Equipment for the Ride – Wolfman and Photo Gear Protection

The last couple of posts that I made dealt with the arthritis side of the ride: healthy eating, research, etc…  For those more interested in the mechanics of the ride itself, the next coupe of posts will deal with some of the equipment that will get me from Philadelphia to Prudhoe Bay and back, and all of the places in between.

Wolfman Luggage

Wolfman Luggage was kind enough to provide a couple of pieces of luggage as a supporter of the Journey to Alaska at no charge.  As part of the arrangement, I told the folks at Wolfman I would give them some feedback on the pieces supplied (both before and after the ride).    The first piece added was the Rainier Tank Bag – a medium sized bag for holding all of those miscellaneous items that the rider wants readily available on the road.  Admittedly, I have only had the bag on the bike for a couple of thousand miles of commuting – not much of a test…

Rainier Tank Bag

In my case, as an avid, amateur photographer, much of the non-riding time on the trip will be spent trying to do the Yukon/Alaskan landscape justice via digital images.  I want the DSLR camera readily available for those once-in-a-lfetime shots I hope to encounter.  The Rainier Tank Bag fits this bill perfectly.  If I choose to just carry the camera and a few accessories , I will keep the bag in its compact mode.  On the other hand, if it is jammed with other stuff, I can simply unzip the expansion zipper and add another 3″ to the bag.

Rainier Tankbag with Minicell foam

One thing that I learned in my previous riding in Patagonia, without some sort of vibration insulation the camera can take quite a beating as it is jostled around in the tank bag. To prevent this, I cut a piece of 1/4″ mini cell foam and inserted it into the bag to reduce vibration.  Even with the full DSLR camera and a few other items, there is still plenty of room in the bag. Nothing sophisticated here, just a layer to adsorb the vibration.  I’ll probably end up adding some additional foam to the sides as well.

The Rainier Tankbag is defiantly robust and well made.  The 4-point harness to the bike is solid and strong.  I especially like the additional side pockets, as much of the main compartment will be filled with the camera.  The Rainier is chock full of well thought out features and I recommend it highly.  The only negative I have encountered with the bag (getting very picky here)  is also one of its positives as well, the heavy zipper system.  The way that the zippers are constructed, with a heavy fiber covering the zipper, I have a tough time opening the bag with one hand (while riding).  The heavy-duty zipper binds with the overlapping fabric and makes opening difficult. I am guessing that this issue will resolve itself with a little use – not sure what purpose the protective flap serves as the bag is not waterproof…

Before leavening the subject of camera storage, I should mention that the main method of photo equipment storage is actually a Pelican Case mounted directly to a Touratech Seat Replacement Rack.  Seems to work well and camera is accessible at any time.  This system allows the removal of the case with a key for transport (with the rack) to a hotel room or other sheltered place.

Tomorrow I’ll continue the equipment review with a summary of the Wolfman Ridgeline Bag.

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