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Best saddle bags for mountain biking: Under-seat storage for essential tools

The best saddle bags for mountain biking
(Image credit: Colin Levitch)

Ditch the pack, and strap your spares to your bike with the best saddle bags for mountain biking. Going on a ride is never as simple as just grabbing your bike and rolling out the door. Among other things, you’re going to need to bring a spare tube, CO2 and inflator, tubeless repair kit, tire levers, multi-tool and a few other bits and pieces, all to make sure you aren’t left walking back to the trailhead or stuck on the side of a dirt road with no phone service.

If you’re like us you’ll do anything to avoid wearing a backpack, meaning you’ll be strapping as much gear as possible onto the bike itself — we’ve even been known to tape tubes under our saddles and on the bike frame in pursuit of a bagless ride.

Some bikes have integrated storage, which solves the brunt of the issue but most don't. For those whose bikes don't have an integrated storage cubby, and are of the opinion that tape has no place on a bike that probably out-values your car, choosing the best saddle bag for mountain biking riding is the solution.

The best saddle bags come in all different shapes and sizes and are attached to your bike using simple velcro straps, Boa dials or more permanent clip-on attachments. Read on to discover everything you need to know to make the right choice when picking the best saddle bag for your mountain bike.

Skip to: What to look at when choosing the best saddle bags for mountain biking

The best saddle bags for mountain biking and gravel riding

Evoc Seat Bag

(Image credit: Evoc )

Evoc Seat Bag

Simple, bright and effective

Attachment: Velcro | Volume: 0.65L | SRP: $28 / £20 / €24

Perfect size for a short MTB ride
Clip for rear light
Individual straps make for easy setup
Not totally waterproof

Available in a few different sizes, the Evoc saddle bag is the middle-volume version with 0.65L of internal capacity. The exterior is made from the same PU-coated ripstop nylon used in the brand's backpacks, offering plenty of durability and a bit of weather resistance, too.

Inside, there are mesh pockets to keep your gear organized and the bag is held in place with three velcro straps, making for faff-free mounting. Beyond the quality finishing, we love the Evoc seat pack because it comes in bright colors rather than the stock standard black or flash yellow.

Dakine Hot Laps Gripper

(Image credit: Dakine)

Dakine Hot Laps Gripper

Self contained multi-mountable spares pack

Attachment: Velcro | Volume: N/A | SRP: $24 / £25 / €N/A

Easy swapping between bikes
Can move slightly on rough descents if not properly secured

The Dakine Hot Laps gripper is a compact spares pack that uses a velcro strap to secure your emergency kit somewhere on the bike; whether that be under the saddle or inside the frame. The pouch itself is made from 600D polyester, so it’s not going to disintegrate after a single season of riding. 

The main compartment comfortably engulfs a 29er tube, while separate elastic sleeves on the sides securely hold your tire levers while also preventing them from rubbing a hole in your tube. There are slots for CO2 canisters and a small inflator which are protected from trail grit by a closing flap. It takes a bit of practice to pack the Hot Laps Gripper properly, but it securely hangs onto your spares and keeps them mostly dirt-free. 

Backcountry Research Muthaload

(Image credit: Backcountry Research)

Backcountry Research Mutherload

Deluxe velcro strap

Attachment: Velcro | Volume: N/A | SRP: $22 / £19 / €23

Integrated bungees make install fiddle-free
Leaves tube exposed to the elements

Backcountry Research’s Mutherload is essentially a heavy-duty velcro strap, with integrated bungees. This means that the elastic attaches your tube and whatever else to the strap itself and the strap holds onto the bike, no more fiddling with rubber bands or awkward one-handed cinching. The Mutherload is best used inside the front triangle and can grab onto a frame with tube circumferences ranging from one to nine inches. 

Made in Bozeman, Montana, the Mutherload will hang onto a tube, a couple of CO2 canisters or a mini pump, tire levers and a multi-tool. Even better, the UV and rot-resistant webbing come in over 50 colors and patterns to match any frame. 

Silca Seat Roll Premio

(Image credit: Silca)

Silca Seat Roll Premio

Great-looking Boa fastened saddle roll

Attachment: Boa | Volume: N/A | SRP: $50 / £50 / €56

Great looking 
Clever design
Not quick to access contents 

Silca is known for its extremely high-quality (and expensive) gear and the Seat Roll Premio is no exception. Made from waxed canvas, the Silca Seat Roll has three internal pockets, with enough room for a tube, tire levers, a multitool and a tubeless repair kit. Even with that amount, you’ll still have to pack carefully to make it all fit. 

The pack rolls up and is attached to your bike using a Boa dial, with the cable looping through the seat rails. Silca also includes a rail guard to protect lightweight carbon rails. 

