I’m a bag geek, just ask my wife. On second thought, don’t—it will just draw her attention to the slew of bags I’ve got stashed in odd corners of the house and garage. Still, I’m always searching for the next great bag, one that’s well designed, well built and easy to use.
This quest has landed me some nice gear over the years, and frequently the supplier has been Wolfman Motorcycle Luggage of Longmont, Colorado. Wolfman’s Timberline Duffel looks like another winner.
The square-section bag is designed to sit across the back of a seat or on a rack, attached by the six adjustable bungee cords hidden beneath a panel that secures to the bottom of the bag with hook-and-loop. The fabric on that panel is ToughTek, a soft but tacky synthetic that stays put and helps prevent scratching. The versatile Timberline was a good fit on a Kawasaki KLR650, a BMW F800GS and a Moto Guzzi Norge, though the below-the-bag attachment allows the duffel to flop back and forth when heavily loaded, and the front and rear bungees could be a little longer. I was more comfortable with the load after running a stabilizing strap through the bag’s dual handles toward the rear of the bike, as I do on any bag with this kind of attachment system.
Sewn from hefty 1,680-Denier ballistic nylon, the Timberline measures 28 inches across, including the two end pockets. Roomy, handy and easy to access via wide, crescent-shaped zippered openings, these Wolfman-signature pockets are perfect for on-the-road essentials. A heavy-duty zipper opens the bag, and inside the top flap is a flat mesh pocket for maps and papers. My longest tent poles fit easily inside the Timberline’s 22-inch main compartment. In normal trim the bag is 11 inches wide and 10.5 inches high, but it has a 4-inch reserve at the top that zips open to add six liters of space for those of us who pack tight, then wonder where to put that sweater when the weather warms up 100 miles down the road. Or you can fill the expanded bag with consumables for a camping trip and collapse it for the ride home.
Wolfman includes two compression straps across the top to condense your load. Just the thing for running a tight ship, they’re also good for strapping on extra gear. If you don’t need them they can be stowed in the secret bungee compartment. D-rings on the ends of the bag allow more creative strapping options. I packed my entire camping kit—sleeping bag, air mattress, tent, cook pot, stove, clothes and food—into the Timberline with room to spare, then slipped my long-legged camp stool beneath the compression straps and secured it without needing additional tie-downs. The duffel’s coated fabric is waterproof, but the seams and zippers won’t stand up to a downpour. For that you’ll want the optional rain cover ($24.99).
The American-made Timberline meets the high-quality standards of other Wolfman products, including strong, taped seams and nice touches like the nylon grab tabs to facilitate zipper use. It retails for $144.99 and comes trimmed with reflective material to call attention to itself at night and give it some style points during the day. Packed full, the bag can get heavy, so consider a shoulder strap ($16.95) if you’ll be carrying it any distance. I know, because there’s a full one sitting on my floor waiting for me to finish this before I strap it to my GS and take off for the weekend.
For more information contact Wolfman Motorcycle Luggage, 1840 Skyway Drive, Unit E, Longmont, Colorado 80504; (800) 535-8131; www.wolfmanluggage.com