Half-Frame Bags and Wedges for Bikepacking

Varvara November 11 2021

Full-frame bags are the best for utilizing each and every part of the triangle of a bike. You can shove all your supplies in it. Meantime, it also offers great handling and solves the weight problem for you, so you get multiple benefits in just one product.

Even though there are numerous bikepacking frame bags on the market, it is still challenging to find a full-frame bag that fits your cycle. Thinking about going custom with bikepacking frame bags? This comes with huge price tags and long wait times. This is where half-frame bags and wedges for bikepacking come into the picture.

Half-frame bags and wedges for bikepacking come with some benefits that you can't get from any other type of frame bag. These bags give you the ability to put the weight on your front end and lower back end, making them more stable and easier to maneuver through all types of terrain.

The best half-frame bags and wedges for bikepacking come with a few straps that allow them to be attached directly onto the seat post as well as around the head tube. These types of attachments give you better stability over rough terrain than those that only stick on the seat post. Most notably, these types of bags leave all other parts of your triangle open, so you can attach full-frame bags if needed.

There are many advantages of using half-frame bags and wedges for bikepacking:

  1. You don't need to remove any components in order to install them.
  2. They allow for easy access in case you need something inside your bags in a hurry.
  3. These types of frame bags give you the best handling and stability over rough terrain because they utilize more parts of your bike's triangle.
  4. You can add full-frame bags when needed.
  5. They're usually not much heavier than other types of frame bags, even though half-frames are slightly bigger than most uni-body frame bags that only stick on one part of your cycle's triangle at a time.
  6. You get two benefits with just one product: half-frame bags make it easier to mount an expedition front rack because there is room at the head tube to attach it.

Some of the best half-frame bags and wedges for bikepacking are made by Revelate Designs, Apidura, AlpKit, Porcelain Rocket, Blackburn Design, Carousel Design Works, Oveja Negra, and Why Velo.

While there are plenty of benefits to using half-frame bags, they're not perfect. The main downside is that you can't use them with bikes that have sloping top tubes or bad geometry because the front part will be too high up when strapped on correctly. Also, if opting for a bag that attaches around your head tube rather than seat post, your handlebar stem needs to be long enough so you can attach the straps all the way down (this means you need at least a 40cm long stem, which is typically too much for most people).

One last thing to point out is that you can use both types of frame bags with bikes where the top tube angles down. Half-frame bags will sit on your shoulders nicely here, while wedge bags will ride really high up in front.

What are Half-Frame Bags and Wedges?

Half-frame bags, partial-frame bags, or wedge-frame bags, no matter what you call them, are created to occupy a portion of your bicycle's main triangle while leaving enough space to fit a bottle or two.

In the case of a horizontal half-frame bag, you can mount one bottle on the seat tube and the other on the lower tube (downtube) quite easily. Both these places are pretty easy to reach while riding. The weight is also in a good position, so it does not affect your ride much.

This arrangement is the best for warm weather lightweight trips and is often adopted by the riders. Another plus for these bags is that they are placed at the angles (corners) of the top and bottom tubes. It is relatively easy to find a non-custom half-frame bag with the perfect fitting for any bicycle.

Which to choose: Full-Frame Bags or Half-Frame bags?

We will present a few points, but ultimately, the choice depends upon you, full-frame or half-frame. The people who can find a full-frame bag with proper fitting can carry heavy items which do not fit in the saddlebag.  With the help of such a bag, each nook and cranny of the bicycle can be used efficiently.

Half-frame bags occupy less space. They are effortless to fit and can be found easily, so they are a great option. People who do not have a lot of money will love these as they are very affordable. The extra space can fit one or two bottles easily so you can carry all the water you want. 

Generally speaking, half-frame bags have more versatility and can cope with people's everyday needs in a better way.

In conclusion, you have to take your needs in mind if you are looking to carry lots of gear, then you should choose full-frame, but if you want to bring road necessities and a water bottle on your rides, then go for the wedge-shaped bikepacking bags.

Different types of frame bags

There are different types of frame bags that you can find online.

They are:

  • totally custom-built half-frame
  • partial half-frame
  • horizontal half-frame
  • diagonal half-frame type

While calculating the total weight, do not forget to add the weight of your saddlebag if needed.

The most difficult part is to decide about the size of the bag you want for yourself.  The idea is that it cannot be too big so that you have control over it but also cannot be too small so that you do not lose out on space in case you need it badly at some point later on.

For example, if you take a look at Revelate Designs Terrapin Seat Pack (Largest), you can easily fit a laptop of 14-inches. Additionally, you have ample space for food items and other things as well.

A frame bag will help you carry essential gears which otherwise would be difficult to travel with. Saddlebags are a blessing but they can be quite expensive and take time to attach so Salsa EXP Series frame bags also come in handy for those who want to speed up the process of setting up equipment securely on their bikes.

How to select a Half-Frame Bag

There are a lot of bags and designs of bikepacking frame bags you can choose from in the market or online. But when choosing a bag, you should always keep an eye on some features that will help you purchase a great bag. 

First of all, the bikepacking frame bag should be made of high-quality material. The design should be appealing to the eye, and it should fit the frame perfectly. The bag should not bulge or rub against your knees.

Some other features to look for in bikepacking frame bags are water-proof rating, multiple pockets, and water or electronic ports. Some bags might have a simple build, but everything comes down to your personal preference eventually. So take your time and figure out what bikepacking frame bag is the best option for you.