What a joy bike picnic’ing is with the Timbuk2 Sunset Rack Trunk ($110). All the stresses of life, the endless supply of inept douche canoe’s that the Universe has strewn along the Gear Gal Marie Highway of Life, suddenly seem far away and harmless. The world becomes tranquil and welcoming and good.
What I liked
- Quality material, solid construction. An internal TPU liner makes for quick and easy cleaning. The fabric is a washed cotton canvas that is heavy and durable.
- Thoughtful organization. It comes with two handy front-and-rear unsecured pockets, one secured zipper pocket, one magnetic closure pocket. Both of these pockets have a soft lining though neither hold a Motorola Droid Turbo 2-sized smartphone.
- Cooler that carries cargo for picnics or errand-running. During my testing period in May, I carried a six pack of beer, four bottles of wine, groceries, vegetables from the farmer’s market, etc. Not all at once, mind you, it isn’t that big, but it’s much easier to carry heavy items directly on the bike rack rather than in a pannier in which weighty loads can stress the pannier’s seams.
- Carries the basic necessities for long urban rides. Rain jacket, water bottles, food, sun block, butt butter, body wipes, everything. It all fits.
- Insulated! I transported beer and a picnic lunch nine miles to Minnehaha Park from my home and everything remained cool. On another occasion I successfully carried two six-packs of beer to keep Timbuk2 honest.
- Stays securely in place as long as the Velcro tabs are attached to the right rack bar. More on that later.
- Another option for bike commuting to work. While not really marketed as such, you can use this for commuting. I just carried my clothes in a clean reusable shopping bag inside the Rack Trunk rather than detach and reattach.
- Beer bottle opener! It works, too. Also works for attaching a blinkie light since there isn’t a blinkie light attachment.
- Handsome. The dark washed canvas and leather snap straps are very striking and eye-catching. Everywhere I ride with my Timbuk2 Sunset Rack Trunk I get complements and questions on where they can buy one. I’m conflicted here. On one hand, I want to tell them to check out Timbuk2. On the other, if every cyclist in Minneapolis gets one, mine will no longer be special. But I tell them nonetheless.
Annoying Nuances of which to be Aware
Velcro attachment straps. They aren’t very long and this makes it cumbersome to achieve the “easy on and off rack attachment with two hook and loop straps” stated on the website. Not all bike racks are the same (I couldn’t tell you what model I have other than it was the rack that came standard on my Civia Hyland) but on mine, making sure the straps are fastened at the right cross-bars so it doesn’t slide off took a lot of creative finagling and a few f-bombs before I figured out the best way to secure the Rack Trunk to my rack.
That being said, once the Timbuk2 Sunset Rack Trunk was secured to my rack, it never came off until I took it off.
I think an easy fix for Tibumk2 is to add longer straps in next year’s iteration. And perhaps a handle on the top to carry lunchbox-style.
Removable, adjustable shoulder strap flaps in the wind and should just be removed. Because after going through the goat rope that was securing the Timbuk2 Sunset Rack Trunk to my rack, I’m not going to use it as a purse, take it inside a store/coffeeshop/farmer’s market and then re-attach ten minutes later—with people watching me struggle and drop f-bombs. That’s why I use the matching Timbuk2 Sunset Handlebar bag.
I’m making these two nit-picks more of a big deal than they really are. See, when I use my Timbuk2 Sunset Rack Trunk it’s for errands, farmer’s market runs, picnics in the park, grocery shopping. Long-haul, heavy load endeavors that require at least four hours in between attaching and detaching.
Aside from the short Velcro straps that make it cumbersome, if not downright impossible to attach and detach quickly, I can’t think of a single reason on earth not to buy the Timbuk2 Sunset Rack Trunk.
There’s also that thing with Timbuk2’s lifetime warranty. They stand behind all their products for life. When civilization finally collapses (and you know it’s coming), when the dead rise up and walk again, when an earthquake swallows California, Oregon, Washington and Alaska, when the Atlantic Ocean floods New Orleans, your Timbuk2 product will endure.
I’ve only cashed in on Timbuk2’s lifetime warranty once on their Tandem
Pannier. It was a pain-free procedure. I took a few pictures of a growing seam rip, sent them to Timbuk2, they sent me instructions for shipping the pannier back. Within five days they notified me that they scheduled it for repair. Within four weeks it was back on my bike rack.
Aside from confidence in product support, manufacturers who offer lifetime warranties are also encouraging less waste for our landfills.
The Timbuk2 Sunset Rack Trunk is a Gear Gals Recommended Piece of Gear.