Searching for minimal bike bag that looks super hot
April 12, 2018 6:48 AM   Subscribe

Please recommend a minimal bag to wear while I ride my bike that looks super cool and gives me access to my stuff. I have a few criteria inside.

note - I already have a backpack and panniers. I've found these solutions to be very excessive. I want to minimize my cargo and ride light.

My second goal is to look, how do I put this, incredibly fly. Very hipster, very sexy. I'm willing to pay extra for something very fashionable, with bright, gay colors.

- light and small
- Easy to access phone / snacks with one hand
- Big enough to hold a kindle, a moleskine, some gloves, a wallet, a cell phone
- Small enough to not flop around / bounce around / slide around while riding

The closest I've found is the Patagonia 8L but the front pocket doesn't fit my phone - it's just a bit too small. And I can't get into the back without taking the pack off.
posted by rebent to Sports, Hobbies, & Recreation (15 answers total) 8 users marked this as a favorite
The bag that immediately comes to mind is the Femme line by Timbuk2 demi messenger. It's luxe, expensive, leather, and they have a couple of colorways that are bright. It was marketed to women but I think it would work for fashionable guys too.

They are no longer sold by Timbuk2 but you can find them on eBay etc. The less bright colorways are also still for sale on some other sites.
posted by beyond_pink at 6:59 AM on April 12, 2018 [1 favorite]

Are we talking regular hipster or bike-hipster here? There's always Freitag (e.g. 1, 2 - their product videos are useful for seeing how much the thing can actually fit)
posted by btfreek at 7:34 AM on April 12, 2018 [1 favorite]

Not an expert by any means but having someone else search for you can feel very helpful.

I just looked at options for about 15 minutes, read a few forum posts. It sounds like you want something that might not exist. I think EITHER the bag will be sexy OR have easy-access pockets, not bounce around, be big, etc.

In my 15 minutes (now 20) I've decided that some specialty bags might fit what you want exactly. I would try to look for cool, high quality: Climbing Bags, & Camera/lens bags/slings. The coolest I came across was below.

The KAVU comes in 100000 colors but doesn't seem high quality or particularly nice. This bag seems good but not particilarly sexily-designed. when looking for something in this category, I always make sure to look at camera bags. Some sling camera bags might be just what you are looking for - only problem is that they usually come in very neutral colors. Pretty sleek designs though.

I think Victorinox makes some very sleek bags: but few have one-handed access or easy access for your phone.

This Topo bag is kind of rugged, tacticool, might check a lot of boxes.
posted by bbqturtle at 7:34 AM on April 12, 2018 [1 favorite]

(also if velcro is impeding your one-hand access magnetic silencers like this are an option)
posted by btfreek at 7:38 AM on April 12, 2018 [4 favorites]

I got your bright and gay in this Pocampo bag. Too femme for what I think of as hipster sexy, but I'm an old, what do I know? Also, I don't know how big a kindle is, so maybe it's too small?
posted by advicepig at 7:47 AM on April 12, 2018

I use my Tom Bihn cafe bag for this purpose (I have the medium) and the color options are endless. If the aesthetic suits you I can vouch that they are very well-made, mine still looks great 15 years in. One of the things I like best is the open pocket on the back for my phone and other things I want on the fly, but that stay secure since they're against my body.
posted by veery at 7:52 AM on April 12, 2018 [5 favorites]

How do you feel about waist bags (aka fanny packs)? They might still hit the "very hipster" requirement, "very sexy" is debatable. It seems to me like they should be able to fit what you need, but they're definitely smaller than 8L. Some possibilities:

Hunter Shred Pack (fits 4 12oz cans!)
Dakine Hot Laps 2L Bag
High Above Cascadia Hip Pack (looks like you can customize the colors on this one!)
Seagull Trail Buddy
Topo Quick Pack Can be a cross-body or waist pack
posted by radiomayonnaise at 7:55 AM on April 12, 2018 [3 favorites]

The classic "fixie hipster" solution to this is a musette (those small cloth bags that pro racers get handed their lunch in). Bonus hipster points for lurid colourways from long-defunct 80s teams. Mine is a bright orange one from London cycle cafe Look Mum No Hands.

But I, generally, dislike wearing luggage on the bike as it just makes me sweaty so I generally stick with a saddlebag. I have a green and honey Pendle, from Carradice of Nelson, but there are a range of sizes and styles available from other manufacturers too including some expensive but lovely leather ones from Brooks.
posted by A Robot Ninja at 8:12 AM on April 12, 2018 [1 favorite]

I was also going to recommend the Po Campo Kinga Handlebar Bag. They have a video to show you what will fit in it.

It also has a shoulder strap, which I love in any bike bag. I don't want to carry my stuff all awkwardly when it's not on my bike, thanks, often in ugly bike bags to boot. Po Campo gets this.

Plus they're super sharp. Dang, now I want one and I don't need one because I have a basket.
posted by urbanlenny at 10:42 AM on April 12, 2018

I have that exact Po Campo bag and I love it SO MUCH. I actually bought another one to have in reserve for when this one wears out. :)
posted by mccxxiii at 11:50 AM on April 12, 2018

I have 11 Freitag bags. They are awesome. My favorites these days are the Voyager (she has a little brother, Skipper) and Masikura. Their latest bag -- announced last week -- is Clapton.

You may also like the wonderful bags that Pinza't makes.

Both companies make literal one of a kind bags.
posted by dobbs at 1:09 PM on April 12, 2018

Rickshaw. Build a custom bag, with lots and lots of colours, patterns, and fabrics to choose from. I have a small Zero Messenger that looks a bit like this but is all special just for me. Mine carries more or less exactly what you listed. I have the optional cross-strap to make it more stable when riding.
posted by buxtonbluecat at 1:28 PM on April 12, 2018

I ended up buying the Po Campo bag (in Mosaic! so pretty) and would be happy to report back on its ability to hold a phone and Kindle and other items in the manner described once I receive it.
posted by urbanlenny at 2:26 PM on April 12, 2018 [2 favorites]

You want a CourierWare bag. They are simple and straightforward and have no unnecessary frills (unless you want them), and they are bulletproof- I have had mine for 25 years!
posted by Admiral Viceroy at 6:19 PM on April 12, 2018

There are some really cute practical-looking bags at this etsy shop. I just picked up one of the minipurse bags, which is a small, minimalist messenger bag that comes in a lot of ridiculous colorblocked options. I'll report back on how it functions in the wild once I get it.
posted by libraritarian at 7:08 AM on April 13, 2018

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