“Who’s got a 4-mil handy?” At this point in the group ride, everyone starts to study the ground intensely with their eyes. Digging out a multi-tool on the trail is a hassle we all prefer to avoid if we can. Enter the Milkit Hassle’off.
The Milkit Hassle’off is a sleek and thin stash tool kit that can be attached to a standard set of bottle mounts on any frame, and it packs a surprising number of functions. Perhaps best of all, the design makes it easy to quickly access the tools when you need them.
Milkit Hassle’off tool functions
Like any good bike multi-tool the Hassle’off comes with a bunch of hex bits, ranging from a tiny 2mm to a large 8mm for wrenching pedals. All of the bits nest and attach to an L-key using a magnetized system that holds everything securely in place. Some of the bits are tiny so the Hassle’off features another magnetized spot on the bottom of the tire plug tool where you can place the bits while you’re making repairs. It’s a nice touch, but I’m pretty sure I’ll eventually lose the tiniest ones trailside in the dirt or under a leaf.
In addition to the hex bits, there’s a T25 Torx bit. The L-handle is a good size for a multi-tool, through it’s clearly not designed for high-torque situations where you need a lot of leverage. The tool itself seems plenty strong and durable, and is made from stainless steel.
Moving deeper inside the Hassle’off, there’s a tire lever that doubles as a handle for the chain tool, which itself has a spoke wrench and valve core removed tool. Magnets on the tire lever hold a set of quick chain links (not included). The chain tool seems pretty robust, as is the lever itself.
At the bottom of the kit there’s a pre-loaded tire plug tool that’s designed to twist to make plug insertion easier. In my experience, having a tire plug pre-loaded can mean the difference between all the air hissing out of a puncture, and getting it plugged right away. Additional tire plugs are stored inside the handle of a small set of scissors that can be used to trim tire plugs once they’re inserted. I don’t usually bother to trim tire plugs, though it seems like having a pair of scissors could come in handy in other ways.
Milkit Hassle’off form
Multi-tools tend to be all about function, but in my opinion the tool’s form is almost as important. I’ve tested a number of stash tools over the years, and one of the challenges is remembering how the damn things go together, and how they work. Worse, some are hard to get off the bike when you need them, and just as hard to put back.
On the first point, the Hassle’off goes together very easily, almost intuitively. That isn’t to say it’s perfectly easy to use. After removing all the tools recently, I couldn’t get the rubber door to seal completely. The cover held everything securely but I could see a small gap that had me worried water might get inside. (A spray test with the hose confirmed water could indeed get inside. Fortunately most the tools are made from stainless steel.) I’m 99% sure the poor seal is due to user error and not a design flaw. No matter how hard I try I’ll always remain flawed so I guess the Hassle’off will just have to deal with me.
Update 8/23: Milkit says the latest version of the product improves the fit to provide a better, more consistent seal. Unfortunately for my test unit, a month after publishing this review I noticed the main tool was missing, having fallen out on the trail during a ride.
Still, as far as getting to the tools quickly the Hassle’off has a leg up on a multi-tool stored in a pack, and pretty much all of the stem- and bar-mounted tools I’ve used.
The hex bits, chain tool, and tire plugger are easy enough to figure out but I needed to watch a YouTube video to figure out the scissors. The locking mechanism is pretty cool, I just hope I remember how it works when I need it.
The Milkit Hassle’off is 117mm long, 53mm wide, and 13mm tall. It’s basically the size of a stack of credit cards. Given the size, the Hassle’off should fit most frames with a set of bottle cage mounts, though it took me a surprising number of tries to make it work. On the Yeti SB135 I’m testing, the frame’s bottle mounts are located too close to the bottom bracket so I couldn’t fit the tool and a bottle cage. My hardtail has plenty of clearance, but I needed to remove the clip for my mini-pump to access the tool. Milkit says you can also pack the tool in a bag if you like, which actually isn’t a bad option thanks to its light weight (about 140g).
Fortunately the Hassle’off features a couple of modular clips that can be attached to the side and/or top of the tool box that can be used to strap various things onto the unit. I used the side clip and velcro strap to attach my mini-pump but this could just as easily be used to attach a spare tube or other flat repair items. The top clip is really only useful if you’re not running a bottle cage in conjunction with the Hassle’off.
Pros and cons of the Milkit Hassle’off
- Packs all the most-used bits plus tire and chain repair tools
- Modular system can be extended and fits pretty much any bike with bottle mounts
- Quick and easy access to tools on the trail
- Might need some practice (and regular refreshers) to remember how all the tools work
- Putting everything back together is mostly easy, but not foolproof
As far as stash tools go, the Milkit Hassle’off is one of my favorites thanks to its easy access and the shear number of functions it packs into a compact space. The quality construction makes the tools a joy to use, and suggests it should last through many years of abuse.
- Price: $87.99
- Buy from milkit.bike