Motorcyclists have always relied heavily on their gear. Sometimes it’s the difference between life and death. No matter what purpose a piece of gear serves, it comes at the cost of adding stuff to a dream of traveling light. You only bring what’s important and necessary. This detail brings depth and challenge to the adventure. It strips away things you’ve always clung to for comfort’s sake, and with it you learn about yourself and the things you can live without.
Traveling more than a day on a motorcycle brings with it significant challenges. How to pack, what to pack, and how you prepare for mechanical problems are all much different than they would be if you were planning for a drive or a flight.
Founded in 2014: Seattle, Washington
For too long there have been limited options for packing your stuff onto a motorcycle, and really nothing that meets the demands of the classic motorcycle enthusiast. Hard cases are expensive, very motorcycle specific, and sometimes not a good look for your classic bike. Most leather saddlebags are marketed directly to a specific sect of our motorcycling family. Modern textile bags often lack the rugged build quality we need and fall short aesthetically.
Pack Animal is ready to bring new and much needed options to the market. Saddlebags and tool rolls made out of waxed canvas and leather that will compliment the styling of your vintage or modern classic motorcycle. Bags that can quickly be removed from your bike and carried as a messenger bag. Tool rolls large enough to carry the real tools you might need while traveling cross-country on a machine you love.
The Story of Pack Animal: Told by the founders
It was on a motorcycle camping trip in the summer of 2014 that we stripped down our packing list to the smallest, most critical items and stuffed it all into our backpacks. We rode through the North Cascades in Washington and had an incredible time; the only real problem was how sore we were from carrying everything on our backs.
Immediately we knew we needed to find a better way to carry our gear. After searching for saddlebags, we realized there was nothing available that suited us and our old bikes. There were options, but they were either too small, or designed for huge adventure bikes, or had more tassels and fringe than really fit our style.
We teamed up with our good friends Chris and Jess to see if we could make our ideal saddlebags a reality. At the time Chris was working at Filson, where he’d spent years involved in the process of making hard wearing and beautiful luggage. Together we began drawing up ideas for the saddlebag we’d been searching for. Something classic, made from waxed canvas and leather. Something that could come on and off the bike easily.
After a few months we made our first prototype. It was rough, but had much of the function and style we had been looking for. We finished making this prototype around midnight the day before Jenny went and field tested it on a trip to Joshua Tree for Babes Ride Out 2.
When she got home we began revising and planning the next prototype. We purchased a couple of industrial sewing machines and made some new bags just in time for Motos in Moab.
Again we hit the drawing board, took what we had learned and put it to use, making a new pair of bags before we set out for Montana and Wyoming to ride the Beartooth highway, Yellowstone, and the Tetons with the Iron & Air crew on their Westbound 2015 trip. The bags were slightly larger and functioned exactly how we wanted, keeping the weather and mud out, coming off the bike quickly and easily, and even proved their adaptability as we mounted them to two different bikes.
Aside from a few cosmetic revisions, we have finally created the saddle bags we’d been wanting all along. We’ve chosen some new materials, tweaked some minor details, and the design is ready. Now we need your help to bring this product to market.