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Check out the Recommends Bike Bags and Bike Racks of the Year 2022/23

Whether you're commuting or in search of adventure, take a look at the very best bags and racks that we’ve reviewed over the past 12 months

Here are the very best bags and racks that have made it into Recommends in 2022.

We’ve always included bags and racks in our ‘Accessories’ awards in previous years, but we’ve given them their own category this time around. Why? Because the market has been given a real boost over the past couple of years with the growing popularity of gravel and adventure riding.

Between and our sister site, we reviewed loads of seriously impressive bags and racks in 2022, and here are the very best of them.

How our awards work

Every month we select the top accessories, bikes, parts and clothing we’ve reviewed for Recommends, the section of the site devoted to the best new products out there (if a company didn't send us a particular product, we can’t review it or rate it and that means it can't be considered here). 

We’ve now been back to Recommends and looked again at each product that made the cut. We’re not arranging bags and racks into a top-10 (which is what we do with our various bike categories) but we are giving out three types of award:

Bargain Buy This goes to the product that we feel gives the best value for money.

Money No Object We take the price out of the equation for this one; it’s all about the performance.

Editor’s Choice This award is won by the product that gives the best combination of performance and value for money.

Let’s see which products impressed our reviewers most...

Restrap Race Aero Bar Bag, £99.99

2022 Restrap Race Aero Bar Bag 3.JPG

Restrap’s Race Aero Bag is designed to work with aero bars on long-distance adventure rides, and it fits securely to the bike. Even when loaded up there is minimal sway. The two-piece design makes it easy to grab or remove kit from your bike should the need for speed be important, and though it’s not cheap, it’s exceptionally well made.

The Race Aero Bag uses a holster and dry bag design with the cradle using four straps, two for each tri-bar.

Once the holster is fitted it’s just a matter of inserting the dry bag. This is fully waterproof and has a volume of seven litres. Restrap recommends rolling the end over three times before clipping it closed to stop water ingress through the opening. We rode in the rain with a headwind, and nothing got in.

Restrap’s bags are handmade in its Yorkshire factory and come with a lifetime warranty – not that you should need to use it, as the Aero Race Bag is so well made.

The holster has a hardshell carcass made from VX21, which is a waterproof material made from layers of PET film, nylon and polyester. It’s very robust and durable, so you aren’t going to need to worry about bumps and scrapes. All of the strapping is also very tough and there is no weakness to any of the stitching around the clips and buckles.

Why it’s here Excellent build quality, and a bag you can rely on when speed is important
Buy for £99.99 from Restrap 
Read the review 

Oxford Aqua Evo 22L Backpack, £89.99

Oxford Aqua Evo 22L Backpack

The Oxford Aqua Evo 22L Backpack is waterproof, well made and useful for shop runs and commutes. It’s easy to use and – unless you’re desperate for brand cachet or designer looks – better than a lot of the competition.

If you want to carry stuff comfortably and feel completely secure it won’t get wet, the Aqua Evo is an excellent way to do it. It’s not huge, but as it takes a normal plastic shopping bag’s worth of stuff it’s a useful size for urban runs.

Firmly Velcroed inside is a similarly useful padded sleeve (25cm wide, 40cm deep and 31cm high), and if your laptop is more than 31cm wide it can poke out the sleeve-top, safely retained by an elastic strap. You also get a couple of smaller fabric pockets and a zipped mesh one.

Four ’AirTech’ pads hold the bag away from your back, and the big gaps – along with the crinkle-cut foam – do a pretty good job of letting you cool.

The shoulder straps are well padded (and mesh-backed for ventilation), and you get webbing chest and waist straps.

The straps are easily adjustable for a comfy, secure fit, as are the buckles for securing the opening.

Out on the bike the Aqua Evo ignores rain – beyond the straps and back pads staying a bit damp for a while – and proved 100 per cent waterproof, even when it suffered a truly biblical downpour for several minutes.

Overall, this is a great pack that does exactly what it promises, carrying your stuff comfortably and securely while keeping it dry.

Why it’s here Totally waterproof, very ruggedly made and cheaper than some less capable competition
Buy for £55.99 from Winstanleys Bikes 
Read the review 

Vel Seat Pack 7L, £65

2021 Vel Seat Pack 7L.jpg

The Vel Seat Pack is very well made, user-friendly, and stable on the bike, and has a nifty air purge valve to make the most of its capacity. It’s constructed using a tough Hypalon material, the same stuff that rigid inflatable boats are made from, and is highly durable and totally waterproof. 

