I’d say it’s a fair bet that nearly every person reading this story has at least heard of Warn. Their winches, locking hubs, and recovery gear are legendary amongst enthusiasts and have earned a reputation of bullet-proof reliability and unrelenting effectiveness the world over. Recently though, they’ve expanded past their usual bread and butter lines to produce a range of lifestyle products, the latest of which is their Epic Trail Gear bags.
- Available in several shapes and sizes
- Clean look for matching cargo system
- 600D weather-resistant Cordura construction
- Weather-resistant YKK zippers
- PALS integration
- Some features feel pointless (roll-top bag that isn’t waterproof)
- Zippers could be bigger
About the Bags
Let’s face it, overlanders carry a lot of stuff. They’re known for being prepared for practically any eventuality, and packing just about everything but the kitchen sink, and sometimes even that too. Taming all that gear can be a challenge. How do you keep tools, medical supplies, recovery equipment, and personal effects straight when your rig is bouncing down the trail? Well, Warn’s answer is Epic Trail Gear (ETG) Bags. These bags are available in six sizes and shapes to accommodate a range of needs. There’s a roll-top backpack, a modular duffle, a gear pouch, a tool roll organizer, and two sizes of roll cage bar bags. Each is made from an attractive gray 600D Cordura nylon with weather-resistant YKK zippers, hook and loop panels for labels, and more MOLLE/PALS webbing than you can shake a stick at. Larger bags like the duffle and tool roll can be strapped down with integrated D-rings, while the smaller pouches have nylon webbing. Each features a unique set of internal organization tools ranging from snap-in dividers to pockets.
Tactical design elements have been incorporated into the ETG product line including PALS webbing for lashing bags down or strapping them together and hook and loop panels for Velcro labels. Yet the color choices are a simple and attractive blend of subdued gray with splashes of classic Warn red and white. It’s a luggage set that would look at home in the back of any vehicle, from Jeeps to Range Rovers, which is fantastic news for those of us searching for practicality without the olive drab, coyote, or camo color schemes of a bug-out vehicle.
The construction of the pouches, cage bags, and backpack feel stout, with zippers and stitching that are more than well-matched to their typical duties. If anything, I’d describe most of the smaller bags as overbuilt in the best of ways. They simply feel like quality products. The only trouble with that is that the larger bags, like the duffle, felt a little underbuilt by comparison, because they carry several times the quantity of cargo despite being made from the same materials and components. Fortunately, Warn added other redeeming features like a durable vinyl base to prevent wear and tear, internal dividers that keep your gear organized while doing wonders for giving the bag structure, and large grab handles which makes the heavy duffle easier to move in and out of the truck, The combination results in a bag that is still confidence-inspiring despite the seemingly small zippers. One that has survived months of daily use and mistreatment without complaint.
Then there are the roll cage bags, which have loads of storage space, secure easily to any bar, and even feature an internal coating over the Cordura that keeps the fabric from snagging on tools or wearing down with time. They’re perfect for customers with Jeeps, Broncos, classic Toyotas, or any other vehicle with a roll bar inside, but if you drive a 5th-gen 4Runner, you might find there aren’t many places to mount them. So, just be sure to determine a location before placing your order.
Out of the entire Epic Trail Gear bag set, there was only one that I didn’t like, and that was the backpack. On the surface, it seemed like a great product and appeared to be something you could use as a cooler or dry bag, but when I realized they used a roll-top design on a non-waterproof backpack, it sort of killed it for me. Warn could have easily used the same zipper as they had on every other bag and it would have looked cleaner, performed just as well, and been easier to open and close. The use of a Velcro on the roll-top also makes it difficult to pack clothes, towels, or soft-goods in the bag as they snag on the hook and loop going in or out of the top. Even setting the roll-top blunder aside, there are certainly better backpacks on the market for the same price or less. So if you want a daypack, save yourself some headache and buy one built for the task.
Fortunately, their tool roll and gear pouch more than offset my annoyance with the backpack thanks to their useful designs and practical features. The gear pouch has become the permanent home to spare batteries, charging cables, and all the little odds and ends I need to carry for my electronics while living on the road. The tool roll, on the other hand, provides quick and organized access to any number of larger items from batteries to medical supplies, and doesn’t take up valuable cargo space in the back of your truck or SUV. I do feel that calling it a tool roll is a bit misleading though, because rolling it would be far from efficient. It seems more designed to strap to a seat back, which is why I decided to toss our test unit on the back of my Scheel-Manns.
At the end of the day, Warn’s ETG bags are solid pieces of purpose-built kit that look great and function well. They aren’t the most or least expensive, or the best or worst performers, but instead, offer a good balance between price and quality. Overall, I’d call them a win for Warn.
To learn more, check them out on Warn’s website here.
The HydraPak Expedition is rated 4.6 out of 5 stars on Amazon.