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Oveja Negra, which translates as black sheep, is a bikepacking bag company from Salida, Colorado. The name is meant as a reference to those whose love for the cycling life sets them apart from the flock. What sets Oveja Negra apart is their attention to detail and outstanding quality, along with very reasonable prices.
The Gearjammer Seat Bag exemplifies these traits. From the moment it was unpackaged, the quality of this bag was obvious. It’s made from ultra-durable fabrics that will stand up the to the abuse of bikepacking – not only the terrain and elements, but from what seems to be the all-too-common need to try to stuff just one more thing.
This is one tough bag. The toughness does not mean it’s heavy, however. The large Gearjammer weighs just 12.6 ounces. All major connection points that see high loads such as where the compression straps join are reinforced and stitched in multiple locations. The main bag material is so substantial that the unsupported sides of the bag do not collapse even with the bag empty. And the forward sides of the main bag are supported by an exterior thick-walled shell that prevents the bag from deforming. This is important as it keeps the front streamlined so as not to rub your thighs while pedaling. To this point and as a further testament of the bag‘s quality, on the first outing with the Gearjammer I made what would have been a very costly mistake with other bags I have used. I wore my 3 month old pair of Assos Cento S7 bibs on a 60+ mile bikepacking trip. With nearly every other bag I own which wraps around the seatpost, these shorts would now be highly frayed on my inner thighs. The stitching, finish, and the strap‘s complete coverage of the velcro on the Oveja Negra seatpost wrap, as well as the tapered shape, kept the shorts free of damage.
There are many other details of the Gearjammer that testify to the fact that this bag is made by people who actually use and abuse their products. A huge downfall of another seat bag I have used is that the straps connecting the bag to the seat rails have a tendency to loosen. This is quite an issue as even a slightly loose strap can cause noticeable sway with a loaded bag. This sway can affect the handling of the bike and the rider‘s confidence. The straps on the Gearjammer feature cam-locking buckles so the strap will not develop any slack. These buckles and the use of Superfabric with silicone grip where the bag connects to the post keep this seat bag locked in place no matter the loading or the terrain.
Another nice detail from Oveja Negra is the load compression strap which runs down the middle of the bag. This not only acts to keep the tail of the bag from sagging when loaded, but it also offers a nice strap for exterior stowage of soft or compressible items. I made use of this to secure arm and knee warmers as well as my Sawyer Squeeze water filter pouch. It would also be a great place to store rain gear, maps, etc. And the strap can be used with carabiners for hanging light objects.
The large Gearjammer lists a capacity of 8-12 liters. For reference, I was able to fit my thermal jacket, a long-sleeve base layer, thermal tights, camp pants, two backpacker‘s meals, a first-aid kit, headlamp, wet wipes, my sleeping bag, and my tent main body in the large bag.
The Oveja Negra Gearjammer is priced at a very competitive $125. This is actually on the lower range of seat bag prices, yet the Gearjammer is the pinnacle of bikepacking seat bags when compared to the others I have used. I will even go as far as saying that this bag is the best product I have reviewed for this site in 2014.
Oveja Negra makes a small 6-10 liter seat bag as well as offering a “race” version made of slightly lighter materials. They also make half frame bags, handlebar bags, and top-tube bags. Full frame bags are custom orders. The build time for custom frame bags is currently an astonishingly quick two weeks. All items can be ordered direct from their website.
Oveja Negra is a truly impressive company offering high-quality, American-made products. The fact that these black sheep stray from the cheap, flimsy, “Made In China” crowd only furthers my respect and admiration for them. If you are in the market for bikepacking bags of any sort, you can‘t go wrong with Oveja Negra.
– Alex (Steak Sauce)