Strapping a dry bag to your gravel bike has long been a cheap, simple and lightweight way to add some extra luggage capacity – ultra-distance cyclist and general adventurist, Sean Conway, deemed it a good enough solution for a round-the-world record attempt (opens in new tab) back in 2012.
But there are a few drawbacks with that kind of setup, particularly regarding the speed and robustness of how they attach – typically it's a choice between one or the other, rather than a satisfying combination of the two.
Here’s where Tailfin’s new Cage Pack System comes in. The intention is to build on the lightweight simplicity of dry bags whilst developing a more robust and user friendly design.
With everything, there's always a trade of and, with prices ranging from $40.00 / £30.00 to $70.00 / £55.00, the Cage Pack bags aren’t as cheap as a basic dry bags. As it's the details that really differentiate these bags, let's get into it.
Tailfin Cage Pack
If you've been following the progression of Tailfin products you might be wondering at this point: "aren't these Cage Packs essentially the same as the mini panniers that were released last year?" But the answer is no. They’re not.
Although there is some overlap in sizing – the Cage Packs come in 1.7L, 3L, and 5L while the Mini Panniers come in 5L and 10L – the Mini Panniers utilise a quick release mechanism for clamping onto the tubes of a rack. The Cage Packs, on the other hand, are designed to strapped directly onto some form of cargo cage.
As such, the shaping is quite different between these two models – the Cage Packs are designed expressly to fit wherever you might wish to place a cargo cage. With their slimmer width, with possibility to place the packs on the underside of the downtube is even opened up – nestling there in between the motion path of the cranks.
That’s a particularly exposed position for any bag or bottle, but Tailfin is confident in its 100% waterproof guarantee, using a heavy duty 420D Hypalon laminate in high wear areas and a lighter more flexible ripstop nylon in others. The seams are welded for a complete seal and the closure system is, naturally, a roll-top design.
The weight limit comes down more to your mounting points than the bags themselves. Tailfin recommends no more than 1.5kg per nut, so with a set of triple bosses that’d be a limit of 4.5kg. For the three sizes – with straps included – pricing stands at:
1.7L – $50.00 / £40.00
3L – $55.00 / £45.00
5L – $70.00 / £55.00
Although designed to fit most elegantly with Tailfin’s own Cargo Cages – the strap loops of the two are said to line up just-so – but the bags can be used with any cage. Or any strap, speaking of which…
TPU Cargo Straps
TPU (Thermoplastic polyurethane) is a material that’s cropping up increasingly often, with its application as a material for inner tubes being particularly well documented. Its balance of stretch, grip, strength and abrasion resistance has also made it Tailfin’s material of choice for its Cargo Straps.
Combined with a Nylon 6/6 buckle, the claims of durability are highly impressive. Tailfin says that the buckle can literally be hit with a rock or a hammer and it’ll flex straight back into shape.
Although there are many different straps out on the market, Tailfin is adamant that theirs is quite different, considering the curvature of bike frame tubes and utilising non-scratching materials in the design..
A standard 20mm width had been selected for maximum compatibility with various cargo cages and bags and there’s the option of three lengths. Pricing stands as follows:
40cm – $9.00 / £7.50
50cm – $10.00 / £8.00
65cm – $11.00 / £8.50
More information about the straps and the wider range of products can be found on Tailfin's website (opens in new tab) over here.
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Starting off riding mountain bikes on the South Downs way, he soon made the switch the road cycling. Now, he’s come full circle and is back out on the trails, although the flat bars have been swapped for the curly ones of a gravel bike.
Always looking for the next challenge, he’s Everested in under 12 hours (opens in new tab) and ridden the South Downs Double in sub 20 (opens in new tab). Although dabbling in racing off-road, on-road and virtually (opens in new tab), to date his only significant achievement has been winning the National Single-Speed Cross-Country Mountain Bike Championships in 2019.
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