I get this question all the time: “How do you carry your camera on your bike?” and the answer varies. It depends on the bike and the camera used, different cameras require various amounts of space and have varying weights. More on that later, but for now, let’s look at the best on-the-bike camera bag for medium-sized cameras I’ve ever used.
Outershell’s Drawcord Handlebar Bag isn’t a “camera bag” per se, but it is with one simple hack.
First off, it’s a bikepacking bag. Designed to cradle a stuff sack of your liking, the Drawcord bag is meant to be used on bikes where racks aren’t an option, but if you’re not looking to go on any bikepacking trip, simply put the plastic harness and strap aside for now. Second, Kyle supplied me with a piece of flexible neoprene to pad the bag for camera-use. He’ll gladly do the same for you, just add it in the order notes that you’d like a piece of foam.
Without the harness what you’ve got is a handlebar-mounted drawcord bag, with a cinching closure and a cover flap that closes similar to how randonneurs close their rando bags. One note: you need at least 5″ of room between your bars and your tire!
While you’re riding, you can lift off the bungee cord from your stem and reach inside the bag, grabbing it with one hand and within seconds you can fire away. When you’re done, simply drop it back in and pull the flap over. You don’t even need to cinch the inner closure.
One of the questions I’ve received on this bag is the obvious one: “Is it waterproof?” and the answer is simple, as it applies to every single bag on the market: if you’re shooting with electronic cameras, you should always carry a dry bag with you, because even if your camera is weather sealed and you’re firing away in the rain, moisture can get into your lenses. It’s happened to me before on weather-sealed lenses and bodies.
Here’s my Leica, securely packed in the bag for “dry riding.”
…. and here it is inside the bag for “wet riding.”
If the weather looks inclement, I pack a camp towel to wipe the camera down before putting it in a dry bag. Also, inside the dry bag I use silica packs to absorb any moisture that might be in there.
So, in short, a camera bag like this doesn’t have to be weather or waterproof, it just needs to be easy to access on the bike quickly. Missing a shot because you’re fumbling with zippers or pulling off your backpack is a bummer, the Outershell Drawcord Bag ensures you can get the photo you want and be on your way quickly.
One obvious point is, you should never try to get into your bag while in a pack of people. Keep your eyes on the road and hands on your bars. I’ve been around people fumbling with cameras on the road that have caused wrecks. Don’t be that guy!
This bag is also great for all forms of riding. There are pockets on the side for snacks and you can cram a lot of riding essentials in it. Even with a camera, I have enough room for an extra lens, a riding wallet and a dry bag. There are even loops to add stabalizer straps if you so desire.
Camera Handlebar Bag is made by Outershell in the Bay Area and comes in a variety of colors. It’s durable, well made and retails for $90-$100 depending on options.
Note: if it’s sold out, you can contact Kyle to order one, so don’t fret!