Dropper Post Seat Bags

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In part two of our complete guide to bikepacking with a dropper post, you’ll find a full list of dropper post specific seat bags, tips on packing, and our parting thoughts on whether bikepacking with a dropper post is something you should consider…

In part one of this guide, we covered the benefits of bikepacking with a dropper post, explored what you need to know about various droppers, and reviewed several posts that we’ve spent time testing. To sum up the experience, using a dropper improves the ride by getting the saddle out of the way during descents. But, until the last few years, dropper seatposts weren’t reliable enough to consider for extended bikepacking trips. To complicate matters, the seat pack—one of the key bags in a bikepacking setup—further hinders a rider’s ability to move their weight back over the wheel while riding on steep terrain. As such, many trail mountain bikers who’ve become bikepackers have resorted to leaving their seat bag at home and carrying a heavy backpack, or have settled for swapping their precious dropper for a rigid post while bikepacking. Thankfully, that no longer needs to be the case. With reliable dropper posts on the market, and several dropper post seat bags being made for the occasion, all the tools are in place.

Below, we’ll present a full list of the dropper post seat bags that are currently on the market, as well as our closing thoughts on the subject of bikepacking with a dropper post. But first, a little bit about what we packed for these tests and a handful best practices to keep your seat bag stable and your dropper moving.

What to Pack

As mentioned in the first part of this guide, droppers aren’t always powerful enough to hoist a heavy load. The key to bikepacking with a dropper is to pack light. Most bikepackers will agree that space is usually more of a challenge than weight, so as long as you factor in moving ultralight items to the seat pack and having more weight in the handlebar bag, it should work for you.

That said, for much of this test, we largely packed as we normally do. As an example, here’s a typical packlist that Logan uses in a smaller dropper post seat bag:

Spare underwear
Patagonia Merino Air baselayer
Merino wool jersey
Wool socks
Rain jacket (Search and State PJ-1)
Down jacket (Montbell Anorak)
Dinner (Good To-Go double meal)
Toiletries (toothbrush/paste, etc.)

Dropper Post Seat Bag pack list

This kit weighs about 3lbs 8oz (1.6kg), bag included, which seems like an ideal weight for most of the dropper posts we tested, and it keeps bulk to a minimum, enabling more of the dropper to be used and allowing the rider to get behind the saddle. Here are a few other packing tips to consider:

  • Pack your sleeping bag and pad in your seat pack to keep the weight down; a reasonable summer bag/quilt and sleeping pad should get the weight down under 3lbs.
  • If you pack clothing in your seat pack, roll each item up tightly and insert it the long way to help the seat pack’s stability.
  • Put the heaviest and most dense items at the nose of the pack to minimize sway.
Porcelain Rocket Albert, Dropper post seat pack
Porcelain Rocket Albert
Porcelain Rocket Albert
Porcelain Rocket Albert
Porcelain Rocket Albert
Porcelain Rocket Albert

Porcelain Rocket Albert Dropper Post Seat Pack

Albert was named after the first primate astronaut, a rhesus monkey who was launched over 63 km into space in a V-2 rocket on June 11, 1948. Like the monkey, the Albert seat pack was the first of its kind, and is still the most innovative and feature packed dropper-specific seat pack on the market.

Albert is made up of three major components. First, there is the lightweight steel loop rack that bolts to two machined aluminum saddle rail shims that slide in between the rails and the seat post. Then, there is the harness system that straps to the seat rails and pulls the load up and back. Finally, there’s the welded, waterproof drybag that keeps contents high and dry.

The Albert seat pack works remarkably well and is only one of two seat packs listed here that doesn’t touch the seatpost’s stanchion. As a result, it doesn’t inhibit the dropper’s travel whatsoever. Albert is also available in several colors. Read the article on Albert’s development, here.

The fact that no Valais or seatpost strap is required is great for folks with long legs. When the taller riders among us tried the Albert on a 27.5+ hardtail, we were able to use 100% of the travel on a 125mm seatpost, which we appreciated. In addition, the way the pack is mounted moves it up, which further helps clearance. Albert seems to take up less room between the saddle and the tire than many of the other seat packs listed here. The machined aluminum rail mounts are also quite nice. Once you are done using the pack, you simply loosen your saddle, slide the rail mounts out, and toss the rack and entire assembly into your closet, all in one piece. It makes installing and removing the pack super easy. All in all, Albert is certainly the most advanced and unique dropper-specific seat pack on the market.

