I’ve been searching for the perfect pack to take with me into the desert, on the streets, and in the air. It also needs to accommodate my motorcycle riding style and gear. I felt like I was in need of at least three different packs.
While surfing Instagram, I found out about a gnarly group of riders that have been ripping around the deserts and mountains of Southern California together, building purpose-made enduro equipment and apparel as well as a community that goes “further together.”
WLF Enduro may have just answered my multipurpose pack dilemma. The WFL Pack Vest is what it’s called, and it’s part backpack and part riding vest.
I took the WLF Pack Vest out on the trails and put it to work on multiday trips to Baja and around Arizona. For this testing, I hopped on my KTM 690 Enduro R. It’s not the lightest machine, but its mix of on- and off-road capability means that even if I don’t find the right trail, I can always jump on the highway for a quick backtrack.
I also saddled up on my KTM XC 300 for some true desert enduro adventures. Those adventures found me crossing rivers, riding sand, and screaming up washed-out rocky trails. I was probably screaming as much as the bike.
In short: The WLF Enduro Pack Vest is a light, bombproof, load-bearing vest full of features that carry your water, keep snacks handy, and provide comfort for long days on the moto. It only comes in one size but is seemingly infinitely adjustable. There are probably better options out there that do one thing very well, but not many that do everything this does pretty well.
- MSRP $200
- Construction CORDURA nylon construction
- Weight 4.2 lbs. (with pouches affixed)
- Sizing One size fits all
- Hydration option Accommodates a 3L water bladder
- Modular storage
- Handy stash pockets
- Gear stays secure due to snug fit
- Quick-drying mesh
- Water bladder sold separately
- Buckles and buttons feel outdated and cumbersome
WLF Enduro Pack Vest Review
The WLF Enduro Pack Vest consists of a base vest and three MOLLE (modular lightweight load-carrying equipment) pouches so you can tailor the capabilities to you and your needs. After playing with the configuration, I decided on using two pouches, one for medical supplies and one dedicated solely to trail snacks.
The large inside compartment of the main vest is large enough to fit a 3L hydration bladder. It has a Velcro loop to hold the bladder erect as you simply route the drinking tube out of the top of the pack, under the flap, over your left shoulder, to the button enclosure loop.
There is one outside pocket on the back of the vest with a zipper closure. It’s not too large, maybe big enough for some documents, sunscreen, or things that you wouldn’t need quick access to while on the trail.
My favorite feature of the main vest is the hidden pockets in the cummerbund-style waist strap. These pockets are accessed between the layers of CORDURA fabric when you peel apart the Velcro to keep small items safe and close. For example, I kept some cash and my passport tucked safely inside these flat pockets close to my stomach.
From Moto Vest to Everyday Backpack
The vest comes with buckle-type adapters so you may convert it into a true backpack for everyday use. For those times when I need to fly into a destination to go riding, I can easily add the buckle adapters, remove and stow the cummerbund, and have a proper backpack.
This transformation feature is also neat if you need to ride one day and scramble up a mountain the next. With the cummerbund out of the way, the wearer has free range of motion to bend and move when on the move off the bike.
WFL Moto Vest Construction
The WLF Pack Vest is reminiscent of military-style backpacks of the past. It’s a bit clunky feeling at first with its straps, webbing, and pouches. The black webbing covered in straps and buckles may not be for everyone.
I personally did not need the entire suite of pouches and space to place them. But, it was nice to know if I needed to store something, I could probably find a spot.
The body of the vest is made from heavy-duty CORDURA with a water-repellent coating. Apart from water crossings, I wasn’t able to ride with this in the rain, so I cannot speak to its water-resistant qualities, yet.
The shoulders and back have padding, which adds quite a bit of bulk to the vest. But, I’m not sure it could have been done without it. I personally have a badly healed collarbone, and all vests or backpacks eventually feel uncomfortable. This one was no different despite the padding.
The WLF Pack Vest has an elastic cummerbund that adjusts via plastic buckles and velcro. This method is effective and pretty comfortable when you finally get it where you want it, but does add heft.
With only two hands, this is also difficult to adjust on your own and depends on Velcro loops to stop the strap material from going through the plastic buckle. As with everything on this vest, the setup works but could use refinement and modernization.
The WLF Pack Vest comes with three external MOLLE pouches featuring the WLF logo and the motto “Further Together” subtly emblazoned in the Velcro. These pouches quickly and securely attach to the back of the vest via MOLLE webbing.
The thoughtfully laid-out pouches were perfect to organize my tools, medical supplies, and trail snacks. I mounted one pouch to the back of the vest and one just under the left arm. I did find the pouches to be prodigious, not allowing my arms to fall all of the way to my side.
WLF hosts videos of reviews including setup and usability on its website. With this much modularity, everyone is bound to configure things differently.
WLF Pack Vest Testing
I took this vest riding over several months down to Mexico and around Arizona. The WLF Pack does some things very well and does not excel in other areas.
Where I felt the vest shined was on my smaller dirt bike, a KTM XC 300, where I cannot mount my gear to the outside of the bike in luggage or a tank bag. With the ability to haul lots of gear, the WLF Vest kept my essential kit close at hand without impeding my movement or becoming overly hot.
Where I did not feel as though the vest shined as greatly was when I had to make long pavement transitions. The heft of the vest while sitting erect for long periods of time made me feel stiff and the modularity went unappreciated. It’s not a piece of kit you would easily forget you had on.
Donning and doffing the WLF Pack Vest is a bit of a chore. Three buckles hold the shoulder straps close to the user’s chest and waist; this is great if you don’t need to put it on and take it off often. The constant buckling and readjusting of those straps is cumbersome and time-consuming.
Apart from the minor drawbacks, the simple, robust shoulder straps of the WLF Pack Vest can hold an immense amount of weight. This is required with a full water bladder and a pouch full of tools for the trail.
I found the button snap for the drinking hose to be clunky to use while riding. Not including a water bladder for the price was surprising as well.
WLF Enduro Vest Pack Review: Summary
The WLF Pack Vest is an impressive piece of gear if you want to take the load off your moto, go fast off-road, and have what you need to go further close at hand. It may not be for everyone, though.
This is a purpose-built piece of kit for technical off-road riding. The features may be wasted on those of us who have to sit for long periods of time in the saddle between trailheads and campsites.
For a dedicated enduro-style vest that fits pretty much everyone, the WLF Pack Vest does a great job. That being said, nothing that does this much can do everything perfectly.
The WLF Enduro Pack Vest has a loyal fan base that keeps buying them up, and selling out inventory. Get your hands on one when you can at WLFEnduro.com. MSRP is listed at $200.