One of my favorite things about the world of bikes is the range of cool people that you meet along the way. One such cool person is Scott Felter, the brains behind The Porcelain Rocket line of gear. Scott and TPR are truly a line of gear ‘for bikers, by bikers’. He tests, uses, and rides with what he sells.
I’ve previously posted about my deep affinity for the Booster Rocket seatpost pack that I frequently use on the Mukluk. I still love it, and use it All of the Time ™ (Used with permission of Hand of Midas).
For last weekend’s bikamping trip, I busted out my Ground Control handlebar bag and stem bag from TPR.
In that pic, you can see the handlebar bag.
It works wondrously with my Jones Loop bars.
And here’s the stem bag:
The view from above:
The main bag is sized to perfectly fit a 10L dry bag in it…so you can cram your dry bag full of stuff, and pull it out/throw it in without having to remove the main bag. For the Bikamping trip, I had an inflatable camping pad, a change of clothes, gloves, hat and jacket in the main bag. The front bag has a water-resistant zipper on it, and can be used for anything. I used it to tote food products. It was pretty splendiferous. (In reality, depending on how tight you make the end closures on the handlebar bag, it likely holds 15-18L. The end closures are standard “fold over and clip shut” closures as you’ll find on most drybags).
As you can see in the pics, I could reach either bag while riding…which was handy for grabbing snacks. Again, with the Jones Loop bars, the bag works perfectly. I’ve also seen them be used on everything from drop bars to flat bars with great success. The front bag mounts to the main bag with straps that have velcro sewed to them…so you can position the front bag wherever you want for maximum accessibility. I was amazed that, even with a pretty hefty load in them, there was hardly any impact on the bike’s steer-ability. It seemed to have less effect than front panniers, which doesn’t make sense, but that’s how it feels.
The quality of materials and craftsmanship is unsurpassed. It’s really amazing–totally durable, waterproof fabrics, double or triple-reinforced/stitched seams, etc. The velcro is super-heavy duty, and buckled straps are used where serious loads are encountered.
The stem bag has nice, semi-rigid inserts in the side walls that keep it upright and structured. That means that whatever you put in it stays however it was when you put it in…no crushed food, no mashed bags. I’ve used it in pretty heavy downpours, and while it isn’t advertised as being waterproof, it will hold out any rain that I’ve encountered. Obviously, it’s super handy, being mounted right at the stem.
What can I say about these bags? Here’s the highest praise I can offer: there’s nothing I would change. I can’t offer a single piece of constructive criticism. They’re priced fairly, they function flawlessly, they have a great aesthetic, and they feel like they’ll last forever. Plus, there’s no big corporate monster that you’re feeding into…if you email TPR, you get Scott. When I worked with him, his delivery estimate was spot-on. Want custom colors? Custom fabric? Custom zippers/pockets/features? No problem. His kit–it just plain works. A RATG A+, if e’er there was. The Porcelain Rocket’s Flickr album is available here.