Ortlieb Plus Saddle Bag

Ortlieb Plus Saddle BagWhat does one consider about a thing as inert as a seat bag when preparing to review it?

Does the seat bag hold stuff securely and with minimal rattling or damage? Does the seat bag stay on the bike and not fall off without warning? Does the seat bag mount to the bike in a reasonable position which doesn’t get in the rider’s way while riding?

That’s about all I’ve got. And, for the record, Ortlieb’s not-so-cleverly-named but rather-practically-designed Saddle-Bag (comes only in black, natch) does all of the above just fine.

Like all Ortlieb products, the Saddle-Bag is sold as “waterproof” (says so right on the label). And this claim was not disproved during its month on my bike. The Saddle-Bag’s sealed seams and atypical zipperless roll-closure worked well to keep the elements away from my tool kit and tube on both snowy and rainy days.

Ortlieb Plus Saddle BagAnd here’s something else worth considering: I actually had to have a glance at the instructions when it came to installing the Ortlieb Saddle-Bag on the seat rails of my commuter bike. The Saddle-Bag is not like other seat bags, ya see, which typically mount with Velcro ® straps.

The Ortlieb Saddle-Bag mounts twice as securely as any other seat bag I’ve ever installed via a clever plastic clamping mechanism which requires the use of a screwdriver and a bit of bracket-finessing during installation. But once installed this attachment system makes for quick-and-easy detachment and reattachment.

The roll closure will take you a couple tries to get right. But once you figure out how to do it (again, the instructions are helpful) the Ortlieb Saddle-Bag stays securely closed at all times. Better than zippers? Probably, if it came to a drenching deluge. But on a daily basis? Meh. Zippers are probably simpler. But, I’ve forgotten to rezip my seat bag, losing valuable tools, tubes, and sundry other items, too many times to count. It’s probably a lot harder to forget to reroll your Ortlieb Saddle-Bag, since the whole thing’s wide open like a gaping maw when it’s unrolled. Thus far it’s worked for me.

Ortlieb Plus Saddle BagSo, priced at about $36.00 (large size), is the waterproof, securely-mounted, but otherwise basically-featureless Ortlieb Saddle-Bag worth the extra coin compared to more typical bags? I’d have to say, That depends. If you live and commute somewhere where it’s really, really wet, I could see that this bag would make good sense. I don’t, so for my purposes, it’s probably overkill. Especially considering that it’s really just keeping my tools and tube dry.

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