What’s in your Saddle Pack?

May 2, 2020 Off By Mike I Was

What should I pack in my saddlebag?

Saddlebags, seat bags, seat packs, tailpacks – lots of names for the same thing – always looked pretty pointless to me. Most of them are tiny – often less than a litre of capacity – what’s the point of having one? What can you get in them? What should you put in them? In this post, I am going to explain what I take in mine, and just how much stuff you can get in them!

Should I go for a large or small saddlebag?

Saddlebags come in lots of different sizes (much like Mamils!) The best size for you is probably dependent upon the type of riding you do most regularly. For the sake of simplicity, I’m going to focus on road cycling for now. For most people, going out for a relatively short ride, say 2-3 hours, a small-medium saddlebag will be more than enough.

How small is small when it comes to saddlebags?

My smallest saddlebag is the Cannondale Speedster 2 – (medium, 0.7ltr capacity – looks the same as the small 0.5ltr bag but is expandable, though I rarely use the extra capacity) – it’s a tough little bag that can carry quite a load. It’s made out of waterproof PVC with a quick access external pocket for a bike mini-tool set. I use the Pro Bike Tool rather than a multitool but it’s simply a case of personal preference.

mini bike tool set with ratchet handle and several bits that fit in the red adapter.  The case is also shown.
Pro Bike Tool set – a life saver!

The external pocket on this saddlebag is really handy as I pack my saddlebag pretty tight so it’s good to have easy access to tools. There are 2 additional internal pockets which are really useful for tyre levers etc.

cannondale saddlebag small external image showing the details of features and patterns on the outside.

My Cannondale Speedster 2 Saddlebag

Securing this bag was interesting at first but once you get used to the velcro straps it becomes a cinch (see what I did there? haha)

It’s amazing what you can get in this thing! To show you just how useful this bag is, I’ve literally just taken it off my bike and below are pictures of it packed, and its contents.

small green bicycle saddlebag
  • Pro Bike Tool Kit
  • Tyre or Tire Levers
  • Spare inner tube
  • Mini-pump (lots of these to choose from)
  • Leatherman micra multi-tool
  • Zip or cable ties (for repairs – these are super-useful. Quick hack – use cable ties to bind other cable ties together in a neat bundle)
  • Velcro tape (for repairs, keeping small items together, compressing spare inner tube, securing raincoat to crossbar etc.) I got this as a roll from Halfords – really cheap and I never leave home without it.
  • Toilet tissue and hand sanitizer – you never know when, right?

And all this was packed without having to use the expansion area, which is fab on longer rides so you can stuff jelly babies, winegums etc. in to keep you going!

Anyone else think this looks a bit like a fishes’ head?

Anyway – that’s what’s in my saddlebag – I’d love to hear what you take out on the road with you in yours. Things you stuff in your saddlebag that I haven’t included here – let me know!

Be smart – ride safe – stay healthy!

Mike the Bike