As a cargo connoisseur, I often get swept up in the details, the minutiae, and some might argue, the icing on the cake of bicycle travel. These little details can become centerpieces of a final touring package. While I’ll always carry a few extra Voile straps on a tour, there’s something nice about having cam buckles and nylon webbing for the bigger jobs. One of the things I love about touring is the constant need to strap more crap to your bike. Sometimes, it’s a frozen pizza at a gas station that catches your eye or your wet clothes from that swimming hole. Regardless, having these items securely fastened to your bike is important because no one likes a broken pizza box.
Having a few extra straps can go a long way and while there are dozens of options made in China out there, it’s nice when a small company takes it upon itself to make something as simple as a cam buckle in the USA. Austere Manufacturing first popped up in my Instagram feed earlier this summer. I’m not sure why these tan cam buckles caught my eye ;-) but I immediately bought two pairs; a 3/4″ cam and a 1″ cam with webbing. Since then, I’ve used them to carry everything from a fly rod to camp chairs around on my bike and can honestly say, these buckles are some of my favorite things to come from a small, cottage industry maker.
Let’s check them out in detail below.
Cam buckles are a simple product that can be taken seriously. You’ll find them in your local hardware store but they’re not like this. Austere makes these buckles from billet aluminum, with a titanium pin, and a stainless steel spring. This 1″ buckle weighs in at 11.25 grams for those gram counters and the cams are sold individually or with a webbing tail in either an 18, 36, or 48″ length.
They come in slate grey, blue, or this tan color in 3/4″ ($22 buckle only, $23.50 with strap) and 1″ ($22.32 or $23.82 with strap) sizes, with or without the nylon straps. You can buy the buckles by themselves to use in your custom bags or to make your own strap.
For the forthcoming Dangerbird, I’m carrying some small items on this Tumbleweed T-Rack, along with two Buckhorn Panniers.
I’ve been using these straps in various contexts for a few months now, ranging from a belt with the 1″ buckle, to our packrafts, luggage carrying on our SUV, strapping fishing poles to our bikes, and more. They hold tension incredibly well and work as they should in wet conditions.
Sure, spending ~$24 on a strap might seem extreme but when something is made this well, it’ll outlast dozens of disposable plastic cam straps. Plus, we’re fans of small domestic manufacturing.
You can see more at Austere Manufacturing.