This handlebar bag from Polaris is a super simple, decent sized capacity bag for carrying bulky, lighter weight pieces of kit, like sleeping bags and clothing. There are a few things that would have improved the Ventura, but at its core, it performed reliably and effectively.
Built from a generic waterproof fabric, the shape is simple in its cylinder style, with fold and roll closure with snap-lock clip to hold it in place. When quite full, it was at times, tricky to get this closed tight and at least two rolls to make it firmly waterproof. The trick is obviously to not overfill, but stuffing a sleeping bag inside was enough to fill the bag quite amply unless it was in another compression sack.
It offers eight litres of space, but I suspect this can be a little more. It’s the same colourway as other items in the lineup, so all your bike packing kit can be matched - the colour scheme is also a practical choice to minimise the appearance of dirt and muck build up.
The pack is secured by two of the double velcro straps that came with this series of bags. They are solid in use and provide a multitude of ways to ensure the bag stays put and balanced when riding. I fitted it to wide, flat mountain bike bars, regular drop bars and also more specialist bars, as in the pictures.
It straps to the central part of the bars, with a stabilising strap around the head tube. Simple, effective and easy to adjust or take on and off. I did find the plastic parts a little clunky, and it was tricky to be able to close down on them without them resting against paintwork and avoiding cables.
Packing anything bulky into the bag is a bit of a mission at times, as the air can get trapped inside and you are wrestling against this a lot of the time. I found myself using smaller waterproof bags, which meant they reduced friction and went in easier. If there had been openings either end, it would have been a lot easier, but this increases the chances of water getting in or things spilling out as well as increasing cost.
I found that with prolonged use the bag material became more malleable and easier to pack stuff into, while the super simple nature of the design means its got very little to go wrong. Out riding off-road, the straps do a fine job of stabilising the loads and you don’t want to put anything too heavy in there or it creates a pendulum effect. The fabric is durable and easily washable - it took repeated hosing down.
There is a secondary layer of fabric on the reverse that seats against the underside of the handlebar and the face of the head tube - and it contains the strap holes to position the bag accurately. This looks to be glued or thermo welded against the waterproof fabric, and it offers some extra durable material in a place where rubbing and friction may cause wear. The texture is slightly grippy and seems to contribute to stabilising the bag when loaded.
The Ventura handlebar pack is economically priced, and whilst not offering any bells and whistles, it quietly and consistently got on with its job, keeping kit dry and stowed. I’d just like to have seen a little more refinement in the roll closure and maybe some method to ease packing items in easier. These are minor niggles and fundamentally the bag works really well.
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