Product review – Wolfman Dust-proof Expedition Dry Saddle Bags and Wolf Side Racks combination
In my constant search for the perfect dual-sport saddlebag, I have found my favorite to date – the Wolfman Side Racks and Expedition Dry Saddlebags. I put these through their paces recently on a trip through Southern Oregon.
What I like best about these bags is that they can be secured tight and close to the frame making for a very secure ride - there is no wallowing from things moving around behind the rider. Their location is also excellent, forward and lower than many other designs. This helps keep the center of gravity low and centralized.Though I did my best to crash in the snow, I never did, but cannot imagine that anything short of a long slide on the asphalt is going to do much damage to these bags. Constructed of 22 oz. vinyl with a 34 oz. vinyl bottom, all of the seams are welded together using radio frequency technology making them completely waterproof. Ready to pack, they are 13" long by 7" wide by 13" tall. Plenty large enough to hold all you need for at least a weekend getaway.
Though I have not personally tried a set, Wolfman also makes the Teton Saddlebags. These are the same design as the Expedition bags, but are made from ballistic nylon fabric, keeping costs down considerably. The Tetons are also said to be extremely durable, weather resistant and dust proof. If you are going for more than a weekend, or just need more room, Wolfman also makes the Expedition Double-Ended Dry Duffel. This large dry duffel style bag is constructed of the same materials as the Expedition Saddlebags, but is designed to be placed behind the rider on the seat or on a rack. Let us know if you need this additional space for something like moving!
The Side Racks were very easy to install, just three bolts on each side to mount them to my DR650. Once the racks were on, attaching the bags to the rack was just as straightforward and easy. They mount using two large straps across the seat and four butterfly tabs per side that slide into four loops on each rack. Once you have done it just a few times it is a very simple and quick process to get the bags on and off your bike.
Once you get all your stuff in the bag, you squeeze out all the air that you can, then roll the top down (there should be a minimum of three rolls in the top of the bag to insure a tight seal) and secure it with the strap on each end and the compression strap that goes over the top. Not only are these bags completely waterproof, they are also entirely dust proof. Nothing gets in these babies until you do and then you are assured to have dry and clean undies for the next day! I tested them through mud, water and snow and there was not a hint of moisture or dirt anywhere inside the bag.
Like I said earlier, these are 'dry bags'. For anybody not familiar with what a dry bag is, it is nothing more than a simple bag, with a single opening at the top, constructed of waterproof material. With no zippers or pockets, just a top opening that is rolled and and then strapped down, there is nowhere for dirt or water to enter the bag. One small drawback to this design is that you need to be organized in how you pack. I strongly suggest you use several small to medium sized stuff bags to pack your belongings as it makes packing and unpacking much easier. With no internal compartments, this allows you to easily retrieve an item somewhere near the middle of the bag without having to pull your stuff out piece by piece, and then repack it all the same way.
It also helps to be conscious of how you pack. Put items you are not going to need often at the bottom of the bag. Pack your lightweight jacket and gloves at the top so if the weather gets nice you can easily retrieve them. Another suggestion is to pack your heavy items, such as tools, in the bottom of the bags. (I say bags because you don’t want all the weight in just one bag of course as it makes the load unbalanced.) The majority of the weight at the bottom helps to keep the center of gravity as low as possible and this helps to eliminate the ‘tail wagging the dog’ effect you can get with a lot of weight high up on the rear of the motorcycle. There is no reason to weigh each item, but you want to make the weight of each bag as even as possible.
I know some of this information seems like a no-brainer to anybody that has done it before, but for those that have never packed for a motorcycle trip, it may be helpful.
You can Click here if you would like to see a video of the Side Rack installation from the Wolfman web site. They have done a really good job of showing exactly how to install these racks. Click here to see Wolfman’s video on how to attach the bags to the frames.