Updated July 2016 – tool pouch failure!
I like to be prepared when I ride. Therefore I tend to carry a lot of tools and a fairly substantial first-aid kit. The problem is, this adds a lot of bulk and weight. I have struggled over the years to find the ideal way to carry everything. I decided to try a tool pouch mounted on the inside of my rear side plastic.
For many years I have used a Wolfman Enduro rear fender bag. It is well made, easy to remove, and cinches down to keep my tools from bouncing too much. But I tend to overfill it, making it difficult to kick my leg over the rear fender.
Several months ago I decided to try the Wolfman Daytripper saddle bags. At first I thought they worked great – I had plenty of room for my tools on one side, my first-aid kit on the other, and still had room to stuff in my rain coat or lunch. It was nice getting much of that weight out of my Ogio Flight Vest, but having that much weight on the bike affected handling. But more important, I found that there was a safety issue. One time I snagged my toe under a tree root. Rather than simply slide off the back of the bike, my leg snagged on the saddle bag and I almost strained my leg. The same could happen when you loop out, or any other time that a quick exit off the back of the bike is necessary. On my Husaberg, I was able to mount a Tool Tube on the inside of my left side panel. This allowed me to store my seldom used tools in the tube, and reduce the bulk in the fender bag. But this option wont’ fit on the newer KTMs.
I have hunted around for something would fit in the narrow space on the KTM, without success.
I then stumbled on a tool pouch made by OBR ADV Gear out of Boise, Idaho. The standard tool pouch was too large, but the owner, Mike, agreed to make me a custom bag that was 4″ tall and 12″ long. He also made it with snaps rather than zippers, since the bag would be covered in mud, water, and dirt much of the time.
Now to mount the tool pouch. I first used some footman loops on the inside of the fender, with two 1″ cam straps to attach the bag. I then used a heated utility blade to cut the straps to length.
The problem with this arrangement was that my tire would sometimes hit the buckles on the straps, and the buckles would get packed full of mud, making them difficult to open.
So I removed the footman loops and cut slots in the fender so I could place the buckles on the outside. This arrangement works much better. I would also be possible to use lower profile straps, but I already had the cam straps.
I placed my seldom used tools in this pouch, inside a heavy duty ziplock bag. I keep my frequently accessed tools in the rear fender bag because it is easier to access. But this side bag reduced the weight on the rear fender and the height of the fender bag, making it easier to swing my leg over.
Update: On a recent moto-camping ride my tool pouch got shredded by new rear tire. I think my saddlebags bouncing around caused the pouch to snag the knobs, tearing the corner off the pouch. Luckily I didn’t loose any tools.
I also picked up a Silky Big Boy 2000 saw for use on multi-day adventure rides. For this, I needed a larger tool pouch. Again, OBR ADV Gear came to my rescue and built a longer version of their tool bag.
Standard tool bag on top, extended bag on bottom
Both bags have lash tabs on the back, so it is fairly easy to strap it onto your bike luggage.
OBR ADV Gear also makes a nice front fender bag that snaps to the fender, but it doesn’t work well with the newer style KTM fender.
Dirt-Bike-Gear makes a different style front fender bag that should work out well. Rather than mount to the fender, it mounts to the forks. This is much more secure and it keeps the weight closer to the axis of rotation, so it shouldn’t affect handling as much as a standard bag.
This bag contains an 18″ and a 21″ TuBliss high-pressure tube and a tow strap.