Look beneath the saddle of almost any cyclists’ bike and you’ll likely see an under-seat saddle bag to carry a flat kit and other emergency items. But that’s not pro. No saddlebag is the cleanest look–but therein lies the problem. How are you supposed to carry your gear without a saddlebag? It’s not like non-pro riders have a team car for when they flat.
Enter the Jersey Pocket Tool Case from Waterfield Designs. This handmade leather/nylon bag is designed to take the place of a saddlebag but move the contents to your jersey pocket. Sure, you could probably stuff all the normal crap in your jersey without a bag, but … yeah, don’t do that. That’s a stupid idea. Use a bag.
But Cam, What’s a Jersey Pocket Tool Case?
A jersey pocket tool case, in almost every instance, is a pouch and/or case designed to hold a flat kit and other on-bike essentials. But instead of being stored under the saddle, it fits—you guessed it—in your jersey pocket (that’s a pocket on the small of your back, for the non-cyclists reading this). They’re typically designed to fit comfortably in the center pocket of most jerseys.
I’ve been curious about jersey pocket bags for some time, especially since I don’t love the look of a saddlebag mucking up my bike’s otherwise clean lines. Plus, like the Velominati says very clearly in Rule #29:
No European Posterior Man-Satchels. Saddle bags have no place on a road bike, and are only acceptable on mountain bikes in extreme cases.
And then doubles down on in Rule #31:
Spare tubes, multi-tools, and repair kits should be stored in jersey pockets. If absolutely necessary, in a converted bidon in a cage on bike.
Who am I to argue with the Velominati? No one, that’s who.
But I digress. When Waterfield said, “Hey Cam, you ride bikes, right? You wanna check out this new Jersey Pocket Tool Case?” (I may be paraphrasing here), I naturally replied with, “Well hell yeah I do.” And the rest is history. Wait, no. We’re just getting started.
Because it’s a Waterfield product, the Jersey Pocket Tool Case (I’m going to call it the JPTC from now on because I’m tired of typing Jersey Pocket Tool Case) is handcrafted in San Francisco. The front of the bag is made from full-grain leather, while the sides and back are ballistic nylon. The zippers are waterproof. Thing’s tough to be sure.
It has two pockets: a small one in the front for credit cards and/or ID, and a larger inside pocket for everything else. The inside pocket is split up into separate areas, too. A big open section for bulky items like an inner tube and tire levers. There are also two smaller pockets nestled inside, which I’m currently using for a multitool and tire boot. Living that tubeless life, y’all.
Finally, there’s a lightly padded pocket for your phone. But wait, there’s more! The bag comes in two sizes—a big one and a not quite as big one. Waterfield calls them “large” and “small,” but I like my sizing better. They’re really designed to fit the iPhone 11/12 Pro Max and Pro, respectively. But I’ll let you in on a secret: They fit other phones just fine. 🙂
I’ve been testing the smaller of the two, which is plenty big enough to fit the Pixel 5 or the iPhone XR—my two main carries. If you have a big ol’ honkin’ phone, though, you’ll probably want the bigger size.
Wow, Okay. But What Can You Put In It?
Oh, I’m glad you asked! The saddlebag that I’ve ridden with for the last year or so is the Lezyne Road Caddy. It’s a small bag, and it’s crammed full with all of the necessities. I have two of them (one for each bike) and they’re both packed.
The JPTC, on the other hand, has a ton of space. Here’s a list of everything I have in it:
- A spare tube (700×28)
- 2x Pedro’s tire levers
- 1x 16g CO2 cartridge
- 1x Genuine Innovations tubeless repair kit (mini screwdriver + bacon)
- 1x Fabric multitool
- 1x ENVE valve core remover
- 1x Park Tool TB-2 tire boot
- 1x CR2032 coin cell battery
- 1x Specialized CO2 inflator head
And there’s still plenty of room to spare. I could easily carry an additional CO2 in there, and probably another spare tube if I folded it up small enough. According to Waterfield, you can even put a mini pump in there, should you choose to be one of those brave cyclists who would push themselves to the edge of sanity by using a mini pump.
But even with all that, this thing has quite a bit of room—and there’s still plenty of room left for my phone. For comparison, my Road Caddy was absolutely packed to the gullet with all that stuff in it (bags have gullets, right?).
Hmmm, and How Is it to Ride With?
The bag is really thoughtfully designed. For example, the back is flat, so it sits very comfortably on the small of your back. There’s also a quick-grab loop on the top, so you can easily pull it from your pocket when you need it. I’ve carried the JPTC on a variety of rides lately, including an 80-miler in 50-degree rain (note: don’t do this, it’s not fun), and it’s been an absolute pleasure on every one of them.
I shan’t lie to you, dear reader: I didn’t expect to love this bag. I figured I’d try it, find it uncomfortable and then go back to my law-breaking ways of using a saddlebag. Alas, I am one to admit when I was wrong—and I was wrong. This thing is supremely comfortable. Like, I pretty much forgot it was there on every ride.
I’ve only found one issue with the bag, honestly: I don’t like putting my phone in it. I tried it on one ride, but I get my phone out while I’m on the bike pretty often—gotta ‘Gram the adventures, you know? If you’re not the type who messes with your phone while pedaling, you may be fine leaving it in the bag.
And if you do leave it in there, it’ll be safe. The display is protected by a soft microfiber to keep it free from scratches. And on the plus side, the added rigidity from the phone makes the bag even more stable in your pocket.
There is also another potential issue, and one that may seem obvious: It takes up a jersey pocket. For many rides, that may not be an issue. But, for example, I live in the south, so my summer rides are very hot. And when I roll out solo for a 40+ mile ride, I carry three bottles—two on the bike, one in a jersey pocket. The JTPC automatically utilizes one pocket, leaving fewer options for where to carry nutrition and my extra bottle.
Okay, I’m Sold. Where Can I Get it (and Does It Come in Multiple Colors)?
Ah, right. First, the good news. It comes in four colors: Grizzly, Crimson, Blue, and Black. That’s just for the leather panel, mind you—the nylon is black. Because black is fast. Both sizes cost $69, so you don’t even pay more for the larger bag.
And there’s the rub: It may seem pretty pricey to many cyclists. I mean, $70 to replace your saddle bag? I promised earlier not to lie to you (why would I ever?), and I agree—it’s pretty expensive. I mean, you can get Silca’s jersey pocket tool bag for $45. This one is almost twice that. Then again, you’re probably riding, what, a $3,000 bike? At least? Just putting things in perspective since we’re friends.
I will say this: This joker is premium. It’s handmade, presumably with love in every stitch, and I can honestly tell. This is a buy-it-for-life bag, which I can’t say is true for most cycling essentials. And that makes a pretty big difference.
While it may not seem like the best value in cycling at first, look at it two, three, four, etc. years down the road. I bet you’ll feel differently when you’ve replaced all your bibs and bike at least once, but your trusty Jersey Pocket Tool Case is still right there by your side.
Like the riding buddy you can always count on.
PS – Gary, my man, that Cervelo of yours is *chef’s kiss*.
Here’s What We Like
- Very well made
- Lots of pockets for good organization
- Comfortable to ride with
- Great for riders with multiples bikes---one kit covers them all
And What We Don't
- Uses up an entire jersey pocket