This Seatbag Harness and Dry Bag are part of the second drop of an extensive collection from Fjallraven and Specialized first released in 2022. Combining Fjallraven's love for hiking and Specialized’s love for the best mountain bikes, they have created a whole range of products designed for bikepacking adventures and discovering ‘The Great Nearby’.
The Harness has metal rails which attach to the rails of the saddle, whilst a velcro strap attaches it to the seatpost. It is quickly adjustable via straps that use a camlock buckle system for fast release. The Dry Bag is a fairly bog-standard dry bag, but with the addition of an air valve system to help remove any excess air filling up space, not forgetting that it's made with a waterproof lining.
The pricing is rather controversial. It’s pretty difficult to do bikepacking on a budget already; the truth is, basic bikepacking gear costs an arm and a leg. On top of that some of the best bikepacking bags come in at extortionate prices. This F/S collab is one of the more expensive, costing £120 for the Harness and £50 for the Dry Bag (bought individually). We will come to a conclusion later on whether they’re worth that kind of money or not!
Design and specification
With the Harness made up of recycled hard-wearing Vinylon F and 100% polyamide lining, Fjallraven stands firmly by its message of “sustainability through longevity”. Similarly, the Dry Bag is also made up of waterproof recycled nylon fabric, creating a super-strong bulletproof shell to help keep belongings dry on the miserable days. When rolled up in the proper fashion, it’s completely waterproof and airtight, coming with an airlock valve to remove any excess air in the bag and enable a more snug fit in the harness.
Unlike other bikepacking brands such as Alp Kit or Restrap, the sturdy rails are integrated into the design of this S/F harness, keeping everything together. The only connections are under the saddle and on the saddle post; both can be tightened to preference (be careful if you’re running carbon parts not to overtighten) but I’d recommend as tight as you deem possible to reduce the risk of paint wear or the dreaded ‘bag sway’ when riding. The undersaddle rail connection requires being fastened (with screws provided) to the angular part of the saddle rails, prior to attaching the harness. Once the Harness is attached it isn’t easily removed unless you’ve got a multitool to hand!
The product has a simple design aesthetically and functionally, with only a logo on the side to represent the brand and minimal connections/straps. The standout feature for me is the camlock grips. If you’re looking for fast, reliable and easy adjustment these are the grips you should get. It's fairly rare to find them on bikepacking bags, where companies usually settle for ladder lock buckles, which I personally find a pain to adjust.
Once you’ve fiddled around with connecting the clamp to the saddle rails, the adjustments and fixing in the Dry Bag is very simple. However, I initially struggled to get the clamp at the right angle, the proper way up and tightened properly against the saddle rails, especially when the instructions provided aren’t super clear. You can remove the Harness from the clamp by unscrewing the bolts and rescrewing in (so as to not lose them), then just be left with the clamp attachment firmly under the saddle, which is useful if you want to use the saddle without the harness but a bit of a faff. Contradicting this, the fiddly setup is most likely to ensure a sturdy and stable harness when on the move. Despite it not having fast removability I think having the stability when riding is worth the hassle – there's nothing more frustrating than a rattling or swaying bag over 100km on gravel.
I did find that when the harness was filled with a full Dry Bag, the backs of my thighs rubbed slightly against it with each pedal stroke, but I feel as though this is very much dependent on bike setup, positioning and your own body build. Therefore with a bit of careful packing and bike adjustment this can be reduced. Again, as mentioned earlier, if the fastenings are not fastened enough (particularly the saddle-post velcro grip) you may experience some paint wear, but this is a common and nearly unavoidable factor with most bikepacking bags. Frame stickers or simply electrical tape could be a good solution.
In terms of wheel clearance, there’s plenty. This is ideal for bumpy terrain as there is no risk of rubbing on the rear tire and the metal rails supporting the underside of the Harness ensure the bag will not sag down under the weight. As with any bikepacking rear bag though, if attached to a dropper post the risk of rubbing is much higher and something to be aware of.
Lastly, the airlocking system on the Dry Bag I believe is one of the most underrated features. I used the airlock more than I thought I would, constantly squishing the bag down smaller to fit the Harness. Considering the bag is very lightweight, the material is surprisingly durable and just as waterproof as your normal dry bag.
All in all, this is a very good, lightweight choice of Harness and Dry Bag for those smaller bikepacking adventures, with the main advantages being the incredible sturdiness and expansion size. The Harness itself looks relatively small but expands to a decent size, enough to carry the full 16L Dry Bag or a small bikepackers' tent. If you’re planning a larger expedition, I would recommend either getting a larger rear bag or getting more bags (the Specialized X Fjallraven collection has a wide range).
The Dry Bag works well especially with the airlock system, however, aside from a label, there is nothing that makes it specific to the Harness. You could quite easily buy a similar Dry Bag for half the price as a much cheaper alternative and it would do just as good a job. Saying this, buying any brand of bikepacking bags is expensive and committing to higher priced items could mean better longevity of the equipment. Despite only offering a limited ‘Care & Repair’ service, Fjallraven has many useful articles explaining how best to care for your equipment to keep it running for longer.
Tech specs: Fjallraven X Specialized Seatbag Harness and Seatbag Dry Bag 16L
- Price: Seatbag Harness – $140 / £120 / €140, Seatbag Dry Bag 16L – $60 / £50 / €60
- Sizes: 16L (large, tested) or 10L (small)
- Weight: Harness 625g, Bag 132g
- Colors: Black, Green