The Royal Air Force WWII Tool Roll, Redux

Clever, functional, and battle-ready. It’s everything your old British sports car isn’t.

byMax Prince| PUBLISHED Apr 29, 2016 2:00 PM
The Royal Air Force WWII Tool Roll, Redux

After college, my daily driver was an old MGB. Orange, with chrome bumpers and wire wheels, a four-cylinder heap of British masochism and entropy. It taught me a lot about mechanical fiddling and fire safety, and exactly how far a man can be pushed (or push) before his resolve balks and the tears start coming. It also taught me the value of a proper tool roll.

Mine was nothing fancy, just a cheap six-pocket job that could store a few essential wrenches. But I learned never to leave home without it, and if the tri-fold Malle Heritage Riley had existed then I’d have happily ponied up £149 (about $216) for one. The designers were inspired after seeing an original 1940s Royal Air Force tool roll at Bicester Aerodome, an erstwhile British bomber station in Oxfordshire. (Note: The land has recently been converted into a 348-acre campus for Bicester Heritage, the UK’s “first park for the restoration, storage and enjoyment of vintage and classic cars, motorcycles and aeroplanes.” It is exceptionally cool.) In collaboration with the Bicester, the folks at Malle set about crafting a modern interpretation of the WWII kit. Made by hand in London, the resulting tool roll is mega-functional, with 20 tailored pockets to carry the staple tools as well as a zip-up slip pouch for odds and ends. It’s a handsome thing, too, hewn from water-resistant canvas and Scottish bridle leather. High-quality straps and Liverpudlian brass hardware mean it’ll securely attach to a motorcycle, car frame, bicycle—even a small airplane.

Clever, functional, and battle-ready, the Malle Heritage Riley tool roll is everything your old British sports car isn’t. Buy one, pack it, and never leave home without a tool roll again.