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Roam the planet ... carry stuff ... in the Tool Tube

Posted By Ron Davis (#111820), Tuesday, January 31, 2017

I’m one of those guys who believes you can never carry too much stuff, so nothing bugs me more than seeing empty spaces on my bike that could be stuffed with gear. On my F 700 GS, I just couldn’t ignore the gaping cavity between my right pannier and rear of my bike. There are custom-made boxes and bags designed to hold goodies in spaces like these, but a cost/benefit analysis, colored by the shabby pink state of my checkbook, had me searching for a more economical solution. That was when I ran across the Tool Tube.

tooltube mega tube
Tool Tubes can be ordered in three sizes with accessories such as tool rolls, fuel or water bottles, and lock sets. All come with an assortment of mounting hardware. Pictured is the “MegaLock Moto Kit.”

Storage tubes similar to the Tool Tube are sold by most of the main moto accessory vendors, and indeed, they can also be found in many other kinds of markets. A true crossover hit, I have a hunch screw-top storage tubes like these were originally intended for holding welding rods, but it didn’t take riders long to see their potential for stowing gear like tools, fuel, and water in small spaces. I have also seen them mounted as standard equipment on heavy machinery to hold manuals. What makes the Tool Tube versions different is the variety of sizes, the clever accessories, and the mounting options.

I probably could have gone with the original Tool Tube, which is about a foot deep and four inches wide. I knew one of these would easily fit inside my pannier rack, but since I wanted to make the most of the space, I decided to order the “Mega Tube” which is an inch wider, hoping I could make it work. Like all the canisters from Tool Tube, the Mega is offered in a variety of kits and packages. For instance, some kits come with Primus fuel bottles, while others include a tool roll and/or locking mechanisms, though you can also go ala carte and choose any options you want. I ordered the “MegaLock Moto Kit” ($34) which comes with a clever steel cable and padlock system for securing the top. I still have my eye on the “NanoTube,” however, which has an inside diameter of about two inches and looks to be perfect for maps, a decent flashlight, or documents, and like all the Tooltubes, it is offered in a locking kit.

tooltube rearview
The Tool Tube provides a solid, secure option for a bit more storage wherever there’s some open space.

Where and how a rider mounts a Tool Tube is only limited by his or her imagination. All models come with assorted stainless, rubber-sleeved clamps and/or zip ties and bolts with nylock nuts. I love the problem-solving process of making a farkle like this work where I want it, and in my case I fabricated some aluminum brackets to anchor the Mega Tube to my pannier rack in a rock-solid position well up and away from the running gear. The Tool Tube site also offers all kinds of mounting hardware and locks to suit, but one of the best features of the website is a huge gallery of photos showing how all kinds of riders have mounted Tool Tubes on all kinds of bikes.

Tool Tubes are constructed of injection-molded polypropylene with integral mounting brackets featuring molded bolt holes. A neoprene gasket seals contents from water or dust.

Though my son calls me “cheap,” I prefer to think of myself as “thrifty,” and with prices ranging from only $16 for the standard Tool Tube to $66 for the MegaLock Tool Roll Kit, these storage solutions are my kind of bargain. Ordering was slick and quick through PayPal, and delivery was very prompt. For more information, visit TheToolTube.com.

tooltubeside
Integral brackets, mounting clamps, nuts and bolts are provided with Tool Tubes, but a little fabrication may be needed to install one on your bike. Use of one of the included zip ties is recommended for bikes that will be seeing off-road use for added security. /

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