Want to ditch your rucksack on shorter rides or go on a multi-day “bikepacking” adventure? If so, then you will probably need a saddle bag. There are bags of different sizes and types available so knowing what makes the best mountain bike saddle bag can be challenging.

Here at The Adventure Junkies, we do not want you to be confused when it comes to choosing your equipment. We have written this article for you so you can learn what makes a good saddle bag and what you need to look out for. We have also included a list of what we think are the best saddle bags so you don’t have to do all the research yourself.

 

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THE ULTIMATE GUIDE TO FIND THE BEST MOUNTAIN BIKE SADDLE BAG

PICTURE
SADDLE BAG
BEST USE
CAPACITY (L)
WATERPROOF
PRICE
RATING
PICTURE
SADDLE BAG
BEST USE
CAPACITY (L)
WATERPROOF
PRICE
RATING
Revelate Designs Terrapin System
Overall
15
Yes
$$$
5.0
EVOC Saddle Bag
Overall
1
No
$
5.0
Topeak Wedge DryBag Medium
Budget
1
Yes
$
5.0
Defiance Pak Ratt 2
Budget
15
No
$$
4.0
Ortlieb Micro
Tools
0.6
Yes
$$
4.5
Topeak Aero Expanding Wedge
Tools
1.31
No
$
4.0
Timbuk2 Seat Pack XT
Tools
0.5
No
$
4.5
Timbuk2 Sonoma
Bikepacking
5
No
$$$
4.0
Ortlieb Seat-Pack
Bikepacking
16.5
Yes
$$
3.8
Topeak Back Loader
Bikepacking
6
Yes
$$
4.0

 

 

MOUNTAIN BIKE SADDLE BAGS 101

 

5 THINGS TO CONSIDER TO FIND THE BEST MOUNTAIN BIKE SADDLE BAG

 

1. SIZE AND USE

The first thing you need to think about is how much gear you need to transport. Do you just want somewhere to stash your tools on your regular rides so you can leave the rucksack at home? If this is the case then you will only need a small bag to fit a spare tube, multitool and maybe a CO2 inflator. A pump is unlikely to fit but can be attached to your frame.

If you want to go on longer rides without your rucksack, then you might need a slightly larger bag to hold a jacket or snacks. Remember that if the bag is only half full, then the contents will rattle around. The consequences of this are not dire, but you may have to put up with the sound of tools jingling around. If your bag is not full, consider wrapping your multitool in a cloth or wrap your spare tube around it to reduce noise.

Large saddle bags are generally used for bikepacking when you need to transport extra layers, camping equipment and food. On a bikepacking trip, you are unlikely to be able to fit everything you need into one saddle bag, even if it the biggest available. For this reason you should also take a rucksack and consider using other frame bags or handlebar bags. Check out this article to learn more about how to set up your bike for bikepacking and www.cyclingabout.com have a great overview of some recent tech that has entered the bikepacking market.

 

2. MATERIAL

Due to its position on the bike, a saddle bag will be constantly bombarded with dirt, stones, mud and water that get kicked up by the rear wheel. You want your bag to be made out a material that can put up with this abuse. Unless you are OK with the contents of the bag getting wet, you should also look for a bag that is at least water resistant or waterproof. This is especially important when bikepacking because you do not want your warm camp clothes to be soaking wet when you need them to keep you warm. The same goes for your sleeping bag.

 

3. SADDLE ATTACHMENT

How securely the bag attaches to the saddle or seatpost is important for two reasons. The first is that you do not want your bag to fall off while you are riding. This shouldn’t be a problem with any good quality bag however. A problem that bigger bags encounter is that the more they extend rearwards, the more they sway from side to side while you are riding. This can be very annoying. If you are looking for a bikepacking saddle bag, choose one that has been specifically designed not to sway. Some have additional braces to prevent it, but you can play your part too by packing the heaviest items nearest to the saddle.

 

4. DROPPER POST COMPATIBILITY

Some bags are designed to work with dropper posts. Others may work with them but it is not guaranteed and some manufacturers with discourage using their bags with dropper posts. The reason for this is the extra weight and forces that big bags can exert on the seat post.

