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review

CamelChops Blimp 2.0 handlebar bag

9
£40.00

VERDICT:

9
10
Great looking, well made (in the UK), customisable to match your bike, and great value – an excellent bar bag
Great quality
Handmade in Scotland
Custom colour options
Great value for money
No internal pockets
Weight: 
216g

At road.cc every product is thoroughly tested for as long as it takes to get a proper insight into how well it works. Our reviewers are experienced cyclists that we trust to be objective. While we strive to ensure that opinions expressed are backed up by facts, reviews are by their nature an informed opinion, not a definitive verdict. We don't intentionally try to break anything (except locks) but we do try to look for weak points in any design. The overall score is not just an average of the other scores: it reflects both a product's function and value – with value determined by how a product compares with items of similar spec, quality, and price.

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The CamelChops Blimp 2.0 handlebar bag is inexpensive, looks great and is well made by a small independent business in the UK. There's very little not to love about that.

The rather unusually named CamelChops is a small independent family-run enterprise that launched in 2020. All design and manufacturing is done in-house in Marykirk, Aberdeenshire, and all products are made to order, hence the sheer breadth of custom colour combos and designs that are available. Such is the company's success that there's now a lead time of 7-14 days on all orders.

> Buy this online here

The Blimp 2.0 is a variation on, wait for it, the Blimp bar bag. It's made from tough waterproof fabric with a YKK Aquaguard zip, and has a small external side pocket, Velcro strap handlebar fastenings with a daisy chain on the bag to adjust for width, an elasticated security cord to tie around the head tube, an adjustable elasticated bungee cord, and a front accessory daisy chain that's ideal for mounting a light. Small loops at the ends of the zipped opening can be used to add an aftermarket carrying strap.

2021 CamelChops BLIMP 2.0 handlebar bag - straps.jpg

Thanks to the Velcro straps and the daisy chain at the rear of the bag, tailoring the fit to your bike is straightforward. Even a narrower drop-bar women's gravel bike didn't cause it any problems. It's quick and easy to fit securely, and the Velcro straps accommodated tricky cabling with no dramas. An out-front GPS mount wouldn't be an option with this bag thanks to the positioning, but a headset mounted one should work fine.

I was impressed by how stable the bag is, with little or no movement even on gravel rides. There wasn't even any real need for the security cord that goes around the head tube; it was stable anyway.

2021 CamelChops BLIMP 2.0 handlebar bag - head tube cord.jpg

With its 3-litre capacity, there's room inside for all sorts of bits and bobs such as tools, snacks and low-bulk extra layers. There's nothing in the way of internal pockets, and with the stiffener in place the inside of the bag is a pretty slippery place, so things tend to rattle and bounce about a bit. I generally either made sure the contents were wrapped inside something to stop them rattling, or that the bag was fairly full of mixed soft and hard items.

> Emergency essentials: 10 things to carry with you every ride

If you like your stuff more organised you might want to consider some sort of tool roll or organiser inside, but I found everything accessible and it was easy to use. The zip runs smoothly, with a glove-friendly zip-pull.

The bungee cord underneath the bag is handy for strapping stuff like a jacket, and it's easy to fit a front light to the daisy chain for after dark or winter rides.

2021 CamelChops BLIMP 2.0 handlebar bag - elastic.jpg

The small external side pocket is a good size for a spare tube or small tool kit.

2021 CamelChops BLIMP 2.0 handlebar bag - end pocket.jpg

Although the fabric and zip used are rugged and waterproof, the bag itself isn't guaranteed to be waterproof because of its stitched construction. However, I didn't have any issues with things getting soggy, and certainly the bag is up to the job for short, reasonably heavy rainy spells. The fabric also wipes clean so any road spray doen't cause unsightly stains.

Value and conclusion

At £40, the Blimp 2.0 is great value for money, particularly when you consider the huge range of custom colour options and that it's handmade in the UK by a small independent company. In that respect it's pretty comparable to its fellow UK product, the Restrap Canister Bag at £44.99, but that's only available in 'any colour so long as it is black' and, at 1.5 litres, half the size.

But you can pay more: the Louis & Joy Forest Handlebar Bag is £57, Brooks' Scape Handlebar Pouch has gone up to £60 since we tested it, and Miss Grape's Moon Handlebar Bag and Wizard Works' Lil Presto Barrel Bag are both £65, while Straight Cut's Bagel Bar Bag is £70.

