Review: Think Tank’s Freeway Longhaul 75 Gear Bag

Racing is a glamorous hobby full of beautiful sights, sounds and speed. But toting the required gear around certainly isn't. Every drive requires a helmet, head-and-neck restraint, suit, shoes, underwear, driver cooler, gloves, socks, radio and more–and it's always a struggle to keep everything organized, safe and portable.

For years we've fought with a range of gear bags, from cheap duffels included with suit purchases to purpose-made racing travel bags to everything in-between. Every new bag brought with it new compromises, so we'd resigned ourselves to the fact that inelegant gear portage is just an unfortunately reality of our racing.

Well, as it turns out, it doesn't have to be. We've finally found what may be the perfect gear bag, and it came from a place we would have never thought to look: Think Tank Photo, better known for equipping adventurous photographers chasing lions, wars and local news stories.

This company might be known in the photography community, but are barely even a name at the average race track. That's why we were completely blindsided when Think Tank reached out to us through a mutual friend with a simple pitch: "We've got a bag we think you'd like, and it'll be on your doorstep in three days."

How could we say no?

What did Think Tank send? A prototype of their newest bag, the Freeway Longhaul 75. And while its marketing may be geared towards soccer moms instead of racing moms, it turns out they've accidentally built the best gear bag we've ever used. Structured with the basic shape of a reusable shopping bag, the bag is built from bombproof nylon with a water-repellant coating and YKK zippers, and has just enough structure to hold itself open when empty, but not too much that we couldn't cram it into the back seat of truck with our other tools and gear.

This basic structure is the Freeway Longhaul's killer app. Why? Simple: Every other gear bag we've tried has been focused on protection above all else.

And sure, it's great that we could check our gear onto a plane without worrying about sloppy baggage handlers, but we've never been able to fly our race car to the track. This means that 95% of our racing involves a long tow, which means we rarely have to worry about a baggage handler smashing our helmet on a whim.

Without the need for all that protection, we're left with the downsides: It's tough to quickly pack and unpack fancy gear bags and leaving them open allows gear to spill all over the truck or trailer during the race weekend. Normal bags are built for the journey, but we spend most of our time with them at the destination.

And that's where the Freeway Longhaul excels. The tote bag shape means it can sit open in the truck or trailer all weekend, with fast and easy access to take our gear in and out, swap between our driving suit and street clothes, and even let our dirty socks air out instead of sealing them up with our Balaclava.

Then, at the end of the weekend, the bag zips closed for the journey home. This isn't a bag designed for sloppy bag handlers; it's a bag perfect for the track.

Oh, and did we mention all of the other features? We'll run down the list: Giant, comfy carrying handles that make the walk to tech painless. Six additional grab handles on every side of the bag meaning we've never had to crawl into the truck bed to drag our helmet within reach. Tons of D-rings and a cushy strap for when we need to keep our hands free. And a wide variety of mesh and fabric pockets around the outer perimeter, perfect for gloves, socks, radios, and snacks.

Oh, and we nearly forgot about the customizable dividers, which are spaced out perfectly for a helmet, suit, shoes, and head-and-neck restraint/cool-shirt. The dividers even have storage pockets for tech sheets and logbook, keeping them from being crumpled up at the bottom of the bag.

So, what's the catch? We haven't really found one, though as we mentioned earlier this bag wouldn't be our first choice for air travel. That's a minor price to pay for the best gear bag that's ever graced our trailer. The Freeway Longhaul 75 is currently available on Kickstarter here:


The bag will also be available on Think Tank Photo's website later this year at a MSRP of $179. The bag also has a smaller sibling, called the Freeway Longhaul 50, which costs less.

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Comments
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Ian F (Forum Supporter)
Ian F (Forum Supporter) MegaDork
7/11/20 7:01 a.m.

Man... that looks like a great gear bag for mtn biking as well. I have a moto gear bag for hauling my DH riding gear, but sometimes it's a PITA to find things in it or to make sure you didn't forget something (like I realized at the bike park yesterday...). 

pres589 (djronnebaum)
pres589 (djronnebaum) PowerDork
7/11/20 7:15 a.m.

I have one of ThinkTank's camera bags and it's been really great to use.  I think I've had it for five years now.  Only issue really is that the shoulder strap that came with it was kind of ho hum but that was easy to swap out.  I'm interested to see what bags they have for other purposes like this one.

dxman92
dxman92 HalfDork
7/11/20 9:37 a.m.

I use a contractors bag that I got as a door prize at a convention years ago as my biking gear bag.

Tom Suddard
Tom Suddard Director of Marketing & Digital Assets
7/13/20 12:53 p.m.

For some reason I didn't even think to get a bag for all my biking stuff–that's genius! I just keep it all in a pile and move it around one piece at a time. 

Ian F (Forum Supporter)
Ian F (Forum Supporter) MegaDork
7/13/20 1:03 p.m.

In reply to Tom Suddard :

Funny... I've been using the same Specialized gear bag for my XC and road riding stuff since the mid 90's. 

DH gear is closer to moto and driving gear as far as taking up space, so that's been more of a challenge.

David S. Wallens
David S. Wallens Editorial Director
7/17/20 6:06 p.m.

A friend who works in the photo biz passed along nice words about Think Tank's bags. 

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