ZEFAL IRON PACK 2 M-DS SEAT PACK
122g Medium Black (as tested) £22.50
The Zefal Iron Pack 2 M-DS is a semi-rigid seat pack sitting in the middle of their Iron Pack range. You don’t have to be an Iron-Person to use it, but unlike the 2 litre XL version, it is most definitely for light-weight work or as a day tool kit bag, for example. There’s a lot to like about it, although those riding without mudguards or who get as close to submersion as possible may prefer fully-waterproof saddle-packs with welded seams.
Pros: Easy to clean, carries tools for a day ride.
Cons: Not technically totally waterproof.
Aimed at all cycling disciplines where baggage has to be carried, Velcro mounting straps for saddle rails and seat post enhance Zefal’s “Universal” fit claims: for example, folk with suspension seat-posts can find bracket mountings a bit of a conundrum, whilst some others find them more prone to ejection or breakage. The latter is a debating point; some on Seven Day Island feel decent quality brackets don’t do either.
Semi-rigid construction promises safe passage for goods – although I’d still be careful of putting sensitive electronics in a seat pack. 420D TPU Polyester should resist most things that are likely to be thrown at it. Even better Zefal say it can be bunged in the washing machine (do not tumble dry!). Sans mudguards this may prove to be a real boon. On the other hand, I’ve found a wipe with a cloth has been plenty, especially with a drop or two of something like Rock ‘n’ Roll Miracle Red.
Access comes courtesy of two chunkily fobbed zippers. Technically the zip is water-repellent. In reality, it is neatly sealed by baffles that hug tight on either side, so I’d hope for a high degree of water-resistance! In addition to the zip, stitched seams limit Zefal’s claims to water-resistant, rather than waterproof, for the whole package.
The flap opens upward, which struck me as counter-intuitive, but actually does not send the contents tumbling out. You won’t need to remove gloves to get it open, however, you will if you want to attach a light to the loop. Inside, there’s a useful little mesh pocket on the reverse of the flap.
There’s some reflective detail to aid visibility.
Couldn’t be easier, really. Plastic brackets, once in place, offer quicker removal and replacement, but unless you really can’t spare a second or two, then that should not be a deal-breaker.
Bijoux dimensions mean that, unless you have your saddle toward the max forward adjustment, the 2 M-DS will sit completely under it.
0.9 litres is not a lot, making this perfect for those who need discipline or want to keep things strictly limited. Inner tube, tyre levers, repair kit, CO2 canister, micro pump, such as Zefal’s Profil Micro, and small mutli-tool– such as the Lifeline 18in1 and CO2 adaptor – all went in. That basic day-
ride tool kit left enough space for latex gloves, a few coins, credit card, tissues, and such-like (kept safely in a plastic bag). Well, the weather was good and the forecast stable, so the jacket stayed at home.
Whilst this won’t suit belt and braces riders, faster riders, training, or even racing, may well appreciate the packing discipline. On the other hand, tourers wanting to keep a multi-day tool-kit might look to go up a size or two. Anyone lookin got go even smaller, might well look at the Iron Pack 2 S-DS or the Iron Pack 2 S-TF.
As with many good quality seat packs, technical water-resistance and water-repellence amount to much more in the real world. Snug under your saddle and with mudguards, it is hard to imagine that even prolonged heavy rain will cause too much of a problem. Certainly, ten minutes under the tap has not broken through. Still, maybe best to keep sensitive items like bank notes, and so on, in a small plastic bag. As for the multi-tool, it will cope with minor dampness if it has to.
At this size, you’d not expect to be disturbed by pendulum-like motion. You won’t be. Pot-holed roads, gravel tracks, and the generality of off-road bumping about, have not dislodged it, either.
The zip opens easily, even with gloved hands or cold fingers – not that I’m likely to access it on the fly, or for anything other than road or trail side repairs or to get at spare coffee money.
You can pay almost anything for a wedge-pack/seat pack. Several store brands offer decent specs without, in my opinion, rivalling the construction of Zefal’s range. Then there are neatly designed models like Passport's Frequent Flyer Wedge Pack at £14.99. More than adequate, but less ruggedly constructed.
The VEL Waterproof Saddle Bag is totally waterproof, with welded seams, and comes in at £20.99 (Can be found significantly discounted), but lacks the light loop and is smaller (not necessarily deal-breakers). Then there’s the heftier, unique UPSO take on the seat pack – The Stirling. This comes in at £30, but can double-up as a bar bag. Like the Zefal range, it is rugged without being fully waterproof: then you have the unique colours.
Zefal’s Iron Pack 2 S-DS coms in at £20.50, with a capacity of 0.5 litres. Their T-fix Iron Pack 2 M TF (0.9 litres) costs £22.99.
Overall, this is a well-made and none too expensive saddle pack. In all but the most extreme contexts it will keep contents dry. Yes, it is small, but then it is meant to be for rides where keeping weight down is important – speed, or just fun and frolics – on or off-road. It’s also ideal for those days when you can leave your jacket – and other bulky items - at home, either because you just don’t need it or, unfortunately, you’re going to be wearing it all the time!