Bikepacking is more than just a buzzword in the cycling community; it’s a rising trend that blends adventure cycling with minimalist camping. One key element to an enjoyable bikepacking trip is having a good saddlebag. This article aims to be your definitive guide on everything related to bicycle saddle bag—types, materials, ease of access, and more.
What Are Bike Saddle Bags For?
Saddlebags serve the essential function of carrying gear, tools, and necessities when you’re on the road. They are essentially the “luggage” of your bicycle, making them indispensable for bikepacking adventures.
For more on what you’ll need for a successful bikepacking trip, check out 10 Must-Have Items for Bikepacking.
Why Is It Called a Saddle Bag?
The term “saddle bag” is derived from traditional bags that were attached to horse saddles. The concept is similar: they are bags that can be attached near the saddle or seat of a bicycle.
Types of Saddlebags
From road bike saddle bags to cycle saddle bags, there are various types to suit different kinds of cycling adventures. You have top-opening handlebar bags, traditional saddlebags, and modern bikepacking-style seatpacks. Each type has unique features that make them suitable for different kinds of trips and road conditions, including dirt road and gravel tourers.
For a deeper dive into different types of cycling, from gravel biking to randonneuring, check out The Ultimate Guide to Randonneuring Routes.
Material and Durability
Saddlebags can be made from various materials such as nylon, polyester, and even leather. For those looking for durability, especially for rugged terrains, it’s best to opt for bicycle saddle bags that are waterproof or at least water-resistant. Brands like Ortlieb and Revelate Designs offer particularly durable options.
To understand how your gear impacts the environment, read Gravel Biking and the Environment.
Capacity and Size
From small bike saddle bags to large saddle bag bikes, size does matter. Your choice will be dictated by the length and type of your trip. For short commutes, small saddle bags like the Lezyne bike bag would suffice. However, for extended bikepacking adventures, you may need something more spacious like the Topeak Backloader 15l bike bag.
Ease of Access and Organization
A good saddlebag should not only carry your belongings but also make it easy for you to access them. Look for features like compartments, zippers, roll-top closures, and saddlebag attachment systems. Some saddlebags even offer minimal racks and saddlebag supports for better organization.
Installation and Stability
Most saddlebags come with straps or clips that make it easy to attach them to your bike seat or under the saddle. Brands like Rhinowalk and Blackburn offer particularly easy-to-install options. It’s also crucial to consider how stable the bag will be while you’re riding; the last thing you want is a saddlebag that swings around.
There are countless brands out there, but some stand out for their quality and durability. Whether you’re looking for a gravel bike saddle bag or MTB saddle bag, brands like Apidura, Brooks England, and Carradice consistently receive favorable user reviews.
The price of a saddlebag can range from affordable options to high-end products. Generally, you get what you pay for. Cheaper saddlebags may lack in durability and features but could serve the purpose for short rides. On the other hand, high-end bags come with multiple compartments, are made from superior materials, and offer better stability and durability.
In summary, saddlebags are an essential accessory for any bikepacking adventure or even short commutes. From material to size, brand to price, many factors come into play. When chosen wisely, a good saddlebag can significantly enhance your biking experience.