Review: ORTLIEB Atrack BP Backpack

After the world premiere at the Sea Otter Classics and in Riva, I’ve got ORTLIEB’s bikepacking backpack the Atrack BP. And reviewed it.

At the “OutDoor” festival in 2018, ORTLIEB once again proved that Germany is at the forefront of waterproofing. And in this case it was all about the Atrack backpack, which has been available since the start of the year. I must say ORTLIEB making backpacks is nothing new. However, the Atrack is different. In house, it has the nickname Ruffle, or a hybrid of ‘rucksack’ and ‘duffle’. Better said: where normal backpacks have their backing or padding, a waterproof Tzip zipper runs the entire length of the back. Easy access like a duffle, the comfort of a top quality outdoor backpack. And all of that waterproofed to the IP67 standard. An all-round backpack for a trip around the world, standup paddleboarding or even packrafting. The Atrack has received many awards for its new concept. However, ORTLIEB had some new ideas. Cycling is paramount to the brand, and they were ready to mix up the backpack market. And boom, bikepacking is totally in and ORTLIEB’s bikepacking product series is flying off the shelves. Logically, the Atrack BP was introduced on the 11th of April at the Sea Otter Classic in California and the next week in Riva. A version specially made for bikepackers (BP). In the same anthracite design with orange straps, it matches the rest of the bikepacking series.

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Ortlieb Atrack BP

The Atrack BP is 100 % waterproof, but even in the sunshine it’s alot of fun.

What’s different about the BP?

How does the BP version differ from the normal Atrack? Clearly, the colours are different and it is a part of the bikepacking series, and the 25 litres are equal to the smallest Atrack. The material is a mix of two different PU-coated nylon fabrics. The sides and back are made of a lighter weight RS21R Ripstop material, and the front, because of its contact with the ground, is made with a stronger PS33 fabric. A clever mix - both functional and aesthetically pleasing. The large hip pads are exchanged for smaller ones, which better fit the bent over body posture while biking. The silhouette is narrow and the backpack is overall very compact. The well-integrated daisy chains, included compression straps, the helmet mount and other optional accessories like the attachment kit allow almost anything to be added to the outside. On both sides there are flexible mesh pockets for more storage and quick access.

TIZIP – the World Market Leader as an In-house Solution

The heart of the Atrack is how it opens. A very long zipper located between the back pads and shoulder straps opens the entire body of the bag. The zipper is from Tizip, which means it is completely waterproof. Not surprisingly, this is yet another invention of ORTLIEB founder Hartmut Ortlieb. Not happy with the current waterproof zippers on the market, he developed his own versions and founded Tizip, which is located in the same building as ORTLIEB. 

Ortlieb Atrack BP

A narrow silhouette - streamlined and bush-friendly.

Ortlieb Atrack BP

Tizip zippers ensure waterproofness - made by Hartmut Ortlieb.

Ortlieb Atrack BP

Compared to the Atrack the Atrack BP only has hip pads and of course the long Tizip zipper is also there.

Ortlieb Atrack BP

The compression straps can be removed...

Ortlieb Atrack BP

moved or combined with the helmet mount and optional attachment kit. You can also see the two different PU-coated nylon fabrics PS33 (front, black) and PS21R (sides and back, anthracite).

Even the zipper is the best one made yet - specifically designed for this model. Easy to use and 100 % waterproof. Those who would prefer to leave their bike in Calais and swim the English Channel to Dover can easily do it with the Atrack. And your towel will be dry on the other side. If bikeswimming is to ever become a sport, there is already gear ready to use.

When you first look, the strap system might look a little complicated. The orange straps hold the duffle ends together and this design keeps the backpack compact and allows for transporting heavier things. However when you know how the system works, it’s super easy. First the straps need to be loosened, the backpack laid on its front and the zipper opened.

Ortlieb Atrack BP

It takes a minute to figure out how to open it, but soon it’s easy to do.

Ortlieb Atrack BP

Just loosen the strap... Before opening, loosen the straps and pull the zipper.

Ortlieb Atrack BP

To get inside the Atrack just lay it down.

A look at the bone-dry interior

Inside are four zipper pockets for bars, cell phone, patches and many other things. Under those - and this requires some patience - is the inner compression strap. It should be used when you want to secure things like a tent or clothing or when the backpack is so filled that it’s difficult to close the zipper.

For keys, there is a clip on the upper left. And why is there no zipper pocket like in most other backpacks? We asked ourselves the same question. However, because keys are usually only removed for a short time, it makes sense to only need to open the main zipper a little to get to them. So it makes sense.

An optional hydration system was also developed for the Atrack with an included thermal protection bag to keep water cool on hot days. A highlight: a sealing adapter is included with the Atrack. Even with a hose running through it, the backpack is still waterproof - But you probably shouldn’t lose the adapter...

Ortlieb Atrack BP

Four zipper pockets, a middle strap and a key clip.

Ortlieb Atrack BP

To use the hydration system, push the cap in...

Ortlieb Atrack BP

thread the hose through the adapter and push the cap out.

A real backpack, or just a dry bag with straps?

Whoever thinks that the Atrack BP is just a dry bag with straps is tremendously wrong. First of all, ORTLIEB made the Atrack series to establish themselves in the backpack market and those who know them understand that they always do a great job on their projects. The strap system is the perfect combination of comfort (large, breathable, and comfortable padding) and minimalism. The straps are also very ergonomic. With the load straps the weight can be centred correctly and of course the hip and chest straps are adjustable. Another great feature: the back length can be adjusted with straps as well. Something you won’t find with many 25 litre backpacks.

Ortlieb Atrack BP

The back length can be adjusted with straps, …

Ortlieb Atrack BP

…which is hard to find elsewhere.

How well does the Atrack BP work in the field?

Those who can imagine carrying a backpack on long bikepacking trips and want to have a great all-round waterproof bag should definitely get the Atrack BP. Once you’ve got the strap system figured out, its super easy to get into the bag. Of course, the backpack does lay on the ground because it does not have a top opening. But the combination of waterproofness and large opening make it a great travel bag. Just a quick note, people with short backs and handlebar stack might have issues with the backpack hitting the back of their head. But swimming across the English Channel will not be a problem.

ORTLIEB Atrack BP Fact Check:

  • Material: „PS21R“ (sides) and „PS33“ (front), PU-coated nylon, PVC- and PFOA-free
  • IP 67 water and dust proof
  • Waterproof Tizip zipper
  • Volume: 25 litres
  • Weight: 1300 g
  • Dimensions: 56 cm height, 26 cm width, 25 cm depth
  • Hydration bladder compatible incl. adapter (still waterproof)
  • Accessories: hydration system, attachment kit, helmet mount
  • Continuously adjustable back length
  • Two mesh side pockets
  • Load controlling straps
  • Made in Germany
  • 5 year guarantee
Ortlieb Atrack BP

Speeding through the woods.

Ortlieb Atrack BP

The Atrack works great outdoors and on the bike.

"The Atrack BP is waterproof, robust, adjustable and very comfortable to organise and open. A true all-round backpack that shows its strengths when it’s wet and dirty."