Bike seat packs and saddle bags can be life-savers for cyclists, letting you carry some essential gear with you without the added bulk of a full-size pannier or a cumbersome backpack. Depending on your needs, you can get a seat pack that provides just enough storage for a few tools under your seat, or a larger saddle bag that’ll let you carry enough gear to get you through an overnight trip.
Here are eight bags that we love that fit into any budget.
Topeak’s Aero Wedge is one of the best-selling and best-reviewed seat packs among Amazon customers, and is available a range of different sizes from micro to large (all of them decidedly affordable). It isn’t waterproof, but it should be more than durable enough for most cyclists, and a 3M reflective strip combined with a spot to attach a rear light will help to ensure your bike remains visible at night.
Timbuk2’s gear is a favorite of many bike commuters, and the company’s Seat Pack XT is no exception. It’s small and tucks under your seat with just enough room for a few well-chosen items—a medium version offers a tad more storage—and, as you’d expect from Timbuk2, it’s available in your choice of both understated and eye-catching colors in durable ballistic nylon.
If you’re looking to carry a decent amount of extra gear without adding a rack to your bike, a pack like Blackburn’s Outpost could be the solution you’re after. It boasts an expandable design with a maximum capacity of 671 cubic inches that makes it ideal for both overnight trips or shorter rides. It also comes with a separate dry bag to ensure that all your gear remains untouched by the elements.
As Cycling Weekly notes in its , however, the bag’s size does expectedly increase your center of gravity, and it’s also not recommended for carbon seatposts.
The majority of seat packs may fall into one of two groups: rugged and utilitarian or ultra-sleek and sporty, but there are also plenty of options for those looking for something a bit more casual and stylish. Brooks’ Isle of Wight saddle bag is one that gets high marks from , with it offering a rugged and waterproof but understated design that’s available in your choice of black or olive green (and small, medium or large sizes).
Arkel’s Rollpacker bags take a different approach than many seat packs by adding an aluminum hanger to the equation, which itself has a quick-release that’ll let you easily take it off when you don’t need the bag. That gives you plenty of carrying capacity (your choice of 15L or 25L bags), and a more balanced ride that cuts down on the unwanted movement other seat packs can cause. As you’d expect for the price, it’s also fully waterproof and, like all Arkel gear, is backed up by a lifetime warranty.
Another consistently well-reviewed option for carrying an ample amount of gear, Revelate Design’s Terrapin system offers a whopping 14L of storage, all of which promises to be kept completely waterproof thanks to an RF welded dry bag. The Terrapin’s compression system will also let you easily cram as much as possible into that space, while the whole thing can be easily detached when you need to unpack it all. Unlike some other large saddle bags, this one can also be used with carbon seatposts.
With a minimalist design and capacity of 5 to 7 liters, Bedrock’s Black Dragon seat bag falls squarely in the big enough but not too big category. Notably, it’s also available in two different versions for dropper posts or standard posts, and found it to be both easy to install and easy to remove, with a solid handcrafted construction (albeit one that isn’t fully waterproof) that easily justifies its price tag.
Ortlieb’s bags and panniers are a go-to choice for many cyclists who want something that’s rugged and guaranteed to be waterproof, and the company’s smaller seat bags are no different. They’re available in a range of sizes and colors, all of which are highly visible thanks to some Scotchlite reflective fabric. A five-year warranty will also give you some added peace of mind.