Gear Review #1 – Mukluk frame bag handcrafted by Errin Vasquez (October 2011)
Through this site, I’ve met another fatbiker named Errin Vasquez. He runs the websites FatbikeInTheCity.com and FrontageRoads.com. As a Mukluk rider, he was interested in the bags like those by Revelate Designs (formerly Epic Designs) in Anchorage Alaska. I’m not sure if Revelate created the fatbike frame bag, but they certainly have popularized and made it available to the commercial marketplace, particularly in their recent deal with Salsa. If you don’t already know, Salsa now sells Mukluk frame bags, through a partnership with Revelate. The bags are Salsa branded, and are apparently still made in the USA (though no longer in Eric’s Revelate shop in Anchorage).
But this isn’t specifically about Revelate and Salsa, it’s about the amazing bags Errin has begun making. Errin was kind enough to send me one of his recent bags, which incorporates a few revisions and design tweaks since his first design, which is featured here at his site: http://www.fatbikeinthecity.com/2011/08/29/new-framebag/. Having now received and tried mine, I must admit I’m impressed. The last time I ran a sewing machine was when I made a duffle bag in 6th grade Home Ec class (which I thought turned at very well at the time, but I digress). What that 6th grade bag making process taught me is that I can certainly respect people who craft unique products that are useful and well made. Errin’s awesome Mukluk bag certainly covers both of these bases.
Off the bike, I was impressed with the bag’s zippered pockets with taped zippers and zipper pulls. There are pockets on each side, and in the main section the bag can easily absorb a couple large water bottles, or a water bottle, tools and whatever gear suits the adventure you call on your bag and bike to serve. The quality of the nylon material (with ballistic or reinforced nylon at wear areas) and the quality of construction appear first-rate. Time will tell how the bag withstands daily use, but I’m expecting it will do very well. On the bike, the fit, utility/practicality, and integration on the bike are all awesome. I’ll post more of my own photos soon, but in the meantime check out those that Errin posted featuring his revised bag design (like the one I’m reviewing) here: http://www.fatbikeinthecity.com/2011/10/11/salsa-mukluk-frame-bag-v2/.
Overall, I’m impressed and very happy to be using this bag, and happy Errin helped get one to me so I could have some hands-on experience with this great design. Errin is making some awesome bags and I hope others will check him out as an alternative to the Salsa and other bags that are out there. I’m sure those are great bags too, but it’s always nice to know there are several companies/individuals making such gear to keep the options open and keep design progressing.
Thanks Errin! Please check out Errin’s website, FatbikeInTheCity.com for more info.