Topeak Pakgo Gearpack: Quick Review

Topeak Pakgo Gearpack: Quick Review – by Guitar Ted

When I received the Topeak Pakgo Gearpack we were in the midst of all the cancellations and postponements of gravel events across the world. So, it seemed that I might never get the chance to actually try this Pakgo thing out. Not in a ‘real world’ situation. However; now that we are seeing a bit of hope in that we have a vaccine rolling out, we may be getting to use things like the Pakgo again. But during this time, I also realized something else- you don’t have to go anywhere to benefit from the Pakgo.

The Topeak Pakgo bag
The Topeak Pakgo travel bag has a few tricks up its sleeve.

What It Is: But before I get into all of that, let’s take a closer look at the Pakgo. In the simplest terms, the Pakgo is a travel bag. Well, kind of. It’s more than that. It has a semi-hard bag feature, it is collapsible, for ease of storage, and it has usefulness beyond portaging gear, particularly on event day, where preparation for a ride may find you in a compromised situation, say alongside your car in a parking lot. I’m sure many of us can relate to that situation!

Little rubbery icon to indicate storage on the Topeak Pakgo Gearpack
The main storage areas are marked to suggest what you should store in that area.

The Topeak Pakgo Gearpack is described thusly on Topeak’s webpage for this product:

Carry all your cycling gear in one easy-to-pack bag when you head out for your riding adventure. Featuring the same cool shape as our PakGo® travel cases, the hard shell GearPack features three divided compartments, six side pockets and keeps your helmet, cycling & post ride clothes, water bottles and more neatly organized, packed and ready to go

Of course, we have organizational pockets and storage areas here. Each area for gear has a little rubbery icon to help you get things stuffed away, and to help you find them at your destination quickly without wondering where you put things. This doesn’t necessarily mean you have to follow the indicated storage scheme, but it certainly could help to make your packing simpler and more efficient. Sometimes going against the suggestions may be an advantage. For instance, there is an external helmet clip, so you wouldn’t have to put a helmet inside the bag where an icon indicates where a helmet should go. Then you could store other items in the helmet compartment. Options are good things.

Detail of the fold-out side panel on the Pakgo bag.
The fold-out side panel is a nice touch.

The Pakgo also has a heavy-duty bottom with drain holes, in case you put anything wet like shoes in the bottom storage pocket. The semi-hard sides of the Pakgo also fold out to provide a nice surface to lay clothing or gear on if you find yourself in a situation where you have to lay things out in a parking lot, or on bare ground, let’s say. That’s a nice touch. Obviously, the hard sides also give the Pakgo a shape, which makes it easier to pack in a car, as well as protecting your gear, but this also makes one other feature of the Pakgo work well. It can be converted into a backpack.

Impressions: The Pakgo came in to Riding Gravel’s technical partner shop, Andy’s Bike Shop, and I needed to get it home for this review. As I was commuting by bicycle that particular day, I immediately made use of the backpack straps. Now, I wouldn’t call the Pakgo a commuter backpack by any stretch, but I got it home alright. Obviously, it is meant to be carried as a backpack while on foot, but it’s nice to know you can manage it on the bike in case you have to ride a bit to a start line, or a transition area to drop off the bag, let’s say.

The bag seems up to the rigors of travel and the zippers, zipper pulls, and seams on the bag were all sturdy and looked well made. The handle is securely fastened to the top of the bag, and as mentioned, the backpack straps, while not anything I’d want to wear for long, will get the job done. The collapsible feature of the Pakgo means it doesn’t have to take up a bunch of extra space in the home, but I found that the Pakgo actually makes for a great place to keep gear stored at the home.

Image of a cat inside a Topeak Pakgo Gearpack
My cat Minka wants to go. Sorry Minka! The Pakgo is not a pet carrier!

At The Finish: The Pakgo Gearpack is a great way to keep organized – be that at home or on the go. It’s a nice item one could keep loaded at all times ready to go. Whether you ride from home or grab the bag to hit a trail head, or a destination to cycle from, the Pakgo could make sure you have what you need to hand. The little icons are great for those of use who are rather forgetful and need some help with organizing. (Like myself, for example) I liked that it can be stored in a more compact manner when not in use, but honestly, I have been using it as a gear storage item in the home more than not.

The Pakgo Gearpack is a well made item and at around $140.00 or so, (prices I found online), it compares favorably with other options in this genre. The Pakgo Gearpack maybe isn’t quite as luxurious as the Silca Maritona Minimo Gear Bag we reviewed, and it is a bit smaller, but it doesn’t cost as much as that Silca bag either. I liked the compartmentalized layout of the Pakgo a bit more than the Silca bag as well. If you are considering a gear bag, this Topeak offering is well worth consideration.

Note: Topeak sent over the Pakgo Gearpack at no charge to Riding Gravel for test and review. We were not paid, nor bribed, for this review and we always strive to give our honest thoughts and opinions throughout.

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Guitar Ted

Author: Guitar Ted

Guitar Ted hails from Iowa. Home of over 70,000 miles of gravel and back roads. Co-creator of Trans Iowa in late 2004, he has been at the forefront of the growth of gravel events and riding since then. Creator of Gravel Grinder News in 2008, he produced the premier calendar of gravel and backroad events. GT joined forces with Riding Gravel in late 2014.

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