The Topeak Pannier DryBag DX is a large capacity, waterproof pannier featuring a sonically welded and fully seam sealed 420 denier and 840 denier exterior. A watertight roll- top closure provides maximum protection from road spray and wet weather. Its quick release Hook and Lock system attaches the pannier securely to the rack and makes installation and removal quick and easy. It is perfect for touring in wet conditions or for daily commuting.
I really pushed the limits of what these panniers are capable of on my latest expedition (see article ‘Barking at Baobabs’ ). They took a beating over my 4000km pedal across South Africa but I still managed to get my gear home in one piece. In my opinion, the bags are more suited to smooth surfaces (i.e. tar) unless you make a few minor modifications yourself. On rough roads they are guaranteed to bounce off of the rack unless you use bungy cords wrapped around the each pannier and the rack vertical posts. In addition to bungy ropes (I used webbing straps as pictured below with little success) , I had to add bolts through the small holes on the stainless steel clips, to permanently secure the panniers to the rack. The down side is that the panniers are no longer easily removable.
The seams could have been a little better constructed. If your gear is bulky and it needs to be compressed, it may cause the seams to pull apart (as was in my case, but I may have overloaded the panniers slightly). Silicone, available at most hardware stores, bonds incredibly well to the bag material and should be carried for minor repairs. Duct tape, for quick fixes, is always a winner.
The constant friction between bag and rack did cause a bit of wear to the bag’s themselves. To prevent further damage I glued silicone to the worn area, while also wrapping an old bicycle tube around the rack’s vertical posts.
Make sure to Loctite (glue) all bolts, as the constant vibration tends to cause some to come loose.
The actual clips (plastic and stainless) that secure the bags to the rack are well constructed and if they didn’t break on my trip, I can almost guarantee they are virtually nuke proof.
Last tip: Although the Topeak Pannier DryBag DX are waterproof; make sure to store all your gear in additional dry bags inside your panniers just to be safe.
Verdict: Tough panniers that can go the distance, however the attachment clips are a bit temperamental on rough terrain. Only after I had figured out how to attach the bags securely with my own quick fixes while on the road, was I more comfortable with them.
These bags are available from Trail and Tar on request.