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review

Topeak DryBag MTX Trunk Bag

8
£89.99

VERDICT:

8
10
Durable, waterproof and super stable – this is a very good way to carry kit over rough terrain on longer routes
Waterproof
Rugged design
Good capacity for longer rides
Clasps are fiddly
Roll-top has limited extra capacity
Side pockets could be larger
Weight: 
930g

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The Topeak DryBag MTX Trunk Bag is tough, waterproof, and delivers an impressively stable ride over even the toughest terrain.

It features the QuickTrack rail locking system that is compatible with a dedicated Topeak product; I used it with the MTX Beam Rack E Type I've also been reviewing. You slide the bag into place along the rails until its yellow plastic hook clicks securely onto the carrier. This ensures that it won't fly off mid-ride.

The Topeak Beam rack system makes it easy to switch between different bikes and that is a real plus. What's more, it means you can use this on almost any road and mountain bike that doesn't have fittings to attach a standard rack and panniers.

2023 Topeak DryBag MTX Trunk Bag - base.jpg

There's just enough room in this 12.1L bag for my bivvy, lightweight down sleeping bag and mini-stove. So if I was to couple this with a frame or handlebar bag it could be part of a solid bikepacking setup. Check out our guide to the best bikepacking bags for our favourites.

2023 Topeak DryBag MTX Trunk Bag - open.jpg

This is all topped off with reflective detailing on both the side pockets and at the rear to ensure that you light up well at night. And there's a handy shoulder strap, so you can strip all your valuables (computer, lights and so on), throw them into this bag and take them with you when you pull over for that essential coffee stop.

Robust and waterproof

Straight out of the box it feels relatively light but robust at 930g. The rigid design means it can be used to safely carry more fragile kit. EVA foam panels at the side and bottom offer extra protection, which is important if you're riding more rugged paths. And it comes with a Velcro divider to help organise your packing – it's the kind of feature you might have seen on a camera bag to separate camera and lenses.

I used it to keep food at one end, clothing at the other, and then I stashed spare inner-tubes and repair kits in one side pocket and a phone and extra battery and leads in the other. Most of my riding involves long day rides or multi-day audax rides and this offers plenty of capacity for that kind of distance.

2024 Topeak DryBag MTX Trunk Bag on rack 7.jpg

The roll-top lid means you can open the bag right up to get easy access to kit and it ensures a waterproof seal when you roll it back down. The side pockets get an extra protective flap and water-resistant zip to ensure things really do stay dry.

2024 Topeak DryBag MTX Trunk Bag on rack 6.jpg

This all comes in a shiny, wipe-clean PVC exterior that has been sonically welded with dry bag technology. And the performance here is impressive. We've had some really significant downpours in the last few weeks and not a drop got in when I was riding.

Super Shiny Animal

Audax is my main pursuit on a bike. So I tend to find myself in the company of riders on steel frames who carry their kit in weathered saddle bags. In terms of aesthetics, the MTX Trunk Bag is about as far as you can get from that.

'Oooh... that's shiny!' – was the response I got from multiple fellow riders. As one wag suggested, it's the kind of wipe-clean PVC material that wouldn't look out of place in an S&M dungeon.

2023 Topeak DryBag MTX Trunk Bag.jpg

And that's no bad thing. It has been through mud, hail, rain and slurry-covered country roads and it still looks impressively pristine. It might not offer scope for you to sew on cloth badges but it's going to look good and keep its shape for a long time to come.

And on the bike it performs brilliantly. Coupled with the MTX Beam Rack, it delivered an incredibly stable ride. There was no wobble, no vibration, not a hint of noise. I almost entirely forgot about it, even when I was riding my fixed gear bike and having to honk up some serious hills. I could easily be persuaded to ditch my old canvas Carradice and use this permanently.

2024 Topeak DryBag MTX Trunk Bag on rack 8.jpg

The only problem that I encountered was trying to throw my leg over the saddle and negotiate the extra height that this bag presents. I was comically ungainly until I learned to tilt at an angle to get on the bike with a little more grace.

Fiddle-dee-dee

The rack I was using – the MTX Beam Rack E Type – is designed for medium sized frames, and on my 58cm Van Nicholas Yukon this meant the bag clicked into place right up against my saddle. On longer rides, that might well be an issue because there was some rubbing against the back of my shorts. It wasn't a big deal on a day ride, but I can imagine that causing problems on anything over 200km.

2024 Topeak DryBag MTX Trunk Bag on rack 3.jpg

It also made it difficult to unclip one end of the roll-top when I stopped and needed to get quick access to something in the bag. My solution was to unclip the yellow hook and slide it back slightly on the QuickTrack rail to give me easier access.

2023 Topeak DryBag MTX Trunk Bag - sliding on to rack.jpg

In all honesty, I found both clips to be a bit fiddly, but I was using this on some really cold days when my fingers were feeling the chill and probably not as dexterous as they should be.

