- High quality, fully waterproof materials throughout
- Internal former keeps it stable and in shape
- Gives good rear wheel clearance
- It'd be nice to have a bungee for external storage of jackets
- Cheaper alternatives are available
Ortlieb's Seat-pack marries a decent carrying capacity with high-quality, fully waterproof construction. The materials are all top notch and it's got some really nicely thought out details, though it'd be nice to also have the bungee strap that the bigger 16L model has.
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Ortlieb is probably best known for its heavy-duty waterproof touring kit, but its bikepacking range is relatively new in the scheme of things. It's obvious in the construction of the Seat-pack that all their know-how has transferred over, however, with really high-quality materials and some neat touches.
The bag is made from a waterproof ripstop material with nylon reinforcement fabric bonded over it in high wear and high-stress areas. The closure is via a classic dry bag style roll top and at 11L capacity, I found it easily enough for getting a bivvy bag, sleeping mat and assorted other bits and bobs in there an overnight trip when used with a bar roll.
There's also a neat one-way bleed valve to let out any air that you trap inside when doing the bag up and there's a series of loops at the back to attach a rear light to, plus some subtle looking but very effective reflective details. At 340g, it's decently lightweight for the money too and compares well to the likes of Apidura's Expedition range.
The bag attaches with a single velcro strap around your post and thanks to an internal plastic stiffener and aluminium buckle, you can really get it nice and tight to reduce wobble. there's a soft touch coating to prevent damaging your post too, though you'll probably still want to tape up anything you really care about.
The relatively low depth here means it's good if you want to retain use of a dropper post or just don't have masses of tyre clearance, while the reinforcement means it doesn't balloon out at the side and get in the way of your thighs when you've stuffed kit into it.
When riding, it's easy to get it secure thanks to the quality buckles and straps and that internal former means you can take stuff in and out without being forced to loosen or tighten up to get it sitting right afterwards. It's not overly prone to wagging about and kept out of the way for the most part, though it does extend upwards a fair bit, which is a tradeoff for the tyre clearance.
I did find it seemed subjectively noisier than other bags I've used, which I put down to the hard plastic knuckle the saddle rail straps are attached to hitting them over rough ground. It's not much of an issue really - getting a fully laden bike down a rocky section usually feels like pushing a washing machine full of cutlery over a cliff at the best of times.
Ortlieb does make a higher-capacity and 16L version for those that are going further or just pack heavy, with a key difference being that it extends a bit further down your seatpost with a second strap. One feature that's very useful that the bigger pack has and this does not is the bungee on the top for keeping a jacket or similar bit of kit to hand - it seems a bit of a shame as you'd only need a few loops to do that.