its shape.
- Not fully waterproof.
- Doesn’t fit all racks.
This is a decently priced trunk bag that has a number of nifty features to make it more user friendly.
The bag is decent in size but probably not the largest available. It’s ideal for commuting but less suitable for longer adventures.
The two side pockets are a good size and reach the height of the bag. This makes a difference. Most side pockets tend to be fairly small and compact.
It is convertible into a messenger bag or a holdall. The smaller handles on the top are great for taking it into work or the gym.
This bag is made from polyester which is less durable than nylon or leather. It is not fully waterproof so you’ll need a cover to protect your belongings.
That being said, the vast majority of reviews mention that the bag is durable and secure.
This bag has two velcro loops that are designed to hold a bike pump. It’s a nice touch that shows that the manufacturer considers the users.
Velcro is also used to attach the bag to your rack. Two go under the rack and a third attaches to the front of the rack.
It has better sized straps than some others on this list however, there are some reports of it being awkward to attach.
It does fit most bike racks but if your rack is particularly small you might find that the straps don’t quite line up.
The bungee cord on the top of the bag is ideal for helmets, jackets, or maps. If you need to carry awkwardly sized items, then the bungee cord will come in very handy.
- Great value for money.
- Multiple storage options.
- Converts into a messenger bag or holdall.
- Bungee cord top.
- Decent amount of storage.
- Bike pump straps.
- Some difficulty when fitting.
- Water Bottle holder is too small for standard bottles.
This bag is Amazon’s choice of bike bags. It is the cheapest option on our list but it performs very well.
It has a 13L capacity split across two side compartments, a main compartment and a back pocket. The internal compartment does have a slim, padded pocket that helps you keep your things organized.
If you’re using the bag to commute, you’ll appreciate this pocket. It will keep your diary, books, and tablets away from your lunch.
The bungee cord on the top of the bag is handy for storing your helmet or jacket. If you’re headed out on an adventure, you can also use it for your maps or guides.
This is another convertible bag. It can be worn as a messenger bag or a crossbody bag. The strap is sturdy but basic. It does the job but it’s not particularly comfortable.
This functional but not fancy theme continues over the rest of the bag. The bag itself is made from polyester which is not the most durable material.
The padding is made from PE cotton. It doesn’t provide much support or protection. The seams are reinforced with piping which does help the bag keep its shape.
One of the great things about this bag is that you can get it in different colors. It’s a small thing but very few bike bags give you any color options.
There are some fitting issues. The straps are large to accommodate different types of racks. However, they are slightly overlarge.
This means that it can be a bit loose on the rack. It is fixable with some zip ties or creativity, but it’s not ideal.
If you’re looking for a cheap and cheerful bike trunk bag, you can do a lot worse than this. For the price, it does very well.
It’s not something you want to put through a lot of use and abuse but it will manage your daily commute.
- Good value for money.
- Decent storage space.
- Multiple compartments give you options.
- Color options.
- Additional bungee cord for storage.
- Not waterproof.
- Extra-long attachment stripes.
- Made from cheaper materials.
This is one of the most expensive bike bags on our list. It comes from a high-quality manufacturer who has been making bike accessories since 2008. A number of their products have won awards.
Their trunk bag is well designed and has a 17L capacity spread over several compartments. The main compartment will carry all of your bits and pieces.
If you’re traveling to work or school, you’ll be able to carry books, tablets, and a change of clothes easily.
The side and back compartments are handy for holding the things you need quick access to. Whether you want to keep spare inner tubes, your keys, phone, or cards close at hand, you’ll have plenty of options.
As with some other bags, this one converts to a messenger bag if required. The strap is tucked away inside an inner mesh pocket when not in use. This is much more convenient than some other designs. The strap is also padded to be more comfortable on your shoulder.
The bag is padded and reinforced to hold it’s shape and features reflective patches on three sides for safety. The bag manages to stay lightweight despite its padding so carrying it around isn’t a chore.
The major problem with this bag is that it only fits Ibera racks. It uses a clip system that makes fitting and removing the bag easy. As long as you have an Ibera rack that is.
- Padded and reinforced.
- Converts to a messenger bag.
- Plenty of storage space.
- Multiple easy-access compartments.
- Reflective strips.
- Fairly expensive.
- Only fits Ibera racks.
- Not waterproof.
