We’ve been enjoying a set of Bootlegger Fork Bags from our old friends from Oveja Negra. The Bootlegger has a two-liter capacity and is a perfect fit for a Nalgene water bottle inside of a Bar Mitts Winter Bot neoprene sleeve for insulation. They mount directly to the triple cage bosses that come on some fat-bike forks without the need for a cage and straps. The bags have a thin metal plate sewn into the side, with corresponding holes that allow the bootleggers (along with 3 small washers and bolts) to be mounted onto a cargo fork leg.
When we posted a photo of the bootleggers on Instagram near the start of our testing, the first question that was posted concerned the ease of installation. This is a case where standard hex wrenches aren’t going to be very user-friendly. I used a small hex bit and a knurled magnetic bit holder that came with the HX-ONE Allen wrench set from Silca and then when it came time to tighten the 3 mounting nuts, I used a small hex bit ratchet from Prestaflator. I wear XXL Glove Size 13 so if I can do this install, it should be even easier for mechanics with smaller paws to accomplish. The first time that I did the installation, my hand cramped a bit, but on the second and third time around, it became easier. Having the right tools are essential to making this particular installation manageable.
Why go with a direct mount bag?
The short answer is that it’s lighter. When I compared the Bootlegger to a new plastic Salsa Anything Cage, plus a Salsa Anything Bag and Two Revelate Designs Washboard Straps, the Bootlegger was 186g and the Cage, Bag, and Straps weighed 362g. So if you’re the gram counting kind of bikepacker, the advantage goes to the direct mount Bootlegger. One thing that the direct mount bag does not allow you to do, is to remove the bag from the bike and take it into your tent or over to the picnic table to make a snack.
We took the Bootleggers out on a couple of overnight trips and used them to carry 32 0z. Nalgene water bottles. I also used the bootlegger to carry a Big Agnes air mattress and on another trip, it carried a Jetboil stove. The lid/strainer of the stove didn’t fit the circumference of the bag and once the stove went into the bag, it was a little difficult to extricate. With a more traditional bag, you would be able to turn the bag upside down and let gravity remove the stove, but with a direct mount bag, that’s a little more difficult. The best cargo scenario that we came upon so far, was packing a quart-sized Nalgene bottle filled with H2O.
The Bottom Line
The Bootleggers have performed well on the trips that we’ve taken them on and we plan to keep testing these direct mount bags to see if they’ll hold up to the rigors of off-road touring over the long haul. If these bags are like the other Oveja Negra bags that we’ve been using during the last five years they’ll be very durable. The Oveja Negra frame bag that is pictured on the orange fat-bike in the photos contained in this article is over five years old. It was made for a Moonlander way back in late 2012. The other two things that come to mind when I think of the bags that we’ve tested from Oveja Negra is precision and quality. The Bootleggers certainly reflect those attributes very well. We’ll have more to come on these great fork bags somewhere down the trail…maybe in one of the Bivvy a Month Challenge posts or on other bikepacking adventures. MSRP – $75
You can learn more about Oveja Negra at – https://www.ovejanegrabikepacking.com/