Wayward Riders Louise Dropper Post Harness Review
The Wayward Riders Louise Dropper Post Harness is a minimal system designed to work with many off-the-shelf dry bags as a stable, versatile, and waterproof seat bag holster. We’ve put several hundred miles on one for this review…
Words by TJ Kearns, photos by Logan Watts
Wayward Riders is a small company out of Wellington, New Zealand, founded and operated by Andy Hovey. Andy has spent the last three years bikepacking big mountains throughout the world. All that time on the bike has led to the development of the Louise Dropper Post Harness, a lightweight, simple, dropper-friendly harness system that works with your favorite 6-9L dry bag. I’ve been testing one for the last two months on multiple bikepacking trips. How did the Louise perform? Did it hold up to the rough and rowdy terrain in Pisgah? Read on for the full review.
I’m a huge fan of using dry bags for bikepacking. Living in the mountains of Southern Appalachia, the question isn’t if it will rain, but when. I’ve used a variety of different seatpost bags, including the original Terrapin unit from Revelate (my first bag), Blackburn’s new Outpost Elite series bag (that Miles recently reviewed), the Revelate Vole, and offerings from a few other manufacturers. All of these bags have worked fairly well, but they weren’t the “complete” package for me. Functionality, packability, ease of installation, weight, and durability are the criteria by which I judge any bag. Some might be good in particular areas and poor in others, and some are just average in all categories. I’m constantly searching for better products, so when Logan asked if I wanted to test a new seat bag harness during a recent scouting mission, I took the bait. I’ll admit when he handed me the Louise I was a little skeptical. It’s very simple. No flashy colors. No fancy buckles. No signature logo patch to let you know who produced it. And, it was feather light at 160 grams without a drybag.
The top of Louise Harness uses a single long strap that weaves in and out of a thin plastic material cut into the shape of a lower case “T” that looks like it’s had one too many donuts over the years. Another strap with two compression buckles feeds through the lower part of the harness and connects to the top strap. Together, they create a single belt loop around the entire harness that secures the load. There is one other strap and buckle to connect the end and keep the load from sliding out the back. And finally, a Nano Series Voile strap combined with two hefty rubber washers that connect the harness to the dropper post stanchion. The plastic itself is the same material used in making those fork mud guards all the enduro bros have strapped to their fork. And the straps and buckles look like they could take a beating.
Wayward Riders shipped us the harness with their preferred drybag, the Ortlieb PS10 7L (sold separately) which weighs in at a scant 45 grams. This brought the total weight of the system to 205 grams. Pretty impressive for seven liters of dry, dropper post compatible storage.
Installing some seat bags can be frustrating, especially if they’re designed for a dropper post. Some use a clamping device, while others use strategically placed and angled straps and buckles, all in the name of stability. The Louise uses a simple but effective method that threads the main strap over the seat rails, and a simple Voile strap around the seatpost. It might not seem like a lot, but I was quite pleased at how stable things were once I loaded the bag into the harness. Once the bag is installed and the straps are cinched down, there’s pretty much no movement at all. I was able to pack my Down 32 degree quilt, XXL synthetic hooded jacket, wool long sleeve shirt, a pair of wool socks, shorts, and underwear with a bit of room to spare. Again, impressive for a dropper-friendly seat pack.
The Ortlieb 7L drybag is great. Most seat bags are designed with a tapered nose to keep the bag from hitting the back of your legs while pedaling. But, as you may know, packing this tapered part can sometimes be a pain. If the bag isn’t stuffed just right the whole system will move a bit while riding. The Ortlieb 7L bag has a more square non-tapered end. There is one caveat; it allows for a little contact on the back of the rider’s legs. I didn’t find that to be a negative, though. It kind of felt like someone was gently kneading my hamstrings, which felt pretty good during long days in the saddle.
On the trail, the Louise performed great. There was no swaying around to speak of, and no contact with the rear tire. On one of the trips, we had two mornings of heavy rain. I’m a big fan of removable dry bags for this reason. I was able to pack all my gear under the cover of my tarp, without anything getting wet. This not only saves time by having to stop to dry your gear mid-ride, but it gives you a little peace of mind of having dry gear to change into at the end of the day.
One thing I did notice about the harness is that after somewhere around 400 miles of use there are some visible signs of abrasion where the back of the saddle contacted the harness. It’s not bad, but I’m curious to see if problems arise over the long term.
There’s one other thing to consider: because the Louise attaches to the dropper post stanchion directly, the action of the post will be limited by about 25mm. I didn’t find this to be a problem, but I know some people want to squeeze every inch of drop out of their post. The flip side is people who ride smaller frames often run into problems with seat bags rubbing the tires at full drop. I can see this trait of the Louise helping in those situations to keep the bag high enough to not buzz the tire. If the rear tire does come into contact with the harness, the hard material of the Louise should protect the dry bag from forming any holes.
- Light (160g without drybag)
- Stable (one of the most stable seat bags I’ve used)
- Very easy to install and remove
- Compatible most of your favorite dry bags
- Limits dropper post action by about 25mm
- Doesn’t ship with a dry bag
- Typical “squared off” dry bag rubs the back of legs slightly
- Weight: 160 grams without drybag
- Volume: 6-9 litres
- Max load: 2kg (4 pounds)
- Required distance between tire/saddle rails: 8” (2.3cm)
- Place of Manufacture: New Zealand
- Price: $85 NZD ($54 USD)
- Manufacturer’s Details: waywardriders.com
Overall, I’ve been quite impressed by the Wayward Riders Louise Dropper Post Harness. For me, it checks all the boxes. It has a lightweight, inexpensive design, is simple to install, and the design allows you to use almost any dry bag on the market. All of this creates a very stable dropper post compatible seat bag that will keep me reaching for the Louise when it’s time to pack the bike and head out on a trip. Long-term durability is the only real unknown with the Louise, but I suspect this is not going to be a major issue. I will update this post as time goes on with any other thoughts or concerns that arise.