  • Volume 5-7 Liters
  • Weight (with Rack, Harness, Drybag) 477g (16.8oz)
  • Required Clearance 6.5″ Between Saddle and Rear Tire
  • Place of Manufacture Alberta, CAN
  • Price (with Rack, Harness, Drybag) $225 CAD ($175 USD)
Bedrock Black Dragon Dropper Seat Bag Review, bikepacking dropper seat post
Bedrock Black Dragon Dropper Seat Bag Review, bikepacking dropper seat post
Bedrock Black Dragon Dropper Seat Bag Review, bikepacking dropper seat post
Bedrock Black Dragon Dropper Seat Bag Review, bikepacking dropper seat post
Bedrock Black Dragon Dropper Seat Bag Review, bikepacking dropper seat post
Bedrock Black Dragon Dropper Seat Bag Review, bikepacking dropper seat post

Bedrock Black Dragon

The Bedrock Black Dragon Dropper Seat Bag is another interesting saddlebag system conceived and built specifically for use with a dropper seatpost. The bag itself is constructed with rugged materials, including X-Pac and Rhinotek. Like other Bedrock Bags, it’s made with with top-notch craftsmanship and has plenty of extra bar stitching and reinforcement where it counts.

Unique to Bedrock, the Black Dragon uses an aluminum Rail Wing, a two-piece metal component that clamps to the saddle rails and cradles the bag to eliminate side-to-side sway. The Rail Wing’s hooks, paired with the looped center strap, allow the bag to quickly attach and detach, making the bag easy to remove for packing and unpacking off the bike. The bag’s compact design, when paired with a Wolf Tooth Valais, allows a 150mm dropper seat post to utilize as much as 80% of its travel. Read the full review for pros and cons.

  • Volume 5-7 Liters
  • Weight (with Rail Wing, Valais and Bag) 412g (14.5oz)
  • Required Clearance 5″ (12.7cm) between saddle and rear tire
  • Place of Manufacture Colorado, USA
  • Price (with Rail Wing/Valais/Cinch Strap) $175
Revelate Vole Dropper Post Seat Bag Review
Revelate Vole Dropper Post Seat Bag Review
Revelate Vole Dropper Post Seat Bag Review
Revelate Vole Dropper Post Seat Bag Review
Revelate Vole Dropper Post Seat Bag Review
Revelate Vole Dropper Post Seat Bag Review
Revelate Vole Dropper Post Seat Bag Review
Revelate Vole Dropper Post Seat Bag Review

Revelate Designs Vole

The Revelate Vole is the newest dropper-specific seat bag of the bunch. It was released with a new style of saddle rail straps. Instead of using a center-mounted webbing point that loops over the rails, Revelate implemented independent, side-mounted, urethane-coated loops that individually thread through each rail from the inside out. These loops and the greater strap system work in tandem with four integrated plastic panels and a rigid skid plate to create a super stable bag. Not to mention, the ingenious skid plate adds an extra layer of armor to protect the bag against tire abrasion.

The Revelate Vole is constructed mainly with coated X-Pac and and has several panels made of Rhinotek – a plasticized fabric – toward the front of the bag, and one piece of Hypalon where webbing connects under the skid plate. There are four pieces of plastic built into the Vole—two sewn in lightweight side panels, a heavier-duty triangular plate sewn into the top panel, and the burly skid plate on the bottom. The skid plate is bar-tack stitched to the Rhinotek bottom panel and secured via straps through three slots.

The Revelate Vole is a superb bag that works extremely well with a dropper post. Its sturdy, sway-resistant, compact design shines on rugged trail bike exploits. Additionally, the Vole might make a great bag on a rigid seat post for smaller riders who are short on space. It’s compact, but not too compact. Read the full review for pros and cons.

  • Volume 2-7 Liters
  • Weight 319g (11.25 oz)
  • Required Clearance 6″ (15.25cm) Between Saddle and Rear Tire
  • Place of Manufacture Oregon, USA
  • Price (With Rail Wing/Valais/Cinch Strap) $149

The Wolf Tooth Valais

The Wolf Tooth Valais is the first option to consider if you think you can upfit your current seat bag to use with a dropper. It’s also a piece of hardware that’s recommended, and often included, with many of the dropper post seat bags listed here. The Valais is a neat little plastic contraption designed to snap onto the top of the seatpost and clamp into place with a thru bolt. Acting as a shim for the bag’s seatpost strap, the Valais protects the stanchion from the rub and abrasion that’s inevitable when bounding down bumpy roads and trails. The Valais features an umbrella shape at the bottom to overlap the larger side of the post, keeping the strap from sliding down onto the stanchion.

