Camp & Go Slow Rattler Tape: A Contemporary Classic
Weirdly enough, grip tape has never been something I've taken seriously over the years. The most thought I've put into it has been ensuring the color matches my setup, but that's about it. As I sit here writing this, I find myself a bit puzzled as to why that might be, especially considering how much time I spend interfacing with it. For me, tape has always been a straightforward matter; it either worked or it didn't.
For the past two seasons, I've been using BBB Gravel Ribbon Gel grip tape, which came stock on my Landyachtz AB-ST. The folks at Landyachtz seemed to have chosen well, as over time, I learned to absolutely love the stuff. Its rubber was comfy, repelled the elements, and provided solid grip. I was actually quite keen on getting more of it when I met Casey, the co-founder of Camp & Go Slow who offered us a set of his Rattler grip tape to try out. Awesome.
If you haven’t come across Camp & Go Slow’s Rattler tape, it probably means you simply haven't opened Instagram in the past few years (which is honestly kinda good for you). In my feed, it seems that Casey is reigning over a small grip tape empire, with every second bike I see sporting his classic and stylish looking tape. However, judging the tape from a distance, several questions popped into my head. I wondered if it was rugged enough, yet it also seemed somehow too rough. The material appeared almost cloth-like. I found myself questioning its practicality—how could this be effective? And how does it manage to stay clean?
Camp & go what now?
Camp & Go Slow stands out for the unique approach it brings to its cycling apparel, bags, and accessories. The brand's ethos of small-batch, hyper well-designed production is significantly influenced by the background of its co-founder, Casey Clark. As a full-time potter, Casey infuses much of the craftsmanship and artfulness of pottery into Camp & Go Slow's products. This melding of artistic sensibility and practical design is evident in each item they produce. For those interested in understanding more about how Casey's potter's touch shapes the brand, our interview with him is here.
Unwrapping The Details
The Camp & Go Slow Rattler tape comes in two variants, Western and Eastern—warm hues for Western and cool for the Eastern. Even though this might reflect a subtle commentary on the coolness of people who live in easterly places, I won’t leap to any conclusions. Each roll measures a generous 3300 mm in length, which is more than enough to wrap around even the most oversized handlebars—you could practically wrap your refrigerator with it. With a width of 2.75cm and a weight of 60g per roll, the tape strikes a balance between substantial coverage and lightweight ease. The long-wearing, durable nylon blend, complemented by a backing of 1.5mm of foam, ensures both durability and comfort.
The Camp & Go Slow Rattler tape arrives in a small, reusable cinch bag—a detail that might sound trivial but is one I absolutely adore. As a bikepacker and an avid collector of stuff, I find value in little reusable sacks, though I never purchase them separately. This particular bag has quickly found its place in my cycling routine; I've been using it to keep my tools neatly organized in my handlebar roll. Before this, my tools were usually just thrown in as a disorganized mess. One thing to note is that the tape does not come with bar plugs or finishing tape. If this is an issue, please do yourself a favor and get some decent plugs. Your bars will love you for it.
Many of my questions and concerns seemed to melt away the moment I held the tape in my hands. Its durable threaded nylon isn't actually as cloth-like or abrasive as it may seem from photos. Wrapping it onto my handlebars really did conjure images of a snake slithering around my shop. So fun.
Ride Revelations: The Rattler Tape Experience
My first outing with the Rattler tape was an eye-opener, telling me everything I needed to know about its performance. The comfort was both instantaneous and unexpectedly remarkable. Despite my fondness for the old BBB tape, I now realize in retrospect how tacky it felt—my hands almost seemed to stick to it. In contrast, the Rattler tape introduced a new sense of freedom. The nylon material allows your hands to glide effortlessly from one position to another on the handlebars, reducing friction significantly. I felt fantastic, like a bird released from its cage.
Even though the natural characteristics of the nylon in the Rattler tape facilitate a smooth, gliding sensation, it's important to note that this doesn't compromise its safety or grip. In fact, the opposite. The tape provides grip precisely when it's needed most. I could distinctly feel the tape's secure hold when I was out of the saddle climbing steep inclines, or on the flats when I was pulling on my bars to sprint.
My typical gravel rides range anywhere from 60 to 120 kilometers and I often prefer to ride without gloves. I'm plagued with 'hot hands,' leading me to constantly take off and put on gloves to regulate heat, especially in the winter (maybe it's time I look into new gloves). This challenge made me somewhat concerned about how the Rattler tape would fare against my baby-bare hands over such long distances. But again, to my surprise, it turned out to be more than fine. The nylon threads in the tape are obviously rounded, making prolonged contact with my hands comfortable, without any abrasive rubbing. Coupled with just the right amount of padding, this tape makes it possible to ride comfortably on any long-distance adventure.
The standout feature of the Rattler tape, without a doubt, is its aesthetic appeal. That look—oh man, that look—is something else entirely. While I'll leave the final judgment to you, I must say that the tape has completely transformed the feel of my cockpit. The cooler colors of the Eastern variant seamlessly blend with the hues of my Landyachtz's paint job. I'm one of those guys who spends time in the basement, staring at my bike, dreaming of future upgrades and adventures—probably shared by many who frequent this site. The Rattler tape has made these intense staring sessions even easier.
As for my last concern, which was about the maintenance of the tape, it turned out to be a non-issue. The nylon material is remarkably easy to clean—a simple hose down is all it takes to make it look as good as new.
Wrapping Up, Literally
Recently, while browsing Facebook, I came across a post by Bikepacking.com about Camp & Go Slow’s (sold-out) new $200 jersey. The reaction to the price was disappointing, revealing a lack of understanding about the efforts and costs involved for independent manufacturers in producing high-quality goods. This scenario resonates with the Camp & Go Slow Rattler tape, priced at $44USD. While some may consider this steep, the tape stands out as a premium, meticulously crafted product. Its blend of distinctiveness and superior functionality elevates it above standard offerings in local shops. It represents more than just utility; it's a contemporary classic, symbolizing support for the artistry and dedication of independent brands like Camp & Go Slow.
Get some Rattler tape here.
|High-Quality Material: Durable nylon blend with 1.5mm foam backing ensures longevity and comfort
|Unique Design: Available in two distinctive variants, Western and Eastern, inspired by rattlesnakes, offering a stylish aesthetic
|Generous Length: Each 3300mm roll is more than sufficient for wrapping wide handlebars, allowing for versatile use
|Comfortable Grip: Provides a comfortable, non-slip grip, suitable for long rides and riders who prefer not wearing gloves
|Higher Price Point: Priced at $44 USD, it may be considered expensive compared to standard options
|Limited Extras: Does not include additional accessories like bar end plugs or finishing tape
|Specific Aesthetic Appeal: The unique design may not align with every cyclist's style preferences or bike aesthetic