Although I cycle tour with a pack, its always a good idea to get some dense and heavy items strapped to the bike. I'm not a fan of panniers, trailers and even handle bar bags - they all adversely affect the handling of the bike for serious off-road riding.

One item I wanted to get out of my pack and onto the bike was my Tarptent Stratospire 2 tent. Even though it weighs less than 1.4kg, its nice to be able to get that off your back.

There are a number of great commercial designs for saddle bags, but I didn't have time to order one for an upcoming tour, so I decided to make my own.

  • As a base I used a dive gear bag that came with a snorkling set from Aldi. Its waterproof (except for a mesh bottom that I removed) and has a roll top closure so it can be made as big or as small as you need;
  • I removed the bottom of the bag, re-sewed it at an angle that matched my seat post; and
  • added some velcro straps to hold it to the seat post.

Here's what it looks like on the bike:

Here's the bag and tent:

Here are some things I like about this setup:

  • saddle bag doubles as a rear mud guard to stop a wet backside;
  • saddle bag is waterproof and strong enough that you can hang it up full of water and use as a bush shower - I've put a few small holes in the end that goes towards the seat post for this purpose;
  • its the only option I had in the time available.

Related articles:

Cycle Touring Bare Essentials

Note: this article is a work-in-progress so at the moment is not an exhaustive list.

San Marco Aspide Super Leggerra Saddle

I got this saddle as a replacement for my San Marco Aspide Carbon FX saddle which I really liked but sadly the shell has cracked.  For a 134g saddle it was extremely comfortable.

San Marco Aspide Carbon FX Saddle

Vital stats:

Lezyne M-Caddy Saddlebag

The good:

Ultimate Bicycle Chain Lube

I've been using just about every type of chain lube over the last 20 years and there's definitely a huge difference between the various chain specific and general lubricants.

XTools Bicycle Toolkit

This has been a great toolkit. Cost around $50 and its got almost everything you need for total bike maintenance.