The Vel Seat Pack is very well made, user-friendly, and stable on the bike, and has a nifty air purge valve to make the most of its capacity. It’s constructed using a tough Hypalon material, the same stuff that rigid inflatable boats are made from, and is highly durable and totally waterproof. 

This excellent seatpack is easily attached using the two loops through the saddle rail and a Velcro strap around the seatpost. This pulls nice and tight, with a generous amount of Velcro to hold it secure.

The purge valve makes it easy to squeeze any air from the bag when rolling it up, to make the most of all seven litres, and the two straps to compress the bag are on a loop, so they pull tight but don’t have any excess dangle, like you can find on some seatpacks. 

The area of the pack closest to the seatpost has the most reinforcement, where the Hypalon material forms a box section - this is a great area for packing in heavier items like tools and CO2 cartridges, leaving the more pliable section of the pack for squashier items like clothing.

It’s fully waterproof too, which you’d expect being made of boat material; everything stays bone dry, and the underside acts as an extra mudguard, which you’ll likely be thankful for along any filthy local lanes.

Overall, it’s a fantastic, user-friendly seatpack that should last years.

Why it’s here Excellent user-friendly seatpack that should last years, and for a great price
Buy for £45 from Sigma Sports 
Read the review 

Ortlieb Seat-Pack QR, £155

2022 Ortlieb Seat Pack QR Hero

Ortlieb’s Seat Pack QR is a saddle bag that just doesn’t wobble. It mounts extremely easily via an ingenious yet simple system that clamps to your saddle rails and is compatible with both fixed or dropper seat posts. It’s waterproof, has a 13L capacity and features the usual Ortlieb signature air release valve.

The bag features a high-quality welded construction with a wide opening and easy access waterproof roll-top style closure. That air release valve then helps you roll the bag down tight by releasing any trapped air. It’s easy to fit too, but we do recommend checking the handy infographic before purchasing just to check.

The top of the bag has the classic bungee attachment for extra stuff such as waterproofs, there’s a plastic skid mudguard on the underside to prevent accidental tyre wear if you mount it too low, a Velcro strap keeper to avoid irritating flapping and reflective detailing on the rear. Everything really has been thought of.

However, the one area where this really shines is its sway-free performance even on arduous off-road terrain. While not the lightest or the cheapest, the Ortlieb Seat-Pack QR is impressive, being both incredibly stable and a doddle to fit. Our reviewer said buy this if "you want the best non-waggling seatpack out there at the moment." 

Why it’s here A fantastic decent-size seat pack that doesn’t waggle or sway under heavy use
Buy for £136 from Cycle Store 
Read the review 

76 Projects Micro Piggy Stick On, £17.50

76 Projects Micro Piggy Stick On Review 1

The 76 Projects Micro Piggy is a handy and reliable item for carrying extra kit. We were impressed with how much it can hold, the fact it can be stuck anywhere, and how well it stayed in place. It’s well made, performs as it should, and is very affordable. 

The Micro Piggy is made from 3D-printed nylon and it feels robust. The base platform is 40mm wide and 90mm long and it comes with a 300mm long by 40mm wide Velcro strap to secure whatever you need to carry. It’s easy to use too, you simply secure items by doubling the Velcro back and securing them down. It’s simple and solid.

The version we reviewed was the stick-on version, but there’s also a bolted version available. This version uses a 3M tape that has stuck fast through all the riding, weather and loads we put on it.
Of course, there’s a limit to what you can carry but a spare inner tube, CO2 cartridge and valve, plus a multitool can all be stowed quite happily.

With versatile mounting placement and a low weight (22g), this is a useful addition to the bike. It’s a neat, low-weight design that works and doesn’t cost the earth. 

Why it’s here A light, well-designed product for carrying essential kit
Buy for £17.50 from 76 Projects 
Read the review 

Restrap Race Saddle Bag 7L, £119.99

2022 Restrap Race Saddle Bag.jpg

Restrap’s Race Saddle Bag provides a decent amount of storage that’s quick and easy to access. It’s secure, too, and very well made – which is a theme with all of the Restrap bags that feature here.

