Building your perfect kit for going out on a bike ride can be tough. It can be stressful figuring out what to bring, where to keep it all, and how to carry it on your bike. That’s why, before I bought any bag or riding attire, I bought myself a tool roll.
Tool rolls are simple, and just about exactly what they sound like. Often it is a long piece of cloth with pockets sewed into it, with a larger piece of cloth that folds over the top. With the pockets covered by the cloth fold, you can then roll it all up into a neat package. At that point you secure the tool roll with velcro, some sort of button or tie, or in the case of my Silca Tool Roll, a velcro strap and a BOA dial.
The tool roll is the perfect little organizing bag in that it gives you room for everything you need without taking up too much space. Mine has three pockets, one large middle pocket, and two smaller pockets on the side. While it is tight, and makes the roll bulge a bit, my iPhone XR (in its case) fits in the middle pocket. On one side I can put my ID and a credit card, and on the other I can put a bike tool, CO2 pump head or a snack. If I want to get a tube in there as well though, I need to do a bit of organizing by putting my phone in a pant pocket.
Many tool rolls also offer some form of waterproofing. That’s why, even when I am wearing a cycling jersey, or have other bags, I keep my iPhone in my tool roll. The hypalon exterior fabric is weather resistant, so I don’t have to worry if it starts to rain on my ride, and its abrasion resistance means a lot of durability should it slip out of my pocket or tumble out of my hands mid ride.
The compact size of a tool roll often means, like in the case of my Silca roll, that you can easily keep it under your seat by running the closure (the velcro or BOA straps) through the seat rails. The BOA strings slip easily under my seat rails and I can tighten it to pull the tool roll up and under the seat. If you’re not worried about anyone nicking anything off your bike, it makes the tool roll a great, permanent, under seat option.
What makes it a great option for me though, is the flexibility. It easily changes shape to fit whatever it is I shove in it, stays closed securely, and is easy and comfortable to stash in a pocket, on a bike or in a larger bag. No matter what kind of riding I am doing, commuting, road riding, mountain biking or gravel grinding, you can be sure that this tool roll will be on me. Get one and see why for yourself!