9 Budget-Friendly Bikepacking Seat Bags

Intrigued by the idea of pedaling off toward the horizon with a go-anywhere bike and some lightweight camping gear? Then you’re most likely going to need a bikepacking seat bag. And if you want to have money left over for post-ride burgers, you’re probably after an affordable bikepacking seat bag.

In the bikepacking style, a seat bag (also called a saddle bag) often takes the place of a rear rack and panniers. The narrow profile is helpful for mountain biking on technical singletrack, easing tricky hike-a-bikes, and reducing wind resistance when you’re cruising. The smaller volume encourages a more minimalist packing list, and soft mount points are resilient to knocks. Plus, they look cool! Something about that strangely shaped bag hovering improbably above a knobby rear tire just screams “adventure!”

Bikepacking in New Mexico with one of the budget seat bags from this list.

Unfortunately, bikepacking saddle bags can be really expensive. A full-size bag from a premium brand like Revelate Designs or Swift Industries will run you at least $150. Many of these pricier bags are made by small businesses with commitments to lots of good causes (sustainability, inclusivity, innovation) and it’s great to support them if you can.

In many cases the more expensive bags really do provide a nicer experience. The attention to detail can be impressive. But I started my own bikepacking journey on a strict budget and never would have bought these more expensive bags as a beginner. If that’s how you feel too, this list of cheap bikepacking bags is for you.

Related: Creative Gear Ideas for Bikepacking on a Budget

This post contains a variety of cheap bikepacking seat bags that can be bought at full price for under $100. Some are even under $50! I’ve chosen bags I believe to be reliable, even if cheap, based on reputation and user reviews. I’ve only included bags that hold up to around 10 liters or more, which is a pretty typical size for an overnight or multiday bikepacking trip.

Read to the very end for advice on which features are most important, how to choose your seat bag, and how to pack it once it arrives.

When you buy through affiliate links in this post, I may earn a small commission. Thanks for your support! I always offer unbiased opinions based on real experience from the road and trail. Learn more.

Rhinowalk Saddle Bag

Max Capacity: 10 L / 13 L
Weight: 1.3 lbs / 1.8 lbs
Features: shock cord, strip of light clips, waterproof
Price: $50 / $56

Rhinowalk is a Chinese brand started by a cycling enthusiast and focused exclusively on bicycle and motorcycle bags. This sturdy waterproof seat bag comes in two sizes and has convenient features like shock cord, multiple light clips, and an air valve on the largest size.

Lixada Saddle Bag

Max Capacity: 10 L
Weight: ?
Features: shock cord, light clip, waterproof, external zip pocket on style 1, reflective markings on style 2
Price: $37

The Chinese brand Lixada is a prolific producer of outdoor gear in many categories, including cycling gear and bags. This bikepacking saddle bag currently comes in two styles which look to have the same 10 L capacity but slightly different features. The external zip pockets on style 1 are unique and look handy for stashing small items.

Roswheel Saddle Bag

Max Capacity: 10 L (or possibly 8 L)
Weight: ?
Features: light clip, reflective markings, external zip pocket
Price: $34.00

Roswheel is headquartered in Shanghai (are you noticing a pattern here?) and is a well-known maker of affordable bike bags. This bag lacks shock cord on top, which I personally love for stashing extra layers or small stuff sacks, but otherwise looks like a solid choice. The product description is unclear about the max capacity, stating 8 liters in one place and 10 liters in another, so be aware if you’re looking for a larger seat bag.

Topeak Backloader Seat Bag

Max Capacity: 10 L / 15 L
Weight: 1lb 0.9oz / 1lb 3.9oz
Features: locking buckles, light clip, water resistant with waterproof inner bag
Price: $90

Topeak is a respected 30+ year-old Taiwanese brand known globally for their cycling tools and accessories. Though this seat bag is on the expensive end of this list, it is likely a cut above many others in terms of quality. The no-slip cam locking buckles alone may be worth the price difference, especially if you ride a small bike with less seat-to-tire clearance. It also comes in a low-key green color for those craving something besides black, and its Amazon star rating is one of the best I’ve seen for an affordable bikepacking saddle bag.

