Wolfman Rainier Tankbag Review

[This Wolfman Rainier Tankbag Review was originally published in the  July 2010 issue of Rider magazine]

When I traded my Kawasaki KLR650 thumper for a BMW F800GS twin, I discovered that my faithful Wolfman Explorer tankbag sprawled across the BMW’s faux gas tank like a teenager on a sofa, hanging off on all sides. Lucky for me,  the Wolfman Rainier model, a cross between the Explorer and smaller Denali, had just been released. And don’tcha know, the Rainier fits the 800 like it was made for it. Wolfman lists the measurements as 11 inches long, 8 3/4 inches wide, 6 1/2 inches high in the front and 10 inches in the rear. That last dimension balloons to 14 inches when you unzip the expando-panel to accommodate a few extra items. Claimed capacity is 20 liters in stock form, 24 liters expanded. For comparison, it’s small enough to just fit inside an Explorer.

Those familiar with Wolfman’s Explorer will find much the same here. Wolfman sews the Rainier from coated 1,680-denier nylon, uses YKK zippers and covers the bottom with Tough-Tek to prevent slipping and scratching. Sewing quality is excellent and all major seams are taped for strength. A removable plastic stiffener gives the bag its shape. Wolfman’s easy-access crescent-shaped pocket keeps things handy at the front of the bag and reflective trim makes for some crazy flash photos. Zippered envelope-style pockets attach to the sides by straps and hook-and-loop, as does a small pocket at the back. The thin sleeves don’t hold as much as the Explorer’s fatter pouches, but I liked the svelte profile they create and didn’t miss the temptation to over pack the bag.

A zippered mesh pouch on the inside of the top flap keeps your small stuff organized, provided it’s no thicker than a pen or small notebook. The map pocket sticks to the top via hook-and-loop—resisting the strongest wind but easy to tear off and carry into a restaurant. Two sections of an AAA map fit snugly under the pocket’s plastic top, and you can store more maps in its lower compartment. If you print your own charts, consider adding Wolfman’s plain paper-sized accessory map pocket for $12.99.

Wolfman Rainier Tankbag side
Wolfman Rainier Tankbag side

Attaching the Rainier to my GS is simple—run the front straps under the steering head and bring the plastic fasteners over the “tank,” using the keeper strap to prevent them from falling into the void. Then fasten the rear straps to frame members and snap them to their mates on the bag. Adjust the fore-aft fit, and I’m done. Nylon/Tough-Tek panels beneath the straps protect the bike and the ignition key is easy to access with the bag in place; removing the Rainier is a matter of pinching the four plastic clips. Off the bike, a nylon handle helps you carry it to your tent or motel room.

The Rainier and I covered a lot of rough ground on my GS last fall and it never let me down, staying put over hundreds of miles of washboard roads and tricky two-track. Whether I was sitting down or standing on the pegs, it didn’t interfere with my control of the bike, yet kept my gear protected and near to hand. Where the Explorer was a large bag, the Rainier is “right sized” for my GS and many other bikes. I used the standard mounting system on my BMW, but the Rainier is also available with Wolfman’s KLR650 mounting straps. Accessories include a rain cover ($16.99), larger side and back pockets ($39.99) and a two-liter top pocket ($29.99). The Rainer itself is $159.99. And no, you can’t have my old Explorer—it just might fit my next bike!

For more information: Wolfman Motorcycle Luggage, 1840 Skyway Drive, Unit E, Longmont, Colorado 80504; (800) 535-8131


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