> 15 easy ways to carry stuff on your bike

Given the quality of the build and materials, and its UK boutique pedigree, the Blimp 2.0 is hard to fault for £40. Pick a colour, any colour and support a small independent UK business in the process. It's well made, well designed and great value for money.

Verdict

Great looking, well made (in the UK), customisable to match your bike, and great value – an excellent bar bag

If you're thinking of buying this product using a cashback deal why not use the road.cc Top Cashback page and get some top cashback while helping to support your favourite independent cycling website

road.cc test report

Make and model: CamelChops Blimp 2.0 handlebar bag

Size tested: approx 3 litre

Tell us what the product is for and who it's aimed at. What do the manufacturers say about it? How does that compare to your own feelings about it?

Aimed at all types of cyclist, for all types of bike. A cost-effective and funky way of carrying bits and pieces on the bike.

CamelChops says, ' CamelChops'BLIMP 2.0' is an upgraded version of the standard 'BLIMP' with a side pocket on one end, elasticated front panel with the option of Black/Orange/Purple or Pink elastic.

These also come with independent straps as standard for a little more flexibility with fitting.

All BLIMP 2.0 bags also come with a stiffening liner (Uncovered version) to help hold its shape and act as an extra layer between your bag contents and the elements.

*Please note although our bags are super weather resistant and made from waterproof materials including YKK Aquaguard #5 because our bags are of stitched construction we cannot guarantee they're 100% waterproof'

Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?

From CamelChops:

Approx 3 litres capacity

Huge range of customisable colour combination options

Optional extra of removable internal stiffener (+£4.50)

Water resistant fabric and YKK Aquaguard zip

Daisy chain accessories mount

Daisy chain/velcro strap mounting for easy tailoring of fit

Bungee security cord for attachment to headtube

Small external side pocket

Rate the product for quality of construction:
 
9/10

Extremely well made from superb quality components and fabric. Even the removable stiffener fits snugly and easily, with no protruding or catching on the zip.

Rate the product for performance:
 
7/10

Does everything very well, although the lack of internal pockets means things do rattle about a bit inside.

Rate the product for durability:
 
8/10

This bag isn't going anywhere in a hurry.

Rate the product for weight (if applicable)
 
7/10

Neither the lightest nor the heaviest we've tested, but sits nicely in the sweet spot of durable and low bulk/weight.

Rate the product for value:
 
10/10

It's excellent value compared with most we've tested, added to which it's handmade in the UK and comes in fully customisable colour combos.

Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose

Very well indeed.

Tell us what you particularly liked about the product

It's well made, all the colour options, that it's handmade in Scotland, and great value for money.

Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product

No internal pockets.

How does the price compare to that of similar products in the market, including ones recently tested on road.cc?

It compares very well. The Restrap Canister Bag, also made in the UK, is £44.99, but is only available in black and half the size, Brooks' Scape Handlebar Pouch is £60, Louis & Joy's Forest Handlebar Bag is £57 (in the 1.5L size), Miss Grape's Moon Handlebar Bag (2L) and Wizard Works' Lil Presto Barrel Bag are both £65, and Straight Cut's Bagel Bar Bag is £70.

Did you enjoy using the product? Yes, it swiftly became a favourite.

Would you consider buying the product? Definitely

Would you recommend the product to a friend? Yes

Use this box to explain your overall score

This is an excellent little bag, well made (in the UK) and available in a huge variety of colour combos. It's rugged and does its job well. Some internal pockets would be nice, but it's far from a deal-breaker at this price.

Overall rating: 9/10

About the tester

Age: 48  Height: 1.65m  Weight: 77kg

I usually ride: Liv Invite  My best bike is: Specialized Ruby Elite

I've been riding for: Over 20 years  I ride: Most days  I would class myself as: Experienced

I regularly do the following types of riding: commuting, touring, sportives, general fitness riding, mtb,

Lara has been riding bikes for longer than she'd care to admit, and writing about them nearly as long. Since 2009 she has been working as part of the road.cc review team whilst championing women's cycling on the side, most notably via two years as editor of the, sadly now defunct, UK's first and only women's cycling mag, erm, Women's Cycling. 

Believing fervently that cycling will save the world, she wishes that more people would just ride a bike and be pleasant to each other. 

She will ride anything with two wheels, occasionally likes to go fast, definitely likes to go far and is always up for a bit of exploring somewhere new and exciting. 

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