Keep Your Tools and Snacks Handy with the 8 Best Saddle Bags
With so many different saddle bag options and styles on the market today, it can be overwhelming to pick the correct one for the type of riding you do. A road racer and commuter have very different needs when it comes to what to bring along on a ride, and as a result, will have different priorities when searching for a saddle bag.
Saddle bags are no longer the bulky, swaying eyesores they once were. Boa dials, compression straps, and waterproof fabrics elevate construction and performance so much so that not even the classic tool roll–style design and its decades-long dependability has remained immune. Today’s saddle bags are secure, durable, and some so minimal you’ll forget they are even there. You’ll no longer have an excuse for your riding partners when you forget to bring a repair kit for that roadside puncture.
Best Saddle Bags
- Best Everyday Saddle Bag: Speedsleev Ranger Medium
- Best Small Saddle Bag: Specialized Road Bandit
- Best Commuter Saddle Bag: Blackburn Grid Large
- Most Innovative: Silca Seat Roll Asymmetrico
- Best Tool Roll–Style: Road Runner Tool Saddle Roll
- Easiest to Attach: OruCase Saddle Bag
- Best Multiuse Saddle Bag: Evoc Seat Pack Boa Medium
- Best Waterproof Saddle Bag: Ortlieb Micro Two 0.8 Liter
The Expert: After over a dozen years of cycling on every type of terrain out there, I’ve learned the hard way on more than one occasion of what works and what does not in a saddle bag. Whether it be a quick after-work road ride or a multiday bikepacking trip, each ride requires a different saddle bag or packing strategy to keep your repair kit and gear stowed away safe and secure. Over the years, I’ve gotten my kit and bag selection down to a science and can spot a good saddle bag a mile away.
What to Know About Saddle Bags
Saddle bags can be broken down into two main size categories: everyday carry and bikepacking. Smaller everyday bags often house basic tools to fix minor problems, such as punctures and loose bolts, out on the road or trail. Typically, you leave them attached to your bike in case of emergency. Larger bikepacking-style bags carry camping gear, clothes, and even food on overnight or multiday trips. In this review, I’ve curated a selection of smaller saddle bags that are geared toward quick weekday rides and all-day jaunts on the weekend. If you find yourself heading out on a bikepacking trip, or even just want to carry a bit more gear, head over to our best bikepacking bags article.
It’s important to know whether a saddle bag is waterproof. Some are made with water-resistant fabric, but unless it’s specifically stated, assume there is no weatherproofing. If you often ride in wet conditions or commute regularly, consider getting a waterproof bag that features burlier material and a water-tight closure. Your tools and gear inside will thank you.
Lastly, think about how the bag attaches to your bike. There are several attachment methods that manufacturers use now, including basic Velcro straps, cables secured with Boa dials, and more permanent bolt-on options. Be sure to not overlook this point, as a loose and saggy bag can become a huge annoyance out on the road.
How We Evaluated
Based on my personal experience using many of these models, I pieced together what I believe are eight of the best saddle bags you can buy right now. I considered models from larger easy-to-find brands and handmade options from smaller companies. Size-wise, I prioritized bags designed for daily use. These are models you can use day in and day out on your road bike, commuter bike, or even gravel bike on shorter rides.
While comparing the contenders, I looked at all their aspects from design to material to how it attaches to the saddle itself—no detail was overlooked. The bags I personally tested were subjected to all sorts of riding and weather conditions. For the bags I haven’t used, I reached out to some close riding buddies—former professional racers—who offered their wide breadth of insight. Keep reading to learn which saddle bags earned my recommendation.
These expert-recommended bike saddle bags—from Specialized, Blackburn, and more—can swallow your tool kit and other essentials so you’re always prepared.