Fresh Mountain Bike, or Gravel Kits? Cargo bib options?

I’ve been drawn to the more casual and somewhat subdued looks of what’s being marketed as a “gravel kit” - not race cut roadie/xc, not too bro - goldilocks. I’ll still wear my lycra when training but just want an option for social mountain bike rides really. The idea to use a looser fitting shirt that lacks any sort of pocket/storage so the crux of this is finding a good pair of cargo bib shorts, like the Specialized SWAT bibs, but trying to find others. I should add that I carry a lot of my gear on my bike and that I’m completely pack free on 95% of my rides. (water filter, and a large bottle for longer rides).

I recently got a nice Explore Gore kit, but they lack the cargo bib so I went to a 7mesh version that showed up yesterday. It looked ok in theory but the pockets are way too shallow, and the chamois seems maybe just ok. I do have a pair of older SWAT bibs that I’m using for now and they’re actually pretty good for shorter rides but the chamois could be better; at least the pockets are deep and effective for carrying what I need; phone, some gels/bars, multi-tool.

What else is out there that you’ve used and liked? I’m surprised more companies aren’t doing more cargo bib options?

Haven’t used the pocket versions but I love the Wyn women’s bibs. This is their pocketed offering: men's pannier cycling bib shorts - black – WYN republic

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The Black Sheep Adventure Bib may fit the bill. My wife has a pair and loves them, and the pockets appear relatively deep. I haven’t tried these yet, but I think I’ll buy a pair soon.

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Rapha has 2 offerings for cargo bibs and I think the side pockets are decent size. Cuore also has the Pioneer bib which I bought when my club offered them last year. I use them all the time for road and gravel. I think the nice thing about the cargo bibs is they are just regular bibs if you don’t want to use the pockets.

Cuore sells the Pioneer bib in their retail store but I think it is only offered in the camo print.


Not sure what your budget is but the Rapha Cargo Core bibs are pretty great ($150). Pockets are deep but don’t have a ton of volume. You could probably fit a phone, multitool, and 5(?) gels. But a lot more if you utilized the thigh pockets.

I also have a pair of The Black Bibs Ultimate Adventure Bibs ($85). Maybe not quite as good as the Rapha’s but they are really good. Same as above with deepish pockets but they are pretty flat which is good that they don’t flop around but they also don’t expand a ton to fit food for all day rides.


The Rapha cargo is great. Since you’re going the casual route, you might want to save money and buy the shorts, not the bibs.

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Thanks for all the suggestions so far, looks like way more than I thought was out there.

Anyone tried ZOIC? Always thought of them as an entry level brand but their cargo bibs look decent. Otherwise I think I’m just going to get an updated pair of SWAT bibs.

Wattie Ink has a cargo bib short too. Our team (Enve) used Wattie Ink last year so I wore those a lot and they were very comfortable and I found the cargo pockets perfect for phone, gels, and chews. I have to admit I was really surprised that I didn’t notice have stuff in the pockets. I thought for sure it would feel odd, but doesn’t at all, even with a big heavy phone.

Although not marketed as a “cargo bib”, I have always been a fan of De Soto’s bibs, and all of their bibs have pockets for gels, snacks, keys, etc on each side, and a large center back pocket that holds a phone very well. Plus, they seem to be very durable.