Hello to you, and welcome, Dear Reader! Good to have your company! So I have to admit, I like neatness. It’s not exactly a compulsion. I mean I can totally stop, um… Any time I want, etc 😀 When it comes to essentials to take on a ride, what I especially didn’t like was stuff slipping around inside my jersey pockets, clicking and clinking here over every bump. Not all my jerseys have waterproof pockets either. And while I ain’t got no fancy phone, still, it’s kinda useless when it’s wet through – I learned such facts empirically from dropping cereal milk in my wireless keyboard. Electronics and liquids aren’t friends, who knew! 😛 Being a fan of the neat and dry, I wondered could I get my essential ride kit into one pouch?
The answer is yes! This is just for you bike riders like me still running the old fashioned inner tubes. If you’re on UST or those interesting Tannus airless tires, then awesome, not much need for most of this kit! But for me, I modified a mil-spec utility pouch just the right size for jersey pockets, and fit in it my phone, card/cash/key, spare inner tube, self-stick patches, levers, multi tool and chain link.
I wasn’t sure if I could because I was swapping over from a hydration backpack to cages and bottles/bidons. The hydration backpack was an Osprey Viper 7. It was basically as small as I thought I could get away with for the type of riding I was doing back in 2011 or 2012. But aside from the 2 litres of fluids, it allowed ample space for two tubes (and those would’ve been 29er MTB tubes at that time, a chunky multi-tool, a larger pump and/or CO2 inflator, phone nicely tucked inside in its own pocket, keys, spare links, levers and all the room I needed for packable jackets etc. Would I be able to fit all that in one single pocket pouch?
Here’s what I did
Well first I looked up some pouches. I think the nicest one I saw was by a company Silca, EOLO I believe it was with a nice kind of reflective magnetic tab that hung over the top of your pocket and stuck back down. I think it was cool and all, but a bit expensive for me. I just wanted a simple pouch. I checked neoprene phone or camera pouches on Amazon and eBay but couldn’t seem to get exactly what I wanted. I have a Crumpler one from years ago which I dug out but it was just too small to fit everything.
Maybe I’m pedantic. I don’t know! But I went to the trouble of measuring my jersey pockets. That gave me a size of about 18cm x 10cm. Knowing the pockets usually have some stretch meant there was some flexibility in width. I normally wear a Medium jersey, but I wonder…
Do size L and XL jerseys have larger pockets too? It’d stand to sense wouldn’t it??
Let me know, if you know yourself! 🙂
Through all my searching to find a simple pocket pouch, something jogged a memory. I’d been travelling with the fam on a month-long train-propelled tour and had taken only one bag. It was a military-type bag from a company Helikon. It’s covered in the military Molle webbing (other bags and pouches easily clip-attach on). Anyway, long story, I had a utility pouch clipped on the bag’s waist strap. I also dug out of the drawer. But this time, that was too big for the jersey pocket! First too small, now too big! Oh Goldilocks! You’re so difficult to please! lol. But from that, I got to this…
Viper Lazer Small Utility Pouch (modded!)
The pouch cost me here no more than £8GBP ($10USD, $14AUD). It’s 15cm x 10 cm by 5cm so perfect sizing. It’s a simple clamshell pouch, no dividers or pockets and with a zipper around the middle. It isn’t listed as waterproof but it’s super tough 600 denier nylon with a nylon-plastic type reinforced inner. I’ve had it on several no-mudguards-cos-its-supposed-to-be-summer wet-ass rides and everything inside (phone especially) has come out completely dry. I bore with the two rear Molle straps until ~I felt they were adding thickness in my jersey pocket. So I chopped them off. I thought the exposed poppers at the bottom might have been annoying against my back but I haven’t even noticed.
What’s in there?
Going around the top flat-lay pic clockwise…
- Spare inner tube I’m on clincher and inner tubes. If I ever upgrade the wheels it’ll be tubeless. But for now, I only take one tube.
I take the tube from the box, dust with baby talc, open the valve, hang the tube in my hand and start very slowly and carefully rolling it tightly to get all the air out. I work to the valve and once there I close the valve again ensuring it’s airless and staying that way. I then fold the tube neatly – there’s that neat thing again! And I put it in a little ziploc baggie.
