Revelate Terrapin System 8L: First Look

With independent saddle rail straps, new buckles, and a revamped harness structure, the all new Revelate Terrapin System 8L is much more than just a compact version of its bigger brother. We had a chance to get ahold of one for this first look…

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In essence, the Terrapin System 8L was conceived as a smaller version of the original modular Terrapin seat bag. The new 8L version holds about 6 liters less than its larger counterpart, which maxes out at 14 liters. As such, the Terrapin System 8L is best suited to smaller loads and bikes with low saddle to rail clearance, such as full-suspension bikes, plus and fat tire bikes, and for smaller frames. The 14L Terrapin requires a minimum of 9.5″ (24.1cm) clearance from saddle rails to top of the rear tire while the new 8L model requires just 7″ (17.8cm). But size isn’t the only difference between the two. The all new Terrapin System 8L gets a whole new set of features.

Revelate Terrapin System 8L, Small Terrapin Seat Bag

  • Revelate Terrapin System 8L, Small Terrapin Seat Bag
  • Revelate Terrapin System 8L, Small Terrapin Seat Bag
  • Revelate Terrapin System 8L, Small Terrapin Seat Bag
  • Revelate Terrapin System 8L, Small Terrapin Seat Bag
  • Revelate Terrapin System 8L, Small Terrapin Seat Bag

Indie-Rail Attachment System + Active Camming Hardware

One key feature of the Terrapin System 8L is a new independent saddle rail attachment system. Instead of looping through the saddle rails from the center, as most seat pack strap systems do, the Terrapin 8L loops up and around. The coated straps come equipped with a loop that attaches via an active cam locking buckle system. According to Revelate, this gives the seat pack best in class stability without the need for external mounting hardware.

Revelate Terrapin System 8L, Small Terrapin Seat Bag

New Structure and Plastic Skid Plate

The bag also features several new structural refinements for added for strength and load transfer. These include internal aluminum hardware at high stress points, foam-stiffened side panels with fiberglass compression stays, a composite internal top frame sheet, and an external plastic bottom skid plate for load support and protection from the rear tire—especially useful on full-suspension bikes.

Revelate Terrapin System 8L, Small Terrapin Seat Bag

The Terrapin System 8L seat pack also gets many of the same excellent features as its predecessor. First off, in concept, it shares the same holster-like mount and the 3D formed, radio frequency welded dry bag, custom fit and made from 200-denier waterproof TPU laminated nylon. The dry bag also includes the much-loved air purge valve that allows for proper compression of the bag and its contents. And the Terrapin system 8L is constructed from familiar materials, such as the exclusive VX21 X-Pac and rugged Rhinotec.

  • Revelate Terrapin System 8L, Small Terrapin Seat Bag
  • Revelate Terrapin System 8L, Small Terrapin Seat Bag
  • Revelate Terrapin System 8L, Small Terrapin Seat Bag
  • Revelate Terrapin System 8L, Small Terrapin Seat Bag
  • Packing Volume 8 Liters
  • Min Saddle Rail to Tire Clearance 7″ (17.8cm)
  • Colors available Black, Crush (purple), and Multicam
  • Weight Terrapin system 12oz (340g) / Drybag 3.5oz (99g)
  • Place of manufacture Holster: Oregon / Drybag: China
  • Price $135
  • Manufacturer’s details RevelateDesigns.com

First Look Wrap Up

It’s a day before we begin the Baja Divide’s Cape Loop. Given that we’ve only had the chance to pack and fit the bag, rather than actually ride with it, consider these only preliminary thoughts.

Typical to what I’ve come to expect from Revelate, the baby Terrapin feels extremely well made. It’s also a seat pack that feels relatively heavy in the hand for its size. Certainly, all the hardware is on the stout side, including the neat aluminium ratchet system that cinches the side straps extremely tight, without fear that they’ll loosen up over rugged terrain. Revelate always embraces the latest in materials, fixtures, and fittings. Modifications, as mentioned, include two clips for the webbing that loop under the saddle rails to make installation easy, a waterproof drybag that rests in the cradle, and a tough plastic plate on the underside. Meanwhile, the waterproof bag features the very handy air purge valve that we’ve seen before. To round it off, there are various strap tidies to keep everything in place and prevent unwanted dangling.

Although it’s a relatively small bag, the quoted 8L capacity translates into enough space for a quilt, a couple of layers, a lightweight shell, and a puffy waistcoat. However, for those with room to spare between the bottom of the pack and the tire, you could always squeeze in the likes of a groundsheet below the drybag. As I say, we haven’t had a chance to ride with it in anger, so to speak, but I’ve little reason to expect much in the way of seatbag waggle. Cinched tight, this bag barely moves at all. I’m also not sure if it’s part of its design intentions or not, but the plastic plate on its underside looks resistant to occasional rubbing against a tire, just in case you’re riding a full-suspension frame with a little too much sag in the shock.

I’m a little disappointed not to see any webbing for attaching a roll bag or waterproof shell to the top of the cradle, as seen on its big brother, which I’m attributing to a lack of real estate. And I should add that there’s no dedicated rear light tab—as on the larger 14L Terrapin—though the rear retention strap should serve that purpose fairly well.

Expect this post to evolve into a full review after we test this bag over the coming weeks!

Revelate Terrapin System 8L, Small Terrapin Seat Bag

  • Stephen Poole

    Can one buy just the smaller dry bag and fit that to the original Terrapin harness? With 29+ tyres clearance is an issue with the bigger bag; I got a hole from tyre rub (in the harness fabric) on day one. IMHO, it’s a lot more difficult to cinch the straps on the original Terrapin tightly enough compared with the Viscacha, so more clearance is needed due to bag deformation.

  • peteo

    Isn’t the shell of the bigger terrapin harness going to hit the tires regardless of how big the dry bag is?

  • Hi Stephen, If the harness part hit your tire the whole system was too big for a 29+ setup. The smaller drybag does not work well in the larger holster. I should note that the side compression in the Viscacha and the larger Terrapin are identical.

  • Stephen Poole

    Thanks Eric. No matter how tight I did everything up, the bag kept deforming vertically until it hit the tyre. I never noticed this with the Viscacha, though admittedly on another bike with smaller wheels. I might try adding a rigid plate stiffener underneath the bag, between it and the harness, as bulging there seemed to be most of the problem. A smaller bag would work, but I’m not likely to ride that bike loaded much, and I’ve got plenty of your bags already. ;-)

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