Bikepacking with a Dropper Post (video)
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Some of us place a high priority on integrating a dropper seat post into our bikepacking setups, for both trail and gravel rides. In our latest video guide, learn all you need to know about bikepacking with a dropper post, what bags are out there, and which droppers are our favorites.
The dropper seatpost is arguably one of the most significant innovations that’s been developed in the mountain bike industry. Over the last few years, they’ve started finding their way onto gravel bikes as well. And for good reason: droppers aren’t just for downhill shredding anymore. They’ve essentially changed the way many of us ride, provide a multitude of benefits, and using them has nearly become just as much a part of the cycling experience as shifting gears. The obvious advantage is that droppers allow you to lower your center of gravity and maintain control over technical terrain. But they also allow you to stay comfortable, rest your back, and give your hands a break by providing the opportunity to shift your riding position while freewheeling on descents. In addition, they make it easy to drop your saddle and comfortably rest when stopped, and make getting on and off the bike that much easier. Another perk for those of us with long inseams is the ability to get the saddle out of the way when tackling technical obstacles. This makes a huge difference, even on climbs.
Many of us have grown quite addicted to this relatively simple—and these days, much more reliable—component, and are hellbent on making them work on all of our bikes, from full-squish trail bikes to gravel rigs. In our latest YouTube video, host Neil Beltchenko covers everything you need to know about bikepacking with a dropper post. Watch it below, then scroll down to see a list of dropper-friendly seat bags that are on the market, and a few of our favorite dropper posts that we’ve tested.
Dropper Post Seat Packs
There are a few seat packs on the market made specifically for use with a dropper post. And there are several that just happen to work with a dropper when used in conjunction with the Wolf Tooth Valais seatpost clamp. Here is the full list of available options (that we’re aware of):
Arkel SeatPacker (9L)
Highly water-resistant seat pack attached via a unique seatpost clamp + aluminum quick release bracket. Read our review.
Bedrock Black Dragon (5-7L)
Attached via a unique saddle rail clamp/Railwing design plus a seatpost strap and Wolf Tooth Valais. Read our review.
Jpaks DropperPack (2-5L)
Ultralight minimal seapack connected with two pairs of saddle rail straps and a seat post strap + Wolf Tooth Valais / Read our review.
Ortlieb Seat-Pack M (-11L)
Waterproof seat pack connected by saddle rail straps and seatpost strap + Wolf Tooth Valais. Read our review.
OuterShell Dropper Seat Pack (-10.5L)
A simple X-Pac seat pack that connects using a saddle rail strap and seat post strap. Find the manufacturer’s details here.
Revelate Vole (2-7L)
An X-Pac seat pack with a clever internal stabilizer that connects with two independent saddle rail straps and a Wolf Tooth Valais. Read our review.
Rockgeist Gondola (4-5L)
Minimal seat pack with a unique double saddle rail strap design that is attached without the use of a seatpost strap. Read our review.
Wayward Riders Louise (6-9L)
Unique harness system that fits any 6-9L dry bag and connects via a saddle rail strap and Voile seatpost strap. Read our review.
Our Favorite Dropper Posts
We’ve had the opportunity to try a lot of dropper posts over the years. Some have had issues, and others keep on ticking. Here are a few of our personal favorites.
Aside from reliability, of course, there are a few other boxes that need to be ticked for the ideal dropper. I have a long inseam, so there’s a lot of seatpost to contend with. For mountain bikes, I generally like droppers with a length of travel that’s at least 170mm. Second, I use a dropper regularly while riding—even on rolling descents and technical climbs—so I like droppers that pop up pretty quickly. Lastly, a dropper post has to have enough power to hoist a seat pack. There are three particular droppers that have impressed me on all these points over the last few years:
The BikeYoke Divine features the perfect amount of power and speed, and it has a reset/bleed valve to keep it operating smoothly. Plus, it comes in a massive 185mm travel length, perfect for my 34” inseam. BikeYoke is known for simplicity and reliability, and it’s proven itself after a lot of use.
My PNW Bachelor 150 has seen more miles than any of the droppers listed here and has been relatively flawless. Again, simplicity is the name of the game with the Bachelor (as well as PNW’s Rainier, which features a similar design and comes in 27.2mm). The air spring is adjustable, so if it starts to lose power, you just add some pressure and it’s good to go. It offers a moderately fast pop up speed, comes in 150 or 170mm lengths, and with PNW’s elegant Loam Lever, it is silky smooth. Although we haven’t put a ton of miles on it, the gen 3 Rainier also appears quite promising. It comes in a 200mm length with adjustable travel.
Fox Transfer (new version)
I’ve only had the latest Fox Transfer installed for a brief period, but I’m quite impressed. It’s one of the more powerful posts I’ve tried, has the perfect pop up speed, and comes in a fairly long-travel, 175mm version. It also seems incredibly well built and has a really nice clamp design with captured hardware. I’ll report back with a full review once I’ve put it through the wringer.
RockShox Reverb AXS
I know what you’re thinking—really? Yes, the Reverb AXS has been the best dropper I’ve used since it was launched over a year ago. It’s actuation is faster than any dropper, the lever feel and click is effortless, it’s powerful, and the ease of install and uninstall is just as straightforward as installing a regular post. The notorious issues with the hydraulic actuated lever and the sponginess from the non-electronic Reverb have been tamed with the AXS wireless actuation and air relief valve (see video here) that quickly removes unwanted air. Because I’m not super tall, I’m stuck with using a 125mm with bikepacking bags, but also have a 150mm for day rides and it’s a cinch to swap between the two.
TranzX YSI05 – SALSA OEM (Same thing as the Rainier Gen 3 Dropper?)
This dropper is absolutely genius as it has the ability to reduce dropper travel by 30mm in 5mm increments. If you are shorter or looking for a bit less travel without using a Wolftooth Valais, this is a great option. For example, if you were looking for a bit more clearance for a dropper bag and the dropper was set up at 170mm, you could in theory reduce the travel to 140mm, which will allow you to bottom out on my dropper much sooner, creating more space. Adjusting the travel is as easy as unscrewing the mid-collar and adjusting the travel bushing inside.
Bike Yoke Revive
Similar to what Logan stated, it’s a reliable post, but what sets it apart from other droppers is the Reset lever. Similar to the Reverb, this dropper is built around an internal floating piston, which separates the air and oil chambers. On occasion, air reaches the oil chamber, which makes the dropper post become spongy. The reset valve allows you to remove the air in the oil chamber by a simple turn of a 4mm allen key (see video here), whether you’re on day four of the Colorado Trail or in your garage, and that’s pretty awesome.