Camel Chops is a family-run bike bag operation from Aberdeenshire, Scotland. Since 2020, they have been creating jazzy custom bags as well as a regular line-up. In this review, Lew takes out one of the Camel Chops' smaller offerings called the Chip Frame Bag and gets to know what it's good for, and what it's not. Let's go.
Gravel cycling lends itself to gathering bags and hoarding gear. Get into bikepacking and you'll be overrun with countless packing solutions. Bar bags, frame bags, bags that fit under saddles, top tubes, forks… the list goes on and on. I've bought more bags now than I'd care to admit and use only a very small fraction of them. But what about the Chip—one of Camel Chop's frame bag offerings? Where does that fit it?
Scotland has more than its fair share of rain and it's no surprise that Camel Chops pride themselves on making robust and waterproof kit. In fact, their entire line-up is weather resistant and put through the test in Aberdeenshire. As a family-run business with an in-house manufacturing team, they're able to provide custom bag-making services alongside offering their standard stock. Since 2020, they've been offering a selection of bags that make for excellent company on loads of different rides.
The Chip is a handy, minimal frame bag for those who want to carry items off their body when heading out on a ride where they will have a chance to stock up along the way. Cafe riders will rejoice at the space to be able to throw a GoPro, spare layer, keys and inner tube. Shove a bit of cash in the internal pocket and away you go knowing you've got all you need in the usually unused space at the front of the frame.
At 300mm long and 170mm at its highest, the Chip is what I would call a ¼ frame bag. Small enough to take up only the very front of the frame triangle however not really large enough to take a whole lot of gear. Depending on how you pack, the Chip is not what I would count as a day pack. While testing, the Chip was not quite big enough for my tools, food, and a spare layer. Camel Chops happen to make a range of bags and in hindsight, their Uneven Steven might have been a better size fit.
That said, the Chip is certainly weather resistant. It's not a mentioned feature on the Camel Chops product page but from personal use I've found it stands up well to a decent downpour. After an incredibly misty ride, the Chip didn't even begin to dampen on the inside. The weather-resistant zip certainly goes some way to dealing with moisture, but the weather-proof internal lining is surely the key to it being so robust. Throw in the internal pocket and I'd be confident in saying that your phone and cash would be safe during all but the very worst downpours.
Whilst we talk about construction, the material used (which I suspect is Cordura 1000D as used in most of the rest of their lineup) is bombproof. Scuffs and scrapes are shrugged off readily and gives the bag its form factor. There's some give in this, as the bag isn't reinforced internally by any wiring (a good decision in my mind) so it can be shoved into most frames.
The fastening of the bag by five velcro loops meant that I couldn't make it budge on any of my rides—no matter how hard I tried. I'd initially thought that the lack of length, and therefore the lack of rear loop attaching to the seat stay, would mean some wiggling underneath me. However, it simply didn't happen. Over rough ground, the Camel Chops Chip sat strong and in place. There was an additional elastic fastener and toggle which came attached to the front of the bag, however, I couldn't really find a suitable use for this and simply removed it.
Whilst most people would be happy to know the bag is waterproof and doesn't move, I always try to look for more. For me, the beauty is in the minute details that separate a good bag from a great bit of kit. The Camel Chops Chip sits in the great category. Reflective detailing towards the front of the bag is subtle but doubles up as a zip cover to ensure there's no risk of rain dripping into a zip accidentally left open. Low-impact branding isn't in your face and sits with the premium design overall. It's the zip toggles that stand out to me though. Rubberised at the ends, they offer extra grip in the wet and I've found that it's made the world of difference where I've not once missed opening the bag.
Evaluating the look of something is always subjective but I really like the subtle olive of the Chip's design. But, unlike other manufacturers, the aesthetics are never going to be a problem with Camel Chops as they're able to offer custom colourways to suit any need. They've got a mix of standard stock with some designs being really subtle, whilst others are totally off the wall. Whatever you want, it seems they've got it… and if they don't, well, give them a message and they'll put it together for you.
At £49, Camel Chops are offering a robust, beautifully finished bit of kit at a very reasonable price. There's a real feeling that Camel Chops have done some serious testing in the wet Scottish weather, where they're based, to make sure their kit functions as good as it possibly can in the wet. The Chip isn't the bag for someone looking for plenty of room to take on a multi-day bikepacking trip. But it's undoubtedly a solid bag if you're looking to store the essentials and want to keep them dry when the weather turns sour. One thing's for sure, the Chip won't be that small bag you bought, used once, and then left in the bottom of the cupboard.
Get it here.
|Robust and weather resistant|
|Small, family-run business|
|Details to help handle the wet|
|It's small. Buy bigger if you're expecting to fit loads in|