The 8 Best Bike Saddle Bags of 2021

Saddle up with all your essentials with these bike bags.

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Whether your dream is lightweight bikepacking cross-country with nothing but you and the open road, or you’re after a low-carbon way of traveling to and from the office each day, a bike saddle bag is a superb accessory to adding to your cycle. Because they attach directly to the bike, rather than using rack mounts as per your standard pannier setup, they’re more likely to fit your bike and provide a streamlined approach to storage for on the road or mountain. 

Easily strapped to the back of the seat above the wheel, saddle bags should fit every type of bicycle, whether you’re riding a road bike, mountain bike, or even a gravel bike. While they’re certainly not as large as rack bags, most are large enough to pack essentials, whether that’s a puncture kit and a water bottle, or a full sleeping bag and duvet jacket for an overnight adventure. 

So here are the best bike saddle bags for a range of cycling uses.

The Rundown
With a capacity of 16.2 liters, this surprisingly substantial bag can fit a jacket and a sleeping bag.
Roomy enough to fit essential items but small enough to go snugly under the seat, this saddle bag ticks a lot of boxes.
Fully waterproof and made from heavy-duty nylon to protect it from damage, it’s a sturdy choice of saddle bag.
This streamlined 16.5-liter saddle bag from Ortlieb is an excellent choice for your road bike.
This semirigid, weather-resistant saddle bag is perfect for when you want more protection for your valuables on uneven terrain.
Reduce waste and stay hydrated on a ride with this pack made from recycled fishing net polyester.
Made using recycled bike tires, bike inner tubes, and sturdy military canvas, this small yet functional bag is a great option.
Looking smart as you cycle up to the office is a breeze with this handmade leather saddle bag that fits snugly behind the seat.

Best Overall: Green Guru Hauler Bike Packing Bag

Green Guru Hauler Bike Packing Bag

If plenty of room—and the space to pack a few more items—is top of your must-have list when it comes to investing in a saddle bag for your next cycling adventure, look no further than this surprisingly substantial choice. 

Made in Colorado, this bag has a capacity of 16.2 liters, making it big enough to carry a warm jacket and even a lightweight sleeping bag. There’s no need to worry about your bedding getting wet during the day, though: the bag’s roll-top closure means you just fold and clip closed, keeping it fully waterproof and with the added bonus that you’re avoiding potentially weak zippers that could break and leave you in a mess. 

What’s more, there’s a small, easily-accessible pocket right at the top for items you might need during the day, making this extremely convenient for any cycling trip. Added sustainability points come from the fact that the company uses donated and defective outdoor gear to be upcycled into its products. Everything from used bike inner tubes, wetsuits, and climbing ropes finding a new lease of life in these bags.

Best Budget: REI Co-op Junction Seat Bag

REI Co-op Junction Seat Bag

Roomy enough to fit essential items such as your wallet, smartphone, D-lock, and water bottle, but still small enough to go snugly under the seat, this saddle bag ticks a lot of boxes—including being affordable without compromising on space. Because of its smaller size, you can guarantee that your rear light is still visible and it has a reflective logo and loop for low light, making it a safe choice, too. The zipper entry is also a quicker and less fiddly choice when you’re battling very cold or wet weather conditions. 

Manufactured from rugged, water-resistant nylon, this is a fantastic all-weather bag, made even more impressive by the fact that it uses Bluesign-certified materials. In a nutshell, this means that the manufacturing process has been free of chemicals that are hazardous to human health, ensuring that water and air pollution faces strict controls, workers are protected and you, as the consumer, are never put in contact with anything damaging. That’s a win for everyone as far as we’re concerned.

Best Splurge: Rockgeist Mr. Fusion Seat Pack

Rockgeist Mr. Fusion Seat Pack

If you’re worried about your saddle bag—and you—wobbling when you’re on more intense rides, this pack is just the ticket: it has an integrated, mini-rack that attaches beneath the seat and keeps everything securely in place. At 15 or 12 liters in size, the dry bag that makes up this saddle pack fits a substantial amount of gear and can be removed and packed independently while the rack holster remains in place, making it less fiddly than many other competing designs. 

Fully waterproof and made from heavy-duty nylon to protect it from damage, it’s a sturdy choice of saddle bag. Weighing in at 19.8 ounces, it’s actually reasonably light for the space it offers, ensuring that your bike remains as lightweight and streamlined as possible, and avoids any potentially dangerous swaying or other instability on the ride.

Best for Road Bikes: Ortlieb Seat-Pack Saddle Bag

Ortlieb Seat-Pack Saddle Bag

Whether you’re bikepacking, touring, or just commuting, this streamlined 16.5-liter saddle bag from Ortlieb is an excellent choice for your road bike. You can adjust the size of the pack by using the roll closures to either slim it down to eight liters or take it up to a full 16.5 liters, with an air release valve allowing you to compress it even tighter, helping to reduce drag when you cycle. 

This bag is pretty much everything you’ll need: Big enough to store a sleeping bag and even a lightweight tent, but light enough (the bag is only 16.1 ounces) to not weigh you down. It’s also waterproof (but PVC-free) and easy to secure to your seat post. It’ll be as at home out in the countryside as on the roads to work. Thanks to its narrow design, it should fit most bikes as it requires less tire clearance than other models.

Best for Mountain Bikes: Topeak SideKick Wedge Bike Seat Pack

Topeak SideKick Wedge Bike Seat Pack

When you want a bit of protection for your valuables, this semirigid, weather-resistant saddle bag will keep everything safe and in one piece, even when you’re throwing the bike around uneven terrain. 

