Or, as we all know, there's only so much you can cram into a few jersey pockets. Topeak, the makers of all kinds of tools, pumps, bags and assorted gear for cyclists, thinks it's come up with a unique solution: the Compact Handlebar Bag and Fanny Pack.
Now instead of carrying a backpack or trying to figure out how to mount a rear rack, you can simply attach a bracket to your front handlebars with a simple allen wrench. The Topeak Handlebar Bag is designed to just lock onto the mounting plate, by sliding it downwards.
I found the product very easy to install, and there's a "click-in-place" sound once the bag snaps into mounting bracket. Removing the bag is just as easy.
The mounting plate is designed to bolt onto a 31.8mm handlebar, but can accommodate narrower bars via included spacer rings that snap right onto the bars. And, a separate yet included computer bar can be mounted to the bracket so that your centered computer sits above the pack's mounting bracket.
If you want to leave your bike and continue hiking, the bag simply unclips from its mount and can be converted to a fanny pack in seconds. The only thing I found slightly distracting was the plastic mounting plate that's attached to the pack.
If you tighten the pack, the plastic plate, which protrudes about a quarter inch, will definitely dig into your lower back. Keeping the strap a little looser solves this problem. Of course, the idea here is that this is a fanny pack conversion and you wouldn't buy this strictly for the fanny pack.
Topeak also includes a small plastic cover that easily stretches and covers your handlebar bag in the event of a sudden rain shower -- a nifty idea, especially when toting delicate items such cameras and cell phones. And, even if the bag were to fall, the padded compartments are enough to keep your delicate items from being broken.
Though the bag can be attached to just about any kind of bike, it's targeted more to recreational road riders and those that enjoy hybrid and mountain bikes for casual touring.
Dimensions are 6.5" x 4" x 7.3". Capacity is 130 cubic inches. Weight is 370 grams. Suggested retail price for the Handebar Pack is $34.95. For more info, visit www.topeak.com or call (800) 213-4561.