back to news and reviews

Posted by

With the continued interest in all things ‘adventure’, it’s no surprise that more and more manufacturers are latching on and launching their own products in the hope of gaining a slice of the market … and it’s probably fair to say that luggage is the product most commonly brought to the table. I’ve tested and written about luggage from the lower end of the price scale before and when I have, I’ve generally been pleasantly surprised. Obviously there may be some compromises but mostly, the items I’ve tried have fulfilled their designated role well and they’ve done so at a price well below what we might have considered ‘budget’ not that long ago.

Pod Sacs is a name some of you might be familiar with from outdoor and climbing associations long past. The brand is now owned by Planet-X who’ve launched their own luggage under the Pod brand. Now, there’s only so many ways of attaching luggage to a bicycle and only so many places to put it. Pod have got the three prime areas covered – under the saddle, on / in the frame and on the bars; I thought we’d have a look at their ‘Barrel bag’ bar harness.

Rather than being a dry-bag with mounting straps, this is a separate harness that then holds a dry-bag. Some people prefer one system and some prefer the other. Personally, I find the two piece approach is usually more stable and increases the versatility as dry-bags can be swapped depending on just what needs carrying. 

Velcro strips help prevent any accidental dry-bag slippage.

Unlike some harnesses, the Pod actually comes with a dry-bag. The claimed 8L capacity of the dry-bag seems about right but if you’re a bit of a serial over-packer, then simply swap it for something a touch bigger. Cunningly, both the outside of the dry-bag and the inside of the harness feature hook and eye strips (I’m calling it Velcro from now on, okay?) – quite obviously, these aren’t intended to ‘hold’ the dry-bag in place, the harness does that but they do prevent it from slipping to one side. It seems to work very well and I have found that it helps make fitting the bag into the harness less of the three handed affair it can sometimes be.

Mounting straps – 2 for the bars and a third for the head-tube.

On the rear, you’ll find lots of webbing through which three velcro / hypalon straps run – two for going around the handlebars and the third for the head-tube. While offering enough security, I have found that the bar straps could do with a wider range of adjustment as they won’t tighten fully around a set of bars. On the rough stuff, it makes the harness a touch less stable than it might otherwise be but on tarmac and gravel you’re unlikely to notice much movement … a couple of short lengths of foam pipe lagging have proved to be a reasonable solution to take up the difference between bar and straps should you encounter any unwanted bouncing about while getting gnarly or radical.

While secure enough the bar straps could do with more adjustment … or some spacers.

8L can come in many shapes and the 8L of the included dry-bag is of the longer / thinner variety. That should suit those with suspension forks and minimal tyre clearance but those with narrow drop bars may need something shorter and more portly. At full capacity the dry-bag measures 19″ long but with a diameter of only 6″; whether that suits your particular requirements, only you can say but the harness will certainly accept something fatter without any complaint.

19″ long, 6″ in diameter and about 8 litres of storage.

The materials seem fine as does the workmanship. There’s some nice detail touches like the Velcro patches and a clip-on light mount. It’s not the most stable option for heavy duty off-road use but it’s not going to come lose or fall off anytime soon either. It will carry your kit and the included dry-bag will prevent it from becoming a soggy mess. Overall it’s a good useable package that within reason should cope with whatever you can throw at it. If it cost twice the amount it does all the above would still be true, so at just under £20 I can imagine we’ll be seeing a lot more of these strapped across handlebars in the future.

Available from On-One


  1. belugabob says:

    I'm also bothered by the tendency of these types of harness (from various suppliers) to use a strap round the headtube. Not only does this provide the potential for paint rub, but would be fairly useless on a wide range of frames, due to short headtube length and/or top & downtubes merging at the headtube.
    Nice to have a budget option, though, providing that you're happy with these concerns.

  2. Doo says:

    I like the idea of a strap around the head tube. My current harness straps under the front fork which annoys me as I like my mudguards to be there. At £13 I'm happy to try this harness out.

  3. Unknown says:

    No good on drop bars (gravel bike) – the harness is too floppy and the bar straps aren't tight enough. The head tube strap rubs paintwork (tape it well). It might work well on those odd-shaped Jones / Alpkit bars though. OK for road only use, not sturdy enough for off road.

  4. Although the bar straps could do with more adjustment to reduce any 'bounce', it is surprisingly stable and certainly no worse than some examples I've tried that cost considerably more. The same goes for any concerns about rubbing paintwork. I think as a budget option it works very well and any shortcomings can easily be remedied / improved with a little thought and improvisation … it's not uncommon for expensive harnesses to come with foam spacers and it's certainly not uncommon for them to have a strap around the head-tube.

  5. Unknown says:

    Agree that this might not be the best fit for drop bars, even the pretty wide ones on my Arkose, but I've jerry rigged a wire basket frame to my handlebars and added an extra pair of straps cannibalised from dead Aldi sleeping mats. The admirably heavy duty drybag sits on my rack top, and the podsacs harness has plenty of room to hold sleeping bag,bivi and insulated jacket in a lightweight drybag that's better suited to fitting between the drops. The whole thing is secure and held away from cables and cross-top levers. I can't think it's any less practical than most bar harnesses, all of which seemed incompatible with my brake levers and cable arrangement. My only beef would be that the reinforcing straps could have been left unstitched in a few more places for strapping on bits and bobs.(The ones we're supposed to leave behind in pursuit of TLS purity!)

    Excellent blog, thanks, JB

  6. Tim says:

    I have one of these bags which I have used quite happily. You may need to create your own strap to go around the head tube, but is not that the case with many bags. I am using a thick piece of elastic. The straps are ok but of course you have the risk of loosing them when they are undone with this type of design. I have made an improved set of straps for the handlebar by copying the Restrap bar bag system of straps that you wrap around and feed through a buckle and added some foam spacers and it is now ready for my partner to use on her bike. It will hold a 2kg 2 man macpac tent I use went bike packing with my son very happily.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may also be interested in

Trans Cambrian Way improvements due soon.

A few months ago, I was invited to a meeting of the Cambrian Routes and Paths Society. If you’ve not heard of them before, their aim to to increase awareness and therefor use of the often underused tracks and paths that exist within the Cambrian mountains. Anyway, the reason I’d been invited to this particular […]

Read Full Article

Book Club … Bikepacking Scotland by Markus Stitz.

Despite generally returning home with a debilitating injury, I’ve always enjoyed my trips to Scotland. It’s a vast place with many ‘honey pots’ but even more little known and largely hidden corners. Once you add the very sensible approach to access and wild-camping, plus the large number of bothies scattered across the land, then it’s […]

Read Full Article

Book Club … Bikepacking Wales by Emma Kingston.

Someone suggested that I was the wrong person to review this book. At first, I was a little unsure as to the reasons behind that statement, after all, I’ve been riding the hills and valleys of Wales for twenty years. I’ve mapped out numerous routes across the largely green and pleasant land and have gained […]

Read Full Article

Shopping cart0
There are no products in the cart!
Continue shopping