For the last few years, I have been searching for the ultimate bike-packing setup. There are definitely no shortages of bag options out there. My preferred bags have been the snack bags that mount on your handlebars. They’re super easy to access and grab something quick without having to stop and they fit multiple types of items, from beer cans to oranges. One time (at Fat Camp) I actually had four Revelate feedbags for my entire handlebar system. I kept Liquid Refreshment in the two bags that faced me, and assorted snacks and fruit in the two bags that were facing forward. The system worked well for easy access to multiple items. So when Uncle Gomez sent me a set of Oveja Negras Chuckbuckets to test out. I was pretty excited. New bike-packing bags me make me feel like a pajama-clad 5-year-old on Christmas morning. The good people at Oveja Negra are dedicated to making high-quality handmade bike-packing bags right here in the good old USA, specifically in Salida, Colorado. Let’s go over the specs, and the pros and cons of the bags and find out why they are my new favorite bags.
The Chuckbucket™ is our handlebar/stem bag that enables fast access to goods while you’re in the saddle. Designed around a 1L Nalgene® and 40 oz. Klean Kanteen®, the Chuckbucket has plenty of volume to handle snacks, water, or whatever else you find yourself in need of. Simple, one-handed opening/closing lets you keep a hand on the bars so you don’t go flying.
- Designed to fit a 1L Nalgene® or 40 oz. Klean Kanteen®
- Structured bucket top keeps bag open for easy access
- One-handed opening/closing
- Removable Fork-crown strap for ultimate adaptability
- Attaches to either side of stem or run one on both sides at the same time
- Hook & loop closure mesh pocket keeps items secure
- Drain hole for leaky water bottles
- High density closed cell foam keeps your items protected
- X-pac® VX21 and Cordura® construction, 70d hex ripstop top
- Lime green liner fabric
- Velcro® One Wrap® attachment straps
- WEIGHT: 4 oz.
- CAPACITY: 1L+
MADE IN THE U.S.A. of domestic and imported materials
One of my favorite features of these bags is their rectangular shape. I used to always have an issue with my knees hitting the regular rounder snack bags, especially while climbing out of the saddle. They tended to protrude towards my knees due to their cylindrical shape. An added bonus of the rectangular shape is it fits my small flask perfectly, even if the bag has a Nalgene already inside. The bag can also be attached on either side of the stem, making it possible to run two bags simultaneously.
I also like the contrasting colors they chose for the inside lining of their bags. Mine are lime green inside and White Camouflage on the outside. The contrasting color makes finding what you are looking for a whole lot easier. It would be hard to find that runaway Purple Skittle if the inside of the bag is also purple in color. There is also a small water drain hole in the bottom of each bag. If you don’t want something small falling out of that drain hole, just cover up the hole with some duct tape or plug it with something.
The drawstring pull cord tabs that open and close the bags, allows for one finger opening and closing, even with larger bulkier winter gloves.
The Velcro is super strong. It was difficult to open the bags the very first time I used them, but once I opened the Velcro a few times, they loosened up a bit and made the bags much easier to open. The Velcro is strong and will not open accidentally and spill your contents all over the trail. Their sturdy well-designed construction is what holds their shape so well.
The straps at the bottom of the bags are used to wrap under the fork crown and are actually long enough for longer steerer tubes like mine. I leave my steerer tube long because I like to switch from flat bars to drop bars once in a while for longer gravel rides. The straps are also completely removable if not wanted or needed. When I used my four- bag setup system I could only strap two of them to the fork crowns for stability. The other two straps were just a bit too short. So I wrapped the straps around the stem and tucked them away.
The only con I noticed is the Velcro on the front mesh pocket is so strong that you have to stop riding to access your items. I recommend using this spot for a flask, bike tool or other items you don’t need to access super quick and on the fly. Don’t put your favorite snacks or phone/camera in there!
Bulkier items will not fit inside the front mesh pockets if loaded with a Nalgene or Klean Canteen. Flat and rectangular or square items will work best. Don’t put in anything round or too long inside the mesh pocket, as it will not allow the Velcro to seal up all the way. Luckily my flasks are both small enough to fit inside the mesh pocket while loaded up. One fits completely inside the mesh with the Velcro closed, the Gnome Fest Flask fits in the pocket but I can’t fully enclose the Velcro around it. I haven’t had any issues with it popping out, even on rocky descents or climbs.
The first few tests I completed with these bags were on gravel rides. My first test was a quick 6 miler and then a longer 30 miler to a local Adult Liquid Beverage Delivery establishment (Grumpy Troll Brewery) and back. But, where the Chuckbuckets really shined was on the single track. The real word testing began December at the Gnew Moon- Longest Gnight-Gnome Hunt & Bivy at the Kettle Moraine Southern Unit Trails. It wasn’t a long ride to the Shelter, due to the trail closures, but it was extremely bumpy gnarly terrain on a rigid Surly Wednesday. On the way out to the shelter, my rear bag scraped my rear tire on a climb and moved a strap just far enough for me to lose my warmest hat for the night. Not the thing you want to lose when you camp in the low twenties or teens. On our ride back to the cars my front pocket on my front roll came loose on a descent from the death cookies and had I to stop and readjust, but the Chuckbuckets didn’t budge at all.
I have been testing these long enough that I can honestly say these are the best-made bags I have ever used. The Oveja Negra Chuckbucket is now my favorite snack delivery system handlebar bag I have ever owned. It has made my list of must-have bike-packing bags to have on any adventure. I love its rectangular size combined with its knee-saving shape. They are available in a multitude of colors to bling up your ride.
Chuckbuckets are available now and the MSRP is $50.
You can learn more at www.ovejanegrabikepacking.com