If you asked me about the best part of Interbike 2018, it wasn’t the riding at Northstar. It was the riding just outside of Northstar. The Truckee/Lake Tahoe area has a lot more to offer than the bike park, and fortunately we got to experience a bit of it during the launch of the new Blackburn Outpost Elite bag line.
To familiarize ourselves with the new bags, we split into two teams and had to race through the Sawtooth Trail on Jamis Renegade gravel bikes while looking for colored flags indicating our cache was near. Then we had to find the cache, and stuff everything into our bags and carry on. What better way to test out a set of new bags than hurriedly fumbling to stash your clothes iron and ukulele?
Ok, so it might not have been the most rigorous testing, but it did provide a perfect first look at what appear to be a much-improved set of bags. Blackburn has been working on the new line for the past two years, taking all the feedback they got from the first generation Outpost bags to create what they call “the most advanced, lightweight and versatile, expedition-worthy bikepacking setup that Blackburn has ever made.”
Starting with the frame bag, it’s all about fit. Now there are four different size options to better fit the wide range of frame shapes on the market. It’s pretty much impossible to build a universal fit frame bag that will cover the spectrum of bikes out there, but that hasn’t stopped Blackburn from trying. Now there is a small, medium-short, medium-tall, and a large size which all have unique dimensions to hopefully create less of a dangle-bag.
The removable/adjustable Hypalon straps provide a snug fit that should also protect the frame.
Outpost Elite Frame Bag
When you get rid of the water bottle mounts on inside the front triangle, where to put your hydration becomes a concern. Now, the frame bags all have a hydration hose port and routing, with storage of the bladder at the lowest point in the frame bag.
Like all of the Outpost Elite bags, the frame bag is made from waterproof materials (which is also lighter than previous) with welded seams and waterproof zippers to keep everything inside as dry as possible. I will say that the intense moondust of Lake Tahoe didn’t play nice with the zippers making them difficult to operate, but if you live in a place that is incredibly dusty you probably already have your own solution for this.
Inside, you’ll find two main pockets plus the external zippered pocket on the left side, and the two external stash pockets on the right side with drain holes. This should make quickly getting to things like your map, food, phones, etc., a bit easier. Pricing for the Outpost Elite frame bag starts are $119.99 for the small, then $129.99 for both mediums, and $139.99 for the large.
- Water bladder hydration port
- Straps can mount in multiple locations for a secure fit
- Several mesh and slip pockets, as well as a main compartment baffle
- Weight: TBA
- Capacity: TBA
Outpost Elite Handlebar Roll
Up front, Blackburn has a new Handlebar Roll with a two piece design. Permanently attached to your bar is an aluminum mount with an angle adjustable faceplate. The second part is the new waterproof drybag which mounts to the cradle to carry.
The bag has a large velcro patch to temporarily hold the drybag in place while you do up the harness system with 6061 aluminum g-hooks on the straps. Outside there are molle straps and bungee cords – perfect for quickly securing your souvenir ukulele. You can also see on the bottom of the bag where the bleed valve is located so you can squeeze out every last bit of air to make it as compact as possible.
The Handlebar Roll sells for $159.99 for the complete kit.
- Quick release mount — installs securely and releases quickly at your whim
- Works with many standard dry bags,tents and stuff sacks
- Works with flat, riser or drop handlebars
- Welded seam construction
- Features air purge valve on stuff sack
- *Not recommended for use with carbon handlebars*
- Daisy chain loop webbing provides extra opportunities to attach lights or other gear
- Volume = 14 litres
- Weight: 795g
Outpost Elite Universal Seat Pack
Finally, there’s the new Universal Seat Pack which is also dropper post compatible.
Each bag ships with two different aluminum wing plates that bolts to the seat post rails. One simply bolts the brace to the rails, and the other provides an attachment point for the bag’s velcro straps when using a dropper post. Then it sets it back far enough that it clears the post when dropped. Obviously, depending on your saddle height you may not be able to drop it fully without striking the tire, so do some test fitting before you go full send.
This will work on standard posts as well with the standard plate, though the straps go around the seatpost for added stability of the harness. The harness is then permanently attached to the bike which reduces sway, and you can remove the dry bag to take into your tent or just leave it be. On our crazy little ride I had to ride with a heavy clothes iron in my seat pack, and it didn’t sway at all – consider me impressed.
Like all the other bags, the new construction features a lighter, waterproof material with welded seams for waterproofing. The rear bag also has a bleed valve like the front. The Universal Seat Pack will go for $169.99.
- Compatible with fixed or dropper seat posts
- Wing mount keeps your load from swaying during pedaling
- Removable dry bag features a purge valve to allow for full compression when packing
- An external shock cord will allow you to carry wet gear, or flip flops outside the bag
- Weight: 572g
- Capacity: 10.5L
All of the bags will be available mid-October.