A few years back, I was riding my local trails and enjoying the heck out of my day when I was treated to my first flat in a long time. Since the genesis of products like Stan’s and Orange Seal flats have become less common, though, they still happen. This has been a beneficial form of progress in my eyes as it has been an improvement in riding with fewer flats and better tire contact that is often the result of running lower tire pressure. I did find one slight flaw on my ride that day….from my saddle bag. When I pulled my tube out of my bag and pumped a bit of air in I heard the sound no one wants to hear. A hole in the spare tube is always unfortunate and results in a guaranteed character building event. As I shouldered my bike and began the not-so-joyful hike home, my mind pondered how to avoid this in the future.
Through my searches I came across the Backcountry Research Mutherload strap. It claimed that it could solve my challenge of damaged tubes from being tossed around in any bag. I have used the straps countless times on many rides and that claim has remained true. Admittedly, I am slightly more mindful of my back up tubes and change them out more frequently since that unfortunate day but I have not experienced a tube issue with the use of the straps. I typically use the strap as a full blowout kit; multi-tool, lever, & tube. The straps are quite well made and do not feel flimsy. They also use a classic cinch system to tighten the strap which results in a firm hold of whatever you put in there. The strap uses a solid and denser velcro that has not come unstrapped in any way in my experience. The strap uses a webbing system to secure the load inside, then you attach the strap to the frame and cinch it down. Where the load touches the bike frame there is a good sized patch of rubber to keep the load from slipping. I can move my normal strap with my hand with some effort but it doesn’t move on it’s own. I normally run it at the bottom of my seatpost, near the collar.
Where these straps continue to shine is in the cross over use of other items. I use the straps to secure my water bottles that I mount on my fork for any ride requiring bottles mounted there. Though it’s typically not a big issue on roads, straps to hold bottles mounted to my suspension fork are a must on singletrack. The strap has come in hand to secure my growler the last couple winters on the annual January camping trip. It acts nicely as an additional securement to keep precious cargo safe on the ride up the canyon. Using more than one strap can also yield some quality cargo carrying capacity. I have rolled my tent tightly in fast fly form (pole, fly, footprint) and been able to use two Mutherload straps attached to my top tube to carry my tent.
I purchased my strap a while back and for a cheaper price than they are available now. When I picked one up it was 3 for $24, now they are $19 per strap. Regardless of the pricing the straps have held up well over time and appear to be likely to continue on that path. They do a great job for what they are intended for as well can be helpful in a pinch. A friend had a strap on a bag break so it was nice to be able to pull an unused one out of my bag and offer to help their situation. Before making a purchase on this strap it’s worth taking a look at the variations offered. I would expect the quality of my straps is similar to the other ones they offer. They still offer the 3 pack discount and they come in a rainbow of colors & patterns for all the self expression you can handle. I went with Tie dye for all of mine back then and was jazzed to see that have even more choices so that matchy-matchy nirvana can be achieved for those who seek it. Given all the odd nooks and cranny’s we find on frames now, especially those of the full squish persuasion, it makes a lot of sense to have these straps to take advantage of all the space you can as well as having freedom to put it wherever you need it that ride.
For more, visit BackcountryResearch.com