Bontrager Elite Medium Seat Pack

(Image credit: Bontrager)

Bontrager Elite Medium Seat Pack

Our favorite traditional saddle bag

Attachment: Velcro and rubber band | Volume: 0.93L | : $24 / £20 / €25

Rubber band seat-post strap
Light clip
Internal mesh pockets
Can swing a bit once straps break in

Bontrager’s range of seat bags extends from those which can carry an expedition's worth of gear down to those that only hold a single tube. The Elite bag leans towards the latter; with a capacity of 0.93l it can hold a couple of tubes and everything you need to change a flat one. On the inside, there are mesh pockets to keep your kit organized. 

What we really love about this bag is the way it attaches to your seatpost using a rubber band instead of hook and loop.  Not only is it easy on the finish of your seat-post, but it also won’t eat through shorts. 

Speedsleev Seatsleev

(Image credit: Speedsleev)

Speedsleev Seatsleev

Minimalist alternative to a traditional saddle bag

Attachment: Velcro | Volume: N/A | SRP: $20 / £24 / €30

Made of Ballistic Nylon 
Sleek and compact when rolled up
Raincover seems like an afterthought

The Speedsleev is not your traditional saddle bag; instead, it's a velcro compression strap with slots for all your essentials. It’s actually made up of three velcro straps, with the innermost used to create a pocket for a tube, the middle strap complete with sleeves for tire levers, CO2 canisters and the like and the third to secure the whole thing to your saddle rails.

It all lays out flat for easy access to everything and comes with a rain cover, to keep your spare tube grit-free. Because it attaches only to the saddle rails, it plays nicely with dropper posts.

Voile Strap

(Image credit: Colin Levitch)

Voile Strap 12in Nano series

The ski strap we take on every ride

Attachment: Strap and buckle | Volume: N/A | SRP: $5 / £7 / €5

Inexpensive and extremely durable
Must be packed correctly to avoid losing all your gear

Voile is actually a ski brand based in Utah and its trademark orange straps were invented more than thirty years ago as a unique way to keep skis together and attach glueless climbing skins. They are also this writer's preferred way to attach spare tire kit to his bikes. 

Along the same lines as the Backcountry Research strap, a Voile strap can be used under your saddle or inside the front triangle. How much stuff it can hold is only determined by the length you use. Made from UV-resistance tested rubber these things are tough, and neither the strap nor the glass-filled nylon buckle scratch carbon or paintwork. They come in lengths from six to 32-inches, two widths and enough colors to match any bike. 

skingrowsback Plan B

(Image credit: skingrowsback)

skingrowsback Plan B

Handmade Aussie saddle bag

Attachment: Webbing | Volume: 0.7l | SRP: $50 / £37 / €43

Clamshell design 
Fun colors and patterns
Clamshell must be removed to get inside

Aussie outfit skingrowsback makes hard-wearing bags ranging from duffle bags and backpacks, down to the humble saddlebag. The Plan B is a compact nylon saddle pack with heavyweight 1000d nylon used for the exterior while a lighter fabric is used on the inside, and the zipper is PU coated to prevent water ingress. 

The Plan B pack attaches with a single strip of webbing which runs through the saddle rails and wraps around the clamshell-style bag. Inside there are elastic straps to secure CO2 canisters and tire levers. The bags are handmade in Australia and come in a massive range of colors and patterns

What to look at when choosing the best saddle bags for mountain biking

Size and shape

How much stuff are you going to need on a ride? Are you headed out for a few hours, or a week riding the entire Colorado Trail?

At the very least you’re going to want to carry a 29er tube, CO2 canisters and an inflator, a small multi-tool and some tire levers which makes for a bit of a Tetris-like packing exercise. Why a 29er tube you ask? Because they can be made to fit any wheel and tire size except for fat bikes. 

Pro tip: re-roll your inner tubes with the valve in the middle (keep the valve cap on), it will be about half the size when you’re done with it. 


Many saddlebags use basic velcro straps attached to your saddle rails. This is the lightest weight and arguably the most secure option. But, if you're using a dropper post, a bag that utilizes a velcro strap around the seatpost to stabilize the bag may prevent your saddle from lowering all the way. 

Of course, every brand in the bike industry is continually searching for a point of difference, and thus options that use a bracket on the seatpost or saddle rails also exist. These are often a bit heavier and we have seen a few hit the eject button over drops and through rock gardens, but they make swaps between bikes painless.

Regardless of how they attach to your bike, most bags will utilize a zipper to keep everything inside, while others will be more of a roll type which may use buckles or even Boas.

When it comes to carrying spares, there is no reason to restrict yourself just to strapping a tube, multi-tool and a couple of CO2 canisters under your saddle; there is a heap of great options that utilize the front triangle of your bike for storage. 

Colin Levitch

Born and bred in Colorado, and now based in Australia, Colin comes from a ski racing background and started riding as a way to stay fit through the summer months. His father, a former European pro, convinced him to join the Colorado State University collegiate cycling team, and he hasn't stopped since. It's not often he pins on a number nowadays, and you'll likely find him in search of flowy singletrack, gravel roads and hairpin corners. Colin has worked at and is a regular contributor to Australian Mountain Bike and Cyclist magazines. 

Rides: BMC Team Machine SLR01 Trek Top Fuel 9 Ibis Ripley