Made by Scottish brand Camelchops, Mr Heckles is a beautifully made handlebar bag that can hold six litres of cargo. It attaches to any handlebar with Nano Voile straps and its fully customisable colourways easily make it one of the best handlebar bags.
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Camelchops Mr Heckles bar bag - Technical details
The bag is made of waterproof 1000D Cordura material and features one large main compartment, an internal pocket and a YKK Aquaguard zipper pocket at the front. It has a semi-rigid base that helps it hold its shape.
The colours of this bag are customisable and Camelchops offers plenty of different options so you can choose what colour you'd like each panel to be. The dimensions of the bag are L:250mm x D:110mm x H:330mm and it holds about six litres in volume.
The main compartment has a roll-top closure, secured with a nylon strap and a Fidlock magnetic buckle. The front and rear of the bag have Daisy Chain webbing (loops) for easy fitting to the bars. It also has them at the front for attaching lights, hanging your favourite mug or anything you wish.
The sides of the bag also have hooks for an optional shoulder strap, allowing you the option to use it as a shoulder bag.
Camelchops Mr Heckles bar bag - Performance
This bag has travelled with me to Paris and back during the testing period and it survived it all with flying colours. The bag is beautifully handmade and thoughtfully designed, and the customisable colour profile means it will match your bike and style seamlessly.
Most bar bags are either under five litres or above 10-litres, so this one is a great mid-range offering. The roll-top closure means there’s a lot of flexibility in the size of the bag, too, making it suitable for commuting, bikepacking or just a long day ride. I packed my shoes (they are small, though), a rain jacket, some snacks and spares in easily. I can also fit my DSLR camera with a longer lens with some soft things to prevent rattle, and could see this being ideal for summer commuting where all you need with you is a light set of clothes and shoes.
The internal pocket allowed for simple organising of the contents and I put anything flat (my Kindle fit in it perfectly - just in case I actually wanted to read when having a cafe stop) in the pocket while chunkier items occupied the large compartment. The yellow internal lining really helps you find what you're looking for.
The zipper pocket at the front was a good size for snacks, keys, money and other small items you want to access quickly. The YKK Aquaguard zipper ensures it will have a little more protection from rain than a regular zip.
The main compartment's roll-top closure is secured by a nylon strap and a Fidlock magnetic buckle. I found the buckle sometimes clacking against my computer mount, which also limited the height of the bag. Also because of the closure type (you cannot open a roll top from one side) you do need two hands to open it.
And talking of rain - this bag is made of durable 1000D Cordura throughout and is fully lined, making it waterproof. The seams are not taped, but the lining and the supporting base at the bottom will further help to keep water from seeping inside. I rode in torrential downpours and hours in some Scottish dreich, and although the bag was occasionally soaked from the outside, I never found this to be the case inside. If you regularly ride for hours in horrible weather, you might look for something with taped seams, but otherwise, this is more than weatherproof.
The bag attaches to the bars with 9in Voile Nano straps which in my personal opinion are the best way to attach any bag to your bars. They don’t lose their grip as velcro does, they don’t slip like nylon straps with buckles do, and they don't scratch your bars. Four foam blocks are also provided to protect the bars further, this also pushes the bag a little further off the headtube. It's worth noting that the bag can also be secured onto the frame with a bungee cord. I didn't find myself needing the foam blocks, but it is great they're provided for a customisable fit.
The bag is semi-rigid with just one base plate inside it, but I didn’t find that it rattled around at all when packed semi-full. It holds its shape nicely when off the bike and the softness makes it nice for fitting things in, but this is also one of the downsides. When not full, the lower front edge would flop forward with the weight of the contents and rub on the front tyre.
It’s worth mentioning that this is unlikely to be an issue for those with larger frames, but I ride small bikes and, on those, any bar bag is prone to the same issue. When I packed it fuller it always performed really well, and I like the fact that I could fit this bag on my narrow bars but still have a good amount of storage space.
Camelchops Mr Heckles bar bag - Verdict
At £75 this bag is not cheap - but it holds a very decent amount of cargo and it's great quality. The Chrome Doubletrack Handlebar Sling that Pat tested is a similar bag (but with velcro attachments) and slightly cheaper at £63. Outer Shell Adventure Drawcord Handlebar Bag is also similar in size but retails for £90 (up from when we reviewed it). Neither of these bags has the customisation options of Camelchops, either.
Overall, the Camelchops Mr Heckles bar bag is an excellent handlebar bag that benefits from fully customisable colourways, great handmade quality and ample storage space.