E.H Works Tool Roll
The tool roll is arguably one of the most important items in your pack list. This essential piece of kit not only includes the essentials to keep your bike on the move, but additionally its contents can be used to fix your tent, stove, panniers, shoes or pretty much any other unforeseen breakages on the road. However, I would advise using a first aid kit and not the tool roll to look after any personal injuries! Band Aid before Leatherman…..E45 cream before WD40…..tweezers before pliers….oh you get the idea. The tool roll keeps everything organised in one place and provides the touring cyclist with a degree of sanity in times of mechanical chaos. Obviously every tool roll is personal to the rider and reflects a spectrum of varying factors including your bike, pack list and even riding style. Thus, don’t make the same mistake as me and purchase a tool roll already containing an assortment of tools for the road.
I originally purchased the Brooks Tool Roll and was hugely disappointed. I am a huge fan of brooks and recently published a gleaming review of their saddle the Flyer. That said, their tool roll was, I’m disappointed to say, pretty annoying. The tools supplied were good enough and almost comprehensively covered bicycle maintenance, but the tool roll itself was frustrating. The tools are held in place using one strip of leather that doubles up as the strap that secures the whole thing together via a buckle on the front. Regardless of how much I tightened the strap the tools inside were not held securely and would slip out and end up all over the place. Moreover, I soon realised that the tool roll did not contain many items that I needed to service both my bike and the rest of my gear. When I did add other items it caused the roll to bulge and exasperated its inefficiency to hold the tools in place. I sold the Brooks Tool Roll and invested in a hand made alternative from the Seattle based company E H Works and have never looked back.
Erica Hanson has a tremendous amount of experience in product and apparel design and is the founder and brains behind E H Works. There's one fundamental reason I love Hanson's work, she keeps things simple. This ethos of functional simplicity is something that’s made clear on the E H Works website and is unquestionably the quintessential factor in their products. Their tool rolls are hand made using waxed canvas, leather trim and a leather toe strap to secure everything in place. The result is a hard wearing, practical and attractive design that will suit both the hardline touring cyclist and the city dwelling single speed fashionista! I had a look through their range and eventually went for the “ ESSENTIAL “ tool roll in medium ( 16” x 7” ). I have to say that when the tool roll arrived I was a little concerned that It would be too small for all my gear and wondered whether I should’ve ordered the large. However, these worries soon disappeared and I found myself thinking quite the opposite! The medium “ ESSENTIAL “ may look relatively small but It ate up my tools and accessories with ease and unlike the Brooks Tool Roll it held all my gear securely in place. Furthermore, despite its conservative dimensions, you can pack the “ ESSENTIAL “ to bursting point as the leather toe strap allows you to apply enough tension to hold everything securely, even when bulging with accessories. Additionally, the toe strap allows you to attach the tool roll to the bike itself, for example under the saddle or to a bottle cage, this provides easy access to your tools at all times and alleviates any need to search through your panniers at the side of the road!
In conclusion, I love my new E H Works tool roll. The company have created a beautifully simplistic, yet functional, product. Their use of quality hard wearing materials not only provides an organised and hassle free storage option for your tools and accessories, but also allows you to seamlessly attach them directly to your bicycle. The “ ESSENTIAL “ caters for all, with a choice of three sizes and a well laid out selection of pockets it provides ample storage for everything you need to keep on riding.