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Arkel Seatpacker 15L Bikepacking Bag Review

The Arkel Seatpacker 15L is a waterproof seat bag that provides plenty of camping gear storage for cycling adventures
The Arkel Seatpacker 15L is a waterproof seat bag that provides plenty of camping gear storage for cycling adventures

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 15L requires a minimum of 8 from the seal rails to the top of the rear tire.
The Seatpacker 15L requires a minimum of 8″ from the seat rails to the top of the rear tire.

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.

The daisy chain lets you lash securely gear to the outside of the seat bag
The daisy chain lets you lash gear to the outside of the seat bag…like ultralight fly fishing rods.

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.

If you use a rear light, it may be necessary to lower it so drivers can still see it. The current bag does not have any place to attach a light and there's no reflective accents on it either.
If you use a rear light, it may be necessary to lower it so drivers can still see it. The current bag does not have any place to attach a light and there are no reflective accents on 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.
Written 2017.
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6 comments

  1. My wife and I recently had our second child. Sneaking off to the mountains for a day or weekend has become increasingly difficult. I haven’t hiked since December, but I’m picking up cycling to get outdoors and stay in shape.

    I think the trekker in me is coming out, because now I’m training to ride up the mount Washington auto road next year and researching long distance bikepacking trips. I have an older steal lemond that can support the extra weight, but doesn’t have holes drilled like a touring bike.

    This could be a viable solution for some overnights down the road.

  2. Just wondering are there any issues with swinging your leg over the bag when mounting the bike./ I am no “spring chicken” and flexibility is kind of limited. When my wife wants a laugh she asks me to put my trunk bag on my rear rack and get on/off the bike.

  3. Any issues using this with a carbon fiber seat post??

  4. The arkel bag seems a little small. Where do you store your sleeping bag?

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