Finding the right seat bag is often a frustrating challenge… even though it really doesn't need to be. After all, what's so difficult about making a zip that zips or Velcro that sticks? You'd be surprised.
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I was sent several bags by several brands to test out. The list below is my shortlist of the very best that the brands have to offer, but don't worry if you don’t see the particular model you’ve had your eye on — if we’ve included the brand, the chances are other options in its range will still prove worthy.
PRO Strap Saddlebag Mini
- Excellent construction
- No-nonsense straightforward classic design
- Thoughtful extras, such as added visibility and unstitched velcro
At first glance the PRO Strap Mini seems like nothing more than a traditional seat bag from 20 years ago. And, after a few days of riding, that’s pretty much what it proved to be — a tried and true traditional bag.
But don’t scoff at the lack of excitement, PRO (Shimano) did it right — they went a bit above and beyond with the construction and materials. That means zips that work without a fuss and straps with unstitched velcro (no frayed edges to rub against your bibs).
A side zipper offers easy access to a multi-tool. It was also a great spot to stash tubeless plugs because the sooner you can plug, the better.
There’s also a small mesh pocket on the trap door for cash, patches or whatever tiny bits you need.
Finally, reflective details on the side and back add some useful visibility.
Classic design, modern construction and materials, bravo.
Bontrager Elite Micro Seat Pack
- Super compact with minimal dangle
- Beautifully minimalist
- Other options available in the range if you're looking for more
But if you ride road and gravel (small-ish tubes), the Elite Micro seat bag is ideal. Of the traditional seat bags tested, this is my favourite in terms of size and ability to sit neatly under several different seat models.
The Elite Micro bag holds a single tube, a tiny micro tool, tyre boot and patch squares, but that’s about it. It’d be a challenge to fit in much more.
For riders using a frame pump this could be the ideal solution, and that’s why it's my go-to road bag. I prefer to stay away from single-use items, and pumps are more reliable than CO2.
If you need more space, Bontrager makes several other sizes, but they don’t match the quality of the PRO models due to the stitched Velcro side-straps.
Topeak Weatherproof Dynawedge
- A properly compact, lightweight option
- Aero, but it depends on your bike
- Reassuringly water-resistant
Yes, you read right — this seat bag is aero. And while there are no wind-tunnel measurements to support this claim, it’s just a matter of shape. (The Dynawedge was mounted to a Trek Madone for a few rides and it just looked right, so there’s your wind tunnel result, if you need one.)
The finish on the weatherproof version of the Dynawedge makes for very easy cleaning, and all three straps are carefully placed without excess material. A briefish deluge validated the weatherproof claims, too.
While the single opening is a bit on the small side, the bag is ideally sized for carrying a tube, boot, patches and CO2 (plus a bit of cash). Meanwhile, a handy piece of mesh keeps things from falling out.
The minor downside to the Dynawedge is that it can be a bit finicky for fit. While, it definitely fits better on some seatpost shapes than others, it doesn't always have that perfect aero fit. You’d have to try it out on your particular rig to assess that claim though.
As an accessory manufacturer that specialises in bags, if the Dynawedge isn’t your flavour, Topeak offers plenty of other options.
Bar Fly The Hopper Saddle Bag
- Price: £20 / $20 / AU$25
- Buy now from Bar Fly
- Offers much in the way of versatility
- A good option if you rarely need supplies, but are after a 'just in case' option
- Doesn't need a seatpost strap
The Hopper Saddle Bag has always been intriguing because of the versatility of the system, which is merely two adjustable nylon straps with Velcro ends and a couple of adjustable fittings.
Although I only give it 4 stars, it is my bag of choice for my gravel bike. I run tubeless and carry a frame pump, so I never really need access to my gear. Plus it’s the most pleasing to my eye.
The beauty of the Hopper system is that you can create virtually any combination of roadside (or trailside) repair equipment and make it work. 29er tube and 24g CO2, fine. Tubular tyre, fine. Cheeseburger, fine. And so on.
The fact that it doesn’t require a seatpost strap also means it’s dropper-friendly.
The Hopper comes with an unused coffee bag as a way to hold everything in place, but it’s not required for use. In fact, I found things worked more smoothly without it.
Perhaps the dow side to the versatility is the fact there is no form to the system. Once you’ve removed it to get at your tube, it’s a noodle-like mess of strap in your hand.But, while it might be easy to make this a complaint, this highlights exactly who the product is for…tubeless riders. What’s the point of having a seat bag that you’ve just emptied when you pull out your repair tube? None. So with The Hopper, once you’ve installed a tube and expelled your CO2, just throw it in your back pocket!
In short, if you’re the type of rider that rarely needs access to your service equipment, then The Hopper is a cool way to stash your stuff cleanly under the seat.
Lezyne Micro Caddy
- Quality construction
- Reflective detail for clear visibility
- It has that much-coveted reliable zip
As far as traditional seat bags go, the Lezyne Micro Caddy has one simple thing going for it — the zip just works.
Another part of what makes it great is there’s a solid shape built into the design. This does however come at the price of being the bulkiest of the seat bags listed here (89g vs 44g for the Topeak Dynawedge).
The addition of an external tool pouch underneath adds a little mass, but this is clearly offset by the ease of access.
Another feature I appreciated is the lack of seatpost strap to snag your fancy shorts. But the fact the system relies on a single heavy-duty strap does contribute to its overall mass.
The Micro Caddy is a well-built bag that holds its shape regardless of what’s inside… and the fact the zipper works without fuss is a plus. Really.