Technical > Luggage

Salsa Anything Cage or Blackburn Outpost Cargo Cage

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Has anyone tried to fit one of these to the front fork on a Nomad Mk II?  Or has anyone done something similar to this? 

There was a thread on these cages a few years ago at:
But a quick search found very little else on this forum.

About half way down the page on this website they are discussed under the topic of cargo cages.

I was thinking it might be nice to use such cages and something like a 5 liter drybag in a cage on each side instead of front racks and panniers to cut weight.  Two 5 liter dry bags would of course have less than half the volume that my Ortlieb Frontrollers have, so this would be more for lighterweight tripping.

I would not use them for large water containers, only stuff packed in dry bags.  Or if for some reason I changed my mind, I could see a 2 liter water bottle on each side using the soda pop bottles that are commonly sold in USA.  But not more than two liters which is two kg.

I know that many of you have experience with water bottle cages for large water bottles.  I am not interested in those cages, as I would prefer to strap drybags to the cage with straps instead of trying to pack a drybag so that it is perfectly shaped like a bottle cage.

Salsa Anything Cage.

I was at a swap meet a couple weeks ago.  Bought a used pair of first generation Salsa Anything Cages.  Got a pair for $15 USD, which is about 25 percent of new price.  The first generation ones had a bad reputation for breakage, maybe that is why I got them cheap. 

The ones I have look like these:

They are designed for three bolts, but the upper and lower bolt holes are very close to the right distance apart to mount on the Nomad Mk II front fork upper rack mount and fender mount.  I would have to do a bit of drilling on the cages, the holes are not quite where I would need them to be.  Thus, I would mount them with two bolts, not three.  I would not want to go to some far off place with these cages if there is a high probability one would break, so if I used them it would be more as an experiment on a short distance trip.  Just thinking about it for now.

Blackburn Outpost Cargo Cages.

At the same swap meet, I got a used pair of these for $20 USD, thus paid about 40 percent of the cost of new.

These are pretty robust and because they do not circle around a dry bag as much, if you crashed I think your drybag load would shift on the cage more, making it less likely that the cage would break.

More detail on them here:

These are used where you have two water bottle cage bolts, not three.  I was thinking I could use the upper Nomad fork rack bolt for the upper position on the cage and then use a P clip to hold the bottom of the cage against the fork.  That would put most of the stress on only the upper bolt hole on the cage so I would likely back that up with fender washers to reinforce the cage better.

When I say P clip, I mean something like this to hold the bottom of the cage to the fork.


I think the Blackburn option is less likely to break.  But if I tried the Salsa one and it worked nicely on a trip, I would be inclined to buy the new ones that do not have the reputation for breakage and use those.  I already own both, so it is not an issue of trying to decide which to buy.

Since the upper Nomad fork rack mount is quite robust (it will hold the weight of a loaded rack with an M6 bolt), I am confident that any breakage would be on the cages, not damaging the Nomad.  And if I broke a cheap cage, although I would be unhappy it would not be a catastrophe like damaging a fork would be.

My plan would not be to use it for large water containers, more likely dry bags with camping gear, perhaps a tent on one side (roughly 2kg) and something comparable in another dry bag on the other side.

I have some 5 liter drybags, they appear to be about the right size for either cage.  My 8 liter drybag was a bit too big.  So, I think 5 liters is about all that I would want to try in one of these.

I have no trips planned at this time where I would use one of these, so this is a project for the future.  I have not really thought about trying these on my Sherpa, I am more inclined to try it on my Nomad.  But the Sherpa also might be an option.

If I try it, I will report back, but don't expect to hear back on this quickly. 

If any of you have advice on this topic I would love to hear it.

I've got a Free Parable Gorilla Cage
I've used it on my Sherpa's downtube bottle bosses to carry a Thermarest mat when travelling light.
I have wondered about these type of cages attached to the fork rack and mudguard bosses, maybe a length of bar drilled with holes to match the bosses on the fork and holes to match the cage?
Free Parable also do a matching 5.5 litre dry bag for the Gorilla Cage,

I have also considered a piece of Aluminum or steel that would act as a bracket between the fender (mudguard) mount and upper rack mount.  But I pretty much decided that I would only try that if one of my other ideas failed.  I could see where simply using a P clip on the Blackburn cage would not provide any real support, other than keeping it close to the fork.  Thus, I would want to use fender washers at the upper mount rack mount on the cage to prevent the cage from twisting.  The Salsa cage which is designed to be supported by three bolts would likely benefit from some bar stock, but I would be inclined to try it first without that.

