Bontrager Adventure Bags

Bontrager Introduces New Line of Adventure Bags

Adventure comes in all shapes and sizes. Day tripping, gravel races, overnighters to your favorite spot, or multi-day bike trips to disconnect and unplug from life’s daily grind. Earlier this fall Bontrager introduced a new set of adventure bike bags for rides when you need to get back before sundown or rides designed to help you disappear for a couple of days.

The Bontrager set of Adventure bags includes the Handlebar Bag, the Frame Bag, and the Saddle Bag. Here’s a rundown of features of each followed by a few notes regarding their functionality after a few months of ride time.

The Adventure Handlebar Bag-$124.99  

The 9L Adventure Handlebar Bag easily mounts to straight and drop bars utilizing three nylon straps. Two primary straps secure the load to the handlebars with a single strap to mount around the stem or headtube. The rolltop and clasp enclosure works well with the water-resistant fabric to keep your gear dry and secure. An accessory pocket provides quick access to ride essentials. The Handlebar Bag comes with an integrated 1.5L hydration bladder. More on that later.

Additional features:

  • Roll-top closure with secure buckle keeps your gear safe and dry
  • Silicone hose port and magnetic hose clasp keeps hydration hose securely in place
  • Durable materials are made to last with additional reinforcement in high-wear areas
  • Bungee up top offers additional quick and easy storage

The Bontrager Adventure Bag has some thoughtfully designed features. The stash pocket on the top of the bag has a high-vis liner so your items are easy to see when you’re on the move. The roll-top enclosure securely protects the main compartment and is easy to access on and off the bike. The bungee straps on the front extend cargo space. I used it to secure my Topeak pump on one adventure, and a wet jacket another day.

While some of the features of the Adventure Bag are spot on. I like the top zippered pocket for easy access. Incorporating a hydration bladder into the design is a great idea, but I’m struggling to make it work for me. Maybe it is user error. Loading the full bladder into the small entry pocket on the top of the pack takes some wrangling. The hose length makes it cumbersome to secure when not in use. Be careful if you drop it or miss the magnetic clasp to secure it back to the bag. It almost fell into my spokes on one ride. Again, this might be a user error, but I shudder to think about the outcome of a rubber hose wrapped around my spokes at speed.  Additionally, a full hydration bladder and a loaded main compartment add a lot of weight to the front end of the bike. The retention straps did not secure the bag very well. I found myself having to tighten and retighten the straps to keep the bag from riding too low on my front end. To be fair, I’ve only been riding with the Adventure Handlebar Bag for a few outings. My initial reaction is, “ditch the hydro pack and improve the retention straps”. The overall construction appears solid.  However, one detail worth paying attention to is how the handlebar retention straps are attached to the bag. Sewn directly to the bag, I wonder how they will hold up over time. Time will tell.

The Adventure Boss Frame Bag-$109

Available in three sizes to fit a variety of frames, the Adventure Boss Frame Bag provides quick and easy access to all your ride essentials. The frame bag is constructed with water-resistant panels like those found in the smaller Adventure Top Tube Bag. Featuring two zippered sections on each side of the bag, the frame bag is secured using rubberized straps and a cam-lock system. Frames with mounting bosses under the top tube can utilize the boss openings on the top of the frame bag to mount the pack directly to your bike.

Additional details:

  • Available in six sizes to best fit more frames
  • One main pocket and smaller compartment pocket make it easy to stay organized
  • Hi-vis lining and internal mesh pockets make finding your gear easy
  • Water-resistant construction helps keep your gear dry
  • Durable materials and robust zippers are designed to last
  • Easy-to-use attachment straps feature a soft rubber coating to reduce abrasion
  • Optional thumb screws allow for threaded boss mounting on new Trek Checkpoint

The Adventure Frame Bag has seen the most action out of the three bags I’ve been testing. Designed for the Trek Checkpoint frame design, it will easily fit most relevant frame sizes if you choose the size that matches your frame. My sample is made for the 58cm Checkpoint, but I had no issues on a large Esker Hayduke, 57cm Twin Six Rando, or my custom Salt Air All-Road bike.

It accompanied me on three different 100-mile gravel races earlier this fall, an overnight on the St. Croix, and many commuting days. Throughout all, the Adventure Frame Bag has served well. The straps tuck away nicely once secured. The dual compartment pockets work well together. For gravel races, I loaded spare gloves, a Revelate/Wolftooth multi-tool kit, spare snacks, packable rain jacket, emergency power bank, and a spare tube in the larger, left side panel. The right side is shallower, reserved for quick “grab and go” items like my phone, gels, and energy food. I like having the smaller pocket on the right side of the bike so you’re not digging around in a deep compartment while moving. The cam-lock straps are the only questionable design choice on the frame bag. They are a little confusing at first requiring a few adjustments to make sure they don’t interfere with your knees while pedaling but at the end of the day they secure the load well and never became an issue.

The Adventure Saddle Bag-$124.99 (EskerSaddle.jpeg)

Rounding out the Adventure Bag set is the 9L Adventure Saddle Bag. Given its petite size compared to other saddle packs on the market, the saddlebag is best suited for one-day adventures or simple overnights (when used as a companion with the other Adventure Bags.) I’ve grown fond of these mid-size seat packs over the years for their utility and expanded capacity. Seat packs, when secured well, offer a great alternative to overloading your handlebars.  The Adventure Saddle Bag is a great size to carry shoulder season clothing changes, spare tube, or even a bivy if you’re planning an overnight.

Here is what else you can expect from the Adventure Saddle Bag:

  • Roll-top closure with secure buckle keeps your gear safe and dry
  • Two nylon seat rail buckles and single seat post strap provide secure attachment
  • Zippered side entry offers easy access
  • Removeable internal poly frame maintains bag shape without taking up space
  • Water-resistant construction helps keep your gear dry
  • Durable materials are made to last with additional reinforcement in high-wear areas
  • 9L capacity and bungee up top offers additional quick and easy storage

At 9L the Adventure Saddlebag is an ideal day trip or adventure race pack. Y can carry a full change of clothes making it a great commuter pack as well.

My favorite design feature of this bag is the side access zipper allowing quick access without having to open the large rear enclosure or remove the pack all together to reach your cargo. The pack attaches to saddle rails and seat posts like most packs in this class. Once you get the pack on your bike it will stay put with minimal sway or movement. One issue I experienced with the Adventure Saddle Bag is the mismatch Velcro strap to secure to the seat post. The strapping is too long. The junction between the two Velcro pieces barely connects. This can be easily fixed in future iterations of this pack, yet a surprise that it was missed right out of the gate.

Final Word

The Adventure Bags from Bontrager are well designed, provide great protection for your onboard gear and integrate well as a whole set, or individually. The Bontrager Adventure Bags do the job they need to do and won’t break the bank. The Handlebar Bag will benefit from a better bar securing system to ensure the load stays put. For me, I am not convinced we need the 1.5L bladder option. I’m interested to see how others find this feature.

The frame pack does everything it needs to do. Gear and snacks are a quick zip away. The big pulls on the zipper and high-vis interior make this pack a great workhorse for day trips and gravel races.

The Saddle Bag is in the “Goldilocks” category when compared to other seat packs. It is perfect for day trips, commuting, or adventure racing where smaller size and easy access are important. However, I would look to other products with greater carry capacity if you were looking for long bike packing trips. The Bontrager Adventure Packs are not available online, so head to your local Trek/Bontrager dealer if you want to get your adventure on with this line of packs.

, ,

No comments yet.

Leave a Reply