2023 Topeak DryBag MTX Trunk Bag - on rack rear.jpg

The roll-top does also put a limit on what you can stuff inside. Some saddle bags, like the Zefal Adventure R11 that I tested last year, have extra bungees on top that are really helpful if you are shedding a layer and need to stash a soggy waterproof or gilet. My usual Carradice Super C Audax Saddlebag makes it easy to do the same and stash wet kit under the lid.

And while the Topeak DryBag MTX offers a bigger carrying capacity than the 9L of my Carradice Super C, the roll-top closure makes it harder to find that extra capacity, or to separate wet gear from kit you need to keep dry.

> 15 easy ways to carry stuff on your bike

Side pockets are really useful, but here again I'd like to see a little more volume to offer the kind of flexibility you might need on bigger rides. That said, there was enough room on one side for a repair kit, small pump and inner tube, which isn't bad at all. And the fact that these are genuinely waterproof means I could trust the other side with phone, spare battery and paperwork for the ride, safe in the knowledge it wasn't going to get wet.

Value for money

If you already own a Topeak rack then you are locked into its luggage system, so that doesn't give you a lot of choice in terms of looking for better value for money. You've got to buy a bag that uses the QuickTrack system. Topeak trunk bags range from £57.99 to £124.99, for various styles and sizes.

Mike really liked the MTX TrunkBag DX he reviewed in 2020. It's smaller than this DryBag, with a capacity of 7.3L, and more expensive at £89.99, but has additional carrying options that allow you to stash wet kit away from the main compartment. Although Mike wasn't impressed with the rear bottle holder, he did rate the build quality of this bag.

> Cycling luggage for beginners

Compared with other trunk bags that will go on a standard pannier rack, its rrp of £84.99 is on the high side. The Carradice Super C Rackbag, for example, costs £74 and gives you 13L of storage, and a single rear pocket.

Or for an even more cost-effective approach that will fit to any bike, you could buy a rear saddle bag like the Zefal Z Adventure R11 that I mentioned earlier. It delivers a stable ride and great capacity that will deal with day rides and light bikepacking and costs £67.99.

There are more costly alternatives, though, such as the £159 Trunk Top Bag from Tailfin, and that's without the (cheapest) £140 rack... (we reviewed the Carbon Aeropack in 2022).

Conclusion

If you already own a Topeak rack or are considering buying one, the DryBag MTX is a durable, waterproof and impressively stable bag that can carry all you need for bigger days out and longer multi-day adventures.

It may not fit my aesthetic, but it's a great bag that sits aerodynamically behind you, offers plenty of carrying capacity and is reliably waterproof and hardwearing.

Verdict

Durable, waterproof and super stable – this is a very good way to carry kit over rough terrain on longer routes

road.cc test report

Make and model: Topeak DryBag MTX Trunk Bag

Size tested: 12.1L

Tell us what the product is for and who it's aimed at. What do the manufacturers say about it? How does that compare to your own feelings about it?

This bag is made for big day rides over rough terrain. It comes with solidly waterproof credentials, a rigid construction and padded inner to keep even the most fragile items of kit secure. The QuickTrack system ensures that it stays in place no matter how rugged your chosen route, but this also means it needs to be used in conjunction with a Topeak rack system. It offers good aerodynamics (it sits directly behind the rider) and the pockets and internal divider allow you to keep your kit organised.

Topeak says: "A waterproof QuickTrack® compatible TrunkBag featuring sonically welded DryBag technology. Drybag roll top closure and weather-tight zippers keep contents dry while rigid EVA foam provides protection from road shock and vibration. Divided main compartment helps keep things organized."

Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?

It's built with Topeak's "sonically welded DryBag technology" and comes with roll-top closure and weather-tight zippers. Its QuickTrack technology will keep luggage in place and with rigid EVA foam your kit gets added protection that is likely to be important on really rough terrain.

From Topeak:

Material: 420 denier / 840 denier nylon waterproof fabric sonically welded seams

Insulation: Semi-rigid EVA foam

Attachment: MTX QuickTrack® compatible

Compartments: 1 divided main

Extra features: Shoulder strap, Reflective printing

Size: 32 x 24 x 17 cm / 12.6" x 9.5" x 6.7"

Rate the product for quality of construction:
 
8/10

It is super solid, wipes clean and the Velcro divider makes it easy to organise your kit.

Rate the product for performance:
 
8/10

It sits aerodynamically behind the rider and is impressively stable on the bike. It really did deliver on the waterproof promise, and I used it on some pretty foul days out; the side pockets are especially impressive in this respect.

My only gripe with the bag was that I struggled with clasps on colder days, especially on bikes where the bag sat very close to the saddle.

Rate the product for durability:
 
9/10

Very robust and easy to keep clean.

