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The Vel Seat Pack is very well made, user friendly, and stable on the bike, and has a nifty air purge valve to make the most of its capacity. It's constructed using a tough Hypalon material, the same stuff that rigid inflatable boats are made from, and is highly durable and totally waterproof. I found it worked really well.
First off, it's easily attached using the two loops through the saddle rail and a Velcro strap around the seatpost. This pulls nice and tight, with a generous amount of Velcro to hold it secure. The saddle rail loops have wide sections that sit over the rails, which also help keep the pack in place.
At 16.5cm high, it takes up a good chunk of seatpost (it took up all of mine), so it's probably not suitable if you are running a dropper post.
The purge valve makes it easy to squeeze any air from the bag when rolling it up, to make the most of all seven litres, and the two straps to compress the bag are on a loop, so they pull tight but don't have any excess dangle, like I've found can happen on some seatpacks.
The area of the pack closest to the seatpost has the most reinforcement, where the Hypalon material forms a box section. It seemed logical to me to fill this area up with heavier items like tools and CO2 cartridges, leaving the more pliable section of the pack for squashier items like clothing.
I've found the pack really useful for carrying extra spares, tubes, clothing and food on winter rides; it's perfect for carrying an extra jacket for warmth at the coffee stop.
It would also cope with an overnight B&B stop on a two-day credit card ride in summer; I loaded it up with the same items I took for a two-day ride I did in July last year, stuffing in a full set of summer cycling clothes, plus shorts and T-shirt for wearing in the evening. The air purge valve really helped to squeeze as much in as possible.
When using it for commuting, I've been able to fit in my bike tools, three inner tubes, plus my tightly rolled-up work clothes – and sandwiches! No shoes, but I keep those at work anyway.
I really like the fact that the box section part near the seatpost stays put, so it's an easy pack to fill up or take stuff from while it's still mounted to the bike. Quite a few seatpacks I've tried don't make that easy as they are pliable all over; it's easier to pack them when fully removed from the bike. The Vel is a real winner for usability.
It's fully waterproof too, which you'd expect being made of boat material; everything stays bone dry, and the underside acts an extra mudguard, which was very welcome along some of Somerset's filthiest lanes.
Out of the saddle efforts aren't a problem as there is minimal 'sway' side to side, probably because it's so well attached to the seatpost.
And because of the pack's conical design, with the area closest to the seatpost and under the saddle being narrow, widening out towards the back of the pack, I didn't get any rub or leg chafing.
There are a few slits of webbing cut into the Hypalon material, vertically and horizontally, so attaching lights or eleasticated straps for adding a few lightweight items on top (such as bananas and flip-flops) is easy. You'll need to provide your own straps, bungees or cords for this, though, as none are included.
There are a couple of reflective logos on the seatpack for additional side visibility as well, which is a nice touch.
The Vel seat pack is easy to look after. Despite getting repeatedly drenched in mud, this just sloughs off with a warm sponge, the pack coming up like new each time. I did a bit of research into Hypalon fabric, and it can last for over 20 years when used in boat construction, so for a saddle pack, I think it should stand the test of time.
For the level of quality, I think the Vel is really well priced at £65 and good value compared with others, such as the Miss Grape Cluster 7. This is also 7 litres, also fully waterproof, and has minimal sway, but it's more than twice as much as the Vel at £135.
The Alpkit Koala is a more reasonable £75, and much lighter than the Vel, only 186g, but it's not fully waterproof. Also, there are no attachment areas for lights. It can be used with a dropper post, though.
The Topeak Backloader is a seatpack that I own, and it is quite similar to the Vel. It's the same price, slightly heavier, but includes a stuffsack for compressing clothes down, and also bungee cords to carry items on the top. The Backloader has considerably more sway than the Vel, though, and is certainly 'saggier' in use. The Vel also has a more secure seatpost strap than the Backloader, which I thought never had quite enough Velcro to pull it really tight.
In summary, I found the Vel to be a very user-friendly and well-made seatpack. It's ideal for long day rides, carrying extra food and tools, or wanting to take spare clothes or a jacket for a coffee stop, and has just enough space for a credit card overnighter in summer. I think it would stand up to years of use, and for £65 is really good value.
