Rogue Panda Oracle Rolltop: limpet-like storage.
As bikepackers, we’re often in search of extra cubby holes to store gear, particularly in ways that won’t impact a bike’s handling. Rogue Panda’s Oracle Rolltop Downtube Bag is one such option, making use of the downtube real estate on bikes without eyelets. It can also, with the right configuration, slot above a water bottle on those that have more room to spare.
Bikepacking encourages paring down our possessions to the minimum. But sometimes we need just a little extra room. Perhaps the bike we’re riding has a suspension linkage, or the frame itself is petite, or there’s no provision for a water bottle or cargo cage below the downtube. In such instances, a discreet peripheral bag, attaching limpet-like below the downtube, offers a valuable pocket of additional storage space.
Rogue Panda’s Rolltop Oracle is a bigger, bolder evolution from the previous zippered model we featured in our accessory bag roundup. It’s a change we’re glad to see; after all, forgoing the convenience of zips in areas prone to muck and mud makes good sense.
Installation is a quick and easy process, with velcro straps initially holding the bag to the downtube. Given the wide opening of the rolltop, it’s easy to ferret around for what you’re after and pack everything just so, while the simple rolltop closure keeps everything snug and predominantly watertight. Once rolled up, two secondary straps, complete with locking buckles, reach around both the bag and downtube to hug everything together. Then, it’s just a case of cinching the straps and locking their buckles down, so there’s no risk of anything loosening off while riding.
Build quality is definitely on the stout side. The Oracle has clung to my bike on a 500-mile dirt road tour with no signs of escape. And it’s currently doing the same in Peru, along roads that have been incredibly rugged and washed out. It even acts as a mud guard of sorts; and with no zipper to worry about, I’m happy to let it do so. Backed with Hyperlon where the bag meets the downtube, there’s no indication of wear whatsoever.
In terms of sizing, I’d describe as similar to that of a generous south western burrito. Right now, it’s stowing my tool/spares pouch, a bottle of sealant, a couple of emergency bottom bracket cups, my rear blinkie, and the cleaning kit for my Sawyer filter – important odds and ends I don’t need to access all that often.
Most bikepackers will use a downtube bag in lieu of running a water bottle or an Anything/Manything Cage, and the Oracle certainly does a great job as a replacement. On longer trips, I actually like to run both water bottle and downtube bag, if possible. Given that the Oracle clings tighly enough to the downtube not to slip (especially when strategically placed between the velcro tabs of your framebag), it works out well when positioned above the 64oz Klean Kanteen that I favour for longer, more remote tours.
Whether this works for you will depend on frame size, wheel size, and geometry. Bikes that are suspension corrected tend to have plenty of space to spare; just make sure there’s no risk that the tire rubs the bag when the suspension compresses.
In a similar vein
- Roll top offers easy access.
- Super tough.
- Locking buckles ensures it won’t lossen off when you cinch it up tight.
- Adds a little bit of weight… but not much!
- Weight 110g (3.9oz)
- Capacity 1.5L
- Place of manufacture Arizona, USA
- Price $75 ($60 at time of review)
- Contact Rogue Panda Designs
Although I don’t currently own a bike without downtube water bottle mounts, I’ve still managed to put the Oracle to excellent use. Over my last couple of journeys, it’s been the perfect cubby hole for stashing my tool pouch, some spares, a bottle of sealant, a blinkie, and whatever emergency snacks I can jam in there too. The inclusion of straps that cinch tight and lock down works really well, particularly if you’re running the Oracle higher on the downtube and need to make sure there’s room between the bag and the tire. And I especially like the roll-top design and its ease of access. After hundreds of miles of use, the Oracle has proved hardy enough too; under the crusty patina of dirt and dust, it’s as good as new.