Taking your bike on a holiday is becoming extremely popular, but it’s all too easy to overpack when you don’t know what awaits you on the other side. Transporting a floor pump (track pump) often isn’t appropriate and instead many are left ‘making do’ with a mini pump – enter the new category of travel-specific floor pumps, such as the Travel Charger from Bontrager.
Fully folded, the head clips into the foldout base, while the hose holds the handle in place: fully folded, the head clips into the foldout base, while the hose holds the handle in place Colin Levitch / Immediate Media
Fully folded, the Travel Charger is ready for travel
At a folded length of 47cm (18.5in) and weighing 332g including a basic canvas pouch, it’s substantially smaller and lighter than a traditional floor pump, and not too far above a capable mini pump either. Easily thrown into a bike case, travel bag or under the seat of a car, we got more use from our sample than we first imagined.
The Travel Charger takes 58 strokes to fill a 700 x 23c tyre to 100psi. It doesn’t offer enough output to seat a tubeless tyre, but it’s perfectly capable of achieving a high pressure.
A simple alloy-reinforced plastic handle fold outs for pumping: a simple alloy-reinforced plastic handle fold outs for pumping Colin Levitch / Immediate Media
A small handle folds out for easy pumping
Helping you to achieve high pressures are a small foldout handle and footstep – although the pump won’t stand up on its own. A 70cm swivelling hose isn’t quite long enough to reach a bike in a workstand, but is otherwise sufficient.
The slimline locking head will work with Presta or Schrader valves, but must be configured to do so (unscrew and flip seal). The fit on the valve is reliable, causing no leaking or stubborn grabbing either.
The gauge proved accurate, although dialing in a particularly specific pressure will prove difficult due to the increments : the gauge proved accurate, although dialing in a particularly specific pressure will prove difficult due to the increments Colin Levitch / Immediate Media
The gauge works, but it is small and hard to read
Integrated into the pump head handle is a small pressure gauge. The placement of the gauge and its size mean it can only be read while the valve is placed closest to the ground – forcing us to our knees in poor lighting conditions.
While it’s difficult to control outside of the marked 10psi increments, it proved accurate with our digital gauge at 100psi. Accuracy is decent at lower mountain bike pressures too, although adjusting between 23 and 24psi just isn’t an option.
The anodised metal construction gives a solid and quality feel to this item, but at a cost. This travel pump is more expensive than many popular floor pumps, but if you’re a regular traveller, it’ll serve the purpose nicely.