Review: All-new Ortlieb Seat-Pack QR stabilizes core bikepacking saddle bag with easier setup

Ortlieb’s new Seat-Pack QR reimagines how bikepacking saddlebags can be attached, introducing new quick-release mounting that is both simple & surprisingly stable. The fully waterproof, mid-sized 13L Seat-Pack QR requires less space on your seatpost making it suitable for dropper posts. Plus, it is more rigidly & securely fixed to your saddle rails, including extra cinch-down compression straps, making it more stable while riding rough terrain or full-on adventure mountain biking…

Who knew we needed to rethink how bikepacking bags are attached to our seats!

Ortlieb Seat-Pack QR extra-secure, quick-release bikepacking saddlebag

Large volume saddlebags are the foundation of most rackless bikepacking setups. You can carry a lot of gear – especially light compressible items like clothing, sleeping bags, mats & more – without a big impact on bike handling. And big saddlebags fit on almost any bike. But…

Packing a bikepacking saddlebag properly & compactly with the heavier, more rigid elements close to your seat post is important. Then, tightly strapping it to your saddle & seatpost is just as crucial. If you make any missteps at all, the saddle pack will sway side-to-side as you pedal, it may droop down as you ride along, and worst case it can bounce up & down over rough terrain even jamming into your rear wheel.

Ortlieb Seat-Pack QR, off-road secure quick-release bikepacking saddlebag Review, Seat-Lock hooks - one open, one locked

So, Ortlieb’s latest QR quick-release solution (adding on to last summer’s great Handlebar-Pack QR) was to add an easy-to-mount structured attachment bracket to their standard Seat-Pack. By replacing the saddle rail strap with a pair of QR hooks, they made a bikepacking saddle bag that’s quicker to take on & off-your bike at the ends of your rides, while also making it more stable for riding over rougher terrain.

Seat-Pack QR Seat-Lock mount

At the core of the new Seat-Pack QR is its all-new Seat-Lock mounting system.

Seat-Lock is composed two elements – a rigid plastic bracket that rests against the upper ~3cm of your seatpost and an adjustable slider with quick-release hooks that secure the pack directly to each rail of your saddle.

The hooks fit just at the bend on round saddle rails only. So the slider allows you to position the bracket so it presses up against your seatpost, and fine-tune adjustment of the angle of the bag under your saddle.

Ortlieb Seat-Pack QR, off-road secure quick-release bikepacking saddlebag Review, added complication?

Sliding the QR hooks further away from your post (during the first install only) generally lifts the back of the bag up for improved tire clearance, while also increasing the weight of load you can safely carry .

But while there’s quite a bit of adjustment possible on the bracket, my experience suggests that each individual seatpost/saddle combination will likely only allow a limited range of adjustment.

Tech Details

Ortlieb Seat-Pack QR, off-road secure quick-release bikepacking saddlebag Review, riding

Inside, more structured plastic reinforcement gives structure to the saddlebag. On the outside, that connects to 4 external compression straps and the external plastic plate that protects the bag in case it does hot your rear tire. Combine the straps with the waterproof rolltop closure, the air pressure relief valve, and a cam-lock orange rear mounting strap, and it is easier than ever to compress whatever you are hauling down securely.

Ortlieb Seat-Pack QR, off-road secure quick-release bikepacking saddlebag Review, rear with tire protection

The Seat-Pack QR has 13L of storage capacity, sitting right in the middle of their regular 11L & 16.5L Seat-Packs, but only this new QR bag is just as stable when completely empty as it is stuffed to its maximum capacity.

Beyond stability, the other key selling point of the QR concept is that the pack can be removed from the bike in a few seconds, leaving no elements behind. If you finish a ride in the rain, take your gear inside with you, and open it out of the weather to keep everything inside clean & dry.

Ortlieb Seat-Pack QR, off-road secure quick-release bikepacking saddlebag, MTB dropper post 

c. Ortlieb

The Seat-Pack QR also comes with a 4cm tall bolt-on bracket to protect the slider of dropper posts, which also will decrease dropper travel by around 43mm.

The PVC-free QR saddlebag also includes a bungee on top to quickly stow an extra layer of clothing while riding, 3M reflective details on the sides & rear to increase visibility, and a daisy chain of loops on the rear to attach a clip-on taillight.

Ortlieb Seat-Pack QR, off-road secure quick-release bikepacking saddlebag, front top 

Ortlieb claims the new 13L Seat-Pack QR weighs 625g – compare that to the 11L Seat-Pack at 345g (140€) and the 16.5L Seat-Pack at 456g (150€). You add a little over two hundred grams due to the extra plastic elements responsible for the quick-release function and the much improved cinch-down functions.

