Topeak Cargo Net
I’m carrying an awful lot of stuff on the bike, and seem to want to pile more and more onto the bicycle as days go by. Specifically, my trunk bag has an awful lot of valuable surface space on the top. I went to the local bike store and picked up the Topeak Cargo Net to replace my current setup of two bungee cords to strap down the bag to the rear rack. This decision has turned out to be the one of the best purchases for bicycle touring.
It’s such a simple piece of gear, elastic 1″ square netting covered in a durable protective fabric with 6 hooks, 3 on either end of the net. I place three of the hooks at the forward part of the rack and the remaining at the rear, stretching it over my entire rear trunk bag. With a selection of S-Biners and Clips I’m able to attach my coffee cup, helmet, hat onto the rear of the bag, with more than enough space for loaves of bread, cucumbers, fruit, shopping bags filled with groceries, and even my days laundry so that it can dry in the hot sun without wasting time at camp so I can focus what I set out to do – ride a bike.
Due to the netting it also assists in making sure my bag doesn’t shift around while in transit – Criss Crossing 2 bungee cords only provides a certain amount of protection and more often than not I find my bag slipping through and hanging to one side. The Topeak net is strong enough to support the whole load if my panniers are uneven (occurs when my rear food pannier is running low on supplies (common in Africa!) yet hasn’t broken, snapped or shown any signs of major wear after 18 months of solid usage. The hooks have bent and changed shape along the way due to the amount of weight they have been forced to carry, and some of the protective rubber ends on the hooks have disappeared over time. A quick stop to a hardware store to pick up 12 replacement tips for .80 cents has solved this problem, but since then I’ve given up on replacing them confident that the ends won’t punch through my water bladder, rack bag, or any panniers.
Off the bike its served as a wonderful laundry line, again clipping garments to various parts of the net and stretching the hooks to suitable places for hanging. I’ve spent hundreds of dollars on various pieces of equipment but this $5 low priced product has proven to be the most useful piece of gear in my entire arsenal. Highly recommended!