Photo Credit: Jared Harber

Story by Ambassador Mark Overby

What in the heck is jumppacking? I’ll tell you the truth, I don’t know, but I think I may be on to something.

I built a fresh Kona Shonky from the frame up last year. It had been over 10 years since I last got a new DJ bike and I felt like the Shonky might rekindle the flame to get out and play on some jumps and pump tracks. Getting it together during the great bicycle/parts shortage of 2020/2021/2022…was challenging, but by late last year, it was up and running.

I rode it a little as we transitioned into what passes for winter in the southeast, but it was spring of this year when I really started getting out on it regularly. As the days started warming up it hit me that I was going to want an easy way to carry a cold beverage for those hot summer sessions. Now I get that DJ bikes don’t have bottle mounts. They are purpose built and hauling around drinks (and snacks) is not what they’re made for. But I didn’t want to carry a backpack or any other sort of bag strapped to myself. That would defeat the goal of trying to keep cool in the summer months. So I started scheming.

Enter my good friend Andrew (@bouslayer). Andrew is a burgeoning bag maker and was recovering from shoulder surgery over the winter. When I floated the idea of making a frame bag for my Shonky he was immediately fired up and just about ready to start sewing again. I was second in his queue (first was a full-frame bag for a Kona Dr. Dew) and I couldn’t wait to see if this project was going to be an ingenious idea or a half-baked notion.

My one and only request was some sort of internal sleeve to hold a water bottle or similarly sized beverage. Andrew already had some fabric set aside that he thought would work well and be aesthetically pleasing on the Shonky – X-Pac VX21 Coyote Brown. Less than a week after making a template he had an absolute stunner of a frame bag sewn up and ready for the Shonky. The color matched the sidewalls of my Maxxis DTH tires perfectly and the chef’s kiss was the minty fresh zipper pull that tied into the Shonky Crème de Menthe paint job. I was frankly blown away by how good it looked on the Shonky and the quality of construction.

My first few rides with it were at the pumptrack. With a full bottle in the bag I really couldn’t discern any difference in how the bike rode and I had cold, refreshing water to keep me hydrated. So far, so good. The next test was taking out to session a local stunt zone. We’re talking wooden lips to dirt landers, drops, and a wallride; the sort of place that I would normally take the Process X. I wanted to see what I could cram in the frame bag and how the Shonky would be on an hours long mission in the woods. I was able to fit a water bottle, a 12oz can in a koozie, my wallet and keys, and a snack bar in the bag. I’d call that a great success!

I’ve been riding bikes a mighty long time. I believe this year will be about 40 years since I built up my first half-decent BMX bike and started riding in earnest. Despite being at it for four decades I’ve never considered myself a trendsetter of any sort, I just kind of go with the flow. But I think the jumppacking thing might just catch on and maybe for the first time in my life I’m doing something original. Probably not, but I’m stoked on the Shonky and the option for carrying water and other assorted snacks with me while I keep on playing bikes!