Updated March 2020
Here’s a listing of over two-dozen soft baggage pannier sets from 20 manufacturers in 10 countries with claimed volumes of 25 litres or more (50 litres total). This as the minimum practical volume for overland travels. Other baggage solutions are available.
Plain throwovers at this capacity need a rear rack. It doesn’t have to be a full ‘racktangle’ (below right) which alloy boxes require. Something like the ‘ear racks’ I had made for my Himalayan (left) will stop a bag swinging about and more critically, stop it shifting and then pressing onto high silencers which starts with melted sidepanels and ends in an incinerated bike.
The accuracy of claimed weights and especially volumes varies (some massively). Actual capacities are around 25% greater than calculating length x width x height (explained here). Some of the claims about fabrics used also don’t stand up to scrutiny (there’s more in AMH8) and as ever, the definition of ‘waterproof’ remains fluid.
All of these bags are roll tops – an easily made and bomb-proof system. Some have lockable rack mounts, some have lockable openings, some have slash-proof fabric, but any of them can be secured to the bike with a wrap-around cable lock or wire net.
Don’t get too hung up on the weights and bear in mind that some include the backing plates. On a long trip I’d sooner take a heavy, durable bag than something skimpy, because even if you don’t crash, the bag is getting a hammering under its own loaded weight and a tough and heavy soft bag will crash a lot better than an alloy box.
Bags I have used include: Magadans; Andy Strapz; Monsoon; OS-32. I’ve also inspected close up: Lone Riders, Siskiyou; Sakwy 30; Dry Bags; Backcountry; Gascoyne; Wolfman.