Excellent user-friendly seatpack that should last years, and for a great price
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road.cc test report
Make and model: Vel Seat Pack 7L
Size tested: 7 litres
Tell us what the product is for and who it's aimed at. What do the manufacturers say about it? How does that compare to your own feelings about it?
Vel says: "Stable and capacious, Vel's Seat Pack can be used on or off-road and holds up to 7 litres of luggage. The roll closure design means that whether it is crammed full or half empty, the contents will always be held securely without rattling around and the purge valve allows any trapped air to be squeezed out to minimise bulk. Wide Velcro straps hold it in place behind the saddle, preventing it from swaying around when pedalling and the external webbing can be used to hold extra kit or a rear light.
The tapered design ensures that it doesn't contact the legs at all and helps with aerodynamics whilst the tough waterproof fabric means that anything inside will remain dry, whatever the weather. Areas prone to extra wear are reinforced with tough Hypalon patches."
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?
Capacity: 7 litres
Lightweight waterproof construction
Roll closure with clips
Vertical and horizontal external webbings on rear for lights or additional clip-on stowage
Wide seat post mounting strap
Seat post cradle design for improved stability
Air purge valve
Width: 20cm (at widest point)
Maximum length: 60cm / minimum length 40cm (variable dependent on roll)
All the straps are securely stitched to the main body of the bag. The clips feel sturdy and well made, and there is reinforcement at the areas of the bag that sit against the seatpost. It feels well made and should last.
It attaches easily and securely; the two straps to compress the bag are on a loop, so they pull tight but don't have any excess dangle, like I've found can happen on other seat packs.
I really like the fact that the box section part near the seatpost stays put, so it's an easy pack to fill up or take stuff from while it's mounted to the bike. Quite a few seatpacks I've tried don't make that easy as they are pliable all over.
Out of the saddle there is minimal "sway" side to side, probably because it's so well attached to the seatpost.
A few slits of webbing cut into the Hypalon material, vertically and horizontally, are useful for attaching lights or other lightweight items.
Generous amount of Velcro on the seatpost strap and reinforcement on the bag at the contact points and "splash points". The Hypalon fabric, which is used to reinforce the bag, is the stuff used for making rigid inflatables boats in the marine industry, so is really tough. Dirt and mud wash off easily and don't affect it.
Comparable with other saddle packs; it's reasonable for the storage space provided.
Its excellent; my legs didn't rub against it at all, and it doesn't swing about much. I was able to still ride out of the saddle no problem.
Compares well against others on the market. For the quality, it's a really good price.
Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose
It attaches securely, is dead easy to load up, doesn't swing about too much, makes the absolute most of its 7 litres, and is super-easy to clean.
Tell us what you particularly liked about the product
Great usability – because of the cradle design which sits still on the bike, making it easy to fill or unpacks while still mounted to the bike.
Minimal sway in use.
Air valve on the outside is easy to use when rolling the bag up, letting you squeeze as much in as possible.
It's made of boat material, so is waterproof and very rugged.
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product
It takes up a lot of seatpost space, so isn't dropper compatible, but apart from that there really isn't much to complain about. It's very good.
How does the price compare to that of similar products in the market, including ones recently tested on road.cc?
The Miss Grape Cluster 7, also 7 litres, is also fully waterproof, and has minimal sway, but it's over twice as much as the Vel at £135.
The Alpkit Koala is a more reasonable £75, and much lighter than the Vel, but it's not fully waterproof. Also there are no attachment areas for lights, though it can be used with a dropper post.
The Topeak Backloader is the same price as the Vel, slightly heavier, but includes a stuffsack for compressing clothes down, and bungee cords to carry items on the top. But it has considerably more sway than the Vel in use, which also has a more secure seatpost strap than the Backloader in my experience.
Did you enjoy using the product? Yes
Would you consider buying the product? Yes
Would you recommend the product to a friend? Yes
Use this box to explain your overall score
It's excellent: it really makes the most of its 7 litres, the cradle section, air purge valve, and secure and easy to use straps make packing and unpacking simple, and it has minimal sway when riding. The well thought out design and rugged material mean it should last a long time, too. A well deserved 9 out of 10.
About the tester
I usually ride: GT Grade My best bike is: Boardman ASR 8.9
I've been riding for: Over 20 years I ride: Most days I would class myself as: Experienced
I regularly do the following types of riding: commuting, club rides, sportives, general fitness riding, mtb, Zwifting