You read that headline right. The Western Rattler Bar Tape by Camp and Go Slow… Is. The. Best. Bar. Tape. Ever.* And if I had my way, that would be the end of the review. But I should probably tell you more about this wonder tape, and make my case for it being the best tape out there. I just recently gave the tape an Editor’s Choice award for 2023 and we even added it to our list of the best handlebar tapes.
Let’s go over a little history about Camp and Go Slow to begin our journey to the pot o’ gold that is the Western Rattler Bar tape.
Camp and Go Slow
Camp and Go Slow was started by two people on different ends of the US, Jarrod Bunk on the East Coast, and Casey Clark on the West Coast. It is now solely owned and operated by Casey. Originally they started with just stickers that were a wonderful bite on the Campagnolo logo.
The Camp and Go Slow take on the Campy logo sends an alternative message that is a juxtaposition of what the legendary Italian brand has historically meant in the cycling world. The message could be that the components that you use on your bicycle, shouldn’t define you as a cyclist. Or, at the very least, we should all try to “camp and go slow” occasionally.
When you look through the products that are offered on their site, you’ll see stuff that embodies the Camp and Go Slow ethos, like camp mugs, handlebar bags, a very handsome wool Henley, as well as patches, stickers, pins, and soft goods.
Western Rattler Bar Tape
Why do I think this tape is amazing? Is it because it’s the cheapest tape out there? No. Does it come with extra goodies? Well, yes and no. Is it super handsome? You betcha. But, let’s go ahead and dive in, and I’ll tell ya why.
Not the Cheapest, But Worth Every Penny
The Western Rattler bar tape is made in Taiwan and retails for $44. That price gets you two super long, 3300mm rolls. Those rolls come packaged in a handmade ripstop bag that’s made in Pennsylvania. Plus, you’re supporting a small business, so you can concentrate on making your bike look good and not wrestling with your conscience.
No Extra Stuff, But Do We Need Extras?
When you buy the tape, there is no finishing tape or bar end plugs included. But the USA-made bag that the tape comes in is of nice quality and can be used for many different things. Plus, who needs cheap finishing tape or cheap plastic bar end plugs? No one, that’s who. I would recommend using electrical tape and getting some of the Cardiff Silicone Rubber Handlebar Plugs to finish the job.
Handsome, Put a Value on That
The way I see it, most people like aesthetically pleasing things. I know I do. But, let’s touch on bicycles specifically. When my bike looks good, I feel good riding it. I think we all do. So, when I first saw this tape back in 2020, I wanted it for my Masi Randonneur as I thought it would look amazing. And it did. The Western Rattler Tape has “upped” the aesthetic game on every bike it’s been on… that’s worth something.
- Includes 2x 3300mm rolls
- 28mm width
- 61g per roll
- Made from durable nylon blend
- 1.5mm foam backing
- Available in Western (brown) or Eastern (green) Rattler colors
- Bartape made in Taiwan
- Bag made in Pennsylvania
This Tape Could, Quite Possibly Last Forever
All of the above reasons to buy this tape are valid. But the real highlight of owning this bar tape is that it is comfortable, washable, and reusable. This means that it will, more than likely, last longer than any other tape you’ve had.
When I saw the tape on the internet, I honestly just bought it because I thought the colors on the bar would “pop” on the bike, accentuating the bike’s honey-colored leather saddle. After I received the tape and installed it, I had no idea that it would wear as long as it did.
Extra Tape and Keepin’ it Clean
When I first wrapped my bars, I rode the tape glove-free for the initial several hundred miles. I noticed that it was getting dark at the curve of the bars behind the hoods… most likely from my hand sweat and grime. I was pleased to find that it washed right off with simple soap and water when washing my bike.
I’ve unwrapped that first roll of Western Rattler tape many times. For example, to swap brake/shift levers a few times as well as a few bar swaps. It unwraps clean because it uses minimal adhesive, so it releases from the bar without tearing chunks of the tape’s backing.
The 3300mm length of the tape is a lot, I’ve wrapped a lit of different width bars up to 51cm, even some with really wide flats, and have always had extra tape. Just recently I used some of the extra to wrap the drive side chainstay on my Gus Boots Willsen, and it looks fantastic.
I find it holds its form because it’s not super stretchy, resulting in bar tape that can easily be reinstalled and reused. The “woven” texture feels great in the hands and extra grippy with gloves on. I find myself riding the Western Rattler mostly gloved nowadays.
The Camp and Go Slow Western Rattler Bar tape is unique, as I haven’t seen anything out there that’s comparable. This tape, by far, is one of my favorite pieces of bike gear, ever. It needs zero attention once it’s installed, and looks amazing (on just about any bicycle). It supports a small business. It’s a high-quality product that seems to have a very, very long life span.
Would I recommend this bar tape to someone? You bet, without hesitation.
Do yourself a favor and go the the Camp and Go Slow website, and pick some up. Plus, check out all of the cool gear they offer… most of it would make for great stocking stuffers.
*According to Ron’s Opinion