Many people who hear about bikepacking, love the idea of getting out with some gear on their bikes. Some quickly dismiss the prospect of carrying gear on their bike because of the high cost of purchasing all the bags needed to hold the necessary gear for an overnight trip. Others search far and wide to see what alternatives might be available.
Stashers Outdoor Gear has specifically designed their TubeTop bags for people looking to carry gear on their bikes without the higher prices normally associated with many bikepacking bags.
Their TubeTop bags have a patent pending design that uses a waterproof, double-insulated, zippered compartment, surrounded by no-rip heavyweight nylon that attaches with hook and loop straps to your bike’s top tube and seat tube. In addition to fastening a TubeTop bag to your top tube, you can also affix another Tube Top bag below the one attached to your bike in a modular fashion.
The Tube Top can hold 12 oz beverage cans with coozies on them, as well as many other items you may want to bring along on your bike. The small size retails for $19.99, is 10 inches long and holds 2 of the 12oz cans. The medium size retails for $24.99, is 15 inches long and holds 3 of the 12oz cans. Stashers also offers a combo of both the small and medium for $39.99
In addition to the TubeTop, Stashers Outdoor Gear also offers other products related to carrying gear and beverages on bicycles. Stashers Outdoor Gear sent us a medium TubeTop as well as the STASHERS Titanium Travel Canister, STASHERS Double-Sided Cycling Pouch, and Stashers Neoprene Coozies to test and review.
The STASHERS Titanium Travel Canister is double-walled, holds 8oz, and comes with its own custom coozie in a camo pattern for $99.00. While 8oz is a rather small volume for water, this is just the right volume for a single serving of coffee from an Aerobie Aeropress coffee maker. It can store liquids and keep them hot or cold for a significant period of time thanks to the double-walled insulation and coozie. I decided to forego the usual camping stove and store hot water inside the Titanium Travel Canister while traveling on my bike to make #coffeeoutside. I like that the canister is made of titanium. It naturally has an awesome grey color, it will never rust, it has no taste, you can rub scratches off relatively easy, and it is lightweight.
The first canister I received from Stashers didn’t leak when cold or lukewarm liquids were stored inside, but liquids just off a boil would drip out of the seal. I let Stashers know and and right away, they had one out to me that week. Great customer service. The second one they sent is leak proof regardless of the liquid’s temperature. The Titanium Travel Canister seemed to keep the water hot enough to make coffee with, but it wasn’t piping hot. The outside near the lid seemed very warm as well, probably because that is where the two walls come together to enclose the vacuum and make the double-wall. Titanium is very heat conductive and that may have made the heat transfer more than an aluminum or steel double-walled canister as well.
Being such a small volume compared to a larger size vessel there was less volume to surface area, which must contribute to heat loss as well. All in all, I was glad the canister kept my hot water hot for long enough to get to my #CoffeeOutside location.
The STASHERS Double-Sided Cycling Pouch has two zippered sides, one that is clear for your phone and one that is matte for other flat items like your ID, cash, credit cards, business cards, etc. The idea is for your phone to not get wet when you are out riding around. While I have seen similar items that friends had used on the trail before, I have not tried anything like this yet. I normally use an Otterbox case for my Samsung Galaxy S5, which measures just over 5.5 inches tall and just under 3 inches wide. With the Otterbox Defender case on it, there was no way it was going to fit inside the Double-Sided Cycling Pouch. Once I had taken off the case, the phone fit, but I had to angle it in just right for the corners to fit in there. Once in the pouch, the phone’s touch screen worked well whether dry or wet. One of the issues I have had while cycling with my S5 in the Otterbox case was that any sweat or water that splashed upon the case would inevitably get under the case’s screen protector and no longer understand my finger touching the screen as it would then sense the water under the screen as a touch upon its screen. This wasn’t happening with my phone in the Stashers pouch. It is only water resistant, but I am not looking for something to protect my phone when I drop it into a creek, only something that will shed the sweat off of it effectively and still allow me to use my phone in the field.
