If you're looking for an artisan saddle bag that will stand out from your friends then Aussie outfit skingrowsback has you covered with its 0.5 liter Plan B saddle bag. Founded in 2006, the brand specializes in all things bags and luggage for both on and off the bike. As skingrowsback makes its products to order, it can offer a huge selection of color and pattern options.
We have been riding the Plan B saddle bag for a while now to see how the artisan approach stacks up against the best saddle bags for mountain biking.
Design and aesthetics
All Plan B saddle bags are hand-made in Australia from a 1000D Nylon exterior and fitted with a YKK AquaGuard zip to fend off the odd puddle splash. It is fitted with a nice big zipper pull and a zipper garage to stop it from jangling while riding. There are molle-style webbing loops on the front and the back and a neatly sewn-in branded tag on the top edge.
The bag is lined with 70D Ripstop fabric to stop your contents from causing damage. The inside is also black which is a nice touch as it keeps it from showing dirt too. There are no internal pockets but there are two elasticated loops that can be used to secure items like a CO2 canister, multi-tool or tubeless repair kit.
A 25mm webbing strap combined with a Fidlock buckle has been used to secure the bag to the saddle rails. While it’s very secure when mounted, the system of loops and buckles are quite bulky and difficult to adjust when fitting the saddle meaning it takes a few goes before you find the snuggest fit, unlike the Bontrager Elite Micro which uses a simple velcro strap to quickly loop on and fix tightly. Compared to velcro designs the Fidlock and webbing system is going to be far more resilient to the constant cascade of mud, grit and grime so while it’s harder to attach, it won’t become less secure as time goes on and risk any jettisoning mid-trail.
The choice of colors is unrivaled with the option of 33 colorways, from subtle black to a Sassy B pink forest pattern. We went full technicolor with our very bright ‘Spectrum’ review sample and have had nothing but compliments about its bold styling.
While the initial setup is a little fiddly, once you have the right strap length there is no additional adjustment needed. I found the trick to getting the best fit was to position the buckle in between the saddle rails to stop it from interfering with the tension of the strap. Once in place, it was very secure on all the saddles that we tried it on.
The wide-opening zip gives easy access and the Fidlock buckle can actually be opened without being removed from the bike so the bag can be opened right up for quick packing and unpacking. That’s a big win for us as it really allows you to make full use of the long shape which gives a good amount of storage. The space will easily swallow a 29er tube, although how much else you can cram in really depends on how good you are at rolling up your tubes. Even with a fairly large tube, we could still tuck a slimline multi-tool, CO2 and some tire levers in there without feeling that we were straining the zip too much. If you switched to an ultra-light thermoplastic polyurethane (TPU) tube as your spare then you would have tons of space for all sorts of tools, car keys and other belongings.
It’s really satisfying to know that the product you have bought has been handmade and the choice of colors gives loads of scope for color coordination or making a loud and proud statement. The Plan B saddle bag is an excellent storage solution for those looking for a decent amount of capacity for your mountain biking paraphernalia without looking fussy or bulky. Workmanship, material and Fidlock closure feels very durable too so we expect it will last for ages which justifies its more premium cost.
Tech Specs: skingrowsback Plan B saddle bag
- Price: $49.17 / £36.98 / AU$69.00
- Size: 0.5 liters
- Colors: 33 (‘Spectrum’ color reviewed)
- Attachment: Webbing strap and Fidlock buckle closure
- Weight: 89g