For under $30, Slap Bag brings simple utility.
Handlebar mounted “feed” style bags have exploded in popularity in recent years accompanied by an ever increasing number of manufacturers and options. Many of these bags focus on giving bikepackers as many storage compartments and options as possible. Slap Bags take a different approach, focusing on giving riders a very spartan and reliable product – a single pouch that opens and closes with one hand.
After a successful Kickstarter campaign in 2016, Boulder based Slap Bag was launched. All bags are made in the USA and available in 6 colors as of writing. The Dropper Post received our bag earlier this summer for a season of field testing.
The body of the bag is constructed out of XPack X21 material – designed to provide a high degree of durability, water resistance and some structural rigidity. In addition to its technical attributes, the fabric has a very outdoor and technical aesthetic look to it, especially in the slate gray version we were given for testing. The body forms a single interior pouch that is able to hold a trail ride’s worth of snacks, your phone, and keys. I’ve even been able to fit a hard sunglasses case in there along with a few other items. The biggest limiting factor to the Slap Bag compared to its competitors is the depth of the pocket, while the horizontal volume is comparable to others.
Unlike most feedbags which utilize a drawstring for their closure system, Slap Bags rely on a bendable aluminum bar in the back of the closure and a semi-flexible material up front to open and close the bag – think “slap bracelets” that were popular years back. That aluminum bar can be formed to snug up nicely into the right angle of any stem/bar combination. There’s little else to the system which is part of the appeal. Not too much can go wrong with the closure.
Four long and evenly spaced Velcro strips have been stitched in along the closure system to provide attachment to your handlebars and stem. The strips are cut plenty long, and I’ve had no issues attaching it to several different bikes. None of my bikes have overly long stems, so the second Velcro strap for the stem has never been used. Even with only a single attachment point being used on the stem, the upper portion of the bag stays firmly in place. Slap Bags lack a lower attachment point like you would find on something like a Revelate Mountain Feedbag. The implications of this are discussed below.
Our Slap Bag has been tested throughout the summer on bikepacking trips, trail rides on a full suspension bike, and constant use while commuting. Single handed operation while riding is easily accomplished, and after being “slapped” closed, I never encountered an accidental opening. Once secured to the bike, the bag all but disappears, only making its presence known on the roughest sections of trails as the lower portion of the body bounces to the undulations of the dirt.
My only gripe with the system is its lack of an attachment point on the bottom of the bag. There have been a few times on trail rides where the bag has bounced and swung more than I’ve cared for. That being said, these were situations of extended rock gardens, or taking flight with the bike. Even still, the potential swaying of the bag has generally led me to avoid placing my phone or other fragile items in the Slap Bag when trail riding or bikepacking. My trail snacks on the other hand don’t seem to mind bouncing along for the ride.
The X21 material has proved to be highly abrasion resistant with no noticeable wear spots after a full summer season, including thousands of miles of 80mph hitch rack time while still attached to a bike. The material does a great job keeping its shape and holding lighter items securely. The closure system is still as firm as the first time it was opened and shows no sign of fatigue. The minimal Velcro straps are still holding strong. And that’s what’s great about the Slap Bag, there’s only 3 parts, and they’re all pretty darn foolproof.
Since receiving our slate gray Slap Bag, it has been a near constant feature on my gravel touring bike (when it’s not being poached by my wife for her own bike). I’ve found the bag to be extremely handy while gravel riding, commuting to work, riding to breweries with friends, or just tooling around town. It also consistently finds its way onto the handlebars of my Kona Process for short trail rides. On backpacking trips, I’ve found great success pairing it with my Revelate Mountain Feedbag – storing heavier or more delicate items in the Revelate while placing food and often-used items in the Slap Bag for easy and convenient access. It’s simple utility combined with low-cost makes it an enticing option for those who ride mostly mellow trails or do a lot of commuting.
If you like to dual-purpose your bikepacking bags for commuting like a lot of us do, the Slap Bag is worthy addition to your kit.
Slap Bags can be purchased at https://www.slapbag.com/
Disclaimer: The Slap Bag was provided to The Dropper Post for testing purposes with no monetary exchange.