This is a gear review about the Best Top Tube Bags for Bikepacking and Bicycle Touring 2023.
Bikepacking Top Tube Bags are sometimes called Top Tube Packs, Cockpit Bags, or Gas Tanks. Whatever you choose to call them they make for a very accessible bag on the top tube of the bicycle. They are perfect for snacks, electronics, sunscreen, or tools. Anything you want quick access to when cycling.
With so many top tub bags on the market, I’ve narrowed down the choice and put together a shortlist of the best gas tank bags, and added further info in a buyer’s guide that may help you choose which one is best for you.
Best Top Tube Bags 2023
The Best Top Tube Bags in 2023 are:
Best Top Tube Bag – Overall
> Nice, tapered aesthetic
> Waterproof fabric & zippers
> Foam padding on the inside to protect things like your phone
> Weatherproof, not waterproof
The Revelate Design Gas Tank Top Tube Bag is one of the iconic bags from Revelate Designs.
It features a hook and loop fastening system for both the top tube and the front tube, so you can rest assured that the bag will remain firmly secure to the bike. The front attachment has a daisy chain design, which means that you get a choice of three positions from which to attach it to the bike, to make room for spacers.
The fabric is water-resistant and so is the high-quality wrap-around zipper. In heavy rain water may find its way inside but overall it is fairly waterproof. It does a better job at keeping the weather out than the other Revelate Designs top tube bags.
It’s lightweight at just 3.5oz / 100g, yet offers substantial storage capacity at 1-liter capacity, measuring 9 x 4.5 x2.5 inches / 23 x 11 x 6cm.
Overall, this is one of the best top tube bags or gas tanks as they like to call it. The Gas tank has proven not only popular but functional within the Bikepacking community. Highly recommended.
Best Waterproof Top Tube Bag
> Choice of attachment options
> Spacious internal capacity
> High visibility orange zip pull
> Care is needed when unzipping a full bag as things may fall out.
The one thing about the Ortlieb Cockpit Pack is the fact that it is waterproof. Unlike most of the others in this review, you can leave your electronics in this top tube bag during rain and rest assured that they will stay dry. If you want waterproof, this is the bag.
It has a slightly smaller internal capacity in comparison to the other bags in this review as it is only 0.8L. It measures 9 x 5 by 4.5 inches / 23 x 13 x 11, and it weighs a mere 4 oz / 118 g. And it is well made and durable.
Overall, this is the best waterproof top tube bag on the market.
Best Bolt on Top Tube Bag
> Securely bolted onto the bike
> One-handed opening
> 5 great color options
> Requires a bolt-on ready bike frame
There are several manufacturers that have bolt-on top tube bags for the brands of bicycles that have bolts on the top tubes. The Oveja Negra Bolt on Snack pack will work well for these types of bikes.
The great thing about this pack is that you don’t have to worry about it sliding down the top tube bag, and there are no top tube straps to have to fiddle around with.
Instead, there are screws that go through the inside of the bag and through the top tube. It couldn’t be held on more securely.
It has a good capacity – it measures 8.5 x 4 x 3 inches / 21 x 10 x 7 cm and weighs a mere 3.6 oz / 102 g.
It’s made with rip-stop fabric and can be opened one-handed.
It’s available in a choice of 5 different color options. These include black, Multicam black, Multicam tropic, fluorescent orange, and coyote.
It is hard to choose which Revelate Designs Top Tube bag is best.
The Revelate Designs Mag Tank has good straps to secure the bag to the frame and doesn’t slide around much when in use.
It has a generous 1-liter capacity, able to accommodate all manner of gear. It weighs just 4.5 ounces and measures 8.5 by 5 by 2.5 inches. There are 3 color options.
The fabric is weather resistant but the large closure flap can allow water in during heavy rain. The closure flap makes accessing your gear quickly is easy, thanks to the magnetic closure on the right-hand side of the bag. Of all the bags in this gear review, this one is the easiest to access one-handed while cycling.
Overall, the Revelate Designs Mag Tank is one of the best Top Tube Bags on the market and worthy of its reputation as one of the best in the Bikepacking niche.
I used one of the earlier versions of the Topeak Fuel Tank with Charging Cable Hole and felt let down by poor-quality stitching and zip that failed after very little use. It was this early failure that caused me to give up on all top tube bags for a very long time. But things have improved with Topeak and every other manufacturer.
This very smart and sleek-looking top tube bag has proved very popular with customers due to the budget price.
It has two attachment points to the top tube and one with the central tube holding the handlebar, so you will be in no fear of the bag getting loose and coming off. It’s easy to attach with Velcro straps.
It’s made with quality, thick 420 Denier nylon, and PVC, and is waterproof. While the material may be waterproof it will still let water into the bag in heavy rain showers so like most other top tube bags it is water resistant, not waterproof.
The good feature of Topeak Fuel Tank is that it features a charging cable exit. This means that for riders who like to mount their smartphone or GPS unit onto the handlebar of the bike so that they can view it as they ride, they can charge it up with a power bank in the top tube bag at the same time. Or run a cable from a dynamo on the front wheel to the power bank.
And if you need to grab something from the bag quickly, there’s a handy loop on the zipper that you can pull down one-handed to access your gear immediately.