Fitting the Restrap Race Saddle Bag to your bike is simple and takes just a couple of minutes. Two upper straps loop around the saddle rails and another strap wraps around the seatpost. There’s no Velcro to destroy your shorts. Foam pads are included to give a secure fit and reduce the chance of any wear or rubbing against your components.

The Race bag stays secure with barely any sway at all – even when fully loaded up – and the magnetic strap always held firm during our review period.

The drybag rolls up at the top and then both corners clip together, creating a completely waterproof package.

The harness has a hardshell construction, created from VX21, a waterproof material that sandwiches a PET film between a 210-denier nylon on the outside and a 50-denier polyester backing. It also uses Hypalon for the strapping and edging.

The whole construction is scuff resistant and highly durable. It’s very well made too, by hand in Yorkshire, and comes with a lifetime warranty.

The Race Saddle Bag is quite an investment, but we can’t fault the quality or the way it fits to the bike securely and with little sway. The drybag/harness design also makes it quick and easy to remove your kit.

Why it’s here Exceptional build quality and waterproofing, with an excellent fit on the bike
Buy for £119.99 from Restrap 
Read the review

Camelchops Mr Heckles handlebar bag, £75

2022 Camelchops Mr Heckles bar bag-4

The Camelchops Mr Heckles is a beautifully made handlebar bag with a six-litre capacity. It attaches to your handlebar with Nano Voile straps and comes in fully customisable colourways.

The Mr Heckles 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 main compartment has a roll-top closure, secured with a nylon strap and a Fidlock magnetic buckle. The sides of the bag also have hooks for an optional strap, allowing you the option to use it as a shoulder bag. 

The roll-top closure means there’s a lot of flexibility in the size of the bag, making it suitable for commuting, bikepacking or just a long day ride, and an internal pocket allows for simple organising of the contents.

At £75 this bag isn’t cheap but it is excellent. The quality is high and you get a generous amount of storage space.

Why it’s here Great quality, customisable no-faff handlebar bag with plenty of space
Buy for £75 from Camelchops 
Read the review 

Osprey Metron 24 backpack, £140

Osprey Metron 24

The Osprey Metron 24 is a great pack for bike commuters, offering all the essential features needed for riding to and from work while distributing weight effectively. It’s also shaped brilliantly for wearing on the bike.

The 24 in the name refers to the 24L total capacity and you get a total of 14 storage compartments and pockets, plus two compartments that hold covers, all with flexible utility.

The spacious main compartment provides access to a two-level laptop sleeve, so you can keep your laptop (a 16in MacBook Pro fits inside no problem) and documents separate.

From here, you can also access a fully waterproof zipped shoe compartment, which can double as a dirty/wet kit zone, and there’s a smaller secondary compartment accessible from the top of the pack which houses four mini-sleeves for smaller items.

We could go on but, take our word for it, there are plenty of compartments for all your stuff here.

The shoulder straps are sizeable and take the strain well, as they’re joined to a full-width bracing strip at the top of the pack.

You get ’Airscape’ technology in the padded back and on the underside of the straps. Essentially, it’s a mesh design that enables air to flow between your back and the pack and under the straps. It can’t stop you sweating, but it does a good job of keeping air circulating.

Although £140 is a big investment for a commuter/do-it-all backpack, the features, usability and durability of the Metron 24 still make it a contender versus cheaper competition. It’s an excellent option.

Why it’s here One of the best commuter backpacks available today
Buy for £80.97 from Blacks 
Read the review 

Restrap Race Frame Bag Small, £79.99

2022 Restrap Race Frame Bag 2.jpg

Restrap’s Race Frame Bag Small is excellent quality, offers decent waterproofing and carries a fair amount of kit in an organised fashion. It’s not cheap, but a lifetime warranty allays any fears of this bag not lasting.

Restrap offers its Race frame bag in either a large 4.2-litre version (which also makes our list, below) or this 3-litre one. You can still carry most of the stuff you need for a day ride if you are using the small one on its own, or various essentials if you are using the bag as part of a system.

There’s a partition in the main pocket that runs down the centre of the bag, and also a couple of mesh pockets for keeping smaller things organised. This stops stuff rattling around when you’re riding on rough surfaces, and makes things easy to dig out on the move.

