I’m spending the cold rainy days assembling a bikepacking rig. I’m thinking out loud with this setup but I think it has merit.
I ran across an Ikea VARIERA plastic bag dispenser for $2. The core section struck me as a perfect support to use with a stuff/dry bag for a bikepacking handlebar or cargo rack pack.
It took seconds to cut the flat back panel free of the curved front section. There is a bottom piece that simply snaps off. That leaves the section that is 17.5″ long , 13.25″ measuring across the arc, 9″ across as it sits unloaded and it weighs 5.8oz.
Many bikepacking handlebar bags use a roll-top dry bag supported by some sort of stiff panel and webbing straps for attaching the stuff sack and mounting to the handlebars. IMHO any bike luggage needs to carry the load with attention to stability and secure attachment with safety in mind. The system needs to provide good access and protect the contents. Durability, weight and cost are factors as with any hiking gear.
My load-hauling strategy is rack based rather than bikepacking handlebar and seat bags. I use my bike for rail trails and local/urban use, so trail clearance is not a concern and package handling is on the list. The racks on my bike were dirt cheap and the combined load capacity nearly 100 pounds! I have no thought of getting close to that.
I do have waterproof panniers, but I do have waterproof stuff sacks for a lighter setup more worthy of an UL hiking style load. I recently acquired an OR Dry Peak Bagger waterproof backpack that gives me 29 liters of hauling volume in a 9.6oz package. My plan is to use the OR pack on the back rack and an Outdoor Research Hydroseal Drycomp Sack #3 (33.9L) on the front rack. That leaves the pack for day hike and town use without adding more gear and weight. The two bags together give me 63 liters maximum storage— more than enough for UL multi-day trips. I’m sure I could get by with the backpack and a ~13L dry bag on the front rack. I want to keep the front load to a minimum, planning on a small bag with compressed sleeping and camp insulation.
Having the bags shift and slide or droop is a concern and that is where the bikepacking handlebar bags use a stiff panel to keep the stuff sack secure and stable. The re-purposed Ikea item is stiff enough and all those holes allow the use of bungie cords and webbing straps. Note in the photos below that the stuff sack has a daisy chain down the side, creating the perfect opportunity to keep the bag from squirting out of the support. A strap or bungie cord across each end could help keep a bag in place–if needed at all. Line to could be used to the same purpose. I plan to use the same straps to secure the bags and to hold the whole works onto the rack.
One concern is rubbing holes in the dry bags. Smoothing any sharp corners or edges would be easy and well advised. It is long for a handlebar bag with flat bars. The problem in cutting it down is the long slots in the center of the holder. It could be trimmed to about 9″ long using one slot’s worth, leaving a little over half the length to use. If you have bars with a some sweep like my North Road style bars, the grips are well out of the way and the whole section can be used.
Have bike, will travel!