PASSPORT TOP TUBE PACK
126g 1.8 litre Grey £19.99
The Passport Top Tube Bag is a neat little pack to hold your knick-knacks during your bike ride of choice. Ideal in many ways for valuables or as an emergency mount for your GPS, it’s been a useful addition to the luggage option list. Of course, whilst it’s designated as bike packing luggage, the same principles apply.
Pros: decent price for size.
Cons: best for light items.
210D nylon is an industrial grade nylon typically used in medical and sporting contexts. In that sense it’s ideal for a top tube bag. In this context it is water resistant as opposed to strictly waterproof. Seams are stitched rather than welded, too, but workmanship is excellent.
A clear, touch screen top, gives a view of phone or GPS screen – although the top tube wouldn’t be my first choice for positioning a navigation device on anything but the most sedate rides, or in an emergency.
The zip is easily accessible, though opening and closing on the fly requires a bit of practice and dexterity -especially in full-finger gloves. Having said that, a zip-tie through the eyelet can help. There’s a cover to protect the zip from rain.
Three Velcro straps will fit even the bulkiest top tube, and are, of course, adjustable for different tube profiles. These hold the bag securely, but on round tubes you can expect, in common with similar models, occasional movement.
Inside, there’s a dayglo yellow, padded tray, with a rigid base. The idea is that the bright colour makes it easier to see small items. There’s also a net, big enough for most mobile phones, including my old iPhone 5, as well as larger models. It’s also been force fed the Mio Cyclo 210 GPS unit. That was a bit fiddly, but there’s plenty of space. Whatever the device, a Velcro strap keeps it in place when you open the bag.
Externally, logos are reflective, adding a little extra presence in the dark. The base is softly paint-job friendly.
20x9.5x9.5cm looks bijoux for 1.8 litres, but you can fit a surprising amount in. Generally, I’ve loaded in keys, my big, fat wallet, with either a mobile or GPS in the net. A small packet of energy snacks has sat there, too. A wedge-pack, such as Passport's Frequent Flyer , seems preferable for tools and tubes etc, simply because weightier multi-tools and such like, have been a recipe for instability – not that this is unique to the Passport Top Tube Bag or a real deal-breaker.
Equally, I’ve been disinclined to stuff it too full; opening on the fly encourages escapees when full to the brim. Again, that would apply to most top opening top tube bags, I’ve seen.
Easy enough to remove at the pub stop, valuables are safe and sound in the padded tray. Electrics in a water-resistant bag? Well, A good direct dousing from the hose pipe caused no ingress, so resistance seems relatively strong. The protective flap over the zip clearly does its job. The outside of the bag was dry in an hour.
Unless gloved up, the touch-screen top has been pretty reliable – even amongst the cack-handed fraternity. On the other hand, looking for more than a second or two at the screen at even a moderate pace, isn’t really what one wants to be doing. Faster riders need navigation devices out front, but that’s less of an issue for more sedate cyclists.
For traditionalists, you can fit an Audax route card in, or even a decent section of carefully folded 1:250000 OS paper map – if you are one of those folk who cut the covers off – or of one of Sustrans NCN pocket maps.
Security of tenure is excellent, but expect some movement when in motion. Solid enough over smooth asphalt road and crushed lime towpath, speeding down a bumpy country lane at 25mph saw the bag slew to one side. Likewise bashing one of those pot-holes. No suggestion of ejection, though, so annoying rather than anything else – and not unique, in my experience of similarly designed models.
Although not officially waterproof, only hell ‘n’ high water riders have much to fear – and they’ll probably go for something fully waterproof. Price-wise, this model is cheaper than some bags with lower capacity. I like the padding, but, again, this is not that uncommon. In other words, this is a well-made, effective bit of gear, but it is not alone. However, well-worth a closer look.