Best Ortlieb Bikepacking Gear [Top 6 Cycling Bags for Bike Trips]

Collaboration with Santa Fixie, the top online Bicycles, Components and Accessories shop in Europe for urban cycling.

Being a regular cyclist doesn’t mean you have to limit yourself to commutes to and from work or the shops, or for leisurely rides up and down your nearest cycling trail. Next time you head on holiday, why not bring your two wheels with you?

Bike packing (i.e. bike touring / cycle touring – essentially travelling long distances on your bike, often on holiday) has become an increasingly popular phenomenon in recent years, based mostly around off-road, lengthy cycles – the sort of which grew by nearly 13 per cent between 2007 and 2017, for instance.

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So, to cater for what’s clearly an expanding market, we’ve run through six of the best Ortlieb panniers (courtesy of Santa Fixie). Though, it should be noted that some of this gear can also be used by normal, everyday commuters who may need to carry a lot of gear but don’t like wearing backpacks or messenger bags.

But first, a look into the importance of the right bikepacking gear for you, and why Ortlieb are a brand you can depend on.

IMAGE CREDIT: SANTA FIXIE


Why Getting the Right Bikepacking Gear is Important

The idea of backpacking is that it takes a while. A long while, in fact. So don’t, under any circumstances, underestimate the importance of comfort when shopping for gear.

With that in mind, then, make sure it’s waterproof for a start – the last thing you want to find after cycling for hours on end in the rain is a bag full of sodden possessions.

Making your bag carry your gear is also far more comfortable – and simply easier – than you taking on the entire load yourself for long trips. Saddle bags, pannier bags and frame bags were tailor-made for these types of jobs – don’t put your back out when there’s a much safer alternative.

We’d recommend Ortlieb as the way to go in this regard – the German company offer a plethora of strong, tough, waterproof bags that are both well-organised and are aesthetically pleasing, too.



Are Ortlieb Bags Worth It?

Absolutely! You don’t want to be in the middle of nowhere when your bag seams give up, or it turns out your belongings aren’t quite as sheltered from the elements as you hoped and thought they would be.

Ortlieb is gear you can trust – you don’t garner a lofty reputation like theirs through shoddy, unreliable products, after all.

And sure, their bags may be in the upper echelons of your price range, but can you really put a price on such quality?



Best Ortlieb Backpacking Gear

Now that we’ve hopefully convinced to put your faith – and your money – in Ortlieb for backpacking gear, let’s crack on with our six contenders for their best bikepacking gear.

Here, we’ll be covering:

IMAGE CREDIT: SANTA FIXIE

Ortlieb Back Rollers

A big roll-top bag for pannier racks, these are Ortlieb’s most famous and popular products, and are the best bikepacking kit for putting most of your gear in (the other bags are for smaller bits and bobs, like bike tools).

Here, we’ll look at both the Back Roller QL1 and the QL2.1, before comparing and contrasting between them:

1a. Ortlieb Back Roller QL1 Pannier Bag (£76.20)

Quick release waterproof pannier bag

  • Lightweight, sturdy PU laminated rip stop nylon fabric
  • Highly reflective 3M Scotchlite reflectors
  • Specifications:
    • Volume: 20L
    • Dimensions: 32cm (12″) x 42cm (16″) x 14cm (5″)
    • Weight: 760g

Measurements: width 32cm (12″) x height 42cm (16″) x depth 14cm (5″) / Volume 20L / Weight: 760g

The original, cheaper option, and available in multiple colours, the QL1 is a lightweight, sturdy, waterproof pannier, with two bags of 20-litre volume each, perfect for bike racks of up to 16mm in length.

It also comes with an additional mounting hook to allow you to fasten it securely to the bike rack, adjustable QL hooks and a lower sliding hook, and extremely effective 3M Scotchlite reflectors to keep you visible, too.

Plus, it’s symmetrical, so can be used on either side of your bike.



1b. Ortlieb Back Roller QL2.1 Pannier Bag (£116.50)

A tough, waterproof pannier bag with quick release

  • Integrated inside pocket
  • Shoulder straps
  • Specifications:
    • Volume: 20L
    • Dimensions: 32cm (12″) x 42cm (16″) x 17cm (6″)
    • Weight: 925g

The updated and more expensive version of the QL1, this again comes in a wide range of colours, again boasts two 20-litre bags, and again is an excellent choice for hauling your heavy load around for you.

Another waterproof pannier complete with roll closure, this also comes with 3M Scotchlite reflectors, too, as well as an integrated inside pocket for extra storage and shoulder straps for extra versatility, making that little bit extra you’ll have to pay all the more worthwhile.



