Came across this review and got me thinking of possible UK alternatives …..
The definition of bikepacking is different for everyone, and that is what makes it awesome. One thing I think we can all agree on is that it involves strapping cargo to your bike.
I’m sure a few folks are getting ready for a fall bikepacking trip on their fatty or even that winter ultra a few months down the line. As the mercury drops, your pack list grows. Gloves, extra base layers, coats, and even more water. Shifting around gear can prove to be difficult. A few bike manufactures such as Surly and Salsa understand this, and have incorporated 3 bolt mounts into their forks.
Recently I loaded my fork up with some cargo, gearing up for some winter bikepacking and possibly some redemption at a winter ultra this year. After doing some research, there are not many options for cargo loads that attach to the fork bolts on a Surly Moonlander or any Surly/Salsa bike for that matter. The Salsa Anything Cage is the obvious option and the most popular among bikepackers. The other option is the Cleveland Mountaineering Everything Bag.
Salsa Anything Cage:
The Salsa Anything Cage has been around for a while now, giving bikepackers the ability to carry dry bags, stuff sacks, water bottles, sleeping pads, or any roundish piece of gear. The Anything Cage comes with 3 hole mounting points to fit perfectly on a Surly or Salsa fork, or any 3 bolt mounting system for that matter.
Although Salsa does not recommend it, the Anything Cage fits your standard cage bolts, meaning you could easily fit it inside a standard frame to carry some extra cargo. Just don’t run to them when it breaks with a warranty inquiry. The cage functions with two straps (included) that pull your items to the cage itself. Without the two provided straps, it is just a few pieces of metal welded together.
Last year Salsa took the Anything Cage off the shelve because many of the cages were breaking at the welds. Since then, they have re-introduced a stronger, sleeker looking black cage that can hold up to 6.6 pounds of junk. We suggest that you buy two cages if you plan on mounting to your fork, they are not sold in pairs.
Cleveland Mountaineering Everything Bag:
The Everything Bag is another option to carry water bottles, stuff sacks, sleeping pads, fuel bottles, and anything that you can stuff in the bag. Like the Anything Cage, the bag is meant to attach to the Salsa/Surly three bolt fork/frame system. The bag comes ready to mount with 3 installed bolts and 3 washers on the inside of the bag. Also included is 3 washers on the outer part of the bag to provide stability.
Unlike the Anything Cage, the Everything Bag is a 2/3 circular bag with a bottom that is made out of XPac. Attached is two cinch down pieces of webbing, with metal cam buckles that allow you to tighten down your cargo by a tug of the strap. These buckles prevent any loosening while riding and are very easy to undo with the pinch of the clamp.
One of the unique features of the Everything Bag is its ability to work on a standard fork with no bolts. When you make your order with Jeremy, he will ask you what fork you have and provide the proper p-clamps. The p-clamps come with a protective rubber liner to prevent any damage to your fork.
So what’s the best system for your next adventure? That is for you to judge, but we feel that each product has its strengths and weaknesses. Both are unique and innovative ways to carry extra gear. If you don’t mind some weight up front, this system is perfect. If your ride is more singletrack heavy, especially technical singletrack, this option may not be the best. However, both bags were tested on road and singletrack and both held up well – so saying they are not reliable on singletrack is just not true.
One thing we noticed was with the weight comes a bit of self-steering, especially on a relatively heavy fat bike or one with wider tires/rims. No matter what option you use, it’s important to keep each side a similar weight. Otherwise the bike tends to self-steer.
The Anything Cage was tested with a Porcelain Rocket Anything Cage Bag. The bag proved to be the perfect option and fit for the Anything Cage. Stay tuned for a full review of this bag next week. On top of the $3o.00 price point of the Anything Cage, you will likely need to buy something like the Porcelian Rocket bag, or a dry bag to mount to the cage. We think Salsa has fixed its cracking cages, however it’s still a bit scary knowing it has happened. If you are in the backcountry, figuring out a fix could prove to be difficult.
The Anything Cage webbing straps are a nice complement to the cage itself, especially if you are just mounting a water bottle, circular stove such as a Jet Boil, or a rolled up sleeping pad. The simplicity of the cage has its advantages, like being able to customize the way you carry your gear. The weight of the system alone (including straps) is 174 grams contrary to what the Salsa website says, and with the Porcelain Rocket Anything Cage Bag, 238g.
The Cleveland Mountaineering Everything Bag was designed to withstand a bit more abuse, while not compromising weight and functionality. These two products are very similar, but with the simple addition of the ⅔ bag, it instantly gives the Everything Bag more stability. We tested the bag with a water bottle, and loved how easily accessible it was to grab, but more importantly how easy it was to slide back in place without tinkering with the straps. It also proved to be a great stuff sack for a rain coat as well as other quick access items. It can fit a small dry sack and again easily slide in and out of the attached webbing straps.
The weight of the system is 226g, slightly heavier than the Anything Cage, but also a bit more versatile off the shelf. You also will be paying a bit more at $50.00 for the whole system. We did notice a few issues with rusting bolts (provided) after sitting in the rain for a few days.
Either way, both cages are unique in their own way and act as a simple solution to carry more gear. We really like having one of each, as we have found great uses for both systems. If you have some boss mounts, it’s time to consider putting them to good use.