Last season didn’t turn out the way I hoped to but we learned a lot and that’s the important part. One of those things was to be always well organized when your are heading out to a race so the mind can be fully focused on the racing itself.
My Topo Klettersack was always enough for going to the stores by bike but when I started to use the same bag for races in the weekend, I found some downsides about this specific design.
The Topo Klettersack was basically one giant bag you put everything into, meaning one thing on top of the other. The lack of not being able to see what you already packed and what not, finding yourself unloading the whole bag again to find out it was packed already at the bottom of the bag. A well organized bag would solve this problem.
So I went searching for a new backpack that could fulfill my needs. After a bit of googling, I came across a small California-based company called Inside Line Equipement. After some back and forth mailing with the owner, Eric Fischer, was kind enough to let me test and review one of his Raceday bags.
When it finally arrived, I could tell by the look of it, that this bag was really well designed and a piece of artisanal craftsmanship.
Where a standard backpack mostly opens only at the top, this one has a zipper on both sides that extend all way to the bottom of the bag, making it possible to open up the whole bag like a suitcase and letting you find that one item you are looking for without messing up the rest of the load.
The bag is made out of their lightweight and water-resistant xpac fabric. It’s a material that is mostly found in nautical sports. When rain start, you don’t have to worry cause the xpac will work hydrophobic, blocking out the water and in that way keep your goods dry.
Let’s have a look on how it’s build up:
You have the main compartment, the biggest one, that is ideal for cycling shoes, jerseys, bib shorts, chamois creme etc…
In the main space you can find is a second water-resistant compartment that can be tied down. Ideal for wet clothes or towel after refreshing yourself after a hard training/racing session. This avoids having to put dirty laundry together with your fresh clothes.
The flap that opens has 2 meshed pockets with zipper, perfect for holding gells, keys, Garmin, etc…
When the bag is fully closed, you can find a little watertight zipper on top of the bag that is ideal for small stuff like a wallet or other small things that have to be quickly accessible.
Outside of the bag there is also space on each side to hold a water bottle.
So we know it’s easy in use for storing but how does it sit on your back. At first I had my doubts about the simple looking design of the shoulderstraps. I was wondering if this would give enough comfort when being on the bike. Being the owner of a hernia in my lower back, this is something that’s very important to me.
A few month’s ago I used the bag for a 40k ride to a race with my track bike and although riding a track bike brakeless is always more bumpy than your normal road bike, the bag felt super comfy! The chest strap also prevented it from hanging to one specific side of the body.
Even When being off season now, I really use it for a lot of things, going to the store, commuting to the girlfriend, storing my camera stuff, the possibilities are endless thanks to the smart design of this bag.
So If you are experiencing the same hustle like me and would like to store your clothes and stuff for bike racing in a compact but yet functional space that can easily be carried without really noticing it sit on your back, than I think this bag is something to consider.