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Topeak Pannier DryBag DX

 1320g 25 litre Black £99.99

The Topeak Pannier Dry Bag is a cycling pannier with some features of a DryBag. These go beyond being waterproof (more of hat below – it is not a submersible), and its shape and design may be winners not just for mixed-activity outdoor enthusiasts, t for those who stick to cycling. Large capacity, comfy carrying strap are not its only attractions, although I did encounter some issues when mounting on different racks with different diameter tubing – especially smaller diameters on older racks.


Pros: capacity, handle, waterproof.


Cons: more careful fitting required than with some.

pannier dry bag cycling test review topeak luggage
bicycle tst eview pannier dry bag topeak

Specification 4.25/5

Distinguished from most other panniers by its proportions (65 x 30/28 x 18 cm / 25.6” x 11.8”/11” x 7.11” when open), the Topeak Pannier DryBag DX comes in two colours – black and yellow. This is a tall pannier compared to, for example, the classic Ortlieb models. Perhaps more importantly, it has a 25 litre capacity – pretty big – and is, say the manufacturers, fully waterproof. Made from a mixture of 420 and 840 denier nylon, with welded seams, a roll top closure should ensure that all water is kept out. The closure is held in place by two quick release buckles and Velcro strips. However, other design features mean that it is not a ‘rollable’ as other roll-tops I have used, so the range of compression for smaller loads is more limited.

There are lots of variations on the theme of mounting panniers to racks. The Topeak version comprises two metal hooks that fit over the pannier rail – it should fit 8, 10, and 12mm tubing, courtesy of plastic adaptors – a bracket that prevents forward movement, and a “QuickClick” release mechanism to enable easy removal (fundamentally, push the lever down to allow the two yellow balls to retreat into recesses to release the pannier. Very much the usual format, but all are adjustable with Allen head bolts secured with dome nuts.


These dome nuts protrude into the single compartment inner. Needless to say, the back of the pannier is stiffened, but there is no reinforcement to the base. Arriving at Seven Day Test Bench tightly folded in its plastic bag, getting the folds out has taken a bit of time. The fabric feels relatively stiff, but packing it to the full has got the creases out.

pannies ortleib avenir upso topeak cycling bag
topeak cycling pannier tst review

Now, those protruding dome nuts and their bolts. Do they offer a way in for water? I’ve not managed to induce a breach of the DryBag panniers defences (including cycling through fords), but I’d not go for full submersion.


There’s a neat little padded carry-handle atop. Significant reflective details complete the package.

pannier cycling bag test review

Mounting and fitting 3.5/5

Getting your panniers set up is worth spending some time on. All elements in the mounting system are adjustable. Staring with the Swallow’s Tubus rack with its 10mm rails and struts. Intuitively, I clipped in the plastic spacers. I have set most panniers as far back on the rack as is secure, to avoid heel-clipping. The Topeak’s unusually tall profile negated the need to worry too much about this, a feature that folk with big feet, short chain-stays, or both, may well appreciate. Equally, given the curve of the Tubus top rail and the narrow clips and setting things right back led to poor contact Taking a few moments to slip and slide the fittings about before tightening them up with an Allen (Hex Head) Key.


Next up was the Supergalaxy tourer-hack which sports a Tortec rack of some antiquity with, what I have always assumed to be, 8mm tubing. This has always been easier to fit panniers to because of the arrangement of the struts. Incidentally, the Supergalaxy has longer chain-stays so heel clip has only been an issue with badly set-up panniers! However, it was immediately apparent that, even with the thickest spacers, things were not bedding down. Micrometer to the rescue. Yes, those 8mm rails were only 7.78mm. I rode off anyway, and there was an annoying rattle. Easily, though not ideally, solved with gaffer tape. I admit to not having noticed this with Ortlieb, Avenir, Carrdice, or UPSO panniers. I am undecided if this is because their hook over mounts are plastic and make less noise or if their sprung fasteners hold on more tightly.


Having fitted the pannier to an Oxford rack and a couple of unidentified oldies, it will clearly fit any rack, although best for those with tube or rod diameters that are genuinely 8mm or more, in my opinion. Topeak, f course, offer a range of racks.

