So you you’ve brought a road bike, got your miles up and now want to go touring for the weekend? Only one problem, that uncompromising road bike you brought doesn’t even have mounts for mudguards let alone rack eyelets for panniers. You could buy another bike, and I won’t say you shouldn’t, but for those of you who don’t have the luxury of money, space or and an understanding partner you’re gonna have to make do with what you’ve got.
A relatively new product on the market are oversized saddle packs, they hang from your saddle rails, wrapping around your (optional carbon) seat post for stability. I was lucky enough to try out Apidura’s standard saddle pack for a weekend tour to the old town of Warwick.
The pack’s made out of a solid feeling thick rip proof material, they say if you need 100% waterproofing then to use a drybag in combination, however I found it will keep your contents dry in all but the most extreme of downpours. The bag closes with compression straps allowing you to really squish down the contents to maximise space. With this is mind I found it best to pack non-squishables first, such as shoes and toiletries then pack clothes last.
The tour was planned as a two night credit card tour, which was perfect for the medium sized pack. The pack held a just about enough for the trip, I felt it could have taken an additional pair of trouser and a few extra t-shirts if I compressed the bag more.
Weekend Cycle touring packing list
Apidura Saddle Pack
• Spare jersey
• Spare bib shorts
• Cargo shorts
• Cycling jacket
• Flip flops
• Wash bag
• Phone charger
Frame triangle bag
• Spare tubes
• Instant adhesive patches
• Tyre levers
Initially I was worried my legs would brush against the pack, or that the pack would swivel round the post when cornering. Neither of these things happened, the pack remained sturdy and didn’t budge, if it weren’t for the additional weight i wouldn’t have known it was there for most the time.
The pack has no quick access pockets, so unless you want unpack everything you’re going to want to put things like your phone and wallet somewhere else. I’d recommend a small top tube or triangle frame bag.
The apidura seat pack is somewhat of a cyclist magnet, it seemed whenever I stopped someone came up to me and asked about it. One rather overly excitable gentleman came up to me and spoke at great length about a weeklong tour of the Pyrenees he completed using the larger version and an ortlib handlebar bag. “it’s all about weight saving” he said to me, “you can make much greater savings by packing and it’s much cheaper than a few grams saved on a groupset”. He had a point though, if you can pack small then the saddle pack is significantly lighter than a rack and pannier combination. Obviously you’re not going to complete any round the world tours with it, and camping is almost certainly off limits but there’s definitely a market for cyclists who want bring enough for a few days touring.
I suspect it won’t be long before we see some of the high volume big brands release a similar looking product, but the attention to detail and high quality craftsmanship which has gone in the apidura saddle pack will certainly make it a hard product to beat.
Would I recommend it to a friend? Yes, I already have.