John Saxby:
Hi George, a note from Down Unda on the matter of cargo cages and drybags on the front forks.

I looked into these last spring/summer, when I was looking for a lighter-weight setup on the front of my Raven. I had been using an Arkel low-rider rack with two Arkel T-28 panniers. The Arkel low-rider is reasonably light at 500 gms, but the T-28's are heavy-ish, a little less than a kilo each.  I saw a Trek touring bike at a local shop with a couple of Bontrager cages on the forks, fitted with a couple of drybags, each about 6-8 ltrs.

I looked into getting a set of the Bontragers, but decided not to pursue the option. They weren't in stock, and they weren't cheap, at over CAD100/pr (small-ish market, low demand, wonky currency). Together, they were around 350 gms as I recall, so didn't offer much weight-saving over the low-rider -- 5-6 oz in all.

Be interested to hear how your experiments with the cargo cages work out.

I took a different tack: I fitted a couple of 13 ltr drybags to the low-rider on two short tours, one an overnight, and the other ten days. This setup worked reasonably well, though the bags didn't fit as snugly and securely as I would have liked, and they weren't as convenient as the T-28 panniers they replaced. (I stored mainly light-and-bulky items in them, including clothing--inevitably, I had to open the bags during the day on a few occasions.) I also had, on the longer trip, some odd "ripply" feedback through the forks on some downhills -- nothing serious, but equally, nothing I'd ever felt on my Raven before, and the only thing I could think of was that the rack/drybag setup had somehow contributed to it.

What I'll try this coming summer is a compromise setup: I'll keep the low-rider and move my Arkel Dauphin waterproof panniers (32 ltrs) to the front, and use them for lighter/bulkier items as before. These panniers weigh about the same as the smaller the T-28s -- I'll probably have about 16 lbs on the front. I've bought a pair of Arkel waterproof ultra-lites for the rear, which weigh about 540 gms, and give me 28 ltrs of capacity. I'll use these for some heavier items, such as food, cookware, sandals, spares, etc., again with a total load of about 16 lbs.

In the end, I found I liked the convenience of the panniers, and the ones I have now are rather lighter than the ones they replace, although of course heavier than the drybags. (Lighter-weight camping gear is also less bulky, and lets me take advantage of smaller, lighter panniers.)

I'll probably do some touring in upstate NY and in West Québec this coming summer, so will have some feedback on this tweaked arrangement in a few months' time.

Interesting.  I just looked at Trek website for Bontrager cargo cages, found none.  But sometimes they make something, it does not sell well so they drop it from production right away.

I was thinking no more than 8 liters and probably closer to 5 liter dry bag on a cargo cage.  Thus much lighter duty than you were thinking.

I bought a couple 5 liter dry bags for my experiment (yellow, to match my ortliebs), plus some P clips and stainless fender washers.  The cages are clearly designed for lighter duty than a low rider rack, I would not want to carry more than about 2 kg on one.  The Salsa cage and the plastic Salsa cage are both rated for 3 kg with all three bolts, I would be using 2 bolts which they advise against.  Plus, my Salsa cages are the first generation that is known for breakage.  The Blackburn cage is rated for 4 kg, which I find surprising since it uses 2 bolts, not 3.  At this time I am leaning towards trying the Blackburn first.

I have some panniers that are lighter than my Ortliebs, but every time I go on a trip I think about the lighter ones and then end up using the heavier Ortliebs.  The Frontrollers are not convenient to dig into during the day while touring, but I am pretty good at making sure that anything I will need during the day is in a more convenient place than in a pannier.  Last spring I had to dig my tools out of the bottom of a pannier one day, that was the first time in a couple years that I had to open up a pannier during the day while traveling.

I have no idea when I will get around to trying these experiments, might take some time.  I plan on a 9 day tour in April, but it is van supported, all of our food and camping gear is hauled from campsite to campsite for us.  Thus, would not need more than a rack top bag and handlebar bag on that ride.  Otherwise have no bike trips on the agenda.


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