Menu
Updated July 2022
Header Image
Why trust BestReviews?
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We only make money if you purchase a product through our links, and all opinions about the products are our own. Read more  
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We only make money if you purchase a product through our links, and all opinions about the products are our own. Read more  
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We buy all products with our own funds, and we never accept free products from manufacturers.Read more 
Bottom Line
Pros
Cons
HOW WE TESTED

We recommend these products based on an intensive research process that's designed to cut through the noise and find the top products in this space. Guided by experts, we spend hours looking into the factors that matter, to bring you these selections.

59
Models
Considered
64
Consumers
Consulted
18
Hours
Researched
Category cover

Buying guide for Best bicycle saddlebags

Every cyclist eventually needs a way to carry stuff. That’s where bicycle saddlebags come in. Also called seat packs, these sit securely between the bicycle seat, rear tire, and frame to instantly add cargo space. Saddlebags offer compact stowage for some important components of cycle maintenance and repair, so you can patch or replace punctured tubes and reset tires on the rims while on the road and get home safely.

As convenient as bicycle saddlebags are, it’s no surprise that so many choices exist. Finding the type that works best for your bike and carrying needs might require a bit of hunting, and even some trial and error. You could be a commuter in need of a “just in case” kit, or you might need to pack a more robust repair kit because you frequently ride far afield. Perhaps weight and balance are important too.

Our buying guide can help shorten the time it takes to decide which saddlebag is best for you. We also recommend some of our favorites, as well as a few accessories that can help you enjoy the bicycling life even more.

bike saddle bags
Bikepacking saddlebags are better used as an accessory to panniers and frame bags because they need to be well secured to keep from swinging out and unbalancing the rider.

Key considerations

Bike size

The height of the bike frame, the position and height of the saddle, as well as the diameter and width of the tires can all affect the size of the saddlebag you can mount to your bike.

Saddlebag size

Bicycle saddlebags should not interfere with the safe operation of your bike. They should not make contact with the tires or impede your ability to sit comfortably. Overloading a saddlebag can seriously hamper your bike’s performance and even make it dangerous to handle. It’s better to go up a size (or pare down the gear you’re stowing in it) than overstuff the bag.

Small or slimline: These compact saddlebags typically are not wider or longer than the bike saddle itself. They’re ideal for those who don’t want to sacrifice cycling performance but need to carry a few essential items.

Medium or wedge: These larger bicycle saddlebags extend slightly beyond the rear of the saddle and may be a fraction of an inch wider on each side. A wedge shape that mirrors the shape of the saddle is a good choice.

Large: These are best for wider seats such as the comfort saddles on cruiser bikes.

Bikepacking seat pack: Those looking to maximize cargo space might consider an extra-long type of saddlebag that extends well behind the bicycle seat. These have a capacity of about 5 to 14 quarts!

Construction

Support: Without a well-structured build, a saddlebag can sag downward into the wheel spokes. Look for a saddlebag with rigid construction.

Capacity: Under-seat saddlebags look small but can carry a surprising amount of gear. Riders frequently stow a spare tube, carbon dioxide cylinder, tire repair kit, and multi-tool in them. Larger saddlebags can carry even more stuff.

Other storage

Road bikers, bikepackers, and commuters frequently combine a saddlebag with other cargo options to compartmentalize their gear. You can add a rear rack and panniers or a front rack and handlebar bag when you need to carry lots of extra stuff. A detachable handlebar basket is an option if you need to schlepp a bag of groceries from store to home.

Hook-and-loop fasteners are convenient, but mud and dirt can affect their hold. Clean them frequently if you ride off-road.

STAFF
BestReviews

Features

Weather resistance

Bicycle saddlebags are exposed to sun, rain, and mud, so the materials need to be durable while remaining flexible. Nylon is the most popular material for bicycle saddlebags, and 1,000- to 1,200-denier nylon should be adequate for providing water and sun resistance for years.

Mounts

Hook-and-loop straps easily wrap around the seat post and saddle base for a secure and quick-to-adjust fit. Sturdy nylon straps and weather-resistant buckles are a good option if you frequently ride in muddy and dirty conditions.

Quick mount: For those who don’t want to waste time struggling to access or mount the saddlebag, clip-in mounts are available on some brands. The mount itself can be bolted or strapped to the saddle rail; then you can click the saddlebag into place under the seat. One caveat: if your bike has a carbon frame, post, or saddle rail, make sure the mount is safe for this material.

Extras

Pockets: Some saddlebags include a small outside (or inside) pocket for items you need to access quickly, like a mini pump or an extra energy gel pack. Internal pockets keep smaller items from bouncing around or making annoying rattles.

Straps: A neat feature on some saddlebags, additional straps allow you to fasten on a little bit of extra gear like a mini pump.

Compression straps: In some models, the mounting straps also act as compression straps to keep the contents of the saddlebag from bouncing around. Others add extra compression straps.

Closure

Zippers are the closure of choice for most bicycle saddlebags. If water is still a problem (excessively rainy and snowy regions tend to defeat saddlebag waterproofing more quickly), look for models that have a zipper cover or a roll-top closure that improves water resistance in extreme conditions.