- Credit card, folding cash and key. I keep the card and cash in another ziploc baggie. Neatness 😛
- Fabric 16-in-1 Mini Tool. For years with the Osprey backpack, I carried a Topeak Hexus multitool. It was so good, I’d often use it in the workshop. Actually it was my goto chain breaker when my fancy Park Chain tool was in sickbay missing its pin! The Topeak fitted here, but it bulked out the pack in my pocket. And its sturdiness was at the expense of weight. I only needed an emergency tool that worked. AND had a chain tool! I’d already experienced a long push home one day a chain on my singlespeed broke leaving me power-less.
The Fabric is tiny in comparison and has everything I’d need. The one problem I had was that I didn’t like it against my phone in my pocket pouch. inexpensive phone or not, I wasn’t keen on a cracked screen. That was when I had the brainstorm to utilise the front Molle webbing as an outer pocket. All I did was snip the very top (see Viper Lazer pic) and the Fabric tool just dropped right in, fitted wonderfully, no clinking either #patontheback. I picked up the tool for £20GBP ($26USD, $35AUD)
- 3x Schwalbe Tire Levers. These are great. Initially I was looking for a multi-tool with a built-in lever. But I’ve had such finger agony removing and re-fitting certain tires at the roadside I wanted what worked. These work. Firstly because there are three of them, so you get reinforcements! Also because there’s a neat little push-out clip on each that fits under the lip of your clincher rim and holds the tire in place while you’re trying to get the rest of the bead seated. Saves you having to use three hands and two legs to hold the darn thing in place! #recommended.
- A vial of dishwashing liquid! Nothing more dramatic/sinister than that. Again this just makes refitting trickily tight tire/rim combinations with cold hands so much easier. Just a dab on the inside of the tire bead and that thing just slides right over the rim! I just got a little tough plastic watertight vial with a rubber seal so nothing leaks. No problems so far.
- A spare tool-less chain link. Wrapped with a bit of electrical tape to keep it together and stop it interfering with the phone. Did I ever tell you about the time that I broke a chain on my singlespeed? And I had to… Yes! Yes you did already!
- Park Tools GP-2 Super Patch. It’s a tiny little box with pre-glued patches. I only take these in case I’m unlucky enough to be visited twice or more on one ride by the Puncture Fairy.
- The Phone. Will yours fit? I don’t know. Mine’s only 135mm x 65mm. I’m not a phone person so I’d guess this is small in comparison to some? And as I’ve said, it’s not my most valuable or prized possession. If yours is, and you don’t have waterproof pocket on your jerseys, this pocket pouch solution may not be ideal, just want to make you aware. If your phone is I’d say once the tube is inside, <140mm tall then you should be good. More than that might cause inadvertent button presses if everything isn’t locked. I often wonder what we did before we had phones. We’d just go ride. And what did we do if we had major emergencies? I dunno. I never really had those, I guess there were public phones? Oh well. The phone. It’s essential.
So that just leaves the pump. That doesn’t go in the pouch. It goes in one of the other pockets.
…like Animal off of The Muppets
I used to run a CO2 inflator. I don’t like relying on the gas cartridges and having to buy them. It wasn’t the expense, rather I just like knowing I can rely on myself to pump the tire with the hand pump. Plus the pump just feels less pokey and proddy in my jersey pocket than the inflator I have. I grant you, mine’s not new and I know nicer sleeker ones are available now. I just like the low-tech approach of, what is in fairness, a fairly high-tech pump.
I particularly like this little Topeak Race Rocket pump because of the pull-out attachment. I’ve bent more than one tall valve at the roadside crazily pumping like Animal off of The Muppets with the tiny mini pumps. This takes a tire to 95-100 psi which is good enough for me to get home. And with a nice straight valve when I get there! That was £19GBP ($24USD,$33AUD)
I’ve been riding this home made pocket pouch kit for the last four months every ride. So far everything has done what I’d hoped. I’ve had some VERY wet rides. In fairness I haven’t gone through the autumn/fall yet, but it’ll be Ass-Saver mudguard time then and by winter it’ll be full mudguards so I can’t see things getting any wetter up the back pocket than they have been. I’m happy. Let me know in the comments what you think of this. What improvements could I make? What way, if any, do you carry your essentials kit and what do you take?
Ride safe, have fun, David.