The other side with the zippered compartment for cash and cards was really handy as well. Many days I just had to grab the pouch with my phone and cards and head out the door.
The Stashers Neoprene Coozies are pretty much like any other coozie I have used before, but they fold flat with seams on both sides and that is handy for storage.
They kept my cold beverages cold and hot beverages hot while preventing my hand from becoming like either extreme too quickly. One comes free with each TubeTop bag.
The TubeTop bag is a good small bikepacking bag for someone looking to spend a minimum amount of their hard-earned cash, while expanding their carrying capacity to store the essentials they need to have with them on the bike.
I have used Camelbak type bags for a majority of the years I have ridden mountain bikes, often loading them up with lots of gear and water, but recently I have started to loathe wearing any extra weight on my back at all. After many bikepacking trips, I have become spoiled with my bikepacking bags carrying all the weight upon my bike. There have been some solutions I have found for shorter length rides as well where I don’t need the full capacity of my overnight bikepacking bags and want to use my waterbottles in the waterbottle cages on my frame. Some of the longer rides have required extra water storage upon the bike, but some of the solutions I had used were less than ideal. The TubeTop bag has provided a good location for extra water, whether by allowing for an additional bottle, or a hydration bladder. It has also been nice for the times I have used it in conjunction with the Titanium Travel Canister for #CoffeeOutside .
The Titanium Travel Canister and a 16oz disposable water bottle fit perfectly together in the medium TubeTop bag. My most common uses for the TubeTop bag were unexpected however. I used it both on my road bike and mountain bike at different times to carry the supplies I needed for the day. Some days it was my windbreaker and bike pump, other days it was my cable lock, other days it was a convenient spot to store the arm warmers and knee warmers once it got warm. It is a very convenient place to store a spare tube, multitool, tire levers, and pump. Or it can be used it to hold your phone, a small camera, and some extra food. The TubeTop stayed out of the way when pedaling and even when loaded up with weight, it didn’t sway too much. I would like to see an additional, removable, velcro strap on the front of the bag to add extra stability when needed. Obviously, you need room for the TubeTop below your top tube of your bike, so a hardtail with a decent sized frame triangle is ideal for use with the TubeTop. On smaller frames, you may find that the TubeTop blocks your waterbottle mounts.
On my medium sized mountain bike, it was too tight to fit with waterbottles, but with my 55cm road bike, it was less problematic to fit both waterbottles and the TubeTop bag within the frame’s main triangle.
On a recent bikepacking trip, with my son’s 24-inch mountain bike, we wanted to carry additional water, but he only had one waterbottle cage mount. I found that, while the medium TubeTop was just a little too long to mount to his top tube of the frame, it did work along the down tube, mounted in the reverse direction, carrying a 14oz kids-sized Nalgene bottle, as well as a 16oz disposable water bottle.
This worked well for the most part, but when we had to hop off and hike-a-bike, the TubeTop got bumped just enough for it to rub significantly on his crank arms and pedals once we were pedaling again.
This led to some fraying of the no-rip heavyweight nylon shell, but the function of the bag is still intact. This was a good solution for us, as it served as a type of half-framebag for my son and allowed him to carry the extra water that we needed for the trip. If Stashers Outdoor Gear was to put an additional piece of removable velcro on the other end of the TubeTop, I think this mounting option would be great, maybe even preferred by some because it gets the weight lower on the bike and provides for more flexibility in attachment locations.
Mounting the TubeTop to the top tube of your frame keeps it conveniently located for immediate access while riding, but items may fall out if you are not careful. Like I stated in the MTB Tip of the Week about ditching your Camelbak, getting to your items in a frame bag that is right in front of you, between your knees, is a lot more convenient than having to take off a strap of your backpack to access the cargo that you need quickly on the trail like a phone, camera, drink, or food. The TubeTop allows this type of accessibility and for that reason, I think it is a great choice for those riders looking for a little more cargo storage for minimum out of pocket expense.