How to make your own saddle bags.

Reused Kitty Litter Bucket Waterproof Saddle Bags

This design will work for any standard back rack on a bike (see pictures in step 2 below). Any square bucket will work, even a trash can, but we suggest you only get kitty litter buckets with solid lids, not hinged. The first saddle bags we made were hinged and they started to crack at the hinges, hence making them non-waterproof. Nothing a little duct tape couldn't fix, but we rather people didn't have to worry about this if at all possible. Contact Nicholas Melas if you need buckets!

Tips for buying back rack: You might be able to buy these used from one of the various bike shops in town. Make sure you call them all first! Also, if in Harrisonburg, you may be able to check Everyday Bikes or the community bicycle shop at Our Community Place.

We suggest purchasing hardware at Rocking R Hardware (map) if you're in or near Harrisonburg or Waynesboro. Make sure to buy nylon lock washers for the whole project, they will stay tight forever so you don't have to keep tightening them.

Saddle bag

Follow's example for two hooks on the top of the bucket (see above image), but we do the bottom brace a little different. Below is our design.

Parts list for bottom brace per two saddle bags:

  • Four mending braces (see picture) (come in packs of four at Rocking R)
  • Four 1" bolts (to fit through mending braces)
  • Four nylon lock nuts
  • Two 8" lengths of bungee rope (thin enough to fit through the holes in the mending brace)
  1. Once you have the hooks in place, set one of the buckets onto your back rack (see picture). Make sure you set it back as far as you can, as you heels will need some clearance space when you pedal.
  2. Mark a spot 1.5" or so above the place on your plastic bucket that coincides with the hook on the back rack (see pictures below). Some of the hooks are slightly different, but where there's a will, there's a way. This is where your mending brace will go.
    Back Rack Bungee, Inside
  3. Drill or poke four holes to bolt the mending brace on. You can use a sharp knife to bore the holes.
  4. You will need one mending brace on each side of the plastic, one on the inside and one on the outside of the bucket.
    Bungee, Inside
    Bungee, outside
  5. Bolt the outside holes and run the bungee through the inside.
  6. Tie knots in the bungee rope in the inside to adjust the bottom brace tightness.

Now you can carry stuff by bike!!!

Bungee, Inside Bungee, outside


Contact Nicholas Melas if you need buckets or have questions.