Color

Most bicycle saddlebags are black or gray. This isn’t just aesthetics: it’s practical as well. Darker colors hide dirt and dust so the saddlebag looks good even on a long trail ride. If you really prefer a different color like brown or pink, options are available.

Reflective fabric: A strip (or more) of reflective tape or fabric makes you more visible to drivers on the road. Every little bit of visibility helps.

bike saddle bags
DID YOU KNOW?
Clearance is important. Measure the distance between the bottom of the bicycle saddle and the fender or tire and keep this in mind when buying a saddlebag.
STAFF
BestReviews

Accessories

Bike multi-tool: Topeak Alien Multi-Tool
Picking the right multi-tool for your repair kit is a little like Goldilocks finding the porridge that’s just right. Topeak’s rugged model has a great mix of metric spanners and screwdrivers and includes a chain pin breaker.

Bike lights: Akale Rechargeable Bike Light Set
Clip-on rear and front LED lights are a key safety item on the road. These attach quickly to the rear of the seat back and have convenient USB-charging capability.

Cycling underwear: Souke Men’s Cycling Underwear
Protect your backside while wearing whatever you like over this padded liner underwear that’s designed to be breathable and comfortable.

Tire repair kit: RocRide Tire Repair Kit
This standout 16-piece inner tube patch kit from RocRide comes with multiple sizes of patches, glue, tire lever, and more, all in a compact carrying case at a low price.

Bike pump: CrankBrothers Gem Bike Pump
This mini bike pump scores high marks not just for its compatibility with both Presta and Scrader valves but also its high-pressure/high-volume settings, making it great for both road and mountain bikes. Plus, it straps easily beneath a saddlebag or attaches to the cycle frame.

Bike saddlebag prices

Inexpensive

For those who need a budget saddlebag to start with and aren’t too concerned about water resistance or weight, there are quite a few available for $5 to $18.

Mid-range

Those who are using a bicycle saddlebag for the first time and looking for decent quality can do well at the $19 to $31 price point.

Expensive

For $32 to $59, performance-minded cyclists can find saddlebags with more tailoring and specific properties like extra-watertight seals, ultralight weight, and resistance to sun, sand, and mud. The exception is bikepacking saddlebags, which can range in price from $79 to $369.

A snug fit is best. Choose a saddlebag size that fits the gear you want to put into it with little extra room. This keeps gear from sliding around and unbalancing the bike.

STAFF
BestReviews

Tips

  • Choose quality. Bicycle saddlebags are vulnerable to sun, heat, rain, and mud. Lower-quality bags will break down more quickly. And yes, there are fancy canvas-and-leather saddlebags on the market. They really make a classic road bike look sharp!
  • Clean your saddlebag periodically. Road cyclists should clean saddlebags every few weeks, or as needed. Off-road cyclists should remove and clean off mud, dirt, and debris from the saddlebag after each ride. Use only mild soap and water, or follow the manufacturer’s instructions. You can spot clean your saddlebag with a soft nylon brush and cool water. Mild dish soap can be used for stubborn stains. Also keep the zippers and hook-and-loop fasteners clear of debris and mud.
  • Do not overload your saddlebag. Overstuffing it can stress the seams, zippers, and fabric, leading to faster deterioration. If you have too much stuff to fit in a saddlebag, pack it elsewhere. Consider a frame pack, handlebar bag, or small backpack. The more riding experience you gain, the less gear you;ll find you need to carry in a saddlebag. You might be ready for a smaller bag sooner than you think!
  • Stay safe. Clip a flashing safety light to the back of your saddlebag so cars can see and steer around you.
bike saddle bags
Never overfill a bicycle saddlebag. This stresses the seams, allowing water to get in over time. It also adds weight to the bicycle and can affect balance.

FAQ

Q. My saddlebag gets covered with muck on bikepacking expeditions. Should I wait until the end of the trip to clean it?

A. It’s best to clean a nylon saddlebag in camp each night. Remove it from the seat rail and post and empty the gear out of it. Brush or wipe away muck and mud as best you can. Hang the empty, unzipped saddlebag from the handlebars or rack to dry overnight. In the morning, knock away the dried dirt. Use an old toothbrush to scrub the zipper, buckles, and straps clean. Give the saddlebag a more thorough cleaning when you get home.

Q. Can I wash a bicycle saddlebag in the washing machine?

A. Putting the saddlebag through a full washing cycle isn’t recommended because the components (particularly on clip-mount models) may strike or rub against the side of the wash tub, damaging the bag and possibly the washer. However, if the saddlebag simply has a zipper and hook-and-loop straps, you can probably wash it in cold water with a gentle detergent. Just don’t put it in the dryer. Instead, hang it in an airy spot that’s out of direct sunlight. Always check the manufacturer’s care instructions first.

Q. I bought a larger saddlebag so that all my tire-changing gear would fit, but now the gear rattles around. How do I stop this?

A. Add a small microfiber towel (or two) to your kit. This can be crammed into the extra space to stop the sliding and rattling. Another configuration is to wrap the towel around your gear and tuck the bundle into the saddlebag. Gear sliding around a saddlebag isn’t just noisy; depending on the size and weight of the kit, it can unbalance the bike, making it a safety issue as much as an aesthetic one. The towel helps solve this problem and can be used to clean the grease and grime from your hands after a tire change or chain repair.

 

Our Top Picks