Hoboroll Review

This is a review of the Hoboroll, which is billed as “the first luggage organizer that provides compression of items as well as multiple storage compartments”.

The Hoboroll is a unique bit of gear. Essentially, it is a tube, approximately 32 inches in circumference and about 15 inches in length, that is divided into 5 compartments, meeting in the center. Think of the arrangement of the compartments as slices of a grapefruit, and you won’t be far off.

In addition to the compartmentalized tube, there is a drawstring at each end, and straps that go around the circumference, serving as both compression straps and a handle.

The idea is that you cinch up one end of the Hoboroll, then load it up with items (typically clothing), using the compartments to organize your gear — shirts in one slice, pants in another, socks in another, and so on. Unlike a typical bag, where some things settle to the bottom and disappear, the items in the compartments stay separated, and can be seen, from one end or the other. And once you get the Hoboroll loaded up, close the drawstrings, then pull on the straps to compress the contents. Typically, the Hoboroll will compress to 1/3 to 1/2 it’s original size, saving you space in your luggage.

The Hoboroll For Bicycle Touring

I was interested in the Hoboroll primarily for bicycle touring, with the thought of using it to carry clothing while traveling by bicycle. I don’t typically carry a lot of clothing (at least during warm-weather tours), but it can be a challenge to keep the clothes organized, accessible, and protected, while not taking up too much of my limited pannier space.

My tactic in the past has been to use stuff sacks. This works well, in that they typically hold all I need, protect the clothing from moisture, and can be reasonably compressed and contorted into various shapes to fit within my bike bags. I’ll usually carry two stuff sacks, with one used for clean clothing, and one for soiled clothes. This works OK because they tend to balance out, and take up no extra space. Plus the stuff sacks are really light.

There is only one problem with this approach — I can’t see inside the bags, so to extract a piece of clothing often means pulling out all of the clothing (because the item I want is inevitably at the bottom), grabbing what I need, then stuffing the remainder back in. Not a huge issue, but still, something that could conceivably be optimized.

Here’s an example of how the Hoboroll could be used similarly:

Hoboroll - With Clothing

The Hoboroll contains a couple of t-shirts, a pair of pants, a fleece jacket, and a fleece vest — each item rolled up and stuffed into a slice.

And here it is all closed up:

Hoboroll - With Clothing, Compressed

In this example, the contents weren’t terribly compressible, so the space savings weren’t that huge, but still probably at least 20-30%. And it’s easy to get random access to all the items, simply by loosening the drawstring at either end of the Hoboroll. And the whole thing is easy to carry, using the leftover strap.

So pretty nice.

Here’s another example:

Hoboroll - Out of Pannier

Here, the Hoboroll contains a camp pillow (in the green stuff sack), some socks, a puffy jacket, a pair of shorts and a cycling jersey, and baggy containing some toiletries and whatnot in the fifth compartment.

And here is the Hoboroll compressed, and loaded into one of my panniers:

Hoboroll - In Pannier

What’s Great About the Hoboroll for Bicycle Touring

— It can help keep your clothing and gear organized.

— It’s easy to find items because they’re mostly visible from either end of the roll.

— It can help compress your clothing and gear to take up less space.

— The straps make the Hoboroll easy to carry.

What’s Not So Great About the Hoboroll for Bicycle Touring

— It’s not waterproof, so your clothing and gear is not protected from rain or snow.

— The ends are only held closed by the drawstrings, so tiny items may slip out.

— The size and shape of the Hoboroll may be an awkward fit for panniers.

A Few More Hoboroll Photos

Hoboroll - Unpacked

This is the Hoboroll as received — it lays flat, measuring about 15 inches by 13 inches, and weighing about 6.4 ounces. When empty, it’s easy to get the Hoboroll back in this shape, for easy storage.

Hoboroll - Tag

Here’s a close-up of the Hoboroll tag, which describes the products and lists some suggested uses — backpacking, vacation, air travel, hiking, gym bag, and so on.

Hoboroll - Full of TP

Just for grins, and to demonstrate the approximate capacity of each compartment within the Hoboroll, here each slice contains one roll of toilet paper (Charmin Ultra Double Roll, to be precise). That pretty much fills the Hoboroll to capacity, girth-wise.

How Well Does the Hoboroll Work for Bicycle Touring?

After testing the Hoboroll on several bike camping trips, I decided that it wasn’t going to work out, for me.

The biggest issue is lack of moisture protection. My panniers (Nashbar ATB) aren’t waterproof, so to protect my clothing from rain, I’d either need to bag the clothing before putting it in the Hoboroll, or bag the Hoboroll after loading it up with clothing. Either way, it would be more trouble that it’s worth for the moderate compression the Hoboroll provides.

The other issue I encountered was that the Hoboroll, loaded up with a typical assortment of clothing, took up most of the space in one of my panniers (see photo above). I could loosen the straps and make it contort into various shapes, but that eliminates most of the compression.

If your particular situation is different — if you’re using waterproof panniers, with a larger capacity — the Hoboroll might be a perfect solution to organizing and compressing your clothing, and I recommend you give the the product a try.

For applications other than bicycle touring, I expect to continue to use the Hoboroll. It’d work well for overnight trips, or even extended vacations. It’s a fine way to help organize clothing and keep it together.

Where To Buy The Hoboroll

The Hoboroll can be purchased directly from the manufacturer, Gobi Gear, at mygobigear.com. The list price is $28.00, but they’re currently running a summer sale for only $22.99.

The Hoboroll is available in three colors: Alaskan (blue), Pine (green), and Sun (orange). Gobi Gear offers a 100% satisfaction guarantee.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received a Hoboroll for free from Gobi Gear as coordinated by Deep Creek Public Relations in consideration for review publication.

About The Author

By Randy Rasa, editor/webmaster at Kansas Cyclist, the web's premier Kansas cycling information site, featuring authoritative guides to Kansas cycling clubs, bike shops, organized bike rides, touring, trails, and much more. [learn more]

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