Thursday, January 13, 2011

Wolfman Explorer Lite Tank Bag

I purchased a new tank bag during the Wolfman anniversary sale.

They were offering 19% off all products over the weekend. I picked up an Explorer Lite Tank Bag and the optional rain cover. (It has been known to rain in the Pacific Northwest on occasion.)


At first look, I will say the construction quality of the bag itself seems good. For the price, I was hoping it would be. Solid stitching, good material, nice zippers and attention to detail. The bag itself is great. I would have added a moveable wall on the inside (like you would find in a camera bag) to help keep things from shifting around.

I looked at the attachment straps for the pre-’08 KLR650 and instantly thought of several ways I would rather attach the bag. I found this disappointing and annoying. Thought had gone into the bag design, but very little effort went into the harness system, if you could even call it that.

The included front straps are held to the front of the tank with the screws that hold the radiator shrouds in place. The rear straps loop around the frame and come up between the rear of the tank and the seat. The fastex clips at the end of the four straps clip to the corners of the bag. This will work great keeping the bag on the tank. I have Zega cases on the sides of the KLR. For the day-to-day commuting they hold everything I need. For the adventures I need a little more cargo space. Most of the time the four straps will be dangling, flopping, and flipping around.

Alternating the male and female clips on the ends of the bag and straps would at least allow me to clip the front and rear straps to each other when the bag was not on the bike. Rather than cut the loops on the bag and switch buckles on one side, I may attach Fastex buckles to a strip of elastic. I’ll clip the opposite side front and rear straps together with the clips and elastic, forming an “X” across the tank. This will keep the straps from flopping around. I’ve got a couple other ideas for attaching a tank bag, but I’m keeping them to myself. I may have to start my own moto accessory company…

The “rain cover” is simply a lightweight, ripstop nylon “baggie” the fits over the tank bag. The fabric itself seems pretty light. I think that it will keep minimal drizzle off the bag, but if soaked, water will get through. Wolfman did put Velcro on the baggie to keep it in place and to hold the map pocket on the outside. The problem with that is the seams on the map pocket and the seams on the rain cover are not sealed. The stitching on the rain cover is loose and skips a stitch on one of the corners. I can almost get my little finger through the hole. I give it two uses before a seam pops. I also wager any map in the pocket will get soaked and the rain cover will leak the first time it is needed.

Double stitching, some seam seal tape, and a clear window on the top, to allow the map pocket to stay dry underneath, would have made the rain cover actually useful.

I was hoping to really like this bag. The main compartment is padded, good for keeping a camera safe and handy. It is also expandable with a zippered mesh pocket on the underside of the lid. I also like the smaller zipped pocket on back of the bag.

In order for this bag to work for me I will have to build my own bag retention system, replace the top panel of the rain cover with a clear plastic, and seam seal the rain cover stitching. I was hoping I could spend less time modifying and more time riding.

Wolfman, you make a nice bag, too bad you scrimp on the rest.

1 comment:

  1. Nice review. It's probably a good idea to spray a coat of water repellent on maps before taking them in the field. Also, if you're looking at taking on a tank bag project, you might obtain funding by using and then socializing your idea on the moto forums.