Tired of having to stuff your keys and cell phone in your pocket whilst you cycle? Don’t have any room to bring tools and energy snacks on a long ride? You’re in luck, because it sounds like you need a saddle bag.
Saddle bags are an excellent accessory for budding and expert cyclists alike. Also known as the underseat bag or seat bag, saddle bags reside underneath the bicycle seat and attach to the saddle rails.
They are almost entirely concealable whilst riding, come in a variety of sizes depending on how much you intend to carry, and provide quick and easy access to grab your chosen items.
They are particularly useful for long cycling journeys as they take the weight off your back if you normally wear a backpack.
Saddle bags are stylish and sleek, and are a perfect non-invasive bag to carry your cell phone, keys, tools, snacks, and drinks. As there are many saddle bags on the market, it can seem overwhelming to find the perfect one for you.
That’s why we have found the 5 best saddle bags for every cycling need, along with a handy buyer’s guide and frequently asked questions section to find the best bag for your needs.
In a rush?
Our top pick is the Topeak Aero Wedge Velcro Pack. Available in medium, large, or micro, this saddle bag offers the perfect sizes for a variety of uses and items.
The material is weather resistant and durable, and easily attaches to a saddle rail with a velcro strap and snap-on buckles.
Finished with a reflective strip and attachments for rear lights, this saddle bag offers everything a cyclist will ever need.
OUR TOP PICK
- Lightweight and aerodynamic design
- Velcro strap and snap-on buckles for easy installation
- Made of a durable 1,200 denier Cordura material
- Comes with reflective safety strip
- Available in 3 sizes
- Durable and weather resistant materials
- Available in 3 sizes: large, medium, and micro
- Reflective strips and rear light attachments
- Velcro strap and buckle attachment
- Whilst weather resistant, it is not completely waterproof
The Topeak saddle bag ticks off every box for any cyclist: durable, lightweight, affordable, and practical. Made of 1,200 denier Cordura, this saddle bag is as strong as it is lightweight - ideal for carrying multiple tools and drinks at once.
This bag is all about concealing itself to benefit cyclists rather than to hinder their journey. It has a slim and aerodynamic design that fits snug underneath the seat, providing easy and fast access.
The installation and removability is as simple as the quick access - only requiring a velcro strap and snap-on buckles to connect to the saddle rail.
It is also fitted with a reflective strip and offers attachment to rear lights for the early morning or late night cycling journeys - the ideal safety touches that you don’t have to worry about installing yourself.
BEST LARGE CAPACITY
- Versatile and adjustable capacity
- Waterproof material, which is also easy to clean
- Simply straps to saddle rail
- Experienced riders may encounter sagging with heavy loads and/or rough terrain
- Reflective straps installed for night cycling
- 14L capacity for long journeys
- Adjustable capacity size
- Easy installation with buckles
- Reflective straps for safety
- Experienced bikepackers may experience loosening and sagging during hardcore trips
This saddle bag is most ideal for those on a long bikepacking trip. With a maximum capacity of 14L, it can hold anything from tools to rolled up clothes.
Even if you don’t plan on taking long journeys all the time, this bag can roll up to whatever capacity you require - even if you just plan on bringing your keys and some energy bars.
Due to the maximum weight and design of this bag, there may be slight issues of sagging - which is why this is best recommended for entry-level bikepackers. When full or on rough terrain, sagging and loosening may occur.
Despite the chance of sagging, there is minimal side-to-side movement - so you don’t have to worry about it affecting your balance.
This bag is made of a 3 layer INNOVATIVE material that is both waterproof and simple to clean, which is perfect for muddier trips. It also comes with suitable reflective straps and simply straps to the saddle rail.
THE LIGHTEST CHOICE
- Durable, tear-resistant, and water-resistant materials
- Streamlined and aerodynamic design
- Compact for essential items
- Best suited for racers and short trips
- Perfect for racing and quick trips
- Durable and tear-resistant material
- Lightweight and aerodynamic
- Quick installation
- Reflective strips
- Small saddle bag is not ideal for long journeys or multiple items
This compact little saddle bag is ideal for racing, quick trips, and for those who prefer to not carry so much when riding.
