Revelate Terrapin V2 Review: The Convenient Seat Bag
The Revelate Terrapin V2 is the newest iteration of the popular Terrapin seat bag. I put this bag through the wringer on a bikepacking trip across the Scottish Highlands and commuting to work. Here’s my opinion on this waterproof bag…
Not all Seat Bags are Made Equal
When the first bikepacking seat bags started to come out, they were designed so that the whole bag attached to the bike. Rolling and unrolling a seat bag while attached to a bike can be a bit cumbersome, especially if you do not have a place to rest your bike standing upright. In addition to being inconvenient, traditional seat bags were not fully waterproof. Even though they were made of water resistant materials, the seams in the fabric allowed water to seep through the bag.
The holster system aims to solve both of these problems. The Revelate Terrapin attaches to your bike like most seat bags. It has a velcro strap that wraps around the seatpost and a saddle rail attachment that keeps the bag in place. It is different from traditional seat bags in a sense that you can quickly remove the bag from the harness system. This makes it convenient to pack and unpack your belongings off of the bike.
The Terrapin V2 has rigid foam side panes to keep its shape. When commuting to work, I only carry a few items inside the bag. But when bikepacking, I pack it full of clothes, warm layers, toiletries, and other necessities. It does not matter how little I pack in it or how much I stuff this bag, the side panels keep pretty much the same profile. The tapered design, in addition to the rigid side panels, prevents my thighs from rubbing against the bag as I pedal.
The bottom part of the holster system is made of a stiff HDPE material, preventing the bag from bulging towards the rear wheel. When the bag is fully loaded, there is still some bulging though. The same buckles you use to attach the harness to the saddle rails are also used as compression straps. Keeping the bag tight and compact helps prevent the bag from swaying side to side and bobbing up and down. A couple of nice tugs on the straps is enough to get everything in place. Unfastening the compression straps is just as easy as fastening them. The two straps that keep the dry bag in place offer an additional opportunity to compress your load. The red tab that connects the two straps makes a nice spot to attach a blinkie.
Keeping it Dry
The dry bag is tapered to match the shape of the holster system. Sometimes I found it hard to organize my gear inside the bag because of the tapered bottom. I often rolled up a few bigger clothing items together and stuffed them in the bottom of the bag first, and then filled the gaps around the bag with other clothing items. I also tried to distribute the load evenly so the bag would keep a uniform shape.
I can see how it could be a bit challenging to store non-clothing items due to its tapered design, especially if you are packing some bulky items. Make sure you practice packing your bag before setting off on a trip.
Here are a few pictures for comparison on different bikes. I am a fairly tall guy, and I ride larger frames. Keep in mind that this bag is big (14 L) and you might have clearance issues on smaller frames. On the third picture, you can notice the tire clearance is much narrower on a smaller frame (Mrs. Trouble’s medium Surly Ogre). Make sure to measure the clearance if you ride a small or extra small frame because the Terrapin V2 might not fit your bike.
You can easily attach other things to the side of the bag. Here you can see my flip flops attached to the side of the bag.
|VOLUME/SIZE||Up to 14 L|
|PRICE (W/ DRY BAG)||$130.00|
I am pretty impressed with how well built the Revelate Terrapin V2 is. The most abuse it suffered so far was on a 400 km trip across the Scottish Highlands, and it survived unscarred. I have not experienced much rain using this bag, but I can attest that the bag is fully sealed. A couple of times I hosed it down to wash off all the mud and grime before bringing inside my tent. The air valve has also worked really well. I have not noticed any leaks through the valve or anywhere else on the bag even though I have rolled and unrolled it hundreds of times when commuting to work. The stiff side walls and bottom panel keep swaying at bay. Many times on rough terrain, I found myself reaching back with one hand to check if the bag was doing OK because I could not really tell if the the bag was bouncing around or not. This is a testament to how stable it is.
Sometimes I wish my handlebar bag was as easy to remove as the Terrapin. Being able to bring the bag inside my tent or hostel room made my life much easier when bikepacking. The same goes for bringing the bag to the shower/locker room at work after commuting by bike. When it is time to pack-up, the air valve makes it easy to get your load as compact as possible.