Topeak Backloader Bikepacking BagGET IT
We put the Topeak 6L Backloader through its paces on a bikepacking trip last fall, including leaving it out in an overnight rain. Like many bags, the Backloader is a two-part system with an outer, water-resistant shell that attaches to the bike and an inner dry bag that gets stuffed inside. Filling the included inner roll-top dry bag is very easy thanks to its valve—compress the contents and the valve vents out the unwanted air. The valve itself has a chunky plastic cap that’s easy to twist, even with gloves on.
The outer bag’s design is simple enough, though parts can be finicky. A bungee system on top of the bag is great for stuffing lightweight gear you need quick access to, like a rain shell or a hat. When strapped to the bike the bag sits angled nice and high, which provides great clearance below (Topeak wants at least 3 1/2-inches of space above the tire) for our Specialized gravel bike. At that angle, the rear-facing area to clip a bike light to is particularly functional because it makes you more visible to motorists.
Attaching the bag to the bike has some finer points—like a good size hook and loop tab to wrap around the seatpost—tempered with some fussy parts. To attach the bag to the bike you need to fish a pair of clips over the seat rails, which can be a pain at night, in the cold, or if you have sausage fingers. That said, once the outer bag is on the bike, and stuffed with the inner one, there are four easy-to-use straps that help you cinch it all down tight. The two attached to the seat help lift the bag up and tight to the underside of the saddle. A second pair works front to back to compress the bag, keeping it as tight to the seatpost as possible. Our 6L bag held clothing and our ultralight tent, along with a chunky pair of camp slippers. We found it easy to use and the bag comes in 10L and 15L options.—Sal Vaglica, Men’s Journal contributor
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