When embarking on a trip it is important to have the right luggage to carry all of your precious cargo. Whether you use tail bags, tank bags, side cases or backpacks they all need to serve two purposes: to carry your belongings and keep them safe. Hard cases are generally used for those nice long touring trips, but when you just need to commute to a nearby town or are going for a nice weekend ride you do not really need the extra bulk that the hard cases provide. The solution to this is a simple one: use a backpack. Wolfman has been making luggage for 11 years and introduced the Escape Pak last year, which exceeds the standards of other backpacks.
One thing people worry about with backpacks is their carrying capacity. Wolfman kept this in mind when they made the Escape Pak. They created it hold up to 854 cubic inches, or 14 liters. Here’s an example to show how much it holds: 854 cubic inches is like 12 T-shirts, 1,150 sheets of standard 8.5 x 11 paper, or two medium-sized cats in your backpack, giving you plenty of space for your belongings for any trip around the city. It also has a front zipper pocket that holds a small load. In my opinion a small load would be small personal items like your phone, a wallet, deodorant, sunglasses and probably another item that is about the size of your hand. If you place an EZ-Pass in this pocket you will not have to take it out, you just need to swipe the backpack near the sensor and be on your way.
Now to keeping your belongings safe, the Escape Pak is made of ballistics foam and mesh, so it is not going to fall apart when it gets some wear and tear. The stuff is so strong I was able to hang the Escape Pak in the air five feet and place a 75-pound weight in it and it stayed there for over an hour. I would not call it bulletproof, but it can certainly take any beating you give it. Another nice perk is it has a slim no-snag profile, even when filled. This really showed when I was riding around in the woods comparing the profile to my school backpack. The Escape Pak did not catch any branches or even touch anything beside me, while my school backpack got caught up on some braches and ended up breaking some branches off as well.
Speaking on the matter of other backpacks, the Escape Pak comes equipped with a sternum strap and a waist belt that Wolfman has kindly named the “Wolfy Waist Belt.” These help secure the backpack to your body and, if tightened correctly, will not let the backpack leave you at any time during you ride.
Another aspect of the Escape Pak that is great is its versatility. In my time reviewing the product I have used it as a backpack, a tank bag, a tail bag, a lunchbox, a cat carrier, a pillow, and I even used it as a foot warmer on one especially cold night. Its small size and compatibility really allows you to use it for whatever purpose you need, no matter how absurd it is. The backpack can also be used at night. It only comes in one color, black, but it includes reflective webbing accents for nighttime visibility. One thing that really helps out with the versatility is its assortment of D-rings covering the backpack. These give you plenty of places to tie down the backpack wherever you want and almost however you want as well. The backpack is also able to loosen its straps when you do not want to use it as a backpack, and instead use them as ties to wrap around your bike to secure it in place. The versatility of the Escape Pak makes it a must have bag for any of you adventurous riders out there going on weekend trips with little cargo.
My only complaint about the Escape Pak would be the external water bottle holder. The Escape Pak comes with two of them one on either side of the backpack, but its holding ability is what worried me. I put a variety of different bottles, cups and thermos containers in it and took them for a spin. Although none of the bottles flew out, I had to keep checking that they were there. Call me paranoid, but any bottle that was 10 inches or more seemed to want to fly out during the ride. If you use the straps to loop through the top of a water bottle though, this can ease the worry. The Escape Pak also comes with a three-liter HydraPak and hose with lockable bite valve, though, that serves as an internal water reservoir similar to a CamelBak.
The Wolfman Escape Pak sells for $155, plus shipping. More information, reviews and shipping details can be found at www.wolfmanluggage.com
• Slim profile
• HydraPak three-liter reservoir included
• Adjustable straps
• Very versatile
• Additional add-ons available
• One size
• One color
• Precarious water bottle holder if not strapped in