Stealth Bike Bags


Anyone who knows me knows I'm a huge fan of bumbags. Not only do they look great and add copious amounts of trail cred to the wearer, not to mention adding an extra layer of masculinity by enhancing your athletic body shape but they are also super practical. Just ask The Batman. They force you to carry the minimum of riding accessories (how often do you open your backpack really) and remove the wearer from sweaty back syndrome. The added bonus of not being wrapped up in an uncomfortable harness and feeling free as a bird with the breeze flowing unhindered around your torso is quite addictive. Also as you ride, any sweat constantly wicks away so you are always dry

Obviously issues arise when you actually do need to carry a bit of gear. Like when you're going back country and need lots of water, food, clothing and spares.

What's the answer? Load your bike up. Specialized have been up at the front with this concept and now we jealously look at the S.W.A.T system their newer bikes employ. A hatch into the downtube compartment, accessories clipped onto the bottle cage and even a chain tool under the stem cap. Brilliant. But what if you don't have a Specialized bike? You strap it all to your bike that's what. I've got a few back country missions coming up this summer so I went to see Michael Trudgen at Stealth Bike Bags to get loaded up.

You might think that bagging up your bike is reserved for over-nighters in the bush, but as a trend setter I feel it's my job once again to push the envelope and introduce you to a new trend....trail bagging. (I'm still working on making sandals with socks cool too)

The Hipster. A single compartment utility belt made from quality lined cordura with a waterproof zip. I've been on some pretty wet and muddy missions into the Akatarawas lately and not a drop has entered the bag.

The Happy Sack. A great place for a food stash on top of a spare tube and tyre levers.

Custom Frame Bag. I just held a piece of paper up against my frame and drew the shape I wanted, then sent it to Mike with a pic of my bike so he could put the straps in the best locations.

Stealth Bike Bag products are strong and very water resistant. Hand made in Eastbourne, Wellington by a guy that loves riding and bike packing.The products are high end and you pay for that. But you get a superior product that will work for ages and if you have issues, then he'll sort it out. There are the little things like rubberized material on the rub points to prevent the bags moving around and scuffing your bike and also make the zippers easier to use (also note that little loop to hold the bag while you pull the zipper) and quality Velcro means repeated use and mud and crap won't render your bag next to useless and end up with it lying on the trail somewhere. There are a variety of colours to choose from and there's no reason why you can't talk to Mike yourself and customize a product to get it perfect for you. 

The bonus of one simple compartment is that you can pack everything in so much easier. There is a mesh divider across the bag so you can have a front and rear separation if you desire. The webbing strap is there so you can attach items to the outside. I use an elastic cord to attach knee pads and discarded clothing. It also has a nice soft wicking material that sits against your back.

There's a whole lot of other stuff Mike makes to get the weight off your back. If you aren't really into all this then I urge you to take another look at the Hipster belt. It's the most comfortable, unobtrusive bag I've ever used and I have to keep checking that I'm still wearing it and haven't left it in the van.The straps don't loosen off as you ride and the shape sits snug against your back and doesn't bounce around at all when pinning it down the hill.

Saddle Wallet: Tube and food. Frame bag: Multi-tool, 1st aid kit, repair kit, CO2. Hipster Belt: Pump, jacket, camera, more food. If I need more water than my bottle can carry, then I take a collapsible bottle in the Hipster and transfer my camera to a separate pouch that threads onto the Hipster belt. That little green thing is my ACR ResQlink personal locator beacon. What? You don't have one? Fool!

I'm loving my new found freedom. On local rides I can now ditch the bumbag and still know that if the shit hits the fan I'm still covered and won't go hungry or have to walk my bike out while my mates are off having the ride of their lives. Go on, have a look at Stealth Bike Bags now and get that monkey off your back