Usable and cheap bikepacking bag but narrow design makes it difficult to pack and unpack
Feb 7 2018
Possibly the cheapest seat pack that you can find
Robust, weather-proofed construction
Stays secure when riding
Non fixed liner can get pulled out when removing items
It's difficult to get into the base of the bag
Better alternatives available for not much more
You want it as part of a matching set of Passport bags, or want the least expensive seat pack available.
This large seat pack comes on its own or as part of a full set of Passport Cycles bikepacking bags, be bought as a complete set for just under £120. It's a durable option at a budget price, but some design issues with our test bag mean you might be best looking elsewhere.
The seat bag is well constructed with a durable 210D Nylon body and 500D tarpaulin base, a water-resistant outer with a waterproof liner which has heat sealed seams. A roll top closure is cinched down with two buckles to seal the bag effectively. It’s available in small (7L) and large (9.8L) and prices start at £55.
Arguably, a seat pack is the hardest to get right, with a relatively awkward shape in comparison to a boxy frame bag or the simple tube of a handlebar bag. Despite the rugged construction and cheap price this one has some serious flaws that make it a bit of a pain to use.
The large seat pack measures 50 x 13 x 15cm and sat very upright in comparison with other bags meaning the top of the bag interferes with the back of the saddle. This long, thin shape means that it is tricky to mount properly under the saddle, also making it quite difficult to get down into the bottom of the bag too.
The pack features stiffened panels around the base which provide support when the bag is mounted but makes it more difficult to get gear into the bottom of it. This is compounded by the fact that the liner is made from a stiff and thick material that takes up a lot of room. In practice, I found it quite difficult to actually make use of the bottom fifth of the bag.
An additional annoyance is the fact that the waterproof liner is floating and as such if you’re in a hurry pulling things out of the bag, it has a tendency to come out with them. It would be much nicer if the liner was fixed in place to avoid it twisting, bunching and generally being a nuisance. I can say though that the liner is a helpful luminescent green that makes it easy to see your things. Passport Cycles acknowledge the fact that the liner turns inside out but say this make drying the bag after wet or dirty kit has been in it a lot easier.
Access to the base of the bag isn’t helped by how narrow it is, which makes it an infuriatingly tight squeeze. Unfortunately, the already limited 9.8L volume of the large size seat pack is further reduced by the unusable space. For context, 16- 20L is the usual size for a large seat pack. In general, larger packs are wider for easier access, with the added benefit of being shorter as a result meaning a slightly more stable feel. Passport Cycles say this bag is currently undergoing some revisions with regards to the volume so it will be interesting to see if that also changes the shape and dimensions too.
Despite the narrow profile, I have had some issues with the straps rubbing the back of my thighs. They are too long, meaning the ends can’t be secured properly. The bag is held in place securely, although I did find the seat rail straps had relatively tight clearances through the saddle rails. The strap attachment point on the pack is also loaded unevenly – I foresee long-term durability being a concern here if the fabric starts tearing from one edge. Again, Passport Cycles told us that future orders of the seat pack will be improved, with alterations to the seatpost saddle straps and the width of the section of the bag that interfaces with the seatpost.
Two side pockets that I initially dismissed as too small to be useful actually turned out to be very handy for storing my phone, keys, cards and wallet, as well as some snacks. In addition, the additional straps on top allow you to lash on anything that is too bulky to carry inside the bag, which is great.
Whilst it’s definitely possible to make do with this seatpack, the function is compromised with the base of the bag difficult to get into. Just widening out the shape a little (which would also allow it to be shorter overall for the same volume) would improve this significantly. All said the bag is secure when riding which is great at this price point.
The bag is worth considering if you want it as part of the set of Passport bikepacking bags, but despite the good price, there are too many compromises here that with long-term use could get quite frustrating in practice. It sounds like Passport Cycles have a lot of ideas for improvements though so we'll take a look at the updated version as soon as we can.
A mid-sized seatpack (9.8 L) for carrying your gear when out journeying. It's also available in a smaller 7 L size.
Product performance extra:
Several annoying details such as the non-fixed liner which pulls out and has a tendency to get twisted up as well as the narrow base which is difficult to get into will get a bit frustrating with real-world use.
Product durability extra:
Solid and durable materials mean this bag should withstand a lot of abuse.
Product value extra:
Probably the cheapest seatpack of this size that you'll be able to find, but better options are available for not all that much more.
Whilst the bag is held securely, I'm not a fan of the overall design which makes the bottom of the bag difficult to access. The non-fixed liner is made from quite a thick material and has a tendency to get twisted up at the base of the bag. The upright mounting also means the top gets compressed and effectively closes off part of the bag making it difficult to get into the base. This is compounded by it's relatively narrow shape. The bag rides well though and is held in place securely.
Frustrating in real-world use with contents at the base difficult to access. Held securely when riding though.
Probably not, there are better alternative for not much more money.
Get it if you want it as part of the matching set of Passport bags, or want the absolute cheapest seat pack possible.