It goes without saying that harness saddle bags are a trending bikepacking topic. I have personally used them exclusively for almost a year now, mainly because of the ease of use. No more packing your bags while installed on your bikes, or removing the bag itself. While I do think there is a time and place for traditional saddle bags, I’m excited to see companies like Wildcat Gear get creative in developing these harness systems. The Wildcat Gear Tiger has accompanied me on a number of trips this spring and summer, some racing and some casual bikepacking trips. This is a lightweight harness system that attaches to your seatpost and saddle rails like any other saddle bag. Instead of buckles though, it comes with webbing strap adjusters that tighten down around your saddle rails. This make sense since you don’t need to undo them unless you are removing the harness system entirely. Wildcat Gear Tiger-01212 The body of the bag is extremely lightweight. It is built with four panels, giving it an almost square shape. The two side panels are shorter and the top and bottom panels are longer, with foam padding sewn in for protection of the bags’ contents, as well as protection from the elements and saddle/saddle rail rub. The harness tapers toward the seat post on all ends of the bag making a point. The harness is dependent on its three buckle closure system, consisting of two side buckles and one top buckle. Each buckle comes with webbing strap adjusters to tighten them down. Once you buckle and tighten down the webbing straps, some velcro is affixed to the end of the webbing to attach the excess material down. In the middle of three straps is a webbing stabilizer to center the straps. For a detailed look at how this system works, take a look at the video below. Durability When products are so light you ask yourself, can it hold up to abuse? The Wildcat Gear Tiger has been a burly harness system that has seen plenty of buckle clips, webbing tugs, and rugged singletrack. Areas of wear that you will typically see in saddle bags are at or near the end of the saddle, where the bag rubs on the underneath of the saddle, and on the bottom of the bag/harness from either tire rub, rocks, dirt, or grime. Both locations have held up great and show no significant sign of wear. Wildcat Gear Tiger-04853 Straps, buckles, and velcro are other areas where we have seen problems in saddle bags but have yet to see issues with the Tiger. I think the three buckle design is a nice touch, especially if one buckle breaks. The rest of the plastic pieces on the bag show no sign of wear and have functioned properly. The seams are holding up pretty well considering how much stuff I have crammed into my 5L Seal Line dry bag. The X-pac body and velcro straps are also holding up great.Wildcat Gear Tiger-03720 Usability In general, the harness system is convenient. You can easily uninstall the bag at camp, use the dry bag as as a pillow, or bear bag for all your food. In the morning, simply re-pack all your belongings without trying to balance your bike. While the Tiger does all of that, the installation is a bit more of a process than some other systems we have tested. With three buckles to adjust, it takes some time to get the dry bag to fit properly without one side being more taught. Once you get a good fit however, you can simply unbuckle the top clip and more times than not, the straps won’t need too much adjusting when reinstalling your dry bag. I did find the instillation to be time consuming when I was on the Arizona Trail race, but 9/10 people will not be in as much of a rush as I was in that moment. The other thing I noticed was the way the dry bag fit. There is a tapered harness towards the seat post and the shape of my 5 liter Seal Line dry bag caused a lot of wasted space. This made the bag bulge out a bit on the side which I could feel from time to time when I was in the back seat. Since I received the bag, Wildcat Gear came out with a tapered bag that should alleviate that issue, and one that I would recommend purchasing to get the most use of your space. It is important to note that the harness works well on full suspension bikes. The bag tucks way up into the saddle rails, and when you tighten down the saddle rail webbing straps, it creates plenty of clearance. I typically ride a size large frame, with plenty of exposed seatpost, and I came away with roughly 4 inches of clearance between the bag and rear tire. Head over to their website and see their FAQ’s for recommendations on seatpost length and clearance. Security A big part of what bikepackers are looking for is the ability to feel the bike under you without additional sway or weight shift. having a system that stays tight to your bike is the ultimate goal, but it’s not that easy. Wildcat Gear Tiger-01416 Wildcat now offers two different sizes of this harness, the The Tiger Drover 5 – 10 litres and the Tiger Wayfarer 3 – 6 litres. If you want to fit a lot of gear, like your sleeping bag, pad, layers, and bivy, the Drover is the option you will want to go with. Keep in mind that the harness does not have that much rigidity, so the larger and longer the load, the more you will feel the weight sway back and forth. One reason I really enjoy this bag is its simplicity and minimal weight. The Wayfarer comes in at 175g and the Dover comes in at 195g, a crazy lightweight harness compared to other offerings on the market. In preparing for a big ride like the Arizona Trail Race, I was looking for a harness bag that was extremely lightweight, and the Tiger won me over. I now continue to use it on casual trips where I stuff my sleeping bag, pad and additional layers, and it works out very well.
Most dry bags have a flat back which works great with the Tiger harness system.
The pricing for the Wildcat Gear Tiger Drover starts £80.00 and the Wayfarer starts at: £75.00. The tapered dry bag is an additional £31.00 – £34.00 depending on size. Wildcat makes all of their gear by hand in Britain and will ship anywhere. For more information visit their webistie at or check out there great social presence over on Instagram, Facebook or Twitter.

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