(Neither the author no Vermont Goldsprints were compensated for this review. The author bought this product with his own money)
This review begins with a back injury. No really, I hurt my back a couple of years ago and started going to the chiropractor. One of the factors we identified together was that I commute by bike with a single-sided "messenger" style bag and that I was probably putting too much weight in that bag, leading to the telltale "pinched neck" feeling on my right side.
The problems are multifold: I really like being prepared for just about anything. I want to be able to fix my bike, get warm, clean up, rock out, make fire, whittle stuff, etc. So, my every-day carry (all in my messenger bag) had grown kind of girthy:
On top of that, I like to bring coffee to work with me, and I've already wrecked one bottle cage jamming my Contigo Autoseal mug (get one, they are great and do. not. leak.) in it. Then of course, there's clothes, lunch, papers, keys/phone/wallet and all the other stuff that comes with me on a daily basis.
I'd given up on managing all of this in my bag and moved over to a backpack. Which is better on my back, but woe unto the rider who has to dig through the whole dang thing to find a tube when the inevitable roadside flat happens.
So initially, I just wanted to get my coffee mug back on the bike. I started looking for cages that would accommodate it, but I was disappointed by the preponderance of cheap plastic contraptions that looked like they would break easily. What about something with straps? Salsa Anything Cage? Maybe. I settled on the Blackburn Outpost Cargo Cage, figuring that if it didn't work out for my coffee, I wasn't into it for that much money and I'd find something to do with it.
Well, that's just what happened. The cage is a little roomier than I needed for my coffee mug, but I took a look at this old Lowe Alpine accessory pocket I had and wondered if I could get everything in the photo above into it. Turns out, I could!
A few weeks in, I like this cage. I cut a couple pieces of coroplast for the inside of the bag which keeps it from bulging out where my legs can hit it. The straps that come with the cage are grippy on one side and the buckles are solid. The cage could even accommodate a third strap if I had one.
Maybe best of all, I'm back to my shoulder bag, unburdened with all my commuter bike stuff, nice and light, no back problems!