The Passport Cycle Handlebar bag is a simple bit of kit that performs well and thanks to the low price, it's perfect for beginner bikepackers or those not wanting to break the bank.
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This one size fits all handlebar bag is part of a line of budget bikepacking gear from Passport Cycles, who offer a complete set of bags (frame, seat, top tube and handlebar) for just £145. The construction of this bar bag, along with others in the range, is very simple – essentially its a dry-bag with integrated straps to attach it to your bars. The 11L (dimensions of 38 x 17 x 17 cm) bag is constructed from a waterproof 210D TPU laminated fabric, along with 500D tarpaulin reinforcement around the mounting area.
The bag is held in place securely with two padded and rubberised handlebar straps and peculiarly, two straps for the headtube. Personally, I would remove one of these as the bag is still held securely with just the one in use, without it would reduce the amount of faff in fixing the bag to the bike. I was slightly perplexed by how long the straps were, which seems excessive and is long enough to get caught up in the wheels. I would recommend cutting these down to a more suitable length.
Whilst the bag is held in place very securely, it doesn’t leave a huge amount of space for your hands but that’s not unusual with this kind of design. It is definitely nice to have a double ended roll-top closure which means air doesn’t get trapped at the bottom of the bag when stuffing things in. Leave the bottom open, stuff and close both ends to get the most compact packed volume possible.
The claimed 11L volume seems a little optimistic, though this may well be because I had to squeeze the bag between my 560mm flared drop bars and add extra rolls to the closure to make it fit. The bag would be well suited to the wide bars of a mountain bike, where the relatively small diameter would also minimise interference with suspension.
As I had it configured there’s just about enough space to squeeze a lightweight (summer) sleeping bag and roll mat. I have to admit that I usually prefer a harness where I can adapt the dry bag volume and shape based on what I am carrying and riding – for example at the moment I would really prefer to sleep in my winter-weight bag which requires a bit more space – realistically the size of this one is adequate for most situations though.
Reflective details on the pack improve visibility and all the seams are sealed to keep your items dry. Riding through snow, mud and rain I’ve never had any problems with my things getting wet. If I'm being picky it would be nice to have dedicated points to attach an extra bag on the front for anything that needs to be accessed on the go.
With bags, I generally feel that simpler is better and this, being essentially a dry-bag with mounting straps is as simple as it gets. In turn, that means there’s less to go wrong and that this durable bag will withstand lots of abuse and continue to protect your luggage. Whilst it may not have the refinement of high-end bags, at £35 this bar bag is not to be sniffed at. For the bikepacker on a budget or someone looking to get their first full set of bags there’s not much that can be said against this one.