Ortlieb does not make the most rad bags. Let’s put that aside. If you want rad and hip, and don’t care about how light, well made, and waterproof something is, there are plenty of other bag makers out there. If you just want a bag that works really, really well, get any of the Ortlieb bike packing bags and be stoked on how your bag is secretly better than all of the other bags your buddies spent hundreds of dollars on, and half a year waiting for them to be fab’d.
The Ortlieb Bike Packing Saddle Bag is a stable, tough bag. It comes in two sizes 11L, and 16L. You can cram a ton of gear into them, and then strap your camo crocs to the top. It has stabilizing straps, so it only waggles a bit. Not the bag for folks who ride dropper posts, or who like to huck off Volkswagens. Why? It straps to your seatpost, and it does not have a bonkers over built stiffener system, like some bags do. The bag WON’T droop or be all sad-time, tire-draggin’ if you load it right AND don’t ride like you are trying to win the Enduro World Cup. If you load it poorly, it will droop. Any bag would.
Here’s how to load a bike packing bag:
Put your heavy stuff in first, toward the seatpost. Cans of beer, fuel, rock collections, jars of Ghee. In the middle section, put small firm stuff that’s not super heavy. A jacket that packs down small, food bags, down coats. On the outter section, put things like dirty laundry, cheese doodles, and emergency beer pong balls. If you reverse this loading proceedure, you will suffer from droopy bag syndrome.
It’s fully waterproof. Seam sealed. Other bags are not. They leak. Not on day one, or day two, but on the fourth day of constant rain (welcome to Vermont) they will leak. And your vintage Louis L’amour collection will melt into the spaghetti sunset.
Waterproof bags have a secret draw back. You can’t roll them down super tight, cause the air has no where to go. If you can roll your bag down, and it rolls down tight without a purge valve, it’s not waterproof. Simple. The Ortlieb bag has a 1 way purge valve. So you can roll that sucker down tight and snug it.
The fabric is light but tough. The straps and buckles are perfect and easy to use. Ortlieb is a great company, as far as big companies go. Eco friendly, well paid workers. These bags are made in Germany.