An In-Depth Look at Ortlieb’s 2021 Waterproof Bikepacking Lineup

Bikepacking gear has evolved so much over the last couple of years and I’m always excited to see brands expand on products and concepts that are proven to work and also step up to create solutions to carrying gear on bikes in innovative ways. Utilizing 100% the waterproof and durable construction they are known for, Ortlieb just released updates to their classic bikepacking line and also added some interesting new products. In advance of the products becoming available this week, Ortleib sent me a handful of bags from their new and revamped bikepacking lineup. I’ve been using them on my Kona Sutra, fairly full and weighted, around my local singletrack to provide some initial insights and detailed photos of some of the new aspects.

Brand New Ortlieb Fork Pack

First up is the Fork-Pack. At 275 grams, including adapter, these 3.2 liter waterproof bags are Ortleib’s solution for adding additional storage capacity for bikepacking setups in addition to frame, seatpost, and handlebar bags. It’s nice to have additional storage options for bulky items like stoves or other cookware when space is at a premium or otherwise constrained. Designed primarily to be mounted on forks, Ortlieb indicates that Fork-Packs can also attach to other vertical tubes that are between 30mm and 42mm in diameter.

While there are many products available that attach directly to forks with bosses, few can be readily fitted to forks that don’t have mounts or eyelets – particularly suspension forks – barring use of finicky hardware. I have tried quite a few of these alternative options, from hose clamps to straps, and they all end up moving around on chunky terrain. The Fork-Pack, however, with Ortleib’s new Quick-Lock S (QLS) Adapter System, includes hardware for both variants of forks and seems to mount very securely to each.

To experiment with the durability and security of the new system I’ve been riding local singletrack with Fork-Packs mounted to the fork bosses of my Kona Sutra, each loaded with a full Nalgene. Thus far, they’ve stayed solidly in place. Even on fast and chunky descents, where a typical pannier might have bucked off, these stay put. I also mounted them to a RockShox Pike with the included metal straps (resembling stainless zip ties), heat-shrink tubing, and threaded metal eyelets. Once the QLS adapter is screwed into the eyelet and tensions the metal strap, the system becomes nearly impossible to budge. I have a couple of trips coming up where I look forward to testing this system on my Pike in the field.

Fork Pack Notes:
New, slim Quick-Lock S (QLS) system for easy attachment:
– For forks with bottle cage bosses
– Can be mounted on forks without bosses but with a constant
diameter (i.e. suspension fork lowers)
– Roll closure
– QLS System
– QLS Adapter also available individually as an E-Part
Technical Information:
– 3.2L volume
– Weight: 275 g
– Max Load: 3 kg
– MSRP: $60 / €49,99 (GER)

Handlebar-Pack and Accessory-Pack

Ortleib’s Handlebar-Pack and Accessory-Pack received updates this year and are designed to function individually and together as a system. The 3.5 liter Accessory-Pack now comes in black and has thicker hook-and-loop webbing to mount around handlebars as a stand-alone option. The webbing is coated, which Ortlieb indicates makes it appropriate to mount to a carbon handlebar. It can also be used as a hip or shoulder bag with the included strap system. Available in both 9 and 15 liter options, the Handlebar-Pack also now comes in matte black and has a hook and strap system that can either be used for compression, or to attach the Accessory-Pack. Waterproof and air-tight, the Handlebar-Pack has an air valve to purge extra volume once packed.

I’ve been using the 9 liter Handlebar-Pack with the Accessory Pack. So far, the bags strap down impressively secure to my bike utilizing the included foam blocks. Granted my Curve Walmer bars are super wide at the drops (55cm), I fit a tent, poles, sleeping bag, and down jacket in the 9 liter bag with room to spare and plenty of clearance from my preferred hand positions. Thinking the Accessory-Pack would be a nice addition to an existing bikepacking setup, I looked for ways to attach it to my Revelate handlebar harness system and couldn’t figure out any viable options. Other than creating a hook and strap system that mimics that of the Ortlieb Handlebar-Pack on a non-Ortlieb bag I don’t think it would be possible. However, the Accessory-Pack works great as a stand-alone option for a handlebar bag.

Accessory Pack Updates:
– New 20mm webbing
Technical Information:
– 3,5L
– $80 / €54,99 (GER)

Handlebar Pack Updates:
– Air bleed valve, for better compression
– New hooks on the front straps for attaching the accessory pack.
Technical Information:
– 9L&15L
– 9L : $140 / €99,99 (GER)
– 15L : $160 / €119,99 (GER)

Frame Pack Top Tube

Ortleib’s Frame packs, both the 4 liter Top Tube Frame-Pack and the 6 liter Frame-Pack, received a few updates this year as well. Most notably, their waterproof access zippers are flipped from the left side to the right, or “drive side,” of the bike. I always lay my bike on its non-drive side, so this seems like an important change. Additionally, the hook-and-loop straps that attach to the top tube now have multiple placement positions, which will provide options for mounting other top tube bags over it and to fit a variety of frame geometries. I’ve been using the smaller 4 liter Top Tube Frame-Pack and it fits nearly perfectly on my 56cm Kona Sutra frame with straps furthest out on each end of the pack.

Frame Pack Updates:
– Zipper on the right (drive-side)
– Interchangeable and individually positionable Velcro straps across the tops
– 4L : $150 / €109,99 (GER) – 6L : $160 / €129,99 (GER)

Other Updates

Another classic from Ortleib’s bikepacking line, the 11 and 16.5 liter Seat-Packs, also received updates. The Seat-Packs now come in matte black, both sizes have luggage straps, feature the same air valve as the Handlebar-Pack, and have new tape on the roll closures.

Many thanks to Keegan for standing out in the heat and shooting photos with me!

See the entire bikepacking lineup at Ortlieb.