  • Bedrock Black Dragon Dropper Seat Bag Review, bikepacking dropper seat post
  • Bedrock Black Dragon Dropper Seat Bag Review, bikepacking dropper seat post

The Valais reduces the travel of the dropper seat post by around 1.25″ (32mm), an important factor to consider. Wolf Tooth offers the Valais in 25mm and 26mm models to fit most dropper post stanchions. In addition, the Valais can serve as an emergency clamp; while dropper posts continue to improve, in the off chance that your post’s locking mechanism fails, the Valais can be used to keep the post extended so you can comfortably pedal out of the backcountry. We’ve tested the Valais with a couple of bags, and, generally speaking, it works well. We found success with the Ortlieb Seatpack M and the Porcelain Rocket Charlene. But, it doesn’t work with all bags. When considering using the Valais with your bag, be aware of its seatpost strap width and placement on the bag. There are also several seat bags designed specifically for use with the Valais.

Rockgeist Gondola Dropper Post Seat bag Review
Rockgeist Gondola Dropper Post Seat bag Review
Rockgeist Gondola Dropper Post Seat bag Review
Rockgeist Gondola Dropper Post Seat bag Review
Rockgeist Gondola Dropper Post Seat bag Review
Rockgeist Gondola Dropper Post Seat bag Review

Rockgeist Gondola

While there are definite advantages to having a specific mounting system like the ones found on other seat bags, there’s a lot to be said about the simplicity of Rockgeist’s Gondola. Even though it appears rather basic, the strap mounting employs two sets of saddle rail straps that eliminate the need for a seatpost strap and do an incredible job of keeping the bag stable.

Also playing a part in the bag’s stability, the Gondola seat bag uses strategically placed internal plastic supports. The major design component that sets this bag apart is the “rail tab” located on its spine. A rail connection runs through the tab and anchors to the rail, creating sustained separation between the bag and dropper shaft. A second set of webbing anchors higher up on the rail and is responsible for pulling the body of the bag up against the seat, away from the rear tire. The spine is also reinforced with a plastic stay for rigidity.

Built primarily out of X-pac, the Gondola weighs just under 200 grams and has a five-liter capacity. For some, this small design offers a complete range of dropper travel, all without metal brackets or a Valais. Those accustomed to full-sized saddle bags may feel limited by the Gondola’s diminutive size, but, given its very reasonable price tag, it seems like a perfect choice for ultra-racers and weekend shredders alike. Read the full review for pros and cons.

  • Volume 4-5 Liters
  • Weight 181g (6.4oz)
  • Required Clearance 5″ Between Saddle and Rear Tire
  • Place Of Manufacture North Carolina, USA
  • Price $110
Rogue Panda Ripsey Dropper Post Seat Bag
Rogue Panda Ripsey Dropper Post Seat Bag
Rogue Panda Ripsey Dropper Post Seat Bag
Rogue Panda Ripsey Dropper Post Seat Bag
Rogue Panda Ripsey Dropper Post Seat Bag
Rogue Panda Ripsey Dropper Post Seat Bag
Rogue Panda Ripsey Dropper Post Seat Bag

Rogue Panda Ripsey

Being a relatively new type of bikepacking bag, the development of many dropper-specific bags has been in a state of flux, and over the last year smaller manufacturers like Rogue Panda have been honing and tweaking their designs. It’s hard to form an exact opinion on the Ripsey as we only tried prototype versions and it’s changed considerably during its evolution. Still, the current design is similar to the one we tried: a slim cradle attached to a Wolftooth Valais shim, into which a lightweight, tapered X-Pac bag is compressed. Lightweight is certainly the name of the game; the whole system won’t add much to your setup and you can shave off even more weight by speccing the Dyneema Composite version of the bag (284g/10oz complete). The Ripsey should keep out the heaviest storms, given that it’s seam sealed. Requiring a 5” seatpost to tire clearance, this is a bag that will suit smaller riders who have limited space for a seat bag, too.

