Last fall, the wonderfull staff at Arkel sent me one of their new products for my bikepacking adventures: the Seatpacker – a 15-litre waterproof seatpack. A couple of weeks ago, I went on my first over-night bikepacking trip with the Seatpacker, and here’s my review (Disclaimer: This product was provided to me by Arkel at no cost. This review is based on my use of the product as well as information provided on Arkel’s website).
Arkel is a Quebec-based company that has, for years, specialized in high-end bicycle panniers. Recently, they’ve started to develop bikepacking equipment as well, and in 2016, they introduced the Seatpacker. The Seatpacker comes in two sizes: 9 and 15 litres. My review below is on the larger size.
According to the Arkel website, the Seatpacker 15 weights 440 grams, plus 280 grams for the rack. The pack itself is 50 cm long, 18 cm high and 21 cm wide (narrowing to 4.5 cm at the tip, nearest to where the bag attaches to the seatpost). The bag consists of one large, waterproof sack, with a small zippered pouch on the top (for wallet, phone etc.). The main bag resembles a dry bag with two clips that fasten on the each side of the bag (after the top of the bag is rolled shut, like a dry bag). These clips are attached with straps that can be tightened for snugness.
The bag attaches to the bike by way of a metal rack. The rack attaches securely to the seat post rails with a quick-release mechanism and to the seat post with a clamp and velcro strap. The bag slides onto the rack and a velcro strap tightens the bag around the seat post. The rack provides stability and minimizes sway. On my bikepacking trip, we rode on some winding singletrack and there was no noticeable sway in the bag, even fully loaded. Here’s a video that shows how easy it is to attach the rack and bag to a bike.
And here’s what it looks like, fully loaded and detached from my bike:
Speaking of load, here’s what I was able to fit into the bag:
- Jetboil flash cooking system plus folding spork.
- Camping chair (Helinox Ground Chair)
- Louis Garneau cycling rain jacket
- Spare fatbike tube
- Casual clothing (t-shirt, long pants, socks, boxers, long-sleeve merino wool shirt)
- Cycling kit for second day (short-sleeve jersey, bib shorts, socks)
- Pack towl
- Inflatable pillow
- Coffee mug (not snown)
- Plus wallet in the side (top) pouch (not shown)
We had perfect weather for our two-day bikepacking trip, but I also used the Seatpacker in the rain on a day trip last month. I took a change of clothes with me and I rode through a heavy rain storm. Upon arrival at my destination, the contents of the bag were perfectly dry (and the bag acted as a rear fender, preventing spray from the rear wheel from spraying up my back).
Although not cheap at $239 (Canadian), this bag still provides tremendous value. It overcomes some issues that other large seat bags have: tail-wag (i.e., sway) and ability to be used with a dropper seat post (see the video). It’s waterproof and durable and it’s easy to attach and detach from the rack. Check out this and other products from Arkel at their website. They’re also introducing a handlebar bag called the Rollpacker, very soon. I’ve tested it and will review it soon.