Ortlieb Seat-Pack QR, off-road secure quick-release bikepacking saddlebag, rear 

The pack is only compatible with round saddle rails with a rear bend, is not compatible with any carbon rails, and is not compatible with carbon seatposts. Its max load rating is 4kg (8.8lb) reduced to 3kg (6.6lb) with the slider installed closest to the seatpost.

Adventure Bikepacking Review

Ortlieb Seat-Pack QR, off-road secure quick-release bikepacking saddlebag Review, riding

Until now, I’ve generally been satisfied with bikepacking bags that just loop straps over each saddle rail and around your seatpost. Careful bag packing and then securely strapping the pack to your bike is essential to keep the bag from swaying. But I kinda like obsessing over packing, so I really never had a problem with it, even as I watched friends’ bags sway.

Ortlieb Seat-Pack QR, off-road secure quick-release bikepacking saddlebag Review, empty compressed

And to be honest, I remain a little skeptical of making a bikepacking setup more complex with extra proprietary plastic parts that could theoretically fail far from home. But the Ortlieb Seat-Pack QR is doing a good job of making me rethink preconceived notions.

This bag is truly much easier to pack without any movement.

Ortlieb Seat-Pack QR, off-road secure quick-release bikepacking saddlebag Review, figuring out the Seat-Lock hooks

But the new Ortlieb Seat-Pack QR isn’t entirely painless to use. I honestly struggled trying to force those hooks over the saddle rail in my initial setup, to the point that I expected I would either break the hooks or I would not be able to install it at all.

In the end though (without the helpful Ortlieb How-To videos that are available now that this bag is public), I realized that by angling the Seat-Lock to one side I could easily hook the first rail, then strongly twist the entire pack over to snap the second hook over the other rail.

I wouldn’t really call the QR pack Quick Install, but taking it off is still really a Quick Release.

Ortlieb Seat-Pack QR, off-road secure quick-release bikepacking saddlebag Review, on-bike

Once on the bike (and once I got used to the Seat-Lock mechanism), this QR mount combined with the internal stiffeners and external straps really does make the bag significantly more stable when riding over rough terrain. And it doesn’t matter at all if the bag is empty or full.

Ortlieb Seat-Pack QR, off-road secure quick-release bikepacking saddlebag Review, 689g actual weight

The actual weight of my QR bag is 689g, a full 240g over my larger 16.5L Seat-Pack. But with added external compression straps, I can securely lash on & carry more gear with this bag vs. the older one.

Ortlieb Seat-Pack QR, off-road secure quick-release bikepacking saddlebag Review, rocky riding

I personally have never been concerned with it taking too long to attach or reattach a saddlebag, but the load stability of this bag is unparalleled in my 8 years reviewing bikepacking gear. There are still plenty of other great bikepacking bags, some of which I would pick over this one for certain applications (e.g. especially lightweight, low-cost, or huge volume).

But the off-road stability of this bag, on top of proven Ortlieb quality, is hard to argue with.

Ortlieb Seat-Pack QR – Pricing & availability

Ortlieb Seat-Pack QR, off-road secure quick-release bikepacking saddlebag Review, riding

Ortlieb’s new 13L Seat-Pack QR comes in just one size, and only in their signature black waterproof fabric with orange accent straps. The new made-in-Germany quick-release bikepacking saddlebag sells for $190 / 160€ and is available in shops and online starting today.

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7 months ago

Like you say, a lot of plastic and proprietary parts that can break. And heavy at 690 grams. After searching for a no-sway seat bag set-up I settled on Alpkit’s Exorail and Koala bag, or dry bag liner in my case (which they no longer sell separetely) – 380 grams and very affordable. The Exorail is a stainless steel loop that attaches under the rails of your saddle – solid secure and a lot stronger than plastic. The new version Koala slides right onto the Exorail – perfect arrangement.

Ortlieb stuff is quality without question, but I would still be reluctant to trust that attachment on bumpy trails.

7 months ago

I am working on a setup that uses my Saddle Bag Two as the basis and my Scrubba wash bag as the inside bag. Problem is now, that I have settled on Sea To Summit’s field buckles as the buckles to make the connections, so that I don’t have to cut and re-sew the straps. Alas, the all-plastic field buckle is a totally different fit that the ones with one or two metal pin halves, and I need both a male and female all plastic half and I already have gone through about 40 rucksacks and other bags in shops to find buckles that fit, but none do. And S2S’s European customer service seemed to have a problem understanding what my problem was even though I showed both buckles next to each other on the photo. Even a blind man would have seen the problem! A lot of problems then, for a potentially very easy solution. Since I will carry my Scrubba anyway, it might as well do some work! But alas, the devil is currently in the details, and S2S’s somewhat unpractical (which is the understatement of the year!) use of two different buckles for their field repair…