Available in either a 0.4L or 0.6L capacity, this bag is as lightweight as it comes, as it can only hold the essentials.
It is made of a tear-resistant PU leather and PVC for durability and water-resistance, and it holds its shape throughout its lifetime.
This saddle bag is designed to benefit the rider rather than act as a distraction. Lightweight, aerodynamic, and slim, this bag is best for those who want a streamlined accessory bag to hold small tools, keys, and cell phones.
The access is as quick and easy as the installation process, which only requires velcro straps around the saddle rail. Reflective strips and a loop for a tail light are included for late night and early morning trips.
- Good medium-sized bag for mountain biking
- Durable, wear and tear resistant material
- Velcro strap installation
- Reflective strap included
- Best medium-sized saddle bag
- Durable and tear-resistant material
- Quick installation
- Reflective logo and tail light hook
- Lifetime Warranty
- Velcro may loosen overtime if load is consistently heavy
Another RockBros product, this saddle bag is perfect for those who can’t decide what bag size they require - especially if you’re prone to taking a variety of trip lengths!
This medium-sized bag has a 1.5L capacity and can hold multiple items at once without coming into contact with the rider.
It simply wraps around a saddle rail with two adjustable velcro straps - though there is always a risk of these loosening with constant heavy use.
This saddle bag is made of a scratch and tear-resistant PU fabric and rubber material, which is perfect for mountain trips where branches and trees may get in the way.
As well as this, the bag features a solid PP plate support to maintain its structure and to protect your items. It also comes with a reflective logo and loop for a tail light for night cycling.
- Good medium sized, 1.5L capacity bag
- Water and tear resistant material
- Sleek and snug , non-intrusive design
- Easy installation and access
- All-rounder medium saddle bag
- Durable, waterproof, and tear-resistant fabric
- Easy installation with velcro straps
- Reflective strips
- Thick padded to prevent movement
- Whilst waterproof in light rain, the stitches are not waterproof - so it is not designed for heavy rain
The last product on our list ticks all of the boxes for cyclists who want to take all of their necessary items.
Made of a durable 600D Oxford and PU material, this bag is as sleek and stylish as it is tear and water resistant.
The PU leather is ideal for riding in wet environments, and makes the outside of the bag very easy to clean.
With a 1.5L capacity, this is a good sized bag for carrying all of the necessities as well as a few extras - from a cell phone and tools to a first aid kit.
The bag resides comfortably underneath the seat with 3 velcro adjustable straps to connect to the saddle rail, providing easy access and no disruption to the cyclist.
It also features a reflective trim with a tail light loop for safe riding in the dark.
Best Saddle Bag Buying Guide
Why saddle bags are so useful
Saddle bags are a necessary accessory to invest in if you like to take long cycling trips, if you race often, or if you’re tired of leaving vital items at home.
Some people may find cycling with a backpack comfortable, but others might find that it affects their riding.
Saddle bags are the perfect accomplice for these people, as they reside hidden underneath the seat without obstructing the cyclist’s movements.
They can carry anything from a cell phone and keys to tools and a first aid kit. Super handy if you happen to have an accident and you don’t want to wait at the side of a road for assistance!
Size and shape
Saddle bags can come in a variety of sizes, but they are all designed to be streamlined and slim to find under the seat without coming into contact with the cyclist’s legs.
Generally speaking, the smaller bags are best designed for races as they are the least intrusive, lightweight, and the most streamlined.
Larger sized bags are best for mountain trips and rougher textures that may cause damage to the bike or rider, as the bags can hold first aid kits and the appropriate tools. Likewise, larger bags are best for longer trips that may require spare clothing and food.
The shape of saddle bags is generally the same, regardless of the size. They are designed to fit snug underneath the seat, so the shape mimics this slim design.
