We tried to kill it. It didn’t die.
You know the gear reviews where they talk about how it “should” work? This isn’t that kind of review, this is tried and true Re-view, not a pre-view.
Last year, after using all manner of military duffels, backpacks, bungees, was mart sacks and other miscellaneous ill-advised luggage - we decided it was time for proper luggage for our trips, and set out to find the best gear for Moto-adventures of the GFDD variety. One of the pieces of kit we decided to try out was the Exfil-80 from our friends at Biltwell. After 44,XXX miles, here’s what we’ve got:
To start, we don’t just want to regurgitate the info that’s already available on the Exfil-80, we’d prefer to provide that info and then talk about our experience running it through all manner of roads, climates, conditions and abuse. Here’s the info from Biltwell’s site, followed by our additional commentary after the beating...
Built to hold all your gear, this robust moto-ruck will easily swallow everything you need to travel and camp from your motorcycle for days on end. Adding functionality, the large external tool compartment is padded on the outside so you can lean back on it. This section easily unzips to put your tools and smaller items right at your fingertips without unstrapping the bag from your bike. The EXFIL-80 UV-treated and water resistant, but when you need 100% waterproofing, just open the zipper just under the tool compartment and pull out the attached waterproof sleeve and slide it over the entire system.
• Roll-top closure with velcro and side release buckles
• PVC backed for increased water resistance
• UV-Treated 1680 ballistic polyester
• Hi-vis orange interior liner
• Three removable, 1.5” mounting polyester straps with reflective stitching
• Velcro-mounted, removable tool pouch
• Tool Compartment holds: 9 deep sockets, 7 combination wrenches, includes mesh pocket and flat document pocket
• Water proof sleeve in zippered compartment at base of bag
• Four rows of MOLLE webbing for modular customization
• SBS zippers
• Shoulder strap included
• Holds up to 80 - 12oz cans
• 51 liter fluid capacity
Overall Dimensions (when full and closed):14” wide x 12” deep x 20” tall
And now... onto our own experience...
The first thing that stuck out to us on the Exfil-80 was the front tool pouch. Rad. The tool compartment is completely accessible while the bag is mounted, making it easy to get to tools and whatever else you might need quick access to. It’s designed to hod 9 deep sockets and 7 combination wrenches, but put whatever is relevant to you and your bike in there. We carried a strange variety depending on the trip. The mesh and flat document pocket came in handy, especially crossing the border into Mexico. El Diablo Run anyone? See you there. PS- the cover of the tool compartment is padded, so you can lay back with your mind on your money and your money on your mind.
Plenty of space for all the essentials, and then some.
The capacity of this bag is figured in a very Biltwell’esque fashion. The Exfil-80 will hold approximately 80 12-oz cans. We tried it at Camp Zero this year, road tested- game approved. As far as how that translates to packing up normal road trip gear, well it depends on your size and packing ability, but we’ll say we used this bag to go from Wyoming, to Mazatlan Mexico on the #Lust4DustRun, Austin TX to Handbuilt Show and back to Wyoming without needing another. It will carry a few pairs of pants, shirts, hoodie, jacket along with our Nemo tent, sleeping pad, inflatable pillow and some other random road trip gear. Guys, if you need more storage than the Exfil-80 has to offer, you’re probably smarter than us and bring more gear with you. That said, we survived just fine on a 10K + mile trip. Something to chew on ;)
All of this fit quite easily. Tent, sleeping pad, pillow, foam roller, clothes, gloves, manual to fix your crappy Dyna, and more.
Pros- This is the easy part. This bag is designed by Biltwell and those dudes GET IT. This bag is built by riders, for riders. Everything is designed with the road in mind and really each feature is a pro for anyone taking a long road trip on a Motorcycle with a sissy bar.
Capacity- This thing is perfect size for a week or longer roadtrip. Not too big, not too small, but just right.
Roll top- We love roll-top bags. Not only do they seal up nicely and eliminate worry about zippers coming loose and loosing gear, they allow us to really pack in our gear tightly to condense the pack and fit more than we need. Roll top’s rule- this one works.
Heavy duty everything- in 44K Miles of serious abuse, over packing, inappropriate strapping and just harsh treatment- we’ve broken ONE molle strap. The Exfil-80 exemplifies the words “Built well.” This is the Gregor Clagane aka The Mountain of Moto bags, if you’ll allow our Game of Thrones reference. She’s solid.
Ease of Use- This bag is a system. It mounts easily, it’s obvious what goes where and with the roll top enclosure, zippered from pouch and MOLLE Straps- you won’t be confused about how to use it. No more bungee math, no more headaches. (Unless you actually use it to pack 80 12-oz Coors, thats on you.
That Instagram Aesthetic- This bag looks HOT, and WILL get you more like on Instagram or your money back. Comes in black, olive, or black. All our favorite colors.
Tool compartment- Hold your tools, removable velcro pouch for first-aid, mesh pock for quick access to additional sockets/ zip-ties/ etc. The tool compartment rules, Mayne out favorite part of the Exfil-80.
Mounting/ Sissy Bar Integration- If you use a sissy bar and travel on a bike- this is your bag. It mounts BEAUTIFULLY and easily and takes the time and hassle of mounting the bag to minimal. That means more Motorcycle riding and less swear words and your kit. Tight.
This list could go on for a while. After the many miles we’ve been through with this bag, we could tell you all kinds of ways we’ve found it to be beneficial on the road. Questions? Ask us, we’ll answer.
Cons- This thing has worked out great for us, it’s hard to pick out cons but to keep this review honest and complete, here’s what we’ve come up with:
Limited pockets- This bag has one large tool compartment that works great. As far as other external or internal compartments or pockets, no dice. While this could go in the pro column for simplicity, extra pockets wouldn’t suck.
Water Proofing- The bag has a waterproof sleeve that comes out from the bottom and covers your bag in the rain, so this is very nit picky, but if you run into heavy rain and you’re hardcore enough to ride through it; you’re going to have to stop and cover the bag. Though it’s a roll-top bag, It is not waterproof by itself. That said- light rain never caused an issue, and most folks aren’t as silly as we are and would just wait out the down pours. As a matter of fact, we suggest it.
Back pack straps- The bag does come with a removable carrying strap, but it doesn’t not have backpack shoulder straps, which can come in handy. Again, this it nit picky and the carrying strap works great. If you’re not taking the bag hiking, you’re gonna be golden.
All in all, the Biltwell Exfil-80 is a rad bag, durable as any bag we’ve seen in it’s category and we’re not switching until we find something better. This one is still working wonders after more miles than most folks ride in 5 years and we don’t see any need to replace it anytime soon.
tl:dr - This bag rules. It’s durable, it’s designed by motorcycle people for motorcycle people and if you ride a bike with a sissy bar on long road trips- you’re gonna love it. GFDD Approved. Thanks Biltwell.
Got a product you’d like us to try out and review? Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org If it doesn’t suck, and contributes to a good life on the road, we’re happy to add it to the line up.