Best Bike Trunk Bags Buying Guide
Bicycles are a great way to get around but they come with a few downsides. Firstly, they’re not waterproof, and secondly, they don’t have built-in storage.
To combat this, bike bags and panniers can be attached to pretty much every location of your bike.
Trunk bags are just one of the many storage options you have. They sit above your wheel on a dedicated frame and tend to have a few liters of storage.
Usually, the bags attach to the frame with a couple of clips and adjustable straps.
There are a few things you should consider when choosing a bike trunk bag. These features are important for keeping your kit safe and dry.
If you’re commuting to work or school, you need a waterproof trunk bag. You’ll probably be carrying important books or documents, maybe a laptop, perhaps your office wear. None of these things are improved by water.
Choose a bag that is made from waterproofed materials like vinyl or treated nylon. If the fabric itself isn’t waterproof, check whether a waterproof cover is supplied.
You need to remember that water-resistant is not the same as waterproof. If a bag is listed as water-resistant it will not keep the contents dry in a downpour.
Other waterproofing features to look out for are taped seams and reinforced seams. Remember that while additional pockets might be handy, they also introduce more seams and zippers which are where water will likely get in.
How much space you need depends on how you use your bike. For commuting, you can probably do with the smaller 6-liter bags. Unless you have particularly bulky items you want to transport.
For biking holidays, you’ll want larger capacity bags. Some go as large as 35l and beyond. These are perfect for carrying your tent, clothes, and other kit.
More important than the capacity of the bag is the storage compartments themselves. One big compartment is fine for running errands and might be appropriate for carrying some camping kit. However, one large compartment makes it difficult to pick out individual items.
If you are using your bike for commuting, you probably want a couple of compartments. You might want to choose a bag that has smaller external compartments for things like keys and passes.
Some bags also have a specific laptop or device compartments. These will usually be padded to protect your device from impacts.
Some trunk bags are supplied with straps that can convert your trunk bag into a backpack or messenger bag. This is convenient for running errands and commuting as it means you don’t need to bring an additional bag.
When looking for a convertible bag, you should check the strap configuration and materials. If you like backpacks, make sure the straps work that way. If you prefer a messenger bag, look for a bag with a long strap.
You’ll also want to consider the shape of the bag. Having a big, ungainly bag bouncing off your hip will not be comfortable. It will also look weird. Just don’t do it. Go for a bag with a slimmer profile. Perhaps one that doesn’t have a solid form.
Cycling can be dangerous, particularly in urban environments where you have to share the road with cars. Trunk bags sit behind the saddle so they will be seen by cars behind you.
Some bags come with reflective strips that help cars and other cyclists see you. You want to make sure that the reflective parts are substantial enough to be seen by other road users.
The other safety consideration you have with bike trunk bags is how they attach to your rack. You need to make sure that the straps are strong and that the buckles are secure.
Look for straps with reinforced stitching and buckles made from durable materials like heavy-duty plastic or metal. Push release buckles are sturdy enough for trunk bags.
Velcro is used by some bags as a fastener. Velcoro can be strong and easy to fit and remove. However, velcro also loses its strength over time.
Frequently Asked Questions
Are trunk bags the same as panniers?
Technically, no. Panniers are bags that hang from the sides of your rear bike racks. Trunk bags sit on the top of the rack behind the saddle.
In practice, people tend to use the word pannier to refer to any kind of bike bag.
When you’re shopping, however, you want to make sure you search for bike trunk bags rather than panniers. If you search for panniers you’ll get panniers.
Will a trunk bag affect my balance?
You will need to get used to cycling with a trunk bag but this is true of any bike bag.
The good thing about trunk bags is that the weight is placed over the wheel. This is easier to get used to than having the weight on either side of the wheel as is the case with panniers.
You’ll need to be careful about how you fill your trunk bag. Heavier items should go nearer to the bottom of the bag. This helps to keep the center of gravity close to the bike frame.
You also need to make sure that loose items aren’t going to move around and throw your balance off.
Do I need a rack for a trunk bag?
Yes, you do. I don’t know how you’d attach the bag without a rack.
Luckily, you don’t need a particular rack. Trunk bags will have universal fittings that attach to any bike rack.
If you are opposed to having a rear rack, you might want to look at saddlebags. These are bags that attach to the saddle post rather than a rack.