Gear Reviews Mountain Biking

TESTED: TULBAG

TESTED: TULBAG

Where do you keep your Tuls? Why, in a Tulbag of course!

There seems to be a trend of late to ride sans backpack and stow as much gear as deemed essential, either strapped to the frame or in the bike frame itself.  

We can see the benefits of this on shorter day rides or where the trail head is near the start/finish area and you can simply pick up more food, water or tools. For Enduro racing it’s also a good approach, as the stages are usually fairly short and checkpoints not too far away.

We wondered what other products were out there that could provide alternative solutions to not carrying a pack and not forking out for pricey “in-bike” style tools. Well, whilst watching EWS recently, I recall seeing a rider pull out a very nice looking purse packed full of tools. Initially I assumed it was a home made job, some sort of pencil case toughened up with duct tape. Which it easily could of been…but no, it wasn’t

I finally managed to track it down and discovered it belongs to a company called Backcountry Research,

Who Are Backcountry Research?

Backcountry Research have been around since 2008. That’s almost ten years. What! Where the hell have they been all our life? The name Backcountry research conjures up images of grizzled, gnarly men and women, throwing themselves down mountains with wild abondenment, just to make our lives easier. We don’t know if this is true, but hell, we like it so we’re going to stick with it.

It’s clear that the Backcountry Research ethos is about making products with the best materials available, that’s a no brainer and something you will realise once you get your hands on their gear. But what we really like is their lack of super-attractive glossy adverts being pushed in your face. Backcountry Research have grown their brand slowly but solidly over the years through word of mouth. This year saw them co-sponsor the Yeti/Fox World Enduro team, equipping riders like Richie Rude, Cody Kelley and women’s pro-rider Anne Galyeanand.

All Backcountry research products are tested, manufactured, designed, and refined in Bozeman Montana.

TULBAG
Some tools and a very tough purse. Pic:©Tyres and Soles

First Impressions

The first thing we noticed is the quality. If Superman ever owned a purse, then this is what it would look like. Talk about tough materials! Wow, this thing is near indestructible. The Tulbag has a slim profile and is fairly small. The dimensions are 12cm length by 10cm in height, which makes it easy to slip into most jersey or shorts pockets.

Features

At first glance we thought a glorified pencil case wouldn’t give us much to talk about, but we were wrong. Yes, the Tulbag is a simple concept but as with most things in life, the simple approach can provide the best solutions.

The main body of the Tulbag  is made from a waterproof high tensile strength Terrain XPAC fabric which is ideal for carrying tools. The last thing you want is your multi tool poking out on the trails. Ahem.

The rear of the Tulbag is made of a grippy non-slip material, so grabbing it from your rear jersey pocket is much easier and less likely to slip through your fingers. This rear panel is also waterproof, abrasion and tear resistant, so both the front and rear panels have been constructed with durability in mind.

Accessing the tools inside is a breeze with a large pull cord to grab and yank open. The YKK zipper used is a heavy duty version and yes waterproof. You getting the picture now? Yes, it’s a tough little nugget.

TULBAG
The Tulbag is a simple product made from very tough parts. Pic:©Tyres and Soles
TULBAG
Waterproof zipper. Pic:©Tyres and Soles
TULBAG
Packed and ready to be stowed away. Pic:©Tyres and Soles

Fit / Installation

Well this part it very easy. Simply choose your tools, then pop them in. Next, don your jersey, the one with a rear pocket and preferably a zip, open the pocket and drop the Tulbag in there. Easy eh!

We would recommend tools that have a slimline and low profile. You can get a lot of multi-tools these days that have a wider and lower profile, perfect for fitting into these types of bags. Tyre levers are an obvious choice, spare chain link, spare hanger or even your phone. Although they do offer a phone specific option also.

Tools going in were a multitool, 2x tyre levers, CO2 canister (25grams) and Co2 valve. Pic:©Tyres and SolesTools going in were a multitool, 2x tyre levers, CO2 canister (25grams) and Co2 valve. Pic:©Tyres and Soles
The grippy panel makes it easier to grab and pull. Pic:©Tyres and SolesThe grippy panel makes it easier to grab and pull. Pic:©Tyres and Soles
The Tulbag has a low profile when tucked away. Pic:©Tyres and SolesThe Tulbag has a low profile when tucked away. Pic:©Tyres and Soles

Out On The Trails

We hit the trails for a couple of hours and were pleasantly surprised by the severe lack of jingly jangly-ness. There was no ungainly or awkward pendulum swinging going on either. Most of all it felt great to have everything in one place, neat and compact. OCD kicking in here.

We have to admit, we were still a little nervous about a potential lower back injury if an OTB (Over The Bar) incident ever occurred, but to be honest if you’re the type of rider who carries tools in your pocket anyway, then this is not something that would concern you. If this did happen, at least all your tools would be in one neat place instead of spread all over the trails.

tulbag
When riding it didn’t feel overly bulky or jingly jangly in the rear pocket. Pic:©Tyres and Soles / Rider: Rebecca Lorch

Where To Buy?

Ask your local bike shop first, but failing that you can order direct from BackCountry Research or just hit up your favourite web browser and type in Backcountry Research and you’ll find quite a few online stockists.

Conclusions

Jason Lorch

Author: Jason Lorch

Born and grew up in Wales but now a fully fledged Aussie. A passionate mountain biker, hiker and general nature addict. I’m also a bit of a muso and enjoy a good craft beer every now and again (probably too often).

I hope what we do here at Tyres and Soles will inspire people to get out there and experience first hand, the natural wonders that surround them.

So, pump up those tyres, don your favourite boots. Grab a mate, a partner, a pet… and head out into nature. But tell us all about it when you get back.

Editor at Tyres and Soles.

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