Topeak CagePack tool pack – review

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Tools and maintenance

Topeak CagePack – review

A useful way to store gear on a ride, but means you have to sacrifice a water bottle

If you want to carry tools on your bike rather than in your pockets, there are a number of ways to do so. Topeak’s CagePack is a carry case that’s designed to be mounted in a bottle cage and offers a surprisingly large amount of storage –although the trade off is that you lose the ability to carry a bottle (or, rather, two bottles).

When I first received the cage pack it sat to the side for a week or two. I’m quite a traditionalist and err on the side of the less weight the better, and less is definitely more when carrying kit. I usually stash a gel, tube and a tool/puncture repair kit in a jersey pocket, with an elastic band holding it all together and, if the weather’s looking dodgy, a plastic bag for money and cards. Light and effective.

The reason the CagePack looks about the same size and shape as a water bottle is simple – it’s meant to be stored in a bottle cage

The CagePack is designed to keep your gear tidy and organised. It does this using a selection of elastic straps and strings inside, along with a mesh pocket and elasticated pouches. These are all attached to the shell that uses Topeak’s FoamShell fabric – a compression moulded foam with a polyester material covering that, in use, proved durable and weather resistant, so it’ll keep mud out and is water resistant but not, it should be noted, waterproof.

Size-wise, it has a diameter of 7.5cm at the widest part, and is 18cm long, similar to a 500ml bottle. It opens right up with a zip three-quarters of the way around the edge, and the zip has a sturdy pull toggle to help with opening if you’re cold, wearing gloves or in a rush.

I used it with several different bottle cages – traditional alloy ones and carbon shapes – and it didn’t always feel safely stowed although there is a loop that you could use to tether it to the cage. On a few bumpy hills I did notice it creeping out of the cage to a degree, and you certainly wouldn’t want it launching out at you on a descent.

It took a fair few uses before I had reason to take it out of the cage and put it to use. The obligatory puncture was the culprit and just being able to slide the pack out of a cage rather than rummaging in pockets was definitely useful. Everything inside the pack is easily to hand, and it’s also a place to put down valve nuts and anything else as I fixed the flat. With the CagePack being black, oil and grime don’t show up easily either, which is always appreciated.

I also tried it out in a jersey pocket, but it’s stiff enough that the shape doesn’t deform, making it uncomfortable in any pocket. Side pockets felt unevenly weighted, and central pockets pushed against the spine. Admittedly it’s not designed for this at all, but it would have been handy to have the option to store it in a pocket as you wouldn’t have to sacrifice a bottle cage to take it with you. That’d especially be an issue on longer rides and in warmer weather where you’d probably be glad of the extra water.

There are plenty of spacers and dividers inside the pack to keep your tools organised and make them easy to find

It doesn’t seem to me like a dedicated road bike accessory, and Topeak seem to agree, positioning it as multi-use – for road, mountain bike and touring. I think it’d probably best serve as a commuting accessory, where its easy removal and generous capacity would make it valuable and effective, and you’re unlikely to need two bottles.

If you carry a selection of tools for various riding, like on and off-road, then you can squeeze a fair amount of gear in, although you can’t fit both and on and off-road tube in at the same time. But if you needed that option then you’d probably want a proper pack anyway.

Conclusion

It’ll depend on your character and organisational requirements as to whether you feel the CagePack is worth it for road rides. It has its advantages over a saddle bag –it’s bigger than many, offers quicker access, and a better layout of tools – but the negatives include the fact that it’s prone to occasionally creeping out of the cage and that you lose the ability to carry two water bottles. It’ll work for some people, but not for others.

Pros

– Good, durable design
– Excellent capacity
– Easy to access in the event of a puncture/mechanical

Cons

– You lose a bottle cage by taking it with you
– Can begin to creep out of the bottle cage on rough roads

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