VEL WATERPROOF SADDLE BAG
121g (not including Allen Key) £20.99
Saddle-bag or wedge-pack, VEL’s waterproof version is a neat and tidy take on a popular bit of gear. Workmanship is good and capacity is decent for a day ride. Generally a likeable addition to anyone’s outfit, with, in my opinion, one niggle.
Pros: genuinely waterproof.
Cons: no light loop.
Roll-top, or in this case, roll-end closures are rightly popular on waterproof bags. In this case, a couple of folds are secured by hooking elasticated straps over two plastic hooks.
Measurements are 14cm long, 9cm at widest, 6.5cm at narrowest, and 6cm deep.
Waterproof polyester covers a rigid upper and sides (formed by an internal plastic sleeve. There’s a familiar plastic quick release mechanism for clicking the bag into place on the bracket. All is ultrasonically welded for that promised waterproof finish
Unlike some, there’s no additional strap for securing the bag to the seat-post. An Allen key is provided for the bracket.
Waterproof can be taken to mean that, short of total immersion, things are going to be kept dry. Rain, road and trail splash, and such like should be kept where they belong.
A small reflective logo is a contribution toward being seen by motorists, and others, approaching from behind with lights on.
Bracket and fitting
The plastic bracket fits to the saddle rails, secured by two Allen-head bolts recessed into the bracket. It should fit most saddles, according to the VEL blurb. The distance between the outer edge of the two grooved sections that fit over the rails is 58mm.
Something depends on saddle position, but with that proviso (which applies to all wedge-packs) “fit-all” seems to be about right. Certainly, it goes on my Soma Okami Lite saddle, the Bobbin Gents Leather saddle, as well as a Brooks B17. But, there’ll be some objections to functional synthetic materials attached to retro machines. Most testing was done on an Argo Bodyfit MTB saddle.
Two inner tubes at 700x28/32, or one 26x1.5/2, tyre levers, repair kit, and small multi-tool, have left room for a CO2 cartridge and that’s about it. Adding a few extras, an adjustable spanner (I was accompanying a friend on a retro machine that is all nuts and bolts) or suchlike, made sealing the bag awkward. However, with careful packing it takes all the spares and tools likely to be called on during a decent day out.
Any concerns about damp getting in around the fixtures and fittings were quickly put to rest with a belt along wet forest roads and a couple of fords. Rain has been deflected with ease. Even, dropping it into a puddle (not immersed) and being put to the watering-can torture, hasn’t broken the seal. I’ve trusted it with a mobile phone.
Mud splatter is best wiped away as soon as possible, but if dried on only takes a little graft with a damp cloth and a drop of soapy water to get things ship-shape.
The bracket seems secure, but do ensure that the pack is fully clipped in. Initially, I’d set it a bit close to the seat post and failed to note that things weren’t solid. My fault. When fully engaged the quick-release bracket has held firm over rough terrain – on and off-road.
Needless to say, with no other straps, removal at café or pub stop is quick and easy.
With no light loop, you’ll need to ensure that you have space for a rear light, if you are out and about at night. Not a concern for those who drive to the trail, it’s a requirement for those on the road home from the trail or just on the road, full stop.
As a tool bag, its perfect in a pannier, where lack of loops and straps keeps it from snagging on other contents. Mind you, on a long tour, chain-breaker, spare cables, tube of lube, and spare brake pads would need to have their own home.
A genuinely waterproof wedge-pack for most saddles, the VEL Waterproof Saddle Bag will keep your day-ride spares and tools safe and dry. I’d have hoped for a light loop, though anything stitched on makes waterproofing more of an issue. In that sense it is likely to be of most interest to those who road ride in daylight, hit the gravel and off-road, or have other places, in the best possible taste, to stick a red light.
The Passport Frequent Flyer wedge-pack comes in cheaper, but is not guaranteed waterproof.