Lone Peak Expedition Seat Bag

Max Capacity: 10 L
Weight: 11.5 oz
Features: water resistant, lightweight
Price: $99

The Lone Peak just barely squeaks in below the $100 cutoff, but stands out as the only bag in this list that’s made in the USA and the only one available in red. Its minimalist design is surprisingly lightweight and seems to be good quality, but lacks extra features like shock cord, locking buckles, and a light clip.

Wayward Riders Louise Harness

Max Capacity: 10 L
Weight: 6 oz + weight of dry bag
Features: dropper post friendly, lightweight, harness + bag system
Price: $99 NZD (approx. $61 USD) for harness only

This clever option stands out for a number of reasons. It’s a dropper-post-friendly design with unusually small seat-to-tire clearance needs, so it’s ideal for mountain bikers and small riders. The harness concept – pack your bag first, then load it on the bike – is very convenient. Lastly, it’s made in New Zealand by a tiny company. Even with shipping to the US the total comes to around $80 USD, which leaves some money left over to buy a dry bag if you don’t already have one.

Max Capacity: 11 L
Weight: 15 oz
Features: shock cord, light clip, locking buckles, tent pole sleeve, water resistant with 2 water resistant stuff sacks included
Price: $80

It’s official, bikepacking must be mainstream, because REI now makes their own branded bikepacking seat bag. Their products are usually a great mix of quality and value, and this bag definitely follows suit. The simple design with locking buckles, shock cord, and tent pole sleeve is clearly designed by people with actual bikepacking experience. If you can afford the $80 price tag this is my top recommendation for a quality seat bag at an affordable price.

Zefal Z-Adventures Saddle Bag

Max Capacity: 11 L / 17 L
Weight: 1.1 lbs / 1.4 lbs
Features: shock cord, locking buckles, waterproof
Price: $62 / $70

Zefal is a respected 140+ year old cycling brand based in France, and their highly affordable seat bag is a very competitive option. It comes in two sizes and has all the features you could reasonably want: locking buckles, shock cord, and light clips. The Amazon listing has an impressive 4.4 star rating. My only concern would be that the large size is very large. I think many people will struggle to pack a 17 liter seat bag efficiently and compactly, without some serious drooping.

RockBros Seat Bag

Max Capacity: 10 L / 14 L
Weight: ? / 1.4 lbs
Features: shock cord, light clips, waterproof
Price: $60 / $70

Though competitors now abound, RockBros was one of the original affordable bikepacking seat bags. It’s on the heavier side and needs 6-7″ of exposed seat post but is very full-featured, with a long strip of light clips and a clever shaped seat post mount to reduce sway. I used this bag extensively in my early days of bikepacking; see my detailed review here.

DIY Seat Bag

Max Capacity: ~10 L
Weight: ?
Features: waterproof
Price: low

If you already have a dry bag or are willing to buy one, you can make your own minimalist seat bag with just a stretchy strap. For example, you could throw something together using this 10 liter dry bag and this rubber strap for just $24! That’s cheaper than any seat bag out there, plus the components can do double-duty for other purposes.

Used Seat Bag

The cheap bikepacking saddle bags in this list will probably meet your needs, but perhaps you have your eye on a more expensive model. Bikepacking bags are fairly easy to buy used for good prices if you know where to look. Check out the ideas in this post about where to find used bikepacking gear — you might be able to find a premium seat bag at an affordable price.

Read next: Where to Find Used Bikepacking Gear at Cheap(er) Prices

What to Look For

Wondering how to choose between all these budget seat bags? Here are some considerations.

Capacity: Bigger is not always better when it comes to saddle bags. Though it is convenient to have the space for an extra-warm jacket or flask of whiskey, an overstuffed seat bag can be unwieldy. If you mostly do overnighters in fair weather, 10 liters is probably enough, but riders on longer trips or with more elaborate gear requirements will usually appreciate having more space. All of these bags compact down to much less than their stated capacity, so it’s really just the top end you need to consider.

All max capacities listed above are taken from the product listings, but I wouldn’t be surprised if there’s wiggle room in how different manufacturers measure this. It’s often possible to overstuff a seat bag by just barely rolling the end closed, with tradeoffs like light clips not being in the right place and waterproofing being compromised.

