Earlier this week, Specialized treated me to their new 16 ounce Keg with Tool Wrap storage solution. As someone who has identity issues when it comes to carrying flat-fixing tools on the bike–do I mess up my bike’s clean lines with an ugly saddlebag, or do I stuff my pockets full with a jersey pouch? Honestly, I’m not a huge fan of either option (although I fall on the full pocket side generally).
I’ve heard of folks carrying their tubes and patch kits in an empty water bottle in the past, and have always thought it was a great idea unless you’re on a long ride and really need two water bottles. With this conundrum in mind, I’m still rather undecided on how to use the Keg, but Specialized has streamlined the old water bottle trick with the stout and useful piece of storage that is really kinda plain old cool.
The Keg, at least the kind I received, has a tool wrap with slots that hold everything you’ll need for on-the-road repairs in a velcro-strapped circle. You can set a C02 pump (well, a bare cartridge and chuck), tightly wrapped tube, mini tool, and tire levers in the tool wrap. It seems that you can fit a great deal more when you’re setting it in the wrap all laid out, but stuffing it into the keg is another matter entirely. I fiddled with the placement of each item before I settled on what seemed to fit the keg best. In theory, the little tab you see sticking up to the left of the image fits an extra C02 cartridge, but in practice it refuses to fit in the keg’s opening. With my already minimalist minitool (5 allen keys in Lezyne’s tiniest size), naked C02 and small chuck, tube wrapped as economically as possible (albeit still in the customary ziploc bag with baby powder sprinkled liberally inside), and two tire levers, I could barely squeeze the wrapped and velcro strapped package in the keg. My dreams of fitting in an extra GU or two were quickly suffocated in the tight confines of the tool keg. But heck, it did all fit neatly.
Perhaps the coolest feature is the cap stash for glue-less patches and scuffer. I fit a whole stack of stick-on patches with the scuffer pad underneath them in the special screw top space under the cap. Pretty slick on Specialized’s part. If you do want to carry traditional glue and patches, There does seem to be enough space on top of the tool wrap–especially if you just leave the red cap stash out.
On short rides, or on a route that would offer opportunities to refill a bottle, I might pop this into one of my cages. I’ve also considered adding Specialized’s new behind the saddle cage, but that feels only slightly better than just carrying a saddlebag. But overall, I don’t see the Keg as a real solution for me. It’s definitely cool, yes, especially with a matching water bottle. As for usefulness, my hydration needs seem to dismiss the thought of sacrificing valuable bottle cage space.
My questions continue, but perhaps you readers have other suggestions. Comment below!