Review: Everything Bags by Cleaveland Mountaineering

Sometimes people are surprised by the number of bicycles I own.  The other day, my father asked, “Couldn’t you just use that old mountain bike for off road touring?” The answer is yes.  However, it certainly wouldn’t be ideal.  You could also just drive your old car around for the rest of your life, but newer cars are more comfortable and enjoyable to drive.  I suppose that’s why I like new bikes and new gear.  They’re better suited for the task at hand and more enjoyable in use.

What does this have to do with the Everything Bags?  My Salsa Mukluk (pictured below) is an example of a fat bike designed for adventure from the ground up.  It has three threaded mounts on the fork which accept the hex bolts designed for the Everything Bags.  This new bread of adventure, off-road touring bicycles include:  Salsa Fargo, Salsa Mukluk, Surly Ogre, Troll, ECR and Pugsley, just to name a few.  Salsa Mukluk with the Everything Bags attached up front.

DSC00032DSC00035Don’t these bags look awesome flanking the mammoth tire?

DSC00025They attach on the back side of the bag with (3) M5 hex bolts.  Now, don’t despair.  Jeremy Cleaveland offers P clamps for suspension forks, or your old mountain bike without fork mounts.

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Notice how the straps wrap around the back side of the bag.  This design seems to stabilize the load.  The large fender washers make for a secure fit, and evenly distribute the weight of the bag to the fork.Looking at the inside of the bag, the seam separates to reveal the installation bolts.

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This seam closes over the bolt head, protecting your contents and concealing the hardware.  Simple and effective.  Also, notice the white plastic stiffener behind the fender washer.  This stiffens the entire back of the bag providing support and form.

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The inside fabric is lightweight and strong.

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I originally questioned the use of cam buckles.  But, after just one 27 mile loop, I’m convinced they’re the bomb.  These straps do not loosen, period.  The cam buckle is a smaller 3/4″ version of the larger 1″ whitewater cam buckle often seen on rafts.

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The bottom of the bag is stitched to the sides for good bottom support.  Notice how the bolts and washers are concealed behind the seam for a smooth interior.

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Carrying a 1 liter Nalgene bottle?  No problem.

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How about 2 liter bottles?  No problem.  I honestly believe the bag will hold 3 liter bottles, but I don’t have one to try.  Now, that’s some serious water carrying capacity.  Need to haul water for a 3 day ride across the high dessert of New Mexico? No problem.

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Taking a one man TarpTent?  No problem.

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Hauling a large thermos full of hot chili?  No problem.

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Sporting an OR bivy sack (still with tags)?  No problem.

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Lugging a 2 man REI Half Dome tent?  OK . . . maybe a problem.  You’ll need to test this one.

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Now, here’s the other great thing.  When not in use, the bag folds neatly against the fork and doesn’t get in the way.  Want to lay your bike down?  No problem.

Benefits:

  1. Huge cargo carrying capacity.
  2. Extremely versatile, while accommodating multiple shapes and sizes.
  3. Soft and collapsible if/when you fall over.
  4. Felt very secure and did not shift around.
  5. Straps do not come loose.
  6. Webbing tender for loose ends, keeping it safely out of the spokes.
  7. Folds flat when not in use.

Disadvantages:

  1. A little awkward to install (I won’t be moving these from bike to bike).
  2. I honestly can’t think of any other disadvantages.  The cost is $50/bag, but this seems on par considering the quality and design.  I’m impressed and will definitely buy another pair.

Summary:

Many hard cage designs have been prone to damage.  The front fork transmits constant vibration to anything you attempt to mount.  Many hard cage designs have failed due to the constant abuse being dished out by the front fork.  Others have damaged cages by simply laying their bike down on its side, or following a crash.  This is where the soft bag design may prove to be a better mouse trap.  Versatile, soft, adjustable and simple.  This is good engineering.

Hats off to Jeremy for this thoughtfully designed product.   I’m always amazed to see what one, clear thinking individual can bring to market, opposed to a committee with large R&D budgets.  This is one such product: designed and built for adventure cyclists, by an adventure cyclist.

(Just in case you wondered, I bought these bags with my own hard earned cash. No sponsorship or endorsement).  

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This entry was posted in Bikepacking, Fat bikes, Gear Reviews, Panniers and Bags. Bookmark the permalink.

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