One of the reasons this bag is so good is its clip mounting system. This fits onto the base of the saddle and dispenses with flimsy velcro and straps, making it quick and easy to secure the bag to the bike. Big enough to fit keys, food, your phone, and other essentials, but not too big that it’ll slow you down, this bag will be your ideal partner for your next mountain bike adventure.

Best with Water Bottle Holder: Axiom Cycling Gear Seymour Oceanweave Wedge 1.3 H2O Seat Bag

Axiom Cycling Gear Seymour Oceanweave Wedge 1.3 H2O Seat Bag

You can reduce waste and keep yourself hydrated on a ride with this pack made from recycled fishing net polyester with a waterproof coating to keep everything dry. Given abandoned fishing gear makes up 10% of all plastic ocean pollution, this bag is good for reducing plastic waste not only because it's made with recycled material but can help you stash your reusable water bottle

A gear capacity of 1.3 liters might not sound like a lot, but this bag is surprisingly roomy inside. Fit essential items such as your credit card in the interior pocket and others such as a jacket and food in the main compartment. The water bottle's location at the back of the bag offers easy access while riding, too. It’s also very lightweight, coming in at only 4.48 ounces.

Best Small Bag: Paguro Upcycle Kenny Eco Bike Saddle Bag

Paguro Kenny Eco Bike Saddle Bag

Made using recycled bike tires, bike inner tubes, and sturdy military canvas, this high-quality saddle bag is a great option when it comes to eco-friendly but still functional cycling accessories. This UK-based brand only sells products made from upcycled materials that would otherwise find their way into landfill, giving them a second lease of life and helping you reduce your environmental impact. 

Attached by an adjustable long clip strap to the base of the saddle, it’s roomy enough for storing bike tools and other essentials such as a phone or wallet, and will keep them dry and protected from the elements.

Best for Commuters: Herbert and Winifred Leather Bike Saddle Bag

Herbert and Winifred Leather Bike Saddle Bag

Looking smart as you cycle up to the office is a breeze with this handmade leather saddle bag that fits snugly behind the seat. Available in tan or black, it’s a truly stylish alternative to a more sporty pack, but still has enough space to fit a puncture repair kit, as well as your phone, wallet, and keys. 

Made from hard-wearing buffalo leather that can also be personalized for an added touch of personality. This bag is guaranteed to catch people’s attention as you head off to your job and should work just as well with an electric bike as with a conventional one.

Final Verdict

For ample space for bike touring or even just your daily commute, opt for the Green Guru Hauler Seat Bag Bike Pack (view at Amazon), which will fit practically everything you need for a day or even more out on the roads. If more secure and stable protection for electronics is more what you’re after, the Topeak SideKick Wedge Bike Seat Pack (view at REI) is rigid enough to stay in one piece.

What to Look for in Bike Saddle Bags

Tire Clearance

One of the major barriers against a saddle bag fitting your bike correctly is the tire clearance. This is the distance from your saddle to the rear tire and affects how the pack fits, so it’s essential to measure this on your bike before committing to any pack—you don’t want to buy one and be disappointed, after all!

Size

Saddle bags come in various sizes. Small bags are generally enough for just fitting in essential tools in case of puncture, while larger packs are the choice for bikepacking or other more long-distance activities. If you want something that works for both, a seat pack that has variable capacity—such as a roll closure to adjust how much space you have—can offer the best of both worlds. 

Thigh chafing

Given the saddle bag fits just below the saddle, there’s always the chance that it may catch on your thighs when you pedal—a sore and entirely unavoidable occurrence. To prevent this from happening, we recommend buying a bag that’s narrower at the seatpost so that it tapers to wider further back from you and your legs. It should keep you away from the fabric and any chance of chafing or other unpleasant rubbing. 

FAQs

How do you attach a saddle bag to a bike?

All saddle bags attach to a bike differently, so it depends on the type of attachment. Many come with a combination velcro and strap setup, where the strap wraps around the D ring at the base of the saddle before tying into place, and the bag is then held securely using the velcro at the seat post. For a more secure attachment, consider a rack, which fits around the seat post and gives the saddle bag a metal rack onto which it rests. This stops it from moving when you cycle and makes putting the saddle bag on and taking it off really easy, as you don’t have to remove the rack each time you want to access the bag. 

How should I pack my saddle bag?

Depending on the size of your pack, a saddle bag is the ideal place to keep essential items for your journey. For a small saddle bag, you’ll want to include essentials for mending your bike, including new inner tubes, a tire lever for removing your inner tubes, a mini pump, a multi tool (including a chain tool), as well as a pair of gloves for keeping your hands clean when doing any fixes. If you’ve got a larger bag, snacks, a jacket, and water are also riding essentials. 

What is the best way to clean a saddle bag?

The best way of cleaning your saddle bag depends upon the type of material it’s made from. If it’s a leather saddle bag, we recommend purchasing leather cleaner, which can be applied using a soft cloth to the surface of the bag to wipe away dirt and grime. Alternatively, for a nylon or other plastic-coated bag, use a nylon-bristled brush or cloth and mild detergent, water and elbow grease—stains should come straight off in the process. 

Why Trust Treehugger?

We researched the market to find the best bike saddle bags, and prioritized options made with eco-friendly materials like recycled fabric.

The author, Steph Dyson, is committed to helping consumers make more environmentally-friendly choices when it comes to outdoors equipment and enjoys spending her free time out on the bike and in the mountains testing out sustainable clothing and accessories.

View Article Sources
  1. "Ghost fishing gear." World Wildlife Fund.