 

5. BIKE FIT

If you ride a hardtail, you can just strap a bag on and get riding. If you are on a full suspension bike, then you will need to think about if a bag will fit before you purchase. As the shock compresses, the distance between the rear wheel and saddle decreases. Depending on how much travel you have and how high your saddle is (especially if you have a dropper post), there may not be enough space for a saddle bag when the shock is fully compressed. You can check how much space you have by releasing all the air from your shock and letting it compress. Measure the distance between the saddle and tire.

 

perfect must-have for mountain bike saddle bag

Photo by istockphoto.com/portfolio/aleksey_rezin

 

 

MOUNTAIN BIKE SADDLE BAG REVIEWS

 

1. MOUNTAIN BIKE SADDLE BAGS FOR OVERALL

REVELATE DESIGNS TERRAPIN SYSTEM

Check out the latest price on:
REI

BEST FOR: Overall

CAPACITY: 15L

WATERPROOF: Yes

PROS: Huge amounts of storage space, roll closure, holster prevents swaying

CONS: None

 

 

 

EVOC SADDLE BAG

Check out the latest price on:
AmazonREI

BEST FOR: Overall

CAPACITY: 1L

WATERPROOF: No

PROS: Stylish, durable rip stop nylon, light

CONS: None

 

 

 

 

2. MOUNTAIN BIKE SADDLE BAGS FOR BUDGET

TOPEAK WEDGE DRYBAG MEDIUM

Check out the latest price on:
AmazonREI

BEST FOR: Budget

CAPACITY: 1L

WATERPROOF: Yes

PROS: Waterproof material and roll closure to keep contents dry, 3 sizes available

CONS: Rigid material makes noise if items inside are loose

 

 

 

DEFIANCE PAK RATT 2

Check out the latest price on:
Amazon

BEST FOR: Budget

CAPACITY: 15L

WATERPROOF: No

PROS: Roll closure, robust material

CONS: Not waterproof, buckles are prone to breaking

 

 

 

 

3. MOUNTAIN BIKE SADDLE BAGS FOR TOOLS

ORTLIEB MICRO

Check out the latest price on:
AmazonREI

FOR: Tools

CAPACITY: 0.6L

WATERPROOF: Yes

PROS: Roll closure to remove extra space, reflective logo

CONS: Opening is small

 

 

 

TOPEAK AERO EXPANDING

Check out the latest price on:
AmazonREI

BEST FOR: Tools

CAPACITY: 1.31L

WATERPROOF: No

PROS: Expanding compartment to carry more gear, internal elastic secures contents

CONS: Attachment can be tricky

 

 

 

TIMBUK2 SEAT PACK XT

Check out the latest price on:
AmazonREI

BEST FOR: Tools

CAPACITY: 0.5L

WATERPROOF: No

PROS: Just the right size to hold the essentials, durable, attachment for rear light

CONS: Attachment can be fiddly

 

 

 

 

4. MOUNTAIN BIKE SADDLE BAGS FOR BIKEPACKING

TIMBUK2 SONOMA

Check out the latest price on:
AmazonREI

BEST FOR: Bikepacking

CAPACITY: 5L

WATERPROOF: No

PROS: Extra small for the bare essentials, lightweight, attachment for a rear light

CONS: Fiddly attachment

 

 

 

ORTLIEB SEAT-PACK

Check out the latest price on:
REI

BEST FOR: Bikepacking

CAPACITY: 16.5L

WATERPROOF: Yes

PROS: Large capacity, roll closure, waterproof

CONS: Heavy items need to be packed close to the saddle otherwise it will sway

 

 

 

TOPEAK BACK LOADER

Check out the latest price on:
Amazon

BEST FOR: Backpacking

CAPACITY: 6L

WATERPROOF: Yes

PROS: Mount and compression straps prevent swaying, included waterproof liner keeps contents dry

CONS: Dry bag is not the same shape as external bag

Best Mountain Bike Saddle Bag - Best Mountain Bike Gear Articles – MTB Equipment and Accessories for Men, Women and Kids – Mountain Biking Products Articles and Reviews
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