Three Tool Rolls: An Introduction – by Guitar Ted
Tool rolls- Those minimalist storage ‘bags’ which snuggle up under your saddle. You may have seen a few in the past. Well, we at RidingGravel.com have decided to check out three offerings. The SILCA Seat Roll Asymmetrico, the KOM Cycling Saddle Tool Roll, and the Topeak Burrito Pack.
Why Use A Tool Roll? The first thing we needed to know is why use one of these at all? There are perfectly good seat bags out there which do the same thing, albeit in what looks like a bit more secure fashion. Well, tradition may be one reason why. Road cyclists were known to have made use of such ways to carry spare tubular tires, and after clinchers took over the tire market, flat repair kits were the cargo of choice. You took only what was necessary to repair a flat- nothing more– and you used the most minimal means possible to attach it to your bicycle, because it weighed the least.
Tool rolls hearken back to this minimalist mindset, and today they typically are there to hold a tube, tire lever, and a CO2 air cartridge: Again, just enough to get you home. They typically now feature a pouch/pocket system, a folded over flap, and a tri-fold layout which then is attached via some sort of strap to your saddle rails, then cinched down tight against them. Now, that is a description of one sort of ‘tool roll’. There are others, but this species of tool roll is what we are interested in here.
You might be attracted to a tool roll as a way to quickly attach a flat repair system, have it be organized, and all that in the most efficient way possible. You may be a fan of old road cyclists traditions, or not. You may even use a tool roll in another bag as a way to identify your flat repair kit quickly and keep it away from other items in your bag. However you come to being interested in these odd little storage devices, we have an overview of three choices to check out. One from a more traditional standpoint, one from a more more modernized view with gravel cycling in mind, and one from a mountain biking perspective.
So, we have these three: The SILCA Seat Roll Asymmetrico, the KOM Cycling Saddle Tool Roll, and the Topeak Burrito Pack. With each tool roll there will be separate thoughts on each tool roll shared in one big “Quick Review”.
These are not the only tool rolls out there, but they represent a good view of what to expect now from this sort of storage device. In the Quick Review upcoming, I will relate my own riding experiences and how I feel each caters to the gravel cyclist. Are they a good way to do this thing, or not?
Note: The Topeak Burrito Pack and the KOM Cycling Saddle Tool Roll were sent to Riding Gravel for test and review at no charge. The SILCA Seat Roll Asymmetrico was purchased at retail from SILCA. We are not being paid, nor bribed, for these reviews and we always strive to give our honest thoughts and opinions throughout.
3 thoughts on “Three Tool Rolls: An Introduction”
I tried seat rolls for a while and went back to a bag. The roll was a hassle- any time you wanted anything, you had to take the whole damn thing off, put it back on. Just opening a bag and grabbing your multi tool is lot easier.
@Andrew – Valid points there. I guess where I come down on tool rolls is that a tool roll is maybe more useful inside a bag. Let’s say you are carrying more stuff like nutrition, maybe a light jacket, maybe you have a set of flat repair tools and you want that separated from other tools and repair parts.
In those cases, I like a tool roll for a quick, easily accessible set of tools. The roll makes for an excellent ‘work mat’ so you can keep track of stuff. When you are finished, it rolls up efficiently and you simply pop that into your main bag and off you go.
But yeah- the fiddly strapping on bit might be a turn off with a traditional tool roll like these. So, I say if you are toting more stuff anyway, you may as well throw that minimalist kit in with the other stuff and employ the tool roll as a means to be better organized.
This is why I say that these maybe appeal only to those who want to have the least amount of tools and repair items, put that into the smallest, lightest repair kit, and live with that. Then a simple tool roll like these featured maybe make sense.