Wanderlust Gear Updates Rattlesnake and Beargrass Bags: First Look
A few months ago, Wanderlust Gear announced some major updates to their Rattlesnake Stem Bag and new color options for the Beargrass Top Tube Bag. We got our hands on the complete set and put together a first look here…
We’ve already taken a look at both the Wanderlust Gear Rattlesnake and Beargrass Bags in previous articles, including Colt’s full Wanderlust kit review from 2017. However, it’s clear that the Austin-based company saw room for improvement and jumped on the opportunity to make it happen. I’ve been using both bags for the past few weeks, on a mix of long day rides and foul-weather commutes, so we decided to put together a first look to showcase their updates.
Rattlesnake Stem / Bar Bag
First off, the new Rattlesnake Stem Bag maintains its unique square shape and burly design that we appreciated in the Stem Bag Roundup we published a few years back. Wanderlust also stuck with a DWR Cordura exterior, DWR Packcloth interior, and three attachment points.
- Weight 156g (5.5oz)
- Dimensions9.5″ x 4″ (24 x 10cm)
- Place of Manufacture USA
So, what’s changed? First off, the updated Rattlesnake is slightly taller to accommodate larger bottles, including a 32oz Nalgene, which means it also swallows up and secures a standard 500ml cycling bottle. The exterior mesh pocket has been replaced by two durable elastic pockets, allowing for four accessible pockets when running two on either side of your stem. The pockets are large enough to easily fit a standard multi-tool and small pocket knife, or a couple energy bars. I also liked the updated elastic pockets, which as far as I know is a first for stem bags we’ve seen.
It has two velcro strips for the bar and stem and a durable fork crown strap, all of which are now removable and easily replaceable. The lower fork strap is designed around a unique daisy chain cross pattern that allows the user to adjust the bag’s angle depending on personal preference and what other bags are being used on the bars. Wanderlust Gear increased the Rattlesnake’s overall versatility by adding a wealth of nylon daisy chains all over, which means the height and position of the bag can be easily adjusted to fit your stem / bar setup. Although I haven’t used previous versions of the Rattlesnake, Wanderlust claims the new version is also stiffer and keeps its shape better when set up properly. The durable exterior accompanied by a closed cell foam layer inside, plus the bright orange liner, means this stem bag is equally suited to tote a day’s worth of snacks as it is to hold a small camera or a lightweight layer.
I personally like the new elastic pockets. They are very snug, and do a good job at holding whatever I’ve put inside them. The only downside I could see is the lack of drainage, which is less of a problem with mesh pockets – meaning over time dirt and water may have the potential to build up in the pockets. I’ve been riding almost exclusively in rainy weather here in coastal British Columbia, and haven’t noticed any water build up yet. The main closure, although quite burly, doesn’t cinch up quite as tight as other stem bags I’ve used. Nor has it been optimized for one-handed access or closure. Unless sensitive electronics are protected in a small dry bag, I wouldn’t be storing them in the Rattlesnake Stem Bag.
Overall, Wanderlust Gear has done a good job at improving their original Rattlesnake Stem / Bar Bag design. The added stiffness is noticeable, and even with the increases size, the adjustable fork crown strap and various daisy chains means the bag doesn’t sit awkwardly high (or low) on your bars. It may not have the latest one-handed access technology, or the most weatherproof top closure, but the Rattlesnake is clearly designed to last through some serious use.
Beargrass Top Tube Bag
The Beargrass Top Tube Bag hasn’t seen any major updates, besides the new Black Multi-Cam and a limited edition Blue Coyote version. However, if you’re looking for a larger-than-average top tube bag for tools, snacks, or event a small camera, the Beargrass might just be for you.
- Weight 113g (3.9oz)
- Dimensions8.2″ x 4.3″ (21 x 11cm)
- Place of Manufacture USA
Just like the new Rattlesnake Bag, the Beargrass is based around removable and adjustable velcro straps. Two daisy chains (one on the top tube and one for your stem) can accommodate up to six velcro straps, for ultimate stability, or to fit around frame bag straps. A grippy, rubber-like, fabric called Toughtek Gripper on the underside of the bag helps keep things in place and protects your frame. Two HDPE plastic inserts, found in the internal pockets on both sides of the bag, provide rigidity and easy opening. A single YKK Uretek water-resistant zipper does a great job at keeping the weather out (and precious electronics safe and dry).
What stood out for me was the size of the Beargrass. For the first time, I’ve been able to lay my iPhone down flat, protecting its screen and leaving room for all sorts of different snacks and my wallet. I am being honest, I’d much prefer using two stem bags over most kinds of top tube bags, and I’m not sure they provide enough storage to justify an extra bag strapped to my bike. If it’s going to be there, it might as well be huge! The HDPE plastic inserts in the sides of the bag, plus the adjustable velcro straps do a good job ensuring easy one-handed access, and the water-resistant zipper is running extremely smooth so far.
If you don’t already have a stem bag, or have been on the hunt for something a bit more voluminous, or perhaps you just really like the black multi-cam look, the Beargrass Top Tube Bag is a great option. It’s well-made, has enough adjustments to fit most setups out there, is wider than all of the other top tube bags I’ve used previously. It will likely live on my bike for at least the next few months here in British Columbia, providing a safe place for my phone, a few extra bucks, and some snacks.
Both the Rattlesnake Stem / Bar Bag and Beargrass Top Tube Bag are available and shipping from the Wanderlust Gear website, so head to over WanderlustGearUSA.com to get yours today!