Pros: Light, no hardware to fix to the saddle
Cons: Not as stable as designs with hardware

  • Volume 8.5 Liters
  • Weight 355g (12.5oz)
  • Required Clearance 5″ Between Saddle and Rear Tire
  • Place Of Manufacture Arizona, USA
  • Price $165
  • Manufacturer’s Details LINK
Outer Shell Dropper Seatpack
Outer Shell Dropper Seatpack

Outer Shell Dropper Seatpack

Untested/From Outer Shell, “[The Outer Shell Dropper Seatpack] is meant for light, large volume items like a sleeping bag, tarp, and clothes. This bag feels solid even loaded up on the bumpy stuff because it has a 360° internal plastic frame that holds its shape. Rugged metal cam buckles mean secure, no-slip connection points. Durable, weatherproof construction. Good thigh clearance with room to get behind the saddle. This is a no-frills work horse with one strap for compression and extra gear. *Must have 2″ of exposed seatpost (50mm dropper extension) and 6″ saddle-to-tire clearance at all times.”

  • Volume 10.5 Liters Max
  • Weight 494g (17.4oz)
  • Required Clearance 6″ Between Saddle and Rear Tire
  • Place Of Manufacture California, USA
  • Price $160
  • Manufacturer’s Details LINK

Salsa Deadwood SUS Review, bikepacking

Non Dropper-specific Seat packs

As mentioned in the Wolf tooth Valais section, having the plastic collar may allow you to use your regular seat pack with your dropper seat post. In fact, that’s what it was originally designed to do. Here is a list of seat packs that we know are dropper post compatible. If you know of others, please leave us a comment and we’ll be sure to update this list:

Porcelain Rocket Charlene 3-5L / Link / $125
Ortlieb Seatpack M 11L / Review / $145
AlpKit Enduro 3L / Link / $65
Arkel Seatpacker 9L / Review / $220

WRAP UP

We liked all of the bags we reviewed here. The two that completely remove any contact from the post are both very impressive. The smallest, lightest, least expensive, and safest bet is the Rockgeist Gondola, which is a great solution for smaller riders and those who don’t have much space to work with between the tire and the saddle. It also comes in two sizes. The Porcelain Rocket Albert is certainly the most advanced, and held up well after a proper shakedown on the Trans-WNC, riding in Nepal, and on other technical routes. It’s also the easiest to pack and unpack, and the only fully waterproof option here. The newest dropper seatpost bag, the Revelate Vole, features a skid plate, which is an ingenious addition for those bikepacking on full-suspension rigs.

So, with all that said, is bikepacking with a dropper post ready for the mainstream? The answer is… kind of. As you can see in these two articles, the tools are all available for those who are interested. But, there are a lot of factors to consider. The biggest barrier of entry will be for those who simply do not have the needed clearance for a bag plus extra room for it to be dropped. It’s far easier on a hardtail, but with full-suspension bikes, there is a third measurement that needs to be taken into account. It takes quite a bit of clearance to reap the benefits. And, as far as equipment goes, there are a few hurdles. Aside from choosing a seatpost with enough power, and one that is also reliable and rideable in the event of catastrophic failure, it’s crucial to embrace a smaller seat pack and to pack it very minimally. But, the sacrifices are worth it. After bikepacking with a dropper on trails and routes with a lot of technical gnar, we’re in the same camp as mountain bikers who’ve become addicted to this technology. It’s hard to go back to the old way.

Dropper Post Seat Bag

14 Comments
  • Nico

    Nice two-part review. Timely as well since I just recently took receipt of a new 27.5+ hardtail with (my first) dropper post. The dropper post is quickly becoming the game changer everyone else has made it out to be, and I’m excited at the prospect of being able to better enjoy technical singletrack as part of a bikepacking route.
    One question… I saw in Part I it mentioned that hydraulic actuated posts like the KS Lev Integra weren’t deemed a good candidate for bikepacking duty due to the potential for bag bounce to inadvertently lift up on the dropped saddle and allowing air to seep into the piston resulting in travel loss and a squishy post. Just wondering if you can comment further on how susceptible these types of posts are to this problem? If I pair a stable dropper specific bag with a light load (say PR Albert filled with quilt & pad) and such a post, am I for sure asking for trouble?
    Cheers, enjoyed the read.

