The 7Mesh MK3 Cargo Bib short is based on one of my favourite all-time favourites – the stock MK3 – but adds pockets to the thighs and back panel. Whilst expensive, they work very well, are supremely comfortable thanks to the floating chamois design, and are only more usable with the addition of pockets.
Your cargo, if you can call it that, gets five pockets – one on each leg, and three across the lower back. The thigh pockets in particular can hold a surprisingly large amount of kit.
Sure you don’t want solid, pointy items strapped to your thighs if you're pushing hard enough to risk crashes, but this spot has become de rigueur for gravel bib shorts over the last three years or so.
Also, leg pockets are perfect for energy bars and food you want to soften up but not go squishy... turns out your legs create just the right amount of heat. Who’d have thought shorts could do that?
These pockets will also swallow a phone or even my small Sony CSC camera.
The rear pockets free you from needing a standard road-style jersey to go with these bibs, too, which can be particularly helpful for long, touring-style rides at a gentler pace.
Also, as they sit beneath your jersey, they're an excellent place to stash money, cards and/or ID, out of reach of any overtaking highwaymen pedalling frantically after you. Or, you know, scumbags lurking in the places you stop. Whichever is more likely.
Perhaps unsurprisingly, the MK3 Cargo Bib feels almost exactly the same to wear as the standard 7Mesh MK3 Bib Short. I say almost, as the front waist of the Cargo bibs sits slightly lower, and on every ride required some height adjustment.
Despite this, I can't actually find any difference in actual measurements between the two. So obviously, you may not have the same issue.
Comfort from the floating chamois design is excellent, and the construction is impeccable. The extra-wide, soft elastic straps are luxurious and create just the right amount of tension, while the printed silicon leg grippers work yet cosset your thighs beautifully.
The Cargo Bibs are surprisingly tough. Early in this six-month test I crashed hard in the gravel, tearing my shirt and trashing my helmet, but the resultant slide left these shorts completely unmarked (unlike the skin underneath). Very well made is an understatement.
There are now plenty of other cargo shorts on the market, from the rear-pockets only, £90 Morvelo Overland Bibshorts V1 to the four-pocket Rapha Core Cargo (£110) and PEdAL ED's Odyssey bibshorts at £145. These have hidden leg pockets and a rear pocket too, yet still make the 7Mesh Cargo look spendy at £180.
The 7Mesh Cargo Bib Short is very comfortable, impressively tough and extremely useful. However, it's also facing stiff competition from far cheaper options. If you have the cash you will not be disappointed, but as the Cargo Bib isn't really offering masses more to justify the premium, it's still tricky to wholeheartedly recommend it.
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