Whether you're cycling across town or across Canada, you will need to carry gear with you. Here are your options – from small seat bike bags to kitchen sink touring panniers.
Underseat Bike Bags are small-capacity bags that attach under your saddle. They are great for out-of-the-way key storage, a small repair kit, spare tube, energy bar, or wallet.
Handlebar Bike Bags attach directly to your handlebars and are available for both drop- and straight-style bars. Used most often by bike tourers, these bags keep gear like gloves, cameras, maps, and snacks within easy reach. Avoid overloading these bags, as it can impair steering.
Rackpacks attach to the shelf of your rack. Sleek and roomy, they offer moderate storage capacity without much wind resistance.
Hydration packs are most often used by mountain bikers. Worn like backpacks, they hold water on your back so you can drink without taking your hands off the handlebars. Some models offer storage capacity for tools, spare clothes, and snacks.
Courier Bike Bags have multiple compartments for storing clothing, documents, or bulky items such as mailing tubes. Most commonly worn over the shoulder, some models have a stabilizing waist strap, or shoulder straps that allow it to be carried like a backpack.
Panniers are roomy, rack-mounted bags that keep heavy loads low and centred on your wheels. Usually sold in pairs, they are designed for either front or rear racks (although some models will work on both). Many bikes are equipped with braze-ons for mounting a rear and front rack.
Trailers are another option when you are carrying a lot of gear over a long time period. They're good for off-road use, since panniers and racks won't take the abuse of challenging terrain. Do be aware that trailers add quite a bit of weight to your system.