Adventure Motorcycling Soft Baggage Comparison

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.

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 opening, 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 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 all day and a tough and heavy soft bag will crash a lot better than an alloy box.
Bags on the list I have used include: Magadans; Andy Strapz; Monsoon; OS-32. I’ve also inspected close up: Lone Riders, Siskiyou; Sakwy 30; Dry Bags; Mosco Moto Backcountry; Gascoyne; Wolfman.

RACK
Plain throwovers at this capacity need a rear rack. It doesn’t have to be a full ‘racktangle’ (below left) which alloy boxes require. Something like the ‘ear racks’ I had made for my Himalayan (below right) will stop a bag swinging about and more critically, stop it shifting and then pressing onto high silencers which starts with melted side panels and ends in an incinerated bike.

Table data below correct and manufacturers’ links working at the date of this update.
Updates and corrections added as I learn them. Please send updates.
Randomly arranged manufacturers’ stock images below.
T/O = Throwover (like saddlebags on a horse)
R/M = Designed to be Rack Mounted
Q/D = Quickly Detachable (from a rack)
R/M-L = Lockable to the rack

7 thoughts on “Adventure Motorcycling Soft Baggage Comparison

  1. enrico

    Thank you Chris, but I don’t understand what do the abbreviations (T/O – Q/D . R/M etc…) in the “Mounting” column mean. I’m looking for a couple of bags for my Himalayan with LC (Sw-Motech) frames.

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    1. Chris S Post author

      Sorry Enrico, I should have added clarification:
      T/O – Throwover (like saddlebags on a horse)
      R/M = Designed to be Rack Mounted
      Q/D = Quickly Detachable (from a rack)
      R/M-L = Lockable to the rack

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  2. John O

    Thanks, legend! I melted my Wild Heart bags, this is great help for my research.

    The wild heart bags were great! Fits a 30 can cube nicely, thats a big tic in my books!

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  3. Stuart

    I don’t understand. Is this just a list of manufacturers data? Or have you reviewed any to say which are best? Or at least more suitable it which conditions?

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    1. Chris S Post author

      Like it says on line one Stuart:
      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).

      The listing helps compare bags of travel-useful 50L+ without getting in a tangle online.

      At the end I say:
      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.

      I have clarified a bit by adding bold

      Under the Luggage menu tab top of the page, you will find links to a few detailed reviews.

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  4. Heather Sinclair

    Great list! thank you for compiling for us spreadsheet nerds. I’ve run into a couple though that aren’t on the list:

    http://przezswiat.eu/produkt/bagaz/sakwy-motocyklowe-red-mamut-plus-2x30l/

    https://dirtsackluggage.com/shop/dirtsack-frogman-waterproof-soft-panniers/ (I actually used these back from India when my previous set fell apart, they’re very robust and I actually quite like the cradle design, but the mounting and dimensions is much more suited to an Enfield than a dual sport.

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