The Arkel Seatpacker 15 is a waterproof seat bag that has plenty of space to store camping gear for bikepacking trips. It slides on and off a clever aluminum frame that clamps to your saddle’s rails and holds it securely in place without any bouncing or tail wag. The frame has a simple quick release mechanism that’s easy to remove from the bike to prevent theft. It also has a plastic cuff that wraps part way around your seat post for support, but it’s not firmly attached, and therefore dropper post compatible. Check out the Arkel video below to see how the frame works and how easy it is to use.
The Seatpacker bag itself is made with XPac Fabric, a lightweight laminate that’s similar to cuben fiber. The inside of the bag is coated with a waterproof liner making the bag a good place to store items you really want to keep dry like clothing or a sleeping bag. When packing the bag, it’s best to use items that stuff well since the bag is shaped, narrow on front the front end with a noticeable flare to the rear. In addition to the roll top, side straps provide additional compression if needed, but you also have the option to route them over the top of the bag to secure additional gear there.
In addition to the main compartment, there’s a pocket with a waterproof zipper on the top of the bag that’s very handy for storing a smartphone or wallet for easy access while you ride. There is also a short section of daisy chain that’s great for strapping items to the outside of the bag, like a fishing rod. Putting daisy chains on the outside of bikepacking bags makes a lot of sense and more manufacturers should do it.
When riding on gravel and paved roads, you quickly forget that the Seatpacker is attached to the bike behind you. There’s no bouncing or noise, even when you ride over washboard. The balance of the bike isn’t changed a bit either, even when the bag is stuffed to the gills with heavier items including food.
I think the Arkel Seatpacker 15L is a keeper, although I think the seat bag itself is rather overbuilt and could really be made with lighter weight material. When I go bikepacking, I hang a 19 g waterproof cuben fiber stuff sack on my front handlebars and the contrast between the two bags couldn’t be greater. Still, the advantages of the Arkel Seatpacker 15L bikepacking bag far outweigh my minor quibbles with it and it’s a real pleasure to use on trips.
Weight of seat bag: 440 g / .95 lbs
Weight of rack: 280 g / .6 lbs
Volume: 15l. / 925 cu. in.
Requires a minimum clearance of 8″ from seat rails to top of tire.
Maximum Load: 5 kg / 13 lbs.
Disclosure: Arkel provided the author with this product for review.
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