Tire clearance: Not all seat bags fit on all bikes. In particular, riders on small bike frames with 29er tires often struggle with tire rub, especially if riding on rough surfaces. Full-suspension mountain bikes and dropper seat posts cause a similar issue. Low-quality buckles make this worse as the straps slip over time. For these riders I would especially recommend paying a little more for one of the models with locking buckles (REI, Topeak, or Zefal) or the Wayward Riders Louise harness.

Locking buckles: One of the most common issues with budget seat bags is sagginess and loosening buckles. If you ride pavement this will probably be tolerable, but if you ride gravel and trails you may quickly get tired of stopping to tighten straps. Especially if you have tight tire clearance, I suggest choosing a seat bag with locking buckles like the REI, Topeak, or Zefal.

Shock cord: A web of stretchy cord on top of your seat bag can be very convenient. I use mine for stashing extra layers I’ll need during the day (tether them carefully!) and for expanding my luggage capacity with an extra stuff sack or two. If you choose a bag that doesn’t have them, you might be able to make due with a long Voile strap or other creative solution.

Light clips: Some of these seat bags have a single clip for a tail light, some have a whole strip (so there’s always one in the right place no matter how full the bag is), and some have none. I like this feature for riding safely on roads, but you can work around it if needed. Some lights can mount on your seat stays, or you can roll the end of the seat bag to create a makeshift light clip.

Waterproof versus water resistant: It’s certainly a nice feature to have a fully waterproof seat bag, but I wouldn’t consider it a deal breaker. Some cheap bikepacking seatpost bags may not be as waterproof as advertised, and it’s always wise to have a backup anyway. In wet weather I line my saddle bag with a kitchen trash bag and/or enclose critical items in dry sacks, regardless of whether it’s advertised as waterproof or just water resistant.

Using shock cord for extra capacity

Seat Bag Packing Tips

Once your shiny new seat bag arrives, here are some packing tips to get you started on the right foot.

What goes in a seat pack? Seat bags are good for bulky stuff that’s relatively lightweight; heavy stuff should be packed lower if possible. This usually means clothing, a sleeping bag, or part of your tent. If you must put heavier items like food in your seat bag, try to put them closer to the seat post to minimize sway.

Read next: How to Pack for Bikepacking

Pack carefully to reduce sagging and drooping. Even expensive seat bags will sag if not packed carefully, so try these tricks:

  • Ditch stuff sacks and compact soft items into a single block that’s as solid as possible. Shove the innermost items all the way into the furthest corner, closest to the seat post.
  • Use something stiff, like a sandal or tent poles or Kindle e-reader, in the bottom of the pack to create a stiffer surface that won’t droop onto the tire.
  • Pack the bag tightly with the saddle rail straps a little loose, then cinch them tight to compact the contents even further.
Overloaded and poorly packed seat bag, looking droopy.

More Bikepacking Resources

About the Author

Hi there, I’m Alissa, founder of Exploring Wild. I’ve traveled over 19,000 miles by bike and still can’t stop planning my next ride (and helping you plan yours). Pavement and panniers or singletrack and seat bag, I love it all. On my bike I feel free. Learn more about me here.

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    About the Author

    Hi there, I’m Alissa, founder of Exploring Wild. I’ve traveled over 19,000 miles by bike and still can’t stop planning my next ride (and helping you plan yours). Pavement and panniers or singletrack and seat bag, I love it all. On my bike I feel free. Learn more about me here.

    Shop Bikepacking Resources

    Excited to try bikepacking but need help getting started? The Bikepacking Trip Planner Workbook can help you take the next step.

    Bike resources in your inbox?

    There’s more where this came from! Sign up here for occasional emails full of inspiration and information about bikepacking and bicycle touring.

    Town Day Checklist!

    Sign up to receive the free downloadable bikepacking town day checklist to help with your resupply stops:

      You’ll also receive occasional emails with other bikepacking and touring resources. I think you’ll like them, but you can unsubscribe at any time.

      Share the Adventure

      If you found this article helpful, please consider sharing so more people can benefit from it:

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