If you want to keep your valuable items dry and out of the weather, a waterproof bike bag is a handy piece of kit.
However, it’s useful to note that not all waterproof bike bags are 100% waterproof as necessary features (think zips and seams) become places that can let water in.
When choosing your rain-proof bike bag, there are three different types to look for:
Water resistant- usually made of a specially processed fabric designed to withstand some rain getting in, they also feature standard zips which, after a while, will let water in.
Water repellant - the fabric does what it says - repels the water - but as with the above type, the inclusion of standard zips means that rain can eventually make its way in.
Waterproof- made with a PVC coating, these bags will definitely keep the rain out. Couple this waterproof material with either specially designed waterproof zips or a roll-top seal, and you’re pretty much guaranteed 100% dry kit.
If you’re keen to invest in a weather proof bag, here’s more details on the features you need to look for:
Obviously the fabric of your bag is going to make a big difference as to whether it keeps the rain out. Ideally you want something that is PVC-coated, as the rain will be completely repelled by this type of material.
Water resistant fabric is also good to look for, especially if you’re generally a fair-weather cyclist. It’ll mean that when you do get caught in a shower, whilst it won’t guarantee complete dryness, it will offer some protection.
Seams are another aspect that let in water. One answer to this? Fewer seams!
Sounds a bit daft, but some bags have more seams than others. Look for those with less. Easy!
And if there are seams? In this case, key to preventing water getting in is to make sure they are sealed seams. On PVC coated fabric, seams can be heat sealed, meaning they’re completely water-tight. Check out the images below to see where to look for sealed seams.
Like seams, zips can be a major source of water ingress. Again, look for fewer zips on a bag for maximum protection. In the same way that there are better seams than others, the same can be said for zips. Some bags have specially designed waterproof zips, where a rubber film over the metal teeth means that water cannot get in, or there are rubber covers over the zip.
Why not ditch the zips altogether and plump for a roll-down top with handy clips to secure it shut? Based on hiking bags, these types of waterproof bike bag are simple, super easy to use and are 100% waterproof (assuming you use it properly!). Not only do they create a cosy and dry chamber for your belongings, they’re also surprisingly quick to access and use. Minimal features mean no chance for water ingress.
PVC pocket for your phone
Anything electronic - we’re principally thinking of phones - is going to be your priority for keeping dry. In which case, there’s no harm in making sure your phone is encased in a PVC pocket. A number of bike bags feature a PVC pocket and it’s one extra layer of protection.
These are just a few of the factors to consider when buying your waterproof bike bag.
Be realistic about the type of cycling you’re going to be doing; look for something that is water-resistant if you generally only cycle when the sun is out, but go for the total waterproof option if you’re a keen all-weather commuter or spend your time on wet and muddy routes.
Another option is to choose a bike bag that comes with a waterproof cover. That way you can choose your bike bag based on other factors (such as capacity, whether it includes a visible phone pocket, where it sits on the bike etc) and simply cover it with its waterproof layer when you need it.
If you’ve got your eye on a BTR bag but have a question or two, do get in touch with us.
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