Sackville SaddleSack Medium
QUICK SUMMARY: The SACKVILLE MEDIUM is our most all-around useful biggish saddlebag. If you find you wish it were bigger, you have an excuse to get a Large sometime, and for smaller loads (not food shopping), the Small is good. But for general use, this is the one.
ALL Sackville Saddlesacks are the result of 30+ years of saddlebag use and obsession. These are our own designs, made without compromise in Connecticut. They're expensive, but last decades. They all require a saddle with loops. All modern leather saddles and some plastic ones have them.
OUTER FABRIC: All Sackville saddlesacks are made from Scottish cotton that is more tightly woven than any waxed cotton made in America. The gaps between threads are so small it hardly needs any wax, and with less wax, it stays much cleaner. Normal-common-American waxed cotton is more coarsely woven, so needs a heavier coating of wax. The extra wax on the coarse fabric isn't as waterproof, and picks up and holds dirt, so after a couple of years, it looks like an old railroad tie coated with creosote.
LEATHER: Tough, American top-grain leather tanned and sufficiently oiled to weather well with minimal upkeep. Every couple of years smear some leather goop on it. The best is Obenauf's (we sell it, so do others), but any will do.
OVERALL DESIGN: They sit flat, and there are two benefits. (1) The load doesn't tilt or tend to spill out. Even if you don't use the security of the inner tongue-flap or buckle down the outer flap, the raised lower lip of the lower jaw + a flat bottom holds your stuff in there; (2) You get more usable room directly above the tire. This is best explained with a diagram, which we don't have right now.
DETAILS: Simple, usable, with sufficient convenience for anybody. The removable Kangaroo pocket is good for wallet, keys, phone, and whatever else you might want to take with you into the store while your bike is outside. The side pockets are slim but hold surprisingly bulky loads because they distend as they need to.
Especially notice the bottom outer, always in a contrasting color. The extra layer of fabric repels water and abraision from an uncovered tire. A fender or rack makes it unnecessary, but it's there just in case. The "daisy chain" webbing strips make it easy to snug the sack to a rack as a way to foil a thief with plans for a quick get-away; and reduce bag-sway (which is a theoretical issue more than a real problem, but saddlebag newbies tend to fear it, and so...we say don't).
Two loops at the bottom allow you to cinch a big bag off of a tall uncovered tire. Like, let's say you let a friend use the bag and the guy doesn't have a rack or fender but needs to carry a big load, and his saddle is low. Run a stick or pencil or rod or cord thru these loops, and use an adjustable cord or strap to hike the bag off the tire. Tie it off to the saddle or straps holding the saddle to the bag loops. Creativity solves all problems!
FANATICAL STITCHERY: Every stitch terminates on the inside of the bag. The ends of the nylon thread are melted with an alcohol flame, then smeared while molten. They won't show, catch, or unravel.
Capacity: There are too many ways to measure in cubic inches or liters. There are ways to cheat. Expanded and bulged? Flat sides and mathematically? It's too confusing. Unexpanded, this bag holds a lot. Expanded—with extended flap and maxed-out tongue, it's a monster.
Approximately 15.25" wide, 8.5" tall and 11" deep.
Not bulged (imagine): 1134 cubic inches, or 18.6 liters (the British way)
Bulged but not ridiculous: 1418 cubic inches, or 23.2 liters
The pocket adds about 50 cubic inches, or .82 liters
This is our most all-around useful biggish saddlebag, just shy of the size needed for bike camping and monstrous loads.
It's about 1,050 cubic inches before you overstuff it, which you can do, easily.