The zip on the other side gives you access to a slimmer ’document’ pocket – ideal for credit card, passport and so on.

Restrap has used a mixture of VX21 material and 1000D textured nylon to keep the elements out, and it does a great job. We had no issues with water getting inside. The fabrics are highly durable, too.

Fitment to your bike is simple, and the two tabs used for the top tube don’t clash with the fixing points of any of Restrap’s other bags.

Restrap’s bags are at quite a premium price point, but you can’t argue with the quality. Handmade in the company’s Yorkshire factory, they come with a lifetime warranty, and the finish is exceptional.

Why it’s here Very organised storage design with excellent build quality, and great attention to detail
Buy for £79.99 from Restrap 
Read the review 

Restrap Race Frame Bag Large, £89.99

2022 Restrap Race Frame Bag Large.jpg

A good bar bag should be capable of attaching to a multitude of bikes securely without unwanted movement, carry everything you want without impacting the quality of your ride and be able to survive the rigours of bike packing. The Restrap frame bag does all of this so it’s easy to recommend.

Restrap has earned itself a reputation for its frame bags being a good buy and this latest generation is no different. The race bag is available in two sizes, 3L and this larger one with a capacity of 4.2L. Despite its size, weighs in at a reasonable 236g.

All this carrying capacity could create a recipe for disaster but reviewer Iwein found that the Restrap bag was perfectly proportioned to fit in everything he needed for multi-day adventures without bulging or negatively impacting his ride.

There’s an optional Velcro divider to help keep things organised and attachment is taken care of by a well-executed, tried and tested method with rubberised tabs, Velcro straps and cam buckles; this helps to prevent any unwanted movement or swaying.

Overall, the race bag is perfect for longer trips with some waterproofing and impressive durability at a not-outrageous price.

Why it’s here Well-made and well-designed frame bag that should last a long time
Buy for £89.99 from Restrap 
Read the review 

Tailfin Alloy Rack, £219 

roadcc recommends awards 2022-23 - Bags and Racks of the Year - Money No Object

The Tailfin Alloy Rack was an instant hit when launched and still represents the last word in being adaptable, light, fast and practical. It offers options across the system to suit almost every bike and rider’s need, a plethora of spare parts, and a five-year warranty. Yes, it’s a hefty investment, but the performance is exceptional and that’s why it takes our Money No Object award.

Tailfin’s rack comprises two U-shaped frames attached by pivots at nearly right angles, and you attach bags to the top and sides of the resulting L-shape. Because it pivots in the middle and at each end, the system fits almost any rigid or full-suspension bike, and the bushings that allow articulation are replaceable.

Carrying a day’s worth of camping gear and food over rough terrain on a gravel bike, the Tailfin Alloy Rack causes no additional noise. Not a squeak! Nothing moves around, so barring the apparent weight, there’s no pendulum effect when pedalling hard. For longevity, the lack of movement helps to prevent progressive wear on moving parts and contact points.

What we love about the Tailfin rack system is that the luggage can be removed and reinstalled in seconds.

Tailfin does some nifty accessories to enhance the functionality. There’s a £20 light mount that fixes underneath the rear of the Trunk Bag, where you can then fit a seatpost-mount light that would otherwise be obscured. There’s also a £20 cargo mount with triple bosses that lets you carry a large bottle or item horizontally underneath the Trunk Bag, either strapped directly or in a cage.

At slightly over 600g in weight (including axle) with the capability to carry 27kg / 64 litres of stuff, this is an impressive feat of engineering and design wizardry.

Why it’s here A highly-adaptable, solid and silent way to carry gear on multiple bikes
Buy for £230 from Tailfin 
Read the review 

Tailfin Carbon Suspension Fork Mount, £50

Tailfin_SFM_Main.JPGThe Tailfin Carbon Suspension Fork Mount is a smart, lightweight and strong way to add cargo capacity to a suspension fork.

For riders who want to go bikepacking on their mountain bike, the options to fit bags and carry everything you need can be limited to a frame or handlebar bag. This mount, which can fit almost any suspension fork to give you the ability to carry more, is very well-made and a brilliant solution.