If the bag has a larger capacity, such as the RockBros Bikepacking Large Saddle Bag, the bag will simply extend beyond the underseat. It will not become intrusive to the wheel or the cyclist regardless of how large it is. But if large size is very important to you, you may want to check messenger bike.
One of the main reasons why saddle bags are so useful is because of the easy installation and removal process. The majority of saddle bags simply connect to the saddle rail with velcro straps and/or snap-on buckles.
This makes the installation incredibly fast, as well as the removal. Velcro is great as the tightness can be adjusted depending on how heavy the bag is with the items inside.
The material of a saddle bag can determine how protective the bag is against water and tearing. After all, the main purpose of a saddle bag is to protect the items inside.
If your bag has valuable technology items such as a phone, you will want to be assured that your bag can withstand rain.
The majority of saddle bags are made with durable materials such as PU leather and rugged fabrics such as Cordura with a coating. These are all said to be water-resistant, but it is important to remember that they are only designed to withstand light rain.
Most stitching is not waterproof, and therefore will not be able to protect your valuable items from potentially getting damp in heavy rain.
We recommend wrapping your valuable items in a plastic bag or other plastic covering as an extra layer of protection if the weather is extreme.
Other extras to look for in a bike saddle bag include reflective strips, tail light loops, and zippers and flaps.
Reflective strips and tail light loops are vital for those who intend to cycle along roads in the night or early morning. Your bike may already be equipped with reflective equipment, but the more the merrier to provide enough light for approaching cars!
It is also worth looking into how many flaps and pockets are available in your saddle bag. Some bags only offer one opening, which is fine if you’re only holding some items.
Some people may benefit from mesh pockets and side pockets if you want even faster access to items such as maps.
Frequently Asked Questions
What is a saddle bag used for?
Saddle bags are basically a non-invasive version of a small backpack, designed to carry necessary items that a rider may need on their journeys. These items can range from phones, keys, tools, maps, and first aid kits.
They are really beneficial for long journeys where the rider may need a drink or energy snacks, but a backpack may be too disruptive to their riding.
How do you attach saddle bags?
Saddle bags reside underneath the bicycle seat and connect to the saddle rail, hence the name! They are usually attached by velcro and/or snap-on buckles.
This attachment method is incredibly quick, easy, and adjustable to make the bag sit tighter to the rail if needed. Saddle bags can be removed as quickly as they can be attached.
What is the best saddle bag for racing?
Generally speaking, the best saddle bags for racing are the smallest and slimmest bags. These bags are the least intrusive due to their size, and are streamlined for helping the cyclist in their race.
A smaller sized bag will also be more lightweight to carry the essential items. There may not be room for a water bottle, however some races offer water breaks at the side of a race track.
Some cyclists even prefer to get a water bottle holder attached to their bike, so they have easier access.
What is the best saddle bag for a road bike?
Any saddle bag that we have recommended is suitable for road biking. It depends on how much you intend to bring and how long you intend the trip to be, as some people may prefer to bring more than others.
Generally speaking, medium-sized bags are best for road biking as they can hold more tools in the case of an emergency.
What is the best saddle bag for mountain biking?
Much like road biking, it depends on how much the rider intends to bring and how long the journey will take. Most riders choose to use a medium-sized saddle bag to have enough room for items, but some may bring bigger saddle bags if they plan to stay overnight somewhere.
These larger bags can hold rolled up clothing and small toiletries.
It is also important to look for saddle bags made of a durable and tear-resistant material for mountain biking, as there is the risk of trees and branches scratching the bag.
Saddle bags that offer a solid plate to maintain the shape of the bag are also great for providing more support and protection to items.
What should I take on a long bike ride?
Depending on the type of bike ride you intend to go on, the best items to bring include:
- Energy snacks
- Cell phone
- Portable charger
- First aid kit
- Spare clothing such as socks and underwear
- Toiletries if you have the space, such as deodorant
Some people might want to place their water bottle in their saddle bag, but due to the size this will take up a lot of space. Fortunately, you can get a separate water bottle holder attachment on your bike for easier access.