It comes in two different sizes. The medium one has 0.5L capacity, weighs just 4.2 oz / 120 g and measures 7 x 3 x 4 inches / 18 x 7 x 10 cm.
Then there’s the larger model. It has a 0.75L capacity, weighs 5.3 oz / 150 g and measures 9 x 3 x 4 inches / 23 x 7 x 10 cm.
Overall, the Topeak Fuel Tank with Charging Cable Hole is a worthy top tube bag for Bikepacking and Cycle Touring and well worth considering.
> Provides 1.3 liters of space
> Has a water-repellent coating
> There are two connection straps
> Not very weather resistant
If you are looking for a spacious top tube bag then this one might be a good option. It offers a whopping 1.3 liter space for all your gear. In addition to your essentials, you could find room for loads of snacks. But it is not very weather resistant and I would limit using it for electronics unless the weather was fine.
It has a large 1.3L capacity and is lightweight at 5.9 ounces. There’s a dual zipper on the top of the bag to give you instant one-handed access to your gear. And there’s a mesh pocket inside to keep smaller items in like keys. I like the low price and choice of 2 colors.
Overall, this is a good top Bikepacking Budget tube bag for cycling.
> Handy mesh pocket on top
> Enables one-handed opening
> Pocket for small items on the side
> Only available in black
Now, the Blackburn Outpost Top Tube Bag is a great bag for keeping your items organized and for keeping your most important items in view.
This is because, in addition to the large main compartment, there’s also a small zippered pocket on one side which is great for stashing keys or loose change, and there’s also a mesh pocket on top which is the perfect size for a smartphone or GPS unit.
There are two zippers for the main compartment, and it can be opened one-handed.
There are three attachment points to secure the bag to the bike, including 2 very wide straps for the top tube and one for the tube at the front.
The fabric is made from 4 mm thick, 70 denier rip stop nylon that won’t tear. And it has been treated so that rain simply drips from it rather than getting absorbed.
The Blackburn Top Tube Bag is quite heavy at 8.3 oz / 235 g and measures 9 by 3 by 4 inches / 23 x 8 x 11 cm.
As promised, here’s your buying guide. It highlights some of the key things to think about before you buy, and makes for a handy checklist.
This is the least important consideration in buying a Top Tube Bag but we can all get picky when it comes to colors and styles. Most top tube bags tend to come in either black or slate gray, designed to look like part of the bike itself.
Sometimes you can get other color options as well. Where this applies, I’ve mentioned that in our reviews.
It is important that the bag stays securely attached to the bike as you ride. Top tube bags that have 3 attachment points tend to stay fixed to the bike better than those with only 2 attachment points on top tube and stem or head tube.
Similarly, the top tube packs that have adjustable points of attachment at the front are better. Generally, having it fixed at the front higher is better than lower but this is not always possible.
The top tube is an excellent place to store electronics, keys, snacks, sunscreen, lip balm, wallet and keys. All the really essential stuff that you may need to get hold of quickly. But they are not designed to carry too much stuff. They are simply not solid enough for that purpose.
Some top tube bags can be particularly small, so be sure to check the size first, so you know you’ll safely be able to include all your essential items. One liter is the average size for these bags with anything bigger tending to lose its firm fit.
Unlike with a pannier bag, with a top tube bag, ideally, you shouldn’t have to fiddle around adjusting straps to get to your gear.
The best top tube bag is the one with convenient closures that you can open and close one-handed, so that you can keep at least one hand on the handlebar at all times.
Value for Money
Top Tube bags can really vary in price. You can get some for as little as $15, while others can cost more than $70.
I don’t include prices on our site as they can change, so if you want to know the price of an item, you need to click on “Check price” to see the current prices.
Overall, any top tube bag in this review will work well and could be considered. Sometimes it will come down to what is cheaper, or what is available in whatever country you live in.
The top picks for 2023 are both the Gas Tanks from Revelate Designs:
For superior waterproof abilities the Ortlieb is my Waterproof Top Tube Bag of choice in 2023.
Frequently Asked Questions
They are perfect for snacks, electronics, sunscreen, lip balm, keys, wallets, or tools. Anything you want quick access to when cycling. Want quick access to an action camera or snacks while cycling then a Top Tube Bag is perfect.
Yes, they are worth it to have an accessible bag that can be used to store a camera or snacks that can open and closed easily and quickly.
BikeHikeSafari Gear Review Process
The author, Brad McCartney from BikeHikeSafari is a small independent adventurer and outdoor gear tester who owns and runs BikeHikeSafari.com.
BikeHikeSafari is not part of a large blog network and is proudly independent. All reviews on this site are independent and honest gear reviews of outdoor products by the author.
The author, Brad McCartney is a very experienced triple crown thru-hiker, adventurer, and bike tourer having spent 1000s of nights sleeping in a tent and sleeping bag (Read more). He was a manager of an outdoor retail store and is very experienced in what is important when using and testing gear for reviews like this.
BikeHikeSafari will never receive any money for reviews and they do not accept sponsored reviews on this website. All the comments about the gear reviews are from the author based on his years of experience. Hope this independent review was helpful for you.