Despite what Rule 29 says, saddle bags DO have their place. Clif bars are bulky things, puncture repair kits aren't as small as you think, and you don't want to stretch out your beautiful new merino jersey by cramming it full of the stuff that, let's be honest, you don't really need but you'll be bringing along anyway. Because it may be January, but the sun could possibly get strong enough to give burn you. You need that suncream, right?
Anyway. Here's our varying saddle bag picks. We've concentrated on smaller ones here, but don't forget that there are many large saddle bags (and saddle bags and pannier sets) designed for cycle touring as well. These bad boys, however, are more suited to a sportive.
Lezyne Caddy Saddle Bag, £17.99
This medium version of the Lezyne Caddy Saddle Bag offers 0.5L of space for stuffing various energy gels into. It's nice and simple to attach, using velcro to hook onto the underside of your saddle. It weighs 75g and has a reflective detail for extra safety.
Brooks England Challenge Tool Saddle Bag, £65
The Brooks England Challenge Tool Saddle Bag is scrummy, right? Like all Brooks products, it's a bit pricey but it's of a quality that you can trust to last.
It comes in 8 colours, of which the green above is our favourite. On the inside it has just less that 17cm across, meaning there's plenty of room for most multi-tools and edibles. Also – bar tape to match, anyone?.
CycKit Aeroclam, around £25
If you're obsessed with the lines of your steed, you'll be wanting the CycKit Aeroclam. Yes, it's a bit of a faff to get it delivered from the other side of the world (it's made in New Zealand), but if you have the need to maintain the sleek aesthetic of your carbon racer then there's no other saddle bag that'll do the trick.
The Aeroclam is a little smaller than some of the other options on this list, having been designed to contain a tube, CO2 canister, 2 tyre levers and a CO2 applicator. That doesn't leave much room for dessert. But it will keep these bits safe and dry, out of your jersey pocket. And it's only 135g.
Birzman Roadster II Reflective Saddle Bag, £14.99
A lightweight bag with reflective detailing and enough velcro to allow for tight fit (no rattling), the Birzman Roadster II Reflective Saddle Bag is a great option for those in need of a small saddle bag. It also has an LED loop for attaching a light to. It's a quality bag at a value price.
Ortlieb Micro Saddle Bag, £16.64
Ortlieb is one of those brands that inspires loyal followers, and if you're the kind that frets about things getting damp, you'll probably be in possession of one of there backpacks.
The Ortlieb Micro Saddle Bag has a roll closure and elastic bands to ensure it is also completely waterproof – but to be honest it's so small that you'll not be placing anything with the potential of getting waterlogged inside. We like how it looks however. It attaches to the bike with two screws and has a reflective detail to keep you seen.
Pro Medi Saddlebag, £22.99
This Pro Medi Saddlebag is a pleasing shape, and is easy to fit onto the bike with velcro straps that go around the saddle rails and seatpost.
It's made of water resistant material and has a side pocket for cramming in that one final thing. There are also internal mesh pockets to keep small items for rolling around and keep you distraction-free on your weekend ride.
Evoc Saddle Bag, £15.95
We love how colourful this Evoc Saddle Bag is – perfect for those of you who have bikes that are a little less mature-looking. It attaches to your saddle rails and seatpost with velcro and has an internal mesh pocket for all those little bits. It weighs 70g and has a 0.7L inner volume, giving you plenty of space for all the essentials you need.
Big Top Saddle Roll, £15
One of our TWC writers has a Big Top messenger bag and adores it, so that's why we're happy to recommend the Big Top saddle roll. It's a very reasonable £15 considering all the products are handmade in the UK by a small, independent company.
These rolls can carry a CO2 canister, spare tube and tyre levers, so perhaps it's not the best choice for someone that can't travel so light. But if you just need those puncture essentials, this could be a fun option. We love the camo!
Topeak DynaWedge Micro Saddle Bag and Strap, £22.49
We realy like the centre opening on the Topeak DynaWedge Micro Saddle Bag and Strap, giving easy access to everything you need, mid-ride.
It weighs 66g, has a capacity of 0.35 litres and comes with adhesive straps for your saddle rails and a rubber strap for the seatpost. We like the shape and positioning of this saddlebag a lot.
Crank Brothers Caption Saddle Bag, £21.99
Finally, we also like the moderately avant garde shape of this Crank Brothers Caption Saddle Bag. It also has reflective detailing, a water resistant zipper, and a capacity of 0.5L. The seatpost strap is non-abrasive and it kind of looks like a sad fish when you view it from the side. Right