A tough and smartly designed gear bag
Consider me a convert. For years I have avoided buying a proper gear bag, comfortable in my decision to simply use old luggage or a flimsy nylon bag to haul my ATV gear across North America. Not anymore.
Fed up with ripped handles, damaged gear, and generally hard-to-manage luggage, I decided to finally pick up a purpose-built gear bag. Why I was so stubborn for so long I’ll never know. My wife would say it’s because I’m cheap …she may be right.
After doing some on-line research I decided on Fly Racing’s rugged-looking Moto Vault Roller Bag. It wasn’t ridiculously expensive and it looked like it was built to take a beating. It has done just that almost from the moment I first took it out of the box.
Before we get into the abuse I doled out on the Moto Vault, let’s look at some of the bag’s features that help make it a better choice than what I was using before.
The molded plastic lower section certainly was the first thing to catch my attention. Not only does it cover the bottom of the bag, but it also wraps around the sides to provide some added protection.
Staying with the exterior, the retractable handle and wheels were a huge benefit. Unlike the tiny wheels that come on regular luggage, these wheels are big enough to easily roll over dirt and small rocks like you’d find at any ride site. The handle was a bonus because it extended far enough out that I didn’t have to stoop over to pull the bag along. This came in very handy when running through the airport. Speaking of airports, though the Moto Vault looks like a heavyweight I’ve yet to exceed the 50-pound weight limit when travelling with it.
As for the interior, it’s incredibly versatile and well thought out. The main section of the interior can be divided into three sections with adjustable inner padded partitions so you can keep your gear separated – notably your dirty boots don’t have to come into contact with the rest of your riding gear and regular clothes. Not only do the partitions act as walls inside the bag, but they can also be folded over to provide more protection for your gear.
The Moto Vault also comes with a huge amount of storage in the top flap. This is accessible from inside and outside of the bag. I like to put my dirty laundry in here to so I don’t have to contaminate my clean clothes with sweaty socks and other stinky garments.
A fleece-lined goggle pocket is situated on the outside of the bag near the grab handle. You can easily fit a pair goggles along with a wallet and some sunglasses in here. You’ll also find a viewable ID pocket on the outside along with a small snap pocket, but I haven’t used either of those.
In the months I’ve had the Moto Vault it’s happily lugged my gear across the country several times. It’s been to the desert, the woods, and even on a snowmobile trip. Where it really showed its toughness, however, was a two-day off-road trip from Big Bear, Calif. to Las Vegas, Nev. in the back of a Kawasaki Teryx. While everybody else on the journey smartly threw their bags into a chase vehicle, I figured I’d strap mine down in the bed of the Teryx and see how it handled the 330-mile torture test.
Up until this point the bag was still shiny and new looking. That wouldn’t last very long. By the time I arrived in Las Vegas the bag was covered in a thick layer of desert dust – most of which is still there today. It’s no wonder nobody else hauled their own gear. Though I did my best to strap the Moto Vault down with bungee cords, there was no stopping it from rattling and sliding around.
It was on this trip that the Moto Vault suffered its only setback. I’m not sure when exactly it happened, but it was probably when I inadvertently got all four wheels of the Teryx a little too far off the ground on what I thought was just a little bump it the desert. The Teryx, along with the bag, came down very hard and that’s when I think I cracked the plastic on the bottom of the bag near the handle.
It seems one of the feet of the bag pushed right into the molded plastic. I was able to easily pop it back out, but the crack remains. I’ve since taken the bag on two more cross-country trips and the crack hasn’t gotten any worse. It could probably be fixed with some rubber cement or other adhesive, but I think it makes the bag look tough. That and I’m too lazy to do anything about it.
It should also be noted that despite all dust on the outside of the bag, my clothes, computer and camera inside the bag stayed clean and dust free and undamaged.
Now that I’ve experienced a real gear bag, there is no way I’m going back. The Fly Racing Moto Vault Roller Bag stood up to more abuse that it deserved and I have little doubt I’ll get many more years of service out of it.
The bag normally retails for $169.99, but if you look around you may be able to find a better deal. Check out FlyRacing.com for more information.
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