Rate the product for weight (if applicable)
 
7/10

If you are a real weight watcher then you might opt for something lighter that potentially doesn't require an additional rack. I don't fall into that camp and had no issues with the extra weight. It was more than off-set by the aerodynamic qualities and ride stability that was essential on long climbs.

Rate the product for comfort (if applicable)
 
5/10

I did find a certain amount of rub at the back of my shorts, but that might have been solved by pairing this with a larger Topeak rack such as the V-Type option for larger frames. This wasn't an issue at all when testing the rack on a mountain bike.

Rate the product for value:
 
5/10

It's a little pricey compared with some, but it's very good and seems a really durable bag that is likely to give you years of good service. And even with a Topeak rack it's still a lot cheaper than some luggage systems...

Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose

Great carrying capacity and good protection for valuable kit from weather and the vibration that comes from riding over more rugged terrain.

Tell us what you particularly liked about the product

Easy to use and to switch between bikes, which means it is ideal if you need carrying options for your different rides.

Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product

I found the clasps a little fiddly on cold mornings and I would have liked the option to stash wet gear without it having to sit in the main compartment.

How does the price compare to that of similar products in the market, including ones recently tested on road.cc?

The price is in line with other luggage options that offer a similar level of functionality, albeit at the higher end. It still compares well against some competitors.

Did you enjoy using the product? I was really impressed with the stability, and as someone who like to pack for all eventualities, I really appreciated the 12L capacity and the divider that helps you organise your kit.

Would you consider buying the product? Definitely – I would have no problems with swapping to this system as my main carrying option as it performs well and is far easier to swap between bikes than my current choice.

Would you recommend the product to a friend? I would definitely recommend it to someone who needed a carrying option on a bike without the ability to fit panniers.

Use this box to explain your overall score

I was super impressed with the ride stability this bag offers and with the whole Topeak luggage setup. The QuickTrack system gives real security to your kit so this bag will stay where it should. The DryBag MTX Trunk Bag proved to be really waterproof in both the main compartment and side pockets. You have to decide whether you want to commit yourself to the Topeak carrying system, but if you do, this Trunk Bag is a very good option that promises to perform well for many years.

Overall rating: 8/10

About the tester

Age: 0  Height: 180cm  Weight: 83k

I usually ride: Specialised Langster (fixed commuter)  My best bike is: Condor Fratello (new – Audax rides)

I've been riding for: Over 20 years  I ride: Most days  I would class myself as: Experienced

I regularly do the following types of riding: commuting, touring, club rides, general fitness riding, fixed/singlespeed, Audax

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5 comments

Avatar
Sriracha | 4 months ago
0 likes

Is there any jurisdiction in the world which demands a white reflector showing to the rear? Why do they do it?

Avatar
brooksby replied to Sriracha | 4 months ago
1 like

I think that most saddlebags and panniers have white reflective patches on them. I don't think that they're intended as a replacement for a red rear reflector?

Avatar
Oldfatgit replied to Sriracha | 4 months ago
0 likes

Its so you can mount the pannier on either side of the bike ... otherwise you would have to manufacture [and sell] handed panniers.

My panniers have both a silver reflector patch and a red reflective patch on each end to facilitate that.

Silver reflective strips to the rear are not restricted only to panniers ... most clothing and shoes has silver to the rear.

It maybe due to *proper* (as in to a recognised legal standard) hi-viz vests mainly have silver reflective detail and it is considered to be more likely to catch the eye.

Avatar
Sriracha replied to Oldfatgit | 4 months ago
0 likes

The argument does not apply to this bag since it fits one way around only. It's the same with saddle bags, but they always get a white reflector. Panniers often did used to come as left and right with an asymmetric design.

But never mind all that, according to https://www.camcycle.org.uk/magazine/newsletter92/article9/ :
You may fit additional reflectors, but must not show a red reflector to the front or a white reflector to the rear.

Pretty much the same advice from Cycling UK, who also note that the triangle shape should not be used:
https://www.cyclinguk.org/lighting-regulations#:~:text=You%20must%20not%....

It might not matter much, but neither is it an especially big ask that they make the reflector red. I'd bet that for a significant number the reflector on the bag is their only rear reflector - might as well have it the right colour.

Avatar
Rendel Harris replied to Sriracha | 4 months ago
2 likes
Sriracha wrote:

You may fit additional reflectors, but must not show a red reflector to the front or a white reflector to the rear.

Reflector meaning a glass/plastic device that uses prisms to reflect light back to source, not reflective material. My winter jacket, rain pants and shoes are all covered on their backs with silver/white reflective material, I don't think anyone would seriously suggest that should all be changed to red or that they are breaking the law? I'm sure a really pedantic copper, were they so inclined, could pinch one for not having a regulation rear reflector even if one had a bag with red reflective material on it.

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