The carbon suspension fork mounts come as a pair, enough for one side of the fork. Fitting is quite simple, with the mount coming with different-length bolts to fit almost any suspension fork on the market. But you’ll need to grab a torque wrench as tolerances are quite low.

Once a cage or cages are fitted, it feels incredibly secure, with no movement at all, even when riding off-road on rough sections. Recommended weight-carrying capacities are 5kg for gravel riding or 3kg for trail riding, which is perhaps a more likely scenario given they are designed for mountain bikes. These would be ideal for carrying several full fluid canisters, a dry bag with clothing or a lightweight sleeping bag.

Why it’s here Smart, lightweight and strong way to add cargo capacity
Buy for £50 from Tailfin 
Read the review 

JACK The Bike Rack, £60 

roadcc recommends awards 2022-23 - Bags and Racks of the Year - Bargain Buy

JACK The Bike Rack is a front handlebar-mounted hanging rack that fits quickly without any tools, providing almost all types of bike with a cargo platform. It’s brilliant.

JACK is a no-frills system that comprises the JACK Rack itself, the correct handlebar diameter size adaptor, and two straps.

It is made from a 304 steel rod and fitting takes less than a minute. It slots either side of your stem with a snap-on fit, and then you strap it in place. The JACK rack is designed to carry loads up to 5kg.

Once fitted, you barely notice it. The JACK feels solid, and there are no issues whether you’re riding in the saddle or standing up. 

Reviewer Patrick Joscelyne reported that he just forgot about the rack even when it was fully loaded and he was riding rutted towpaths and lung-busting hills, and that has to be a strong recommendation.

There is a minimum height requirement of 225mm between the tops of your bars and the top of your tyre, and we did find changing to an adaptor for 25.4mm bars difficult, but this is a winner if you want a front rack that can carry decent range of kit, and that fits most bikes without need for tools or brackets.

The only downside is that the company behind the JACK is currently supplying to its Kickstarter and Indiegogo backers so you need to sign up to be notified when and where you can purchase the JACK.

Why it’s here Brilliant front rack that will work with almost any bike
Buy for £60 from Wholegrain Cycles 
Read the review 

Ortlieb Quick Rack, £70 

roadcc recommends awards 2022-23 - Bags and Racks of the Year - Editors Choice

Ortlieb’s Quick Rack is an affordable and versatile luggage system for bikes with eyelets, and even for frames without eyelets as long as they’re not made out of carbon. The rack is super quick to mount and take off, making it an excellent temporary option for carrying a decent amount of cargo. 

At first glance Ortlieb’s Quick Rack might look just like a regular, old-school rack but it takes just 15 seconds to put on and five seconds to take off. This is made possible by the hook system that attaches the rack to pegs attached to M5 or M6 eyelets. If you don’t have eyelets, you can still use the rack but you need Ortlieb’s Quick Rack Seat Stay Adapter, which costs £15 (this adapter isn’t compatible with carbon frames).

The rack has a maximum load of 20kg and its 10mm diameter tubing is made of aluminium. It’s compatible with full-suspension bikes and can be used with carbon frames – assuming the frame comes with suitable eyelets and doesn’t have a carbon seat post.

It can be used with both 26in and 29in wheels and you can attach almost any pannier with hooks or other bags with straps.

This rack has impressed us in the way it offers a lot of functionality at a low price. It is really stable in use, not moving at all once you have it set up - not even when it has the 10kg pannier on each side.

This is an excellent rack. It is a sturdy, relatively lightweight, and versatile product that will make a bikepacking, shopping, or commuting trip a breeze.

Why it’s here An excellent, great-value pannier rack that’s easy to mount or take off
Buy for £70 from Edinburgh Bicycle Cooperative 
Read the review 

Mat has been in cycling media since 1996, on titles including BikeRadar, Total Bike, Total Mountain Bike, What Mountain Bike and Mountain Biking UK, and he has been editor of 220 Triathlon and Cycling Plus. Mat has been technical editor for over a decade, testing bikes, fettling the latest kit, and trying out the most up-to-the-minute clothing. He has won his category in Ironman UK 70.3 and finished on the podium in both marathons he has run. Mat is a Cambridge graduate who did a post-grad in magazine journalism, and he is a winner of the Cycling Media Award for Specialist Online Writer. Now over 50, he's riding road and gravel bikes most days for fun and fitness rather than training for competitions.

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