Though the act of cycling itself is a fairly pure and simple exercise, mountain bikers tend to find themselves owning a fair amount of gear to support the habit. A typical trip to the trailhead will have riders piling their riding accoutrements into their car with the hope that everything that’s needed for for the session will arrive at the trailhead and will be ready to go. However, if you’re anything like me, the odds of this happening are distinctly not in your favor. If only there were a way to keep all of your riding gear together in one easily-accessible and portable space, some way to keep all of your MTB repair and maintenance tools sorted and at-hand. Thankfully, the outdoorsmen at Tepui Tents have created a new line of luggage designed with adventurous types in mind.
The Tepui Expedition Series Duffel and Tool Case have become a very welcome addition to my gear inventory and after multiple trips far from my Anchorage basecamp, I can safely say that I have bid farewell to the days of being a disorganized mess when I arrive at the trailhead. Tepui have designed their gear bags to be able to withstand the abuse that regularly gets dished out during outdoor excursions and have employed high quality materials and construction throughout.
The first thing that I noticed when picking up the bags were their relative heft, which, in a world that tends to focus on shedding rather than adding weight, may seem like a detractor for potential shoppers. However, these gear bags are designed more for transit and keeping your gear protected from the elements and less so for schlepping up a mountain while strapped to your back, so the weight is a negligible factor.
The exterior of the bags is comprised of a synthetic resin-coated polyester canvas that is both highly durable and waterproof; after leaving my bags unattended during a rainstorm and later dropping one down a steep scree slope, I can attest to both the ruggedness and water-sealing capabilities of the material. As an added bonus, the shade of orange that Tepui decided on is particularly eye-catching and ensures that you’ll be able to keep tabs on where your gear is, even if you’re as forgetful as this author.
The duffel, from a functional standpoint, is a fairly straight-forward affair, as duffel bags are wont to be. After unzipping the burly zipper, you’ll be greeted by a gaping 103=liter maw that can hold more than enough gear for multiple week-long excursions, and a zippered mesh pocket to keep smaller items secured and more readily-accessible. I’ve been able to pack a two-person tent, sleeping bag, multiple changes of clothing, two pairs of shoes, two jackets, my dob kit, and other miscellany all within the bag itself without resorting to any sort of fancy packing techniques; the bag truly is massive. On the exterior, the integrated bungie net is perfect for holding bulkier items such as a sleeping pad or for keeping a weather-soaked rainfly separate from any items inside the duffel that are best left dry. In addition to the sewn-on handles, there is an optional shoulder strap with enough padding to make carrying a fully-laden duffel a surprisingly comfortable experience.
The tool case is a neat-freak’s dream come true, with its multitude of storage options and pockets to keep a whole host of items organized. Truth be told, while reviewing the bag, I was having a difficult time finding enough things to stash away in the various cubbies. After multiple outings with the tool case, I found myself never wanting for anything or cursing myself for leaving things behind, as I had transformed from a bumbling and forgetful mishap-prone rider to a fully-dialed trailside mechanic thanks to my newly acquired tool-carrying abilities. No matter what mechanical maladies happened while riding, a fix was immediately accessible back at camp, as I was able to pack a full sets of allen keys, screw drivers, chains, tubes, sealant, a pump, CO2 cartridges, a chainwhip, various specialty tools, and even a few beers with space to spare. Thanks to the fully prepared and sorted tool kit, what was once a day-ending bicycle breakdown was reduced to just a quick pit stop.
After a month full of various adventures and trips with the Tepui Tents Expedition series bags, I have a hard time thinking of how I would improve upon them. They’re rugged, have held up to plenty of abuse, and most importantly have kept my gear both safe and well-organized. I’m confident that many a rider would benefit from having a slick gear toting solution, and the Tepui Expedition Duffel and Tool Case should definitely be considered. While not everyone needs the 100+ liters of storage that the duffel bag grants, I wholeheartedly recommend picking up the Tool Case just to have a full-fledged maintenance kit on hand. Being able to fix all sorts of mechanical issues right at the trailhead has extended many a ride, and anything that allows for more riding is definitely worth having.
Duffel Bag MSRP: $120
Tool Case MSRP: $70
Thanks to Tepui Tents for providing the Expedition series bags for review!