Bontrager Adventure Bag Review

I met with the folks at Bontrager at the Sea Otter Classic earlier this Spring to talk about what they had in the pipeline for 2019. One of the products that piqued my interest was the promise of Bontrager coming out with their own line of adventure bags. Some time passed and somewhere near the time of year when Spring starts to feel like Summer, I met Alex from Bontrager at a bike trail campground between Trek and F-B.c world headquarters for a preview of their two new bags.

Fat-forward a couple of months of testing – Bontrager just released the new adventure bags to the public. They came out with a Top Tube Bag and a (top-half) Frame Bag. The bags have held up very well and I put them through the wringer.

Adventure Top Tube Bag

This is an easily accessible top tube storage bag made with water-resistant construction that can be mounted with two bolts or the included straps.

  • Single main compartment with mesh dividers helps you keep things organized
  • High-vis lining makes finding your gear easy
  • Attach with two bolts or simple straps that have a soft rubber coating to reduce abrasion
  • Water-resistant construction helps keep your gear dry • Durable materials and robust zippers designed to last

Our test bag has one zippered pocket that’s big enough to fit my large smartphone and a small point and shoot camera. The Zipper Pull is a nice loop arrangement with a rubberized section that provides plenty of grip, even while wearing full-fingered (summer) gloves. Our bag was secured with the two supplied velcro straps and it seemed to play nice with my Becker Frame Bag and pair of Revelate Designs Mtn. Feedbags, in addition to working hand and glove with the matching Bontrager Adventure Frame Bag.

I don’t know if it’s the shape of the Trek 1120 top tube that I tested it with, but the bag really seemed to stay put better than similar top tube bags that I’ve reviewed over the years. Sometimes they flop from side to side, but this bag stayed right where it should.

Adventure Frame Bag

This is a durable low-rise bikini style frame bag made with water-resistant construction that’s ready to add versatility and adventure to just about any bike. Some people might call it a half-frame bag or partial frame bag.

  • Available in three sizes to fit more frames and adventures
  • Stay organized with one main pocket and one smaller compartment pocket
  • High-vis lining makes finding your gear easy
  • Easy-to-use attachment straps feature a soft rubber coating to reduce abrasion
  • Water-resistant construction helps keep your gear dry • Durable materials and robust zippers designed to last

Our test bag has two zippered compartments. The main compartment is located on the non-drive side of the bike and had a nice set of pump straps that are attached to the roof of the compartment. The main pocket is large enough to fit a full size plus bike tube and my comprehensive trailside repair kit along with a water bottle or a light rain jacket.

The map pocket (located on the drive-side) has a series of cleverly designed flat slit pockets that work perfectly for a wallet, smartphone, chicklets or a pack of chewing gum. There’s a nice small elastic mesh pocket to hold small items and there’s a hook to hold keys or your lucky rabbit’s foot. The frame bag shares the same, easy to use zipper pulls as the top tube bag. The strap system that Bonty designed for these bags is both sturdy and versatile. The straps are unique. They aren’t the typical cloth velcro straps that most bags employ, They have a soft rubber coating and the bag has multiple attachment points that allowed me to dial-up a perfect fit on any double diamond style bike frame. The frame bag comes in three sizes to accommodate different frame sizes.

I’m a big fan of frame bags. Most of the time, I keep a frame bag on the bikes that I ride. Most of the frame bags that I’ve used have their main cargo compartments on the drive-side and the map pockets on the other. As I mentioned above, the Bontrager Adventure Frame Bag is configured the opposite of those other bags. I’m somewhat embarrassed to admit how many times that fooled me into opening the wrong zipper during the test period. If you haven’t owned a frame bag before, it probably would never cross your mind. At least I know that I’ve tested the hell out of these zippers with all of those times when I opened the wrong side looking for my phone or what-not.

Packraft Onboard

I did most of the testing of the new bags on a Trek 1120 which comes equipped with enhanced cargo carrying capacity (CCC). Even though I run a full-coverage frame bag on most of my bikes, I grew to appreciate the capacity of the (top-half) Adventure Frame Bag. That thing can swallow any day ride’s provisions. The voluminous cargo capacity of the 1120 helped to cover all of my needs on longer trips or packrafting adventures.

I mounted the Bonty Bags on a couple of bikes in the shop with great results. The frame bag has taken up residency on a black Surly Krampus currently and it’ll spend some time on the next bike that I review as well.

Bontrager did a really nice job with their freshman class of Adventure Bags. I put these two new bags through everything that a Wisconsin Summer could throw at them and the bags performed splendidly. I look forward to chaperoning them through their first Great Lakes Winter and the compulsory countless (s)miles that result from the endless passion for – Fun on Bikes!.

Bontrager’s Adventure Bags earned 4.5 out of 5 Flaming Danger Gnomes

Bontrager’s new Adventure Bags are available at your local Trek Dealer. MSRP on the Adventure Top Tube Bag is $40 and the Adventure Frame bag is $80-$90.

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5 Responses to Bontrager Adventure Bag Review

  1. Erv Spanks October 3, 2019 at 11:15 am #

    I’ve been thinking about some strappy type thingies along the inside top of my current frame bag to hug my pump and hold it outta da way. Props to Bontrager for stock pump straps!

  2. Adam J October 24, 2019 at 4:02 pm #

    What size frame and bag did you use? Trek suggests a large bag for my 19.5 Roscoe, but that doesn’t seem like it would fit based on measurements.

    • Andrew February 24, 2021 at 11:57 pm #

      It looks like he has a medium on there. I have almost the same frame, a Stache 7, and based on measurements, a small will fit perfect. That medium (if I am correct) looks really crammed in there to me. They provide measurements for all 3 on the Trek site. Maybe you can try them on at your LBS too.

  3. Alistair November 8, 2019 at 3:14 pm #

    How sturdy are the sides of the top tube bag? I’m looking for a bolt-on bag (because aesthetics matter and my Checkpoint has the bolts) but don’t want that’s going to flop around when used without the straps.

    • Jay April 6, 2020 at 12:58 pm #

      I bolted one of the Adventure Top Tube bags onto my Checkpoint SL6. This bag is sturdy, and made well. Though the bag came with two small washers, I used two larger ones, just for my piece of mind that the washers wouldn’t pull through the bottom if the bag happened to get pulled sideways somehow. (There is a nice liner in the bottom of the bag that covers the bolt heads and washers.) So far, it’s rock-solid. I definitely recommend this bag!

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