How To Choose The Right Size Bike Bag?

How To Choose The Right Size Bike Bag?

There are so many things to consider when choosing THE bag that will meet all your needs: look, size, number of pockets, durability, functionality, waterproofness, etc!

It’s so normal to feel lost and lonely…!

But before you say Yes, I do to the bag of your dreams, let us guide you to take the best decision about how big your bag should be.

There are aspects to take into account as well as questions to ask yourself that will help you make the right choice!

After reading this blog you will know how to:

1. Compare different bags' volumes.
2. Ask yourself the right questions to choose your bag.
3. Seize your reel needs.
4. How to complete your kit if needed.
5. Which bag to choose for carrying odd-shaped items.

Let's do this!

How To Compare Bike Panniers' Size?

First things first, the size is always calculated in Liters. Therefore, it's easier for your to compare.

(We literally pour water in the bag and count how many fits!)

Make sure to read the specs carefully, sometimes it's for a pair of bags others, for 1 bag.

For example: on one hand, the Signature V bike pannier is sold individually and its capacity is 28L.

On the other hand, the GT-54 bike panniers are sold in pairs and have a total capacity of 54 L

Having a hard time visualizing what is a 4 L and 28 L bag?

We filled the bags with various items to demonstrate their capabilities:

4 Liters

You can fit a: wallet, phone, snacks, a pair of gloves, and a book.

24 Liters

You can add a laptop, 1L of water, 3 Stephen King books, 3 Romantics comedy DVDs, more snacks, and a big jacket.

28 Liters

You can add your grocery including an 18-egg box, yogurt, 1 L of a milk, a granola bar box, a box of crackers, cream cheese, etc.

What Size Do You Really Need?

Advice # 1: Focus On Your Main Usage

It's important to focus on how you will use the bag the most and not put too much emphasis on the rare events because you can easily get lost in all the possibilities.

Real-life situation: You commute daily to work and carry your lunch, spare clothes, wallet, and cell phone, but twice a year, your friend Simon organizes a big picnic party where you bring 3 bottles of wine, a Spikeball game, 15 to 20 cupcakes and a book in case it's boring. Buying a bigger bag would not be relevant because of these rare occasions.

In what situations will you generally use panniers or bike bags?

If you mainly need a bag to carry your phone, wallet, keys, and a pair of gloves, go for a handlebar bag or saddle bag such as.

You'll want a fairly big pannier to fit your bread, milk, eggs, and Pop-Tarts.

Good options are:

Then you'll need a minimum of room, light and fairly small bags:

If yes, you'll need lots of room for your camping gear, food, water, etc!

Go big or go home:

cc: Dominique Ménard

Now let's have a look at what you'll bring when you commute or on a bike trip.

Put the things you'll carry on a table to visualize the space they take. 

Here are a few ideas:

  • - Laptop;
  • - Books ;
  • - Makeup kit;
  • - Wallet;
  • - Lunch;
  • - Sweater;
  • - Sleeping bag;
  • - Tent;
  • - Groceries;
  • - Lots of rom-com DVD's;
  • - Maybe a bunch of clocks, who are we to judge?

How much stuff is there on that table?

Choose a bike pannier of 45 L and more such as:

* If you need more room, you can add front rack panniers, handlebar bags, etc.

Choose a medium size bike pannier of 28 L to 35 L like:

Go for a medium size bike pannier between 15 L to 25 L.

Then you'll only need a small Handlebar bag or saddle bag between 4 L to 9 L.

Are there objects with a particular shape?

First, make sure the bag is big enough for your laptop, but also choose a laptop-friendly and waterproof bag.

*Click here to see what size of computer these bags can hold.

The Haul-it is the most versatile bag for all occasions, have a look here.

... lets move on.

Why is it important to consider the shape of the bag?

For several reasons, first, its shape must accommodate the objects you transport.

If you carry narrow and high objects, a wide but large bag would not be suitable for your use.

However, if your bike’s frame is small or extra small, narrower panniers would be best for you so your heel doesn't touch the bag while pedaling.

Your best option to carry odd shaped items?

In terms of versatility, the Haul-it is what you dreamed of! Why? Because you can fit (almost) anything in it: a backpack, a pack of beer, a strangely shaped musical instrument, etc.

How to complete your setup?

If you need more space or if you don't have much to carry, you can complete your kit with a handlebar or a saddle bag.

Real-life situation: It's Thursday night, and you meet friends (or maybe a date) at a microbrewery downtown, all you need is your keys, your cell phone, and your wallet. Instead of using your panniers, take a small handlebar bag and arrive in style.

Handlebar bags are a perfect size (4 L), you can carry them anywhere because of the shoulder strap, they are waterproof, and can be easily installed on the handlebar without tools.


We hope that this blog was helpful because choosing THE partner that will ride with you for years to come is not a choice to take lightly. Cheers!

And they lived happily ever after.