  • Thanks! I personally haven’t been on a bikepacking trip with a fully hydraulic post, so I haven’t had the opportunity to experience it first hand. However, I did screw up an old Reverb by lifting up on the saddle while hike-e-biking. And, a couple of the other guys that helped with these posts have bikepacked with IFP posts and had problems. I’ll see if I can get Skyler to chime in; I believe he had issues with the LEV.

  • Jon Meredith

    insightful article! – using a dropper is amazing for bikepacking on steeper terrain – gone is the risk of crashing when you inadvertantly get caught on the saddle bag while trying to keep your weight back!

    i use a Porcelain Rocket Charlene with a Valais on a 9point8 dropper and it works very well.

  • Thanks. Sounds like a good combo.

  • Sven Achi

    For “A Fall Ride”, we used hardtails, one equipped with a dropper post, the other one without. I really don’t want to miss it, it just makes technical riding so much more fun.
    Concerning the “lifting the saddle”-issue:
    Bikeyoke’s “Revive” allows you to bleed it on the go, without any tools. I did not have the chance to test it yet, but a friend of mine has one on his trail bike and demonstrated it to me. It worked flawlessly, I was amazed!
    As I am looking to build a dedicated bikepacking hardtail next year myself, I will definetly have an eye on that as it’s not only a cool feature anyways, but especially helpful for bikepackers.

  • Mark Connelly

    Can you explain why a light rear rack with small narrow pannier bags is not trending anymore. If the panniers bags don’t stick out past the width of your feet, the balance and use should be no issue.

  • Even if you don’t use panniers at all and just strap a dry bag on top of the rack I see this as a reasonable alternative. Given you’re tall enough.

  • Skyler

    Yeah, I used a KS Lev, and as much as I made an effort to never lift the bike by the saddle when pushing the bike, it’s a pretty ingrained habit for me. Then, flipping the bike over to help guy out the tent at night, and big temperature fluctuations between day and night quickly left me with a squishy post after less that a week of bikepacking. Worst of all is that KS posts aren’t user serviceable, so you’ll wait weeks or months for a repair after each trip.

    I think you’re asking for trouble. I’d just sell your post while it’s still working well and grab a model that’s safe to pull up on.

  • Richard Wolf

    I would also mention the Trek 1120 with it’s rear rack and standard dropper post. I retrofitted the 1120 rear rack to my older Trek Stache. It even gives short people like me the chance to user a dropper on a 29 plus bike! I will post my thoughts on riding with a dropper in your other article on bikepacking with a dropper.

  • Ernesto

    First of all, thanks for the article and the website, it has been a great resource. I’d like to add to the discussion the issue of availability. I have been reading about the Porcelain Rocket for a while now, yet every time I go to their website this model is not available, to the point where this bag is not really option. I understand they are small, and from the looks of it, they are selling all their products, which is great, but then it’s difficult to see if it should be considered realistically as an option.

  • I don’t think it’s a matter of what’s trending. Racks and mini panniers are a fine solution for bikes equipped with rack mounts, but many folks who’ll find these articles useful are using newer bikes without racks and rack mounts. Plus, the barrier to entry (cost) would be significantly higher to buy a rack and a pair of good, trail worthy panniers.

  • Scott Felter

    Hey Ernesto,

    I sympathize with your frustrations. Batches of our most popular products do sell out quickly. I wish I had a reasonable solution to this.

    We do keep pre-notification lists for all of our products, so if you would like to be on the list for the next batch of Albert (or any product we offer), please email through the site, and I’ll get you on that list. You would then receive an email 1-2 days before the next batch goes live on the site.

    Thanks!
    Scott

  • Cass Gilbert

    If I’m going the rack route, I personally prefer to run a light dry bag with a minimal rear rack, rather than panniers, when it comes to the more techy bikepacking that’s referred to in this post. But… a lot of people interested in more challenging routes may well already own bikes without provision for fitting a rear rack, in which case seatbags are the only solution. In my experience both work well. But when it comes to weight/space efficiency, a seatbag is the way to go.

  • Charly Aurelia

    I am considering the Trek rear rack (I am looking for part number and cost now) or the Tubus Vega rack on my KM. I want to utilize a dropper post and I have 7.75″ f clearance between seat rails and tire. If using the Tubus Vega I will modify it (and fab a harness system) to run two small dry bags along the same angle as the seat stays. Love to see pics and your thoughts Richard on your Trek rack conversion.