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The Sundried 50L Triathlon Backpack is a very functional bag with lots of capacity for loading up your gear come race day or for a weekend away with the bike. Handy helmet and shoe compartments keep these essential kit bits well stored and easily accessible, and with so many well-sized pockets there's bound to be a home for every item of kit. There's also space to carry more than just your cycling kit – you can pack a change of off-the-bike clothes easily too.
But it is a huge bag, with adjustment and support straps dangling everywhere, and it can't be reduced in size which makes taking it a bit of a commitment. For standalone cycling events I found it was a bit excessive.
While this bag is marketed as 'the ultimate transition bag for triathletes', I've been testing it out as an event/race day/weekend bag for solely cycling events (you'll catch me running from time to time, but never with my head under water!).
The shell of the bag is made fully from polyester and is easy to wipe down and keep clean; given sometimes you'll be packing in mucky post-event gear I found this aspect of the bag an essential.
Sundried's backpack measures 75 x 45 x 26cm with – as you might have guessed from the name – a capacity of 50 litres. That's a lot.
With a bag so spacious that you can pack a serious amount of weight into, it's great that it has a padded back and supportive straps that can be adjusted easily for a secure and comfortable fit.
A waist belt is included for added support, too, and there's a small pocket on both sides of the belt for storing small valuables or for tucking away used wrappers.
As well as two zips at the top of the bag for unzipping the lid, there's a third down the left side which allows the bag to fully open up at the front. When lying the bag down on its back in your car boot or on a changing room bench, this really makes it a lot easier to locate all your gear within the large main compartment.
However, I did find that with the bag packed quite full, this side zip can end up sliding open of its own accord. Of course, it's important not to put strain on the zips by overfilling the bag, but I do feel the bag could be improved by having a camlock zip here or a hook to keep the zipper in place.
The main compartment itself is incredibly roomy, it really enables you to pack whatever you need clothing-wise for an event. I never had to think too hard about how many layers I really needed to pack, I could just throw it all in – although of course it'd also make it easier finding my gear if I made these tougher decisions before I left home.
To give some idea, here's what I managed to pack into the main compartment: 2 x short sleeve race jersey, 2 x bib shorts, 1 x sports bra, 1 x long sleeve jersey (for warming up), 1 x leg warmers, 1 x arm warmers, 1 x towel (for post-race showering), 1 x travel sized shower gel, 1 x packable waterproof, 1 x food tub, 1 x tub with recovery powder and 1 x tub with 'during' powder.
In addition to all these essential race/event day items, I had space for a change of leisure clothes and a packable down jacket (for even more warmth on and off the bike).
Size-wise, perhaps it's a bit overkill for a sunny one-day crit, but if you're going on a two-day event in spring/autumn conditions thenn this extra space is very welcome.
There are two bits of cycling kit that standard rucksacks don't cater for very well: cycling shoes and a helmet. The Sundried helpfully separates these essentials for safe and easy-access storage.
An elasticated helmet pocket can be found at the front of the bag and down at the base of the bag is a zippered compartment for shoes. The helmet doesn't get crushed, and (often dirty) cycling shoes aren't mucking up the rest of your kit.
It's the best way of storing this gear in my opinion, so I was really pleased to see these separate compartments on this bag.
As you can carry your helmet safely and securely on the outside of this bag, it doesn't take out a significant dent of the 50-litre capacity like a standard rucksack would do. Yes, you could hang a helmet to the outside of a regular backpack via the helmet straps but I've often found myself accidentally swinging it into people as I navigate tight spaces such as train journeys. A mesh pocket is a much more practical (and friendly) solution.
Within the main compartment is a detachable zip storage pouch. It's a handy addition as it enables you to take a few specific items with you instead of lugging the whole big bag absolutely everywhere. I found it was a great way to look after my wallet (with British Cycling race licence stashed inside), keys, pins, race number and hairbands.
Unfortunately, the plastic clips for hooking the bag in place inside the bag are a little too strong, and in my experience made the organiser impossible to unclip and remove, requiring the assistance of a stronger pair of hands.
Losing your gear in your bag can spiral your stress, which is not what you want before you turn up at the start line. If you're someone who really likes to separate and organise your gear, you have plenty of pockets to work with in this bag.
Okay, so as well as the helmet pocket, shoe compartment, detachable pouch, two small pockets on the waist belt (all already mentioned above), let's run through all the others...
There are four mesh pockets in total; I found the two on the inside of the bag great for stashing my protein shaker and a thermos flask and the outer two for quick access to bike water bottles.
Beneath these two exterior mesh bottle holders are two large side pockets; I used one for storing nutrition (bars and gels) and the other for tools I'd typically store in a saddle bag as well as a mini pump.
