Words & Photos by | Jun Song |
Pack Animal (www.packanimal.co) is a very new Kickstarter-funded motorcycle gear company, primarily focusing on saddlebags, and is based out of Seattle Washington. In 2015, Mike Linquist and Christopher Hanson left their respective careers to start this company.
Just as a full disclosure, co-founder Mike Linquist’s wife, Jenny Linquist, is a good moto friend of mine, an awesome photographer, and a contributor to this blog. And she is also Pack Animal’s PR/Marketing/Photographer personnel. Also as part of the disclosure, I actually purchased this at full price during their Kickstarter campaign, and I didn’t tell them that I’m doing this review, so they have zero input/influence to this review.
So I apologize in advance if I get something wrong about the company or their products.
Product Review Summary
- Great look and quality, combined with functionality
- Sufficient compartment space
- Lifetime warranty
- Priced at $175, which is not the most affordable tool roll
- Weight is on the heavier side due to its waxed fabric and leather construction (I don’t think this is really a negative but I included it just because I couldn’t think of anything else)
Cost | Value
This tool roll retails for $175, and that’s NOT including any tools, so yea it’s not cheap, but I don’t think it’s expensive either. Sure, for $20-$30 you can buy a pretty legit fabric tool roll bag on Amazon, or wherever, but you can’t really compare products like this (i.e. with such build, quality, and aesthetics) to something you find in Home Depot.
You have to classify this product as a premium gear and compare accordingly. So to compare this to other premium tool rolls, such as Makr x Deus at $150 (this has been out of stock for some time now, but my gosh this is a gorgeous tool roll), Cotter Pin Gear’s roll at $189, and Union Garage NYC’s at $295, which actually includes tools for the price. So comparing to all these, Pack Animals’ seem pretty average-priced.
But then what about value? Well, $175 is not cheap for me and it’s probably not cheap for most of you either. Yea, it’s handmade here in the USA, but you really won’t notice a $150 improvement over the tool rolls you can get at Home Depot or the rolls you’ll see at your dad’s garage, so it does lack tangible value; however, I think it does make up for it with its intangible values, i.e. looks/aesthetics (see Aesthetics/Functionality section below)
Build | Quality
Pack Animal’s products are handmade in the Pacific Northwest, USA, and the roll is made with premium waxed twill and bridle leather. Waxed twill is essentially waxed cotton. Waxing cotton fabric is an old school version of Gore-Tex. It doesn’t waterproof it, but it does make the fabric very water resistance (I have two waxed cotton jackets so I know it works).
I had no idea what bridle leather meant, so had to google it: “Bridle Leather refers to the way that a piece of leather (cow hide) is finished at the tannery. Bridle leather has both the Flesh and Grain side of the leather stuffed with greases and finished with wax. This is generally a labour intensive process, thus expensive! Only the best grades of leather are treated like this, it would be uneconomic to treat poor quality leather in this way…” – www.equusleather.co.uk
If none of this made sense to you, just know that the build and the quality is really gooooood. And yes, it does have lifetime warranty. According to Pack Animal, “The saddlebags and tool roll are built to last. We guarantee the construction and material for a lifetime of normal wear and use. This excludes damage from bike wrecks, and incorrect mounting that lets the bag touch exhaust or your motorcycle’s moving parts”.
The tool rolls also come in three color schemes: 1) tan leather with tan twill, 2) tan leather with charcoal twill, and 3) charcoal leather with charcoal twill
Aesthetics | Functionality
In the Cost | Value section, I mentioned that this product has ‘intangible value’, so let me elaborate on that.
I have a lot appreciation for products that are able to combine classical-aesthetics with functionality, and I think this product does an amazing job with that.
You can’t really put a physical value on a product design. Any product that can satisfy your personal style without compromising functionality is a very rare find and Pack Animal does exactly that for me. I’m not a big fan of their black-on-black color option, which is purely a personal preference, but I can’t think of a better color/fabric combination than the tan-on-tan roll I have. Furthermore, I’ve had the chance to use it several times already, and it’s been very user friendly, and the patina you get on this tan twill is just to die for. This is a product that looks better the more you use it and as it ages, which is what aesthetics is all about. A timeless product.
When I got this in the mail, it first seemed unnecessarily bigger than what I was expecting, which is weird because I had seen the prototype when Jenny Linquist brought it to Motos in Moab 2015. The size eventually made sense to me once I put all my tools in. It actually can carry everything I would need and have spare room for more, so I think a smaller size wouldn’t be as practical.
There’s nothing I really don’t like about the aesthetics/functionality of this product, but if I had to pick one, I would say it’s the weight. Waxed twill and leather isn’t light compared to synthetic-fabric rolls, for obvious reasons, and so if weight is important to you, then maybe this isn’t for you. But I don’t think any of us plan on hiking with his in our backpacks, so weight shouldn’t really matter.
You can mount this tool roll easily on your bike with either Pack Animal’s saddle bag mounting strap, or with a generic strap you use for your bike. On that note, I think Pack Animal’ saddle bags are the best looking bags on the market that can be mounted on pretty much any type of bike with little to no modification. I can’t say much about its functionality because I’ve never used the bag.
Check out my stop-motion review video at the top to see what I have in my roll, and how much you can fit in it.
Overall, I’m very happy with my roll. I’ve wanted to buy a tool roll for a long time, and I think it was a perfect timing that Pack Animal came out with one when they did. Even at its high price, I wouldn’t trade this tool roll with anything else on the market today.