When I started cycling about twelve years ago, like many newbies, I carried a lot of gear with me that I didn’t really need. I am now a minimalist, i.e., I only carry gear that I absolutely need (a patch kit, spare tube and a compact set of tools). However, there are times when I really do need to carry more gear than will fit in my jersey pockets or seat bag—and that’s when I break out the Topeak MTX TrunkBag EX.
The Topeak MTX TrunkBag EX is a lightweight and spacious bag designed for mountain bikes. This bag is made with flexible 600 denier fabric and has rigid molded panels so it will keep its shape. The main interior compartment has an adjustable divider (you can remove the divider entirely if needed). There are also two mesh side compartments that close with zippers. While this bag has a Dupont Teflon coating for water resistance, you can also buy an optional rain cover. The rain cover comes in either white or yellow—I bought the yellow one because it makes it a lot easier for motorists to see you in the rain.
The Topeak MTX TrunkBag EX weighs a bit over 1.5 pounds and measures 13.8″ long x 8.3″ wide x 7.5″ tall. This bag has a storage capacity of 480 cubic inches (8 L). There are adjustable bungee cords on the top of the bag so you can carry over-sized items, but I usually use it to carry a light rain jacket. This bag also has 3M reflective strips on the left and right sides—when car headlights shine on these strips it reflects the light back and makes you nearly impossible to miss. The back of the bag has a clip so yo can attach a taillight, like the Topeak RedLite II.
This bag slips on your bike with the Topeak QuickTrack system, a lightweight rail that attaches to your seat post. The QuickTrack rail accepts several different sizes of Topeak bags and baskets. The TrunkBag comes with a built-in carrying handle and a detachable shoulder strap (in case you need to do some shopping along the way).
I own five different Topeak bags (two for road bikes and three for mountain bikes). A couple of my Topeak bags are over ten years old and they still look like new. I bought the Topeak MTX TrunkBag EX about 18 months ago and one of the things I’ve noticed is how the Topeak bags have evolved during the past decade. The newer bags are more streamlined (aerodynamic) and lightweight than the older bags.
As with any bag or pannier you put on your bike, you need to try to spread the weight out, i.e., don’t put everything in the TrunkBag. Last year I put the TrunkBag on a mountain bike and went out into the woods to collect acorns (I enjoy feeding the squirrels in my backyard). Acorns weigh more than you might think and when the TrunkBag was full I could really feel it as I was going uphill.
The Topeak MTX TrunkBag EX retails for $70 and should be available from just about any bike shop. I always encourage people to buy from the local bike shop whenever possible, but if you are a bargain hunter you can buy this bag from Amazon.com for only $42.