The lid of the bag has a total of three pockets: two fairly slim ones on the outside and a larger one on the inside. I found the inner one ideal for storing my sunglasses (in a case), chamois cream, gloves and GPS cycle computer – these are all items I want quick access to. I stored some (more) pins and hairbands in the smaller outer lid pocket and left the other one empty for quickly stashing my phone in whenever needed.
Oh, and there are another two zipped pockets on the inside and outside of the front of the bag. Yup, I had completely empty pockets, which is unusual for me and speaks (volumes) for the amount this bag packs in.
Reflective piping extends across all sides for visibility, so you could use the backpack for early morning or evening commutes.
A 15-inch laptop sleeve made of mesh is also included. However, it's not padded and there isn't a separate entrance from the outside so it's a little tricky to remove your device when the bag is full. It's a handy inclusion for the odd use but not the best designed so I wouldn't recommend for regular commuter needs. This isn't intended to be a commuter bag, though, so no harm done.
Priced at £110, the Sundried Triathlon Backpack is good value for its size and pocket/compartment offerings.
KitBrix's Elite Organiser Bundle costs £129 for less capacity (40 litres) and far fewer pockets. However, the modular system, with the two separate bags – 20 litres each – being zipped together (or not) gives increased versatility for shorter/smaller trips. You can also just take one with your essential cycling clothes to the changing room rather than all the gear you've taken to the event.
Sundried's offering is also cheaper than Castelli's Pro Race Rain Bag (£130) which features removable shoe and grab bags. We haven't reviewed this option, though, so can't comment on how it performs.
Overall, Sundried's 50L Triathlon Backpack is incredibly roomy, with particularly useful helmet, shoe and bottle pockets. A camlock zipper for the side zip into the main compartment and an easier to remove, detachable zip storage pouch would really go a long way in rocketing this bag up to one of the best event/race weekend bags for cyclists. Its huge size makes it useful for two-day events/races but it's also a bit cumbersome for taking around on a short day trip to an event with no overnight stay.
Huge event weekender bag with so many useful pockets including four bottle holders, plus handy shoe and helmet compartments
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road.cc test report
Make and model: Sundried Triathlon Backpack
Size tested: 50 litres
Tell us what the product is for and who it's aimed at. What do the manufacturers say about it? How does that compare to your own feelings about it?
Sundried says: 'Sundried's Triathlon backpack is the ultimate transition bag for triathletes, packed with technical features and ample storage pockets. You'll never have to rummage around for your belongings during transition again."
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?
Padded back panel, shoulder straps and waist belt for added comfort
Adjustable straps including chest strap so you can personalise your fit
Main zip compartment which includes - three mesh pockets, one zip pocket, hydration pack pocket, and one detachable zip storage pouch
Two large mesh water bottle pocketsTwo zip pockets on waist strap
Front zip pocket
Two side zip pockets
Two zip pockets on top compartment
Zip shoe pocket at base
Elastic helmet pocket at front
Reflective detailing on all sides
Approx 75cm x 45cm x 26cm
Shell - 100% polyester
Lining - 210D polyester
Very well built.
Wonderfully comfy – a padded back and wide, adjustable straps help spread the load well.
Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose
Plenty of pockets and compartments for neatly carrying all your gear for an event or two, with an overnight stay included as well! It's a big one.
Tell us what you particularly liked about the product
Excellent separate shoe and helmet compartments.
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product
The 50-litre capacity was a bit too much for most race/event needs. If the bag was smaller there would be less need for as many adjustable straps too, which could streamline this bag.
How does the price compare to that of similar products in the market, including ones recently tested on road.cc?
Cheaper than other event/race bag potentials. KitBrix's Elite Organiser Bundle costs £129 and Castelli's Pro Race Rain Bag costs £130.
Did you enjoy using the product? Yes
Would you consider buying the product? Yes, better to have too much capacity than too little.
Would you recommend the product to a friend? Yes
Use this box to explain your overall score
It's very good: very spacious, with more than enough pockets and compartments for organising your gear so you are well prepared for your event. The helmet, shoe and four bottle pockets are particularly useful. It's easy to wipe down after filling it with mucky kit post-event. My only complaint is that for standalone cycling events I found it a bit excessive carrying it around everywhere; it's better suited to weekend trips with the bike.
About the tester
I usually ride: Road bike My best bike is:
I've been riding for: 10-20 years I ride: Every day I would class myself as: Expert
I regularly do the following types of riding: road racing, cyclo cross, commuting, touring, club rides, sportives, general fitness riding, Gravel riding, indoor turbo and rollers, track