JPaks SnakPak Footlong EXT Review
The latest top tube bag from Denver, Colorado-based maker JPaks takes trailside snacks to a whole new level with a high-capacity design and recycled RX30 X-Pac construction. Find Miles’ thoughts on the new JPaks SnakPak Footlong EXT and a comparison with other plus-sized top tube bags here…
When we published our Gear Index with more than 50 top tube bags two years back, there were only a handful of options that came close to hitting the 2L volume mark. Even today, most top tube bags fall between 1L and 1.5L, providing just enough room for a smartphone, wallet, multi-tool, and some snacks. For the average person heading out on a normal ride, that’s a pretty useful addition, especially since top tube bags have nearly no effect on the bike’s handling, keep ride essentials close at hand, and are nearly universally compatible. Most of our favourite bag makers offer their top tube bags in variety of sizes and with various attachment designs (velcro, fixed straps, bolt-on, etc), and some will even customize the bag with different fabrics, custom prints, and other features.
Despite smaller bags being far more common, plus-sized top tube bags have made many appearances over the last few years. Revelate Designs came out with their Mag-Tank 2000 in 2018, Apidura’s Backcountry Long top tube pack came out in 2020, and the latest full-length top tube bag came from Restrap earlier this year, boasting a massive 2L capacity. Plus, some bag makers, including Alpine Luddites, have been offering custom full-length top tube bags to accommodate smaller frame bag space on full-suspension mountain bikes.
Colorado’s JPaks has also been in the big top tube bag game for a while. Throughout that time, they’ve done good job at dialing in the shape and design of the bags—featuring a tapered shape that leaves room for your knees, an internal divider, a high-vis interior, and your choice of a multi-mount daisy chain on the underside or a bolt-on design for bikes with top tube mounts. Up until recently, the SnakPak was offered in three sizes: Standard SnakPak (9.5″ long), Footlong (12.5″ long), and the FarvaPak (15.5″ long). That’s where the new JPaks SnakPak Footlong EXT comes in.
The new Footlong EXT is quite similar to the original Footlong (pictured below right with patch). It shares a similar overall shape and size, including the tapered profile, grippy rubber daisy chain on the bottom, and a high-density foam layer on the bottom and all sides to protect its contents and provide structure. It’s still constructed with a waterproof zipper, dual zipper pulls, and is made from X-Pac with a high vis-interior. Where it differs is the height of the bag throughout its length, rounding up slightly before tapering down toward the nose of the bag. It’s not a huge difference, but it’s noticeable, especially since I’ve spent so much time using the standard Footlong over the last few years.
Without nerding out too much, the Footlong EXT is everything I love about the original version but with a slightly larger form. The updated lines are aesthetically pleasing, the extra volume is useful without being too long or wide, and it’s just as stable as the smaller version. Using the included velcro straps or swapping out the head tube strap for a Voile Nano Strap, it stays in place no matter how packed it is or how rough the trail gets. At 6’1″ tall, I haven’t had any issues with clearance while standing over the top tube, but Emily did mention it was a touch long for her taste. Unless you’re okay with some standover interference or are in desperate need of additional space for snacks, plus-sized top tube bags are probably better suited for taller riders or bikes with long top tubes.
Compared to some other my other favourite top tube bags, the Footlong EXT actually sits a little lower, tucking up neatly behind lower-positioned stems without much overflow. Its capacity can be attributed to both its width at the stem and its overall length, which are wider and longer than most of the other bags in my collection. I’ve also found that the tapered profile of JPaks’ SnakPaks helps create a wobble-free setup, even when using two removable straps. The bags below (from left to right) are the Revelate Designs Mag-Tank 4000, Wizard Works Go-Go Long, Rockgeist Cache XL, and JPaks SnakPak
- Handmade in Colorado
- High volume for lots of snacks and ride essentials
- New shape looks good without feeling much larger on the bike
- Internal divider, foam panels, and grippy daisy chain all help create a solid setup
- Likely too large for some riders and frames
- Not 100% waterproof but very weather resistant
- Tapered end is sometimes awkward to get items out of
- Over $100 is at the top end of top tube bags out there
- Capacity: 2L
- Material (as tested): RX30 X-Pac
- Weight: TBD
- Place of Manufacture: Colorado, USA
- Price: $109 USD
- Manufacturer’s Details: JPaks.com
Maker Joe Tonsager and JPaks has dialed in his top tube bag design to the point that I’m not sure how it could get any better. The SnakPak Footlong EXT builds on a proven design of a high-capacity and tapered bag but adds a touch more volume and a classy new profile. Just like the rest of the small brand’s bags, including the new Refugi handlebar harness I reviewed earlier this month, the construction and attention to detail are top-notch. I’ve tried my fair share of top tube bags, and the JPaks Footlong and Footlong EXT are by far my favourites. Keep an eye on JPaks’ website, as they’ll be updating the site next week with the new offering.
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