Ortlieb Back Roller QL1 v QL2.1

QL1QL2.1
Sturdy PU-laminated rip-stop nylon fabricPVC-coated polyester fabric
Includes adapter pieces for tube diameters of 8 and 11 mmIncludes spacers for tube diameters of 8, 10 and 12 mm
Top adjustable QL hooks and lower sliding hookIntegrated inside pocket and shoulder straps
Weight: 2 x 760gWeight: 2 x 925g
Measurements: width 32cm (12″) x height 42cm (16″) x depth 14cm (5″)Measurements: width 32cm (12″) x height 42cm (16″) x depth 17cm (6″)
Volume: 20 litres (each bag)Volume: 20 litres (each bag)


2. Ortlieb Seat-Pack (£112)

An easy-to-fit lightweight waterproof seat pack

  • Easily and securely attached with velcro straps
  • Adjustable role closures can expand the pack from 8L to 16.5L
  • Specifications:
    • Volume: 16.5L
    • Dimensions: 30cm (11″) x 22cm (8″) x 64cm (25″)
    • Weight: 456g

With the Ortlieb Seat-Pack, you’ll not only find loads of space in which to store your belongings, but also that they’ll be kept safe and dry by this waterproof bag.

Projecting backwards from the seat stem, the bag also acts as a rear fender for your bike, while its volume can be adjusted from between eight to 16.5 by simply adjusting the roll closures on the sides. An extra valve enables quick, easy compression for a more compact fit, too.

And thanks to the elastic drawstrings on the top of the bag, the Seat-Pack boasts extra space if need be, and only takes up 15cm of space on your seat stem.



3. Ortlieb Frame-Pack Large Bag (£97.70)

The perfect waterproof frame bag for heavier items

  • Easily and securely attached with velcro straps
  • Lightweight, sturdy PU laminated rip stop nylon fabric
  • Specifications:
    • Volume: 6L
    • Dimensions: 50cm (19″) x 29cm (11″) x 6cm (2″)
    • Weight: 232g

With a lower centre of gravity below your bike’s top tube, this Ortlieb frame bag is perfect bag for storing heavy gear. If you’re off on a camping bicycle tour, you should have no second thoughts about filling it with food, tools or stoves, for example.

Its waterproof nylon fabric and zipper will keep your things dry however treacherous the elements may be, and it mounts to the top tube, seat tube and down tube thanks to its extremely strong and dependable Velcro straps.

As well as a six-litre bag, the bag is also available in a four-litre size, depending on the size of your bike frame, of course.



4. Ortlieb Frame-Pack Toptube Bag (£81.50)

IMAGE CREDIT: SANTA FIXIE

A frame bag that doesn’t hijack your water bottle

  • Waterproof nylon fabric and the waterproof zipper
  • Easily attached with ultra-strong velcro straps
  • Specifications:
    • Volume: 4L
    • Dimensions: 50cm (19″) x 13cm (5″) x 6cm (2″)
    • Weight: 170g

Like the last Frame-Pack, the Toptube comes with waterproof zippers and nylon fabric to offer sturdy protection from the weather, as well as ultra-strong Velcro straps to the top and seat tubes.

And with four litres of storage area, the Toptube again offers an enormous amount of space to pack your things for a long cycling tour, while also offering a low centre of gravity for an enhanced cycling performance.

A perfect choice if you want to use your bike frame’s main triangle for storage without compromising your water bottle in doing so.



5. Ortlieb Accessory-Pack Handlebar Bag (£45.30)

An extension to your handlebar bag

  • Mounting straps with convenient Velcro closures
  • Lightweight design
  • Specifications:
    • Volume: 3.5L
    • Dimensions: 5cm (2″) x 17cm (6″) x 30cm (11″)
    • Weight: 204g

Last but by no means least, we have this bargain at under £50; the best Ortlieb handlebar bag, and perfect for storing all manner of smaller belongings.

Whether it’s snacks, your phone or whatever else, the Accessory-Pack will keep them secure, waterproof and easily accessible on every ride. This is ideal if you want that little bit extra in the way of storage, but don’t want or need to go the whole nine yards.

You can either attach these Ortlieb front panniers via their securely-fastened metal hooks or its pre-mounted Velctro straps, which can fit nicely on to the handlebars.

And not only is it potentially the best handlebar bag bikepacking-wise, you can even take advantage of its carrying strap on this Ortlieb bar bag to use it as a lightweight shoulder or hip bag if you wish, too.



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