ILE Transfer Bag

£160.00 available from vamperformance.com

The medic inspired bag but, a whole lot more.

I didn’t know much about ILE bags when a chance came up to review one. I was asked if the Transfer bag would be ok for me (via VAM Performance who distribute ILE bags in the UK). In a laid back way I said sure without much thought to what the bag was or how I would review it with a disc herniation and being on and off the bike. Mostly off the bike sadly (more of that story to come).

So when I got a message the bag was on it’s way I had a look online to what I had said yes to. To my horror it was a race transfer bag. My heart sank a little thinking I really can’t do this sort of bag justice. The bag arrived, I unwrapped and sat it down in front of me wondering what to do. Here was this odd bag meant for racing. I kept staring at it, trying to figure out what to do. Was it really just good for racers? Vam Performance contacted me to ask how I was getting on with the bag and I told them. The reply really confirmed what I thought this bag was…

To sum it up the bag was really rather good and very useful. It might hold the title of Transfer and indeed it does that incredibly well, but who wants a bag just for race day? But seeing as it’s potential to be used as one I tried to fill it with as much gear I might need for a day racing or sportive riding etc… As you can see I managed to fill it with more than enough gear to race or ride in any condition. Managing to fit in everything from base layers to water bottles even larger items like shoes are swallowed up. There are multiple pockets and zipped mesh compartments to sort your gear in to. The bag has a dedicated exterior pocket for the helmet and the bottles one per side of the bag.

Using the bag to access your stuff is one of the neatest features of the bag and this made it so cool to use in everyday situations. Like any good kit bag (there are plenty that are not good) it has two large full length zips that open up the entire length of the bag but this isn’t a bag… That on a rucksack has proved to be a stroke of genius. It made it easy to access something at the bottom of the rucksack without opening the top and rummaging around blindly (pitfalls of a rucksack). It didn’t take long until I got used to that and it made my daily life just a little easier. It still works like a rucksack and has a top opening that has a generous size pocket built in to it that was great to hold phones, wallets, keys and more. In daily use the front helmet pocket doubled up to carry everything from paperwork to jackets.

My main concern was how it would stand up to a good soaking, the material itself didn’t bother me being made from XPAC sailcloth, such a tough material and light but, the side zips, the gap between the top entrance and the main gap did concern. Wasn’t long before the British weather obliged and it stood up to some good soakings. It handled the weather remarkably well. I was also really surprised by the comfort of the bag on the back the simple looking design is deceptive. I’m more sensitive than most as I have a bad disc herniation (L4-L5) and I’m often suffering from sciatic pain. The last thing I want on my back is something that isn’t going to fit or hold up well to being carried on my back in this condition. Honest truth, it’s the comfiest bag I’ve ever had the pleasure of using. I’ve used a lot of bags in my 40 years on this planet too. I tend to only use a sternum strap and was happy there was no waist strap, which are great for hiking but, not in general use or on the bike. Those waist straps annoy me! So ILE got full marks for having the sense to leave off.

What didn’t surprise me was the sheer quality of this bag. It’s handmade in California from US materials and boy do ILE know how to put a bag together. The sewing, the choice of toggles, zips, mesh, and so on, everything is robust and thought out. You just know that ILE have spent a lot of time on bikes and more specifically thinking about bags meant for using on bikes! So confident are they in the materials and craftsmanship of their bags they come with a lifetime warranty. Which eases the price of the bag a little, as you can imagine these bags don’t come cheap. All I can say about the cost is you are paying for something handmade and something not made in a hell hole sweatshop in the [barely] developing world. Whilst I know some won’t be able to justify the cost, this is a bag that you’re going to be using in 20 years time. Big claim that. Well the only other bag I bought for a lot of money and is still working is 20 years old now. Paying for craftsmanship is so important in this day and age of mass production, so if you can and need a new bag – do it (this should be true of every product where there is an option available to you).

Verdict

I could go on about this bag for days, write a book on it but, we like to have a sense of brevity here at Headset Press (and use images to tell a story). I feel really blessed to have the chance to try out such great products and the ILE bag is right up there, not only as a bike product but an everyday product. We all generally need bags and the Transfer bag is just so bloody useful with it’s zips, compartments and robust construction. So if you want one bag to do a lot of things then the Transfer should be your choice. A little fact, this bag was inspired by a medics bag. Genius.

Verdict

I could go on about this bag for days, write a book on it but, we like to have a sense of brevity here at Headset Press (and use images to tell a story). I feel really blessed to have the chance to try out such great products and the ILE bag is right up there, not only as a bike product but an everyday product. We all generally need bags and the Transfer bag is just so bloody useful with it’s zips, compartments and robust construction. So if you want one bag to do a lot of things then the Transfer should be your choice. A little fact, this bag was inspired by a medics bag. Genius.

Rating

Review date: 26 October 2013

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