The Mack Workshop Bar Bag does exactly what the name suggests, offering a decent amount of bar mounted storage. It's tough, well-priced and there are plenty of custom options available for those that want to fine-tune their riding or bikepacking setup.
Made in the UK, this is a super simple bag that can hang directly from your handlebars or you can attach it to the front of another, larger handlebar bags to use as an extra pocket for your camera, food, phone, gloves and so on. It attaches directly to the bars via Velcro straps, which can be removed if you want to attach it via webbing to a larger bag.
If you do want to cinch it down to the fork crown or head tube there is a little loop on the underside of the bag that can be used for that purpose, though you'll have to use your own strap of velcro or cord. That’s it, there’s nothing complicated, no buckles or complicated routing diagrams to follow just two straps and you're away.
It’s not a big accessory bar bag which is both good and bad. I stuffed it full of a number of different items depending on the use and the trip I was on. There isn’t a size stated on the site so I’ve measured it and with the help of Google maths worked out it was that 1.8litres which looks about right. It neatly fits inside my 46cm drop bars and fitted perfectly on the front of Miss Grape Handlebar Bag on a Fosse Way mini adventure. I think it would be fair to say that any bigger and it would start to get in the way of the controls as there is no way of spacing it away from the bar. As it is, you can cram it full and it stays put perfectly and I detected no unwanted bounce or annoying flap on the front of my bike in all but the most aggressive riding.
It may be small but I found it was just the perfect size for my 6” phone’, snacks, buff, pump and a few energy gels and first aid kit. I even managed to ram my tool roll in there one day as I had nowhere else to put it. It has a separate inside pocket attached to the inside which is closest to the bike which I stuffed my phone wrapped in a Buff to protect it from the tool roll. Due to the opening being slightly off centre once hanging from the bars it can be awkward to get the phone out fast for that family picture opportunity but if you asked nicely you could have the inside pocket attached the opposite side, so facing forwards so to speak for no extra which for me would solve that issue.
X-Pac VX21 is the black diamond pattern material and is almost ubiquitous in the bikepacking industry. It’s very light at 61g, tough, abrasion resistant and waterproof but only available in Black from Mack Workshop. If you want a different colour you would need to choose the hard-wearing equally waterproof 1000D Cordura which is available in colours.
It’s important to note that whilst both these materials are waterproof the stitching and zip can and will let water in if it's heavy and consistent enough. The zip is heavily water resistant but a torrential downpour will get through eventually especially if it's mounted on the front of the bike and you are pushing on to get somewhere dry. Protection of your valuables is down to you, as it should be, don’t rely on others and use a ziplock or dry bag for your £800 phone - you have been warned.
This is an extremely useful piece of kit whether used on its own or as part of your bikepacking kit. It holds more stuff than you back pockets and therefore stops any Hunchback of Notre Dame impersonations. It’s customisable and good value for money comparing favourably with other brands available in the UK market. The added option of customisation is a great plus.