Capacity/performance 4.5/5

A cautionary tale. I switched between bicycles with racks of different diameter rails, but forgot to change the inserts. I remembered to when hitting a series of bumps in the road and the pannier leapt off the rack: embarrassing as it was, but potentially dangerous. Things need to be sitting snugly – inserts too thick and there was a gap between the rail and the top of the arch. My fault.


Properly mounted, rough gravel, badly surfaced country lanes, stony cart-tracks, and speed bumps have not enabled further bids for freedom. That’s a fundamental you’d expect from any decent pannier, but it is reassuring, nonetheless.


Capacity is very good and the unusual shape makes for some interesting packing options. The narrow base and additional height have allowed my one-man Macpac tent to be stowed with poles (usually strapped to the frame. The tents slightly conical shape when rolled fits very neatly, with a sleeping roll pushed pushed down and a summer weight sleeping bag atop. yo'll have your own pacing strategy; the point is, capacity is a strong point if you carry bulky loads. Equally, it has played its past when shopping on the way home from work.

topeak pannier dy bag test review

The top is less adjustable than some roll-top panniers, due to the fixed side-closure - many others incorporate straps (Ortleib) or do without then completely (UPSO). I’ve not found this a problem, but remember not to overfill – especially if the weather looks wet. On that front, the pannier has proved to be effectively waterproof in regular cycling contexts – road and trail, touring, commuting, utility. However, I have not done any deep river crossings or fallen in the canal on my commute. The DryBag tag should not, in my opinion, be pushed to the limit. I have informed Mrs Steve, who is an open water swimmer. Mind you, I'd not throw any cycling luggage into a river.


I’ll admit to wondering if those domed nuts would interfere with packing. They don’t- unless you are shoving rigid items past them. Nor do they snag on soft items.


The padded carrying handle is comfortable – even when loaded and walking more than a short distance. This may make it an attractive option for those combining activities; for example, cycle to river swim, walk back to bike.

Durability/care 4/5

Well, bouncing down the road caused no significant damage, it was relatively lightly loaded at the time. On expeditions panniers will come into contact with undergrowth, masonry, and suchlike however hard you try. Even so, I’ve not managed to spoil that shine.


Easy to clean with a wipe of a damp rag or a quick spray of something like Pure Bike Wash and a gentle rub. More serious dirt has required a dose of sudsy bucket wash. In no time at all, everything is ship-shape.

Value 4/5

I am a fan of roll-top closures, such as my venal Ortleib panniers  but have also used boxed-tops Avenir modles These take waterproofing – short of submersion – to a new level. Whilst my old models are no longer available, their successors offer 22litre capacity, welded seams, and a boxed-top at around £80.


On the other hand, I’ve used and abused UPSO Potters Pannier on an almost daily basis ever since I got one to test. Made from old lorry tarpaulin they are unique in design and very sturdy. Capacity is up to 21 litres (roll-top closure). However, they are water-resistant – seams aren’t welded, that’s problematic with tarpaulin – rather than waterproof. Equally, they have accompanied me through all kinds of British weather and there’s never been any ingress. They cost £70 each.

Another favourite for expeditions has been Carradice Carradry Panniers. £90 a pair, they offer a big 24litre capacity (each) are fully waterproof with a boxed-top. Separate rear pockets help organisation, but can, in my experience, get scuffed by spokes if the pannier is not properly packed out.

pannier cycling bag test eview

Directly comparable in capacity to our Topeak DryBag is the Altura Thunderstorm Aventure. At £80 each, it is cheaper (not allowing for on-line discounts etc.).


In this constellation, the Topeak DryBag is competitive, especially given its large capacity and some features that are a little different to most other.


Once correctly mounted, I have really enjoyed using the pannier. I like the shape which has suited both my camping gear and my pedalling very well. I like the fact that it is easy to clean and, although not averse to ‘organising’ pockets in commuting panniers, I generally prefer ‘bucket’ types for expeditions. That extra bit of capacity comes in handy, too, when picking up supplies whilst on tour (or pressies for the loved-ones so that you can go on tour again without disapproval). The Topeak DryBag is well worth a look, and not just if you have big feet or short chain-stays!

Verdict 4/5 Competitively priced, large capacity, good-looking pannier.


Steve Dyster





Ryton On Dunsmore

Coventry  CV8 3FH


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