Our site works best with JavaScript enabled.

Daring Deeds - real stories, expeditions, road trips and adventure

DIY saddlebag

By Anna Kennett | 29, Apr, 2012

Anna demonstrates how with a few tweaks and a steady hand with a sewing machine it is possible to turn an Airlok XTra drybag into a lightweight saddlebag.

This technique was first developed by Nick who needed a saddlebag for the Welsh Ride Thing. Airlok Xtras were already being widely used as a handlebar bag, but to effectively attach one below the saddle was a trickier proposition. With a strategic cut and 5 minutes behind a sewing machine Nick solved the problem and not only had he saved a few extra quid but by keeping things simple Nick also had the lightest bike at the weigh in!

We can't guarantee the saddlebag will be 100% water tight, and it might take you a couple of attempts before you are totally happy but if you want to give it a go here is what you will need:

- 1 x 20l Airlok XTra
- Scissors
- Sewing machine
- Seam sealant
- 6 Durable nylon patches about 3 x 3cm
- 4 x plastic D-Ring
- Chalk
- Scrap card

1. Use a sheet of card to mark out the basic shape of the saddlebag.

2. Turn the Airlok insideout and lay the Airlok flat. Using the chalk, mark out the cut line under the seat. Be careful to avoid going directly through any of the hyperlon tabs on the Airlok. Don't worry if these tabs get cut off, it really just depends on the geometry of your frame.

3. Sew along the lines. Now cut along the seam leaving a 2cm overlap of fabric.

4. Apply seam sealant between the seam, then fold over your 2cm overlap and sew again to strengthen the seam. Apply seam sealant again.

5. Offer your reshaped Airlok up to your saddle, it should be a nice tidy fit. Mark the 3 points where your compression straps will attach. Their exact placement will depend on your set up. It is a good idea to stuff your Airlok to give a better idea of how it will sit. Avoid making your straps too long, otherwise you will not be able to pull the bag tight onto your seat.

6. Strengthen the attachment points by glueing reinforcing patches on the inside of the Airlok. These can be made out of your offcuts, or heat adhesive patches if you have them.

7. Cut the red strap which comes with your Airlok into 4 equal lengths and thread them through the d-rings. Seal the cut ends with a lighter to avoid fraying. 

8. Sew the straps onto the Airlok making sure to stitch into the reinforcing patches. You may want to apply seam sealant when you have finished to the inside of the stitch.

9. Attach securely to your bike. Techniques include passing a strap through the saddle bars and under the Airlok passing through the hyperlon tab, cynching in the Airlok to hug the seat post with zip ties, webbing or string. Play around, trial and error will find the most stable option. Enjoy your ride!

  • Google+

In pictures

  bikepacking

No Comments

Share your thoughts about this article.

Related Deeds

The Ascent of Nanda Devi
H.W Tilman book re-release
In Daring Deeds
A wild night
The experience of a night out
In Daring Deeds
Rara Hurrah
Riding to Lake Rara, Nepal.
In Daring Deeds
Coffee, curry, cake, beer and a bicycle
last minute trip for Yak Attack
In Daring Deeds

News

A Summer French Divide
cycling across France
In News
Mountain Podcast
a show about adventure in wild places
In News
A whole host of bikepacking goodness…
With Winter upon us we have upped stock and made sure we have all you need.
In News
Doubling up
Alpkit mountain tandem
In News
Paul Errington’s Long Distance Steed
Mr. Errington tests out a new set up
In News

Develop

Seat pack developments
2 new seat packs
In Develop
Love Mud 650b+ wheels bars stems
Introducing Love Mud Bike Components
In Develop
Sonder Bikes Arriving Soon
Everyone has a story. Whats yours?
In Develop
Dual Airloks arrive with a surprise
A Cuttlefish lurks beneath
In Develop
WRT Follow Up
Jim looks at bike cockpit set ups
In Develop

Spotlight

Kendal Mountain Festival 2016
Its Film Festival time
In Spotlight
Hut Living
the delights of staying in huts
In Spotlight
Catch Nature off Guard
Travel Quieter, Lighter and further, and stay out longer
In Spotlight
Bikepacking what to pack
What to Pack for 100 miles over 2 days
In Spotlight

Kudos

UKC Review Koulin
UK Climbing
OM Review Filoment
Outdoors Magic
OM Gravitas Review
Outdoors Magic

Explore Alpkit

adventure
adventure racing
adventure travel
alpine climbing
backpacking
ballooning
big shakeout
bike packing
bikepacking
biking
bivvying
bouldering
bushcraft
camping
canoeing
canyoning
caving
climbing
clothing
coasteering
cooking
cross country skiing
cycle touring
cycletouring
cycling
deep water soloing
dry tooling
duke of edinburgh
endurance
endurance racing
expedition
fat bikes
fat biking
film making
hiking
hill walking
ice climbing
kayaking
micro adventure
mountain biking
mountaineering
night running
open water swimming
outdoor photography
outdoor swimming
parasports
running
sailing
scuba diving
sea kayaking