Legendary German waterproof pannier manufacturer Ortlieb scales down its touring tech with good results
Ortlieb’s famous panniers with their roll tops and welded seams are often copied but never equalled: the Ortlieb Micro Saddle Bag is a Mini Me version of them, featuring a scaled-down roll closure with added elastic bungees. It looks cute but it also does the same grown-up job of keeping out water.
The Ortlieb Micro Saddle Bag is for carrying a very minimum of spares and is the smallest saddle bag in Ortlieb’s range. With a capacity of 0.6 litres and measuring 12x11x8cm there’s only room inside for a single tube plus a small multitool, a couple of tyre levers and the other emergency get-me-home essentials that any sensible roadie carries.
It’s made of a lightweight PU-coated fabric that comes in a variety of colours, all of which have a large reflective element at the rear.
The Ortlieb Micro Saddle Bag clips into its own mount, which clamps to the saddle rails via two bolts, and features a quick-release system so that you can remove it very easily. The downside to this, of course, is that you have to buy more than one mount if you want to use it on more than one bike unless you want to unbolt the mount each time – which you don’t. The spare mounts are cheap to buy though – around a fiver and widely available from the usual retailers.
Set-up is very simple. The mount clamps to the rear bend in the saddle rails – handy if you like to have your saddle forward towards its limit – so that the bag itself is angled to follow the shape of the saddle. It clips in and out securely and easily.
Packing it is a bit fiddly, however. Since the opening is at one end you have to poke everything down rather than strategically placing items and then zipping the top shut, as you do with other saddle packs. And when you have to reverse the moves by the roadside it’s also slightly awkward: it’s too small to get an entire hand in, so you’re delving with fingers like a game of Operation.
Since the Ortlieb Micro Saddle Bag is made from a fabric rather than a moulded EVA foam, there is more packing flexibility, but we found that unless it was packed very tightly and evenly – best of all with everything in a supermarket carrier to pad it out – it was noisy on bumpy surfaces, making a thwacking sound as the waterproof material oscillated.
What’s for sure, however, is that it will keep everything perfectly dry. And not only does it benefit from the legendary Ortlieb waterproofing but it also has the unmistakable look of an Ortlieb product, and that’s enough for many riders.
The most bijou Ortlieb bag in the range looks like its big brothers and does the same job of keeping out water, but the small opening is a little fiddly and for silent riding it has to be packed perfectly.