Going on a ride is never as simple as just grabbing your bike and rolling out the door. However, a handy saddle bag will keep your spare tube, CO2 and inflator, patch kit, tyre levers, tyre boot, multi-tool and a few other bits and pieces organised and together to make sure you aren’t left stranded on the side of the road, calling a friend to come pick you up.
For the Velominati types, all of this can be stuffed in a pocket but will take up room that would otherwise be used for all-important snacks. For the rest of us, a saddlebag is the way to go.
They come in all different shapes and sizes and are attached to your bike via the saddle rails and sometimes seat post. Some use simple Velcro straps, while others employ Boa dials or more permanent clip-on attachments.
Size and shape
How much stuff are you going to need on a ride? Are you headed out for a few hours, or a week riding the entire Colorado Trail?
The former is what applies to most of us and a 0.5-litre bag will fit two road tubes, CO2 canisters and an inflator, a small multi-tool and some tyre levers with a bit of Tetris. Pro tip: re-roll your innertubes with the valve in the middle (keep the valve cap on), it will be about half the size it was when you started.
Many saddlebags use basic velcro straps attached to your saddle. This is the lightest weight and arguably the most secure option - just make sure to watch where the rough side of the hook and loop ends on your seat-post, if it's in a bad spot or peels up a bit you may wear a hole through your shorts.
Of course, every brand in the bike industry is continually searching for a point of difference, and thus seat packs that use a bracket on the seat post or saddle rails also exist. These are often a bit heavier, and we have seen a few hit the eject button over rough sections of road.
Regardless of how they attach to your bike, most bags will use a zip to keep everything inside, while strap-on tool rolls may use buckles or even Boa dials.
Simple, bright and effective
Available in a few different sizes, the Evoc Seat Bag is the low-volume version with 0.3L of internal capacity. The exterior is made from the same PU coated ripstop nylon used in the brand's backpacks, which is durable and has a bit of weather resistance, too.
Inside, there are mesh pockets to keep your gear organised, and the bag is held in place with three velcro straps, making for fuss-free mounting. Beyond the quality finishing, we love the Evoc seat pack because it comes in several color options.
Neat seat pack with compact storage
We like the Topeak Aero Wedge Velcro pack because it’s compact and aero enough to tuck away beneath your saddle, but still has room for all the tools and supplies you need for a short day on the bike.
It comes with multiple storage areas, comprising one large rear zippered compartment, plus internal pockets, so everything has a place.
The pack itself secures to the saddle rails and seat post using velcro straps and snap-on buckles for secure attachment. The pack is constructed from rugged Cordura material with DuPont coating for added water resistance. Reflective detailing adds visibility for dusky rides or commutes.
Minimalist alternative to a traditional saddle bag
The Lezyne Roll Caddy is not your traditional saddle bag. Instead, it's a nylon roll-up pouch with slots for all your essentials. There’s ample room for a tube, tyre levers, CO2 canisters and the self-adhesive patches, plus there’s an internal zippered pocket for your small valuables.
It all lays out flat for easy access to everything and comes with a rain cover to keep your spare tube grit-free. Even though it only attaches to your saddle rails with a velcro strap, it hangs on tight and is swing free - even over rough terrain.
Carry an extra bottle with you
This waterproof saddlebag from Rockbros has ample room for all your tools and essentials, plus a spacious external pouch that fits a water bottle. This is perfect for anyone whose bike frame is too small to accommodate a bottle cage, or anyone who needs extra water carrying capacity for a very long ride.
The bag itself is pretty large, with 1.6L capacity. It makes an ideal replacement for a backpack if that’s what you’re used to. There’s plenty of room for energy bars, spare inner tube, patch kit, chain lube, tire levers, a mini pump, and your keys. Inner compartments help you to keep things organised. It is worth bearing in mind however that it requires about 8 inches of exposed seat post in order to fit.
Aero bag for all your race essentials
This ultralight saddlebag from Roswheel is designed for speed, so if you need something compact to hold your essentials while you race, then this is a great option. Its streamlined shape should minimise air and wind resistance, ideal if you’re worried about wasting those all-important watts.
Constructed from tear-resistant jacquard cloth, PU leather and PVC, and offers a stylish, solid and durable solution for road cyclists. Installation is easy, thanks to the three velcro straps which attach to the saddle rails and seat post. Finally there are reflective elements which will help you stay visible when the day gets darker.
Comes with the tools included
This is an absolute bargain, because for what is already a reasonable price, you get not just the saddle bag, but all the repair tools you need to store in there as well. The bag itself shares a similar design to many others on this list, attaching via the saddle rails and seat post via straps with snap-on buckle closures.
The 14-in-1 tool kit that comes included, comprises hex wrenches (sizes 2-8mm), a chain tool, T25 torx, flathead and Phillips screwdrivers, and three wrenches (sizes 8, 9 and 10mm). All you need to add is a mini pump, some tire levers and a spare tube or puncture repair kit, and you’re away.
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