The Topeak Backloader - one of our favourite pieces of outdoor gear

The Topeak Backloader Review

So, we’re doing something a little bit different today by bringing you a review of something that’s not for hiking or camping! Nevertheless, it’s one of our favorite pieces of outdoor gear – the Topeak Backloader. It’s a bicycle bag – one that fits on your seat post, designed for people who don’t have – or don’t want to use – pannier bags. So, let’s dive in and take a look!

Overview & Specifications

One of the things that first attracted me to this bag is that it fits on the seat post of pretty much any bike. A simple thing, for sure, but this gives you the power to turn your everyday commuter into a touring bike! No more worrying about having the right mounts for pannier bags. In fact, no more worrying about pannier bags period.

Between this seat bag and a small backpack, you have more than enough room to take everything you need for a short and sweet overnight camping trip. That’s presuming that you’re going ultralight, of course.

The Topeak Backloader bag comes in 5, 10 or 15 litre versions. The one we have pictured here is the 15 litre, which weighs in at just 565 grams (~1lb 4 oz.).  The outer bag is made of Polyethylene and Nylon and is ‘water-resistant’, rather than waterproof.

The Topeak Backloader comes with a handy internal dry bag though, so you can be sure that your gear stays dry inside. For what it’s worth, I would have recommended this approach when using the bag anyway, so it’s nice it defaults to that way of thinking. It’s better to have a removable dry bag inside that you can take in and out of the Backloader. This saves you from having to detach the whole Backloader every time you need to retrieve something.

The Topeak Backloader needs lots of clearance between bag and tyre!
I was worried about clearance between the bag and tires – this turned out to be a non-issue!

Testing, Testing

So, that’s it for the numbers – the question is, how does this thing hold up when it’s strapped to your bicycle and you’re hurtling down a hill!?

I took this bag out on a recent trip to the countryside and managed to pack in a down jacket, sleeping bag, sleeping mat, some food, and a few other bits and pieces. That left just my tent and the rest of our outdoor gear to go in my rucksack.

The Topeak Backloader is slightly fiddly to attach to the seat post for the first time, as there are a few straps to reckon with. But it gets very easy after the first go. The most important thing is to cinch the bag up very tight, so you get plenty of clearance between the bag and your rear tire.

In fact, I’d say my biggest worry about the bag was what I’d started to call ‘the rub’ – thinking that my spinning rear tire would come into contact with the bag and cause some damage. But I’m pleased to say it never once touched the rear tire, even after 6 straight hours of riding! The bag is rock steady once it’s attached – you’ll hardly even notice it’s there.

It didn’t rain during my trip, so I can’t speak for the water resistance of this bag. However the design and construction look completely solid, so I’d be surprised if there were any issues there. Topeak is a reputable brand and I certainly trust their handiwork. I have their Alien Multitool as well, and absolutely swear by it – if you only take one tool out riding with you, make sure it’s that one.

The Topeak Backloader, fully loaded with our outdoor gear!
The Topeak Backloader, fully loaded

Topeak Backloader Verdict

The Topeak Backloader is a simple enough bag, but made really, really well. That aside, the thing that I really love about it is the sheer sense of freedom it allows and the different options it gives you for taking trips.

Going on a camping trip? The Backloader allows you to increase the range of places you can get to by taking your bike instead of walking.

Going on a bike tour? Then why not incorporate this in addition to – or instead of – pannier bags?

Need to borrow a friend’s bike to pick up some stuff across town? Then just grab your Backloader and get rolling!

There’s nothing like that feeling of waking up on a sunny day, slinging your bare essentials in a bag, and pedaling off to who knows where. And it feels like that’s exactly what the Topeak Backloader was designed for. It’s what I love about it the most. It’s designed to fit pretty much any bike, and just lets you expand your options, and your horizons.

That’s all for now folks. I hope you enjoyed this Topeak Backloader review. Got any great tips On using this bag? Like to see us do more bicycle-related articles? Let us know in the comments! And don’t forget to check out the rest of our blog for more tips, tricks, and gear reviews from the trail. Until next time.

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