Review: Revelate Tangle Bag

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By Sanny

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Not so long ago, if you wanted to go touring with your bike, the options for carrying kit were pretty simple. First and foremost, you would want to pick a rack. Humphing several kilogrammes of gear on your back might seem easy at first but it doesn’t take long to appreciate riding unencumbered. Your back will thank you for fitting a rack and letting your bike take the strain. Next, you would have selected panniers and perhaps a bar bag. For me, Karrimor were the brand of choice and I still go misty eyed at the thought of their Kalahari mountain range in black and fluro yellow. They were the mutt’s nuts. However, what is fine for road touring can be a real bind off road. Panniers have an unerring ability to seek out and find every protruding rock and bike grabbing section of undergrowth, often making backcountry singletrack a bit of a chore as you clatter through the trail with monotonous inevitability. Recognising that there could be a better way of carrying kit, Eric at Revelate Designs (formerly Epic Designs) pretty much revolutionised off road touring with his designs. Bikepacking was born and off road touring had a new face.

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The bag is constructed from waterproof fabric which has proven to be hard wearing and waterproof throughout the period of the test despite several soakings and washings with a hose.

Having tested the Mountain Feed Bag from Revelate Designs previously and come away impressed, I was excited to receive a Tangle frame bag through my door. It was my first experience of a bag that fits inside a frame and as such I came with no real notion of what to expect. In terms of design, the Tangle bag is basically a rectangular bag that attaches to the underside of the top tube by Velcro with two stabilising straps attaching it to the top of the down tube. The bag is divided into two full length zippered apartments with the inside of the bag being a snazzy red colour which doesn’t show the dirt even after extended use. The main compartment is accessed from the drive side while the narrower compartment is accessed from the non-drive side. The bag is constructed from waterproof fabric which has proven to be hard wearing and waterproof throughout the period of the test despite several soakings and washings with a hose. Sewn in Velcro straps attach the bag securely to the top tube while webbing attachments with low profile cams and rubber end housings secure the bag to the seat and down tube. Once cinched down, the bag is rock solid with no appreciable movement even on the roughest of terrain. Available in three sizes, I opted for the medium which proved an excellent fit on my large Salsa Fargo and Beargrease, my 57 cm Kinesis Tripster and my large long term Surly Ice Cream Truck.

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The bag is marketed as waterproof. While I am always cynical about such things, I can’t say that I have ever noticed any obvious leaks and have not had to resort to dry bags.

So after several months of use from everything from fast and light trips on my Kinesis Tripster to long days in the mountains on my Ice Cream Truck and multi day bikepacking trips, it has seen a lot of action. While I had initial misgivings about the waterproof style zips, these have proven to be surprisingly durable. The design has subsequently been upgraded to thicker zips which to my mind is a definite improvement as I expect that these will ultimately prove to be more durable in the long term. I’ve carried all manner of things in it but now have a fairly constant list of essentials which fit in. With a bit of careful packing, I can carry my waterproof, survival bag, a light, first aid kit, tools, puncture kit, spare tube, spare gloves, a hat, phone and a couple of energy bars. At a push, I can get my pump in too although I usually frame mount it. No more searching around for various essentials. Just jump on my bike and go. The bag is marketed as waterproof. While I am always cynical about such things, I can’t say that I have ever noticed any obvious leaks and have not had to resort to dry bags. Sitting securely beneath the top tube, there is only a marginal impact on the bikes handling in cross winds while I would struggle to notice any impact when riding on tight, twisty, turny singletrack.

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So what would I change? By design, frame bags will always wear away at a frame so helicopter tape or similar should be used at all the points of attachment. As such, figure in the time and cost of doing this. I would have liked a pump attachment point within the bag but this has been addressed in the 2015 version of the bag. The webbing straps have also been upgraded by being polyurethane coated which should make them slightly less abrasive. With the chunkier zips on the latest incarnation of the bag, I genuinely can’t find anything to fault. I never realised just how useful such a bag could be until I used this one. Safe to say, I’m a convert.

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DEALS ON REVELATE TANGLE BAGS

Review Info

Brand:Revelate
Product:Tangle Bag
From:http://backcountrybiking.com
Price:£76 (Medium)
Tested:by Sanny for 7 months

Mark Alker

Singletrack Publisher

What Mark doesn’t know about social media isn’t worth knowing and his ability to balance “The Stack” is bested only by his agility on a snowboard. Graphs are what gets his engine revving, at least they would if his car wasn’t electric, and data is what you’ll find him pouring over in the office. Mark enjoys good whisky, sci-fi and the latest Apple gadget, he is also the best boss in the world (Yes, he is paying me to write this).

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