Mountain bike gear is something you really can’t leave behind when you go on a ride. That said, if you’ve tried using your standard backpack before, you’re in the club of disappointed mountain bikers. Sure, there are tons of specialized gear bags on the market, but there are also more budget-friendly options that work equally well: duffel bags.
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Fox Men’s 180 Duffle Bag for MTB Gear
This compact duffle bag is the perfect size for fitting all of your mountain biking gear, without adding the extra bulk and weight that slows you down. When you’re out on rough terrain, the last thing you need is extra material shuffling around.
We are big fans of Fox racing MTB gear, especially some of their helmets. This Fox bag keeps everything secure and in one spot so you can stay on the move. With a classic, matt black material, and bold white Fox logo, it’s a bag that looks as quality as the performance it delivers.
- Compact and lightweight
- High quality and durable
- Perfect size for mountain biking gear
- The smaller size doesn’t work as well for other sports
This North Face duffel bag includes everything you need in a good gear bag, and then some. It’s more durable than most mountain biking bags since it’s made of a special laminate material that keeps the weather away from your gear; as a bonus, it also has a weather-resistant zipper flap, so you know your gear is dry, even if it’s turned into a wet ride.
Here’s another cool feature:
This bag now includes a side compartment so you can keep your used gear apart from the clean gear. If you’re into convenience, you’re really going to love the straps that convert to backpack style shoulder straps.
- Straps can be used as a backpack
- Highly weather resistant
- Includes end compartment to divide gear
- Shoulder straps could be better padded
Outdoor Products Mountain Bike Duffle Bag
This Outdoor Products duffle bag is tough enough to take quite a beating (or at least the type of heavy wear that happens when you’re mountain biking). The bag is constructed of thick, durable polyester; it’s actually thick enough that it measures 900 deniers (in short, it’s heavy duty).
Hate having all your gear jumbled around? Then you’ll love having the large center compartment for bigger pieces, and the two end pockets, as well as the smaller front pocket for storing items that get lost otherwise.
- Includes shoulder strap and ‘rip-grip’ carrying handle
- One large main compartment and a total of three extra pockets
- Thick polyester (900 deniers)
- No inserts for hard sides
Ledmark Heavyweight Cotton Canvas Outback
Sometimes an afternoon mountain biking turns into an excursion, and when that happens, you want ample storage for your gear and any extras. If you’ve ever felt like you can’t find a bag with enough room, this Ledmark bag is here to break the mold.
This is a heavyweight bag with huge carrying capacity. It sounds like an exaggeration, but this bag is available in sizes that range from 24 to 72 inches long. Even better, it includes zippers that lock, which means you don’t have to worry about bulky gear forcing the zipper open.
- Available in a wide range of sizes up to 72″ x 22″
- Includes adjustable/removable shoulder strap and grip handles
- Thick, quality canvas construction
- The zipper is lockable and full length
- Because of the size, it’s easy to add weight without realizing
Heavy Duty Cargo Duffel Large Sport Gear
This is a great bag for mountain biking gear; not only does it hold a lot, the fabric is thick but lightweight. It easily holds bulkier gear, helmets and boots included.
Another reason this bag, in particular, works well for mountain biking is the construction; the material won’t add a bunch of extra weight, but it’s still thick enough to measure 900 deniers. Even better, it’ll hold up to the elements since it’s made of high density, water-resistant polyester.
- Durable and resistant to water and wear and tear
- Extra thick carrying straps
- Includes side and front zippered pockets
- Can be easy to order too large, check measurements
Duffel Bag as MTB Gear Bag
There are plenty of different types of mountain bike gear bags (as well as general bike bags). Often these are smaller and attach to that bike rack. Unfortunately, many of these don’t cover the need for carrying extra gear with you, especially if it’s bulky gear. Duffel bags tend to offer a lot more space and are more suited to bulky MTB gear.
The best duffel bags for mountain bike gear are durable enough to take the wear and tear of a rough trail. Another feature to look for is weather and waterproofing. Weather can change quickly on an excursion, and rough terrain often has wet spots and puddles that can otherwise get into your gear bag. A water-resistant bag keeps your gear safe and dry.
Most duffle bags have at least two options for how you carry them: either grip handles (shorter handles usually on each side that you hold) or over the shoulder straps. Many bags offer a combination of both, while others also offer two over the shoulder straps that can be worn as a backpack.
Factors to Look For In A Duffle Bag for MTB Gear
Having good construction is important because it determines how well your gear is protected, as well as the longevity of the duffel bag itself. The bag should have strong, sturdy seams to prevent rips. It’s also important to make sure the fabric is thick enough to withstand some wear and tear.
Duffel bags have an advantage when it comes to MTB gear because they come in a wide range of sizes, often much larger than your typical gear bag. Be sure to pay attention to the size you’re getting, so you end up with a bag that isn’t too small to hold gear, or so big it’s difficult to carry with you.
It’s best to find a duffel bag with a combination of strap styles, which helps when you switch from riding to carrying your bag. If you see backpack straps, consider it a convenient bonus. Other strap features to look for are padding and adjustability. A padding strap is, of course, more comfortable, especially on long bumpy rides. Adjustable straps ensure your bag fits your size.
While size plays an important part in how much storage you can use, so no pockets. The bag doesn’t have to have pockets, but it certainly helps keep your gear organized. Likewise, you can use pockets to store more breakable items apart from heavier gear as well as separate dirty gear from clean.
Pros and Cons
Wondering what advantages and disadvantages come with using a duffel bag for your mountain bike gear? Here’s a rundown on what you need to know:
First duffle bags can carry a ton of gear, and they don’t even struggle with the bulky stuff. That’s great for mountain bikers that need to keep more gear with them on a long ride. Since they hold a lot of volumes, they’re even easier to get packed.
So if you’re someone that likes to plan a biking excursion around a camping trip, there’s plenty of room for overnight gear (some oversized duffel bags even have enough room for sleeping bags and tents).
Since they’re made of more flexible fabric, it’s also easier on you. You don’t have to hassle with a hard surface knocking against you while you ride since the bag naturally fits against your form better.
Duffel bags are also more durable than most other, unspecialized bags. They typically have thicker material, which is essential for any gear bag you plan to take mountain biking. Many outdoor style duffel bags also include extra protection against water, which you need to keep your gear clean and safe from corrosion.
Because of their general design, and larger size, it can be easy to become disorganized and find your gear in a jumble. This can lead to some digging around just to find a specific piece you need. The best ways to combat this are putting heavier gear at the bottom and looking for a duffel bag with a couple of different pockets.
The next disadvantage is also due, in large part, to size. It’s almost too easy to get over-ambitious and end up with a huge, heavy bag (especially if you get ambitious with packing and like to stuff a bag to capacity).
Looking at the exact dimensions of the duffle bag helps ensure you get an appropriate size for your gear. Remember that some “supersize” bags are several feet long, which is great if you plan to take it camping as well, but it can be a big problem if you struggle to keep your balance as a result.
Conclusion: Which Duffel Bag for MTB Gear is best?
Duffel bags are great for carrying MTB gear in many situations. Their design accommodates the gear well, just make sure to look at construction and size to get the right bag for you.
Our #1 choice for all your mountain bike gear is the Northface Base Camp Duffel Bag