Gear Hauling Options

October 14, 2013 // gear

Kitting out a bike to haul long journey gear can quickly snowball in price (cough, Touratech, cough). I must admit that a fully decked out 1200GS does have a certain air of awesomeness to it but logic and budget dictates the reality of my personal options. Soft luggage options are much more affordable and seem to make more sense on a 650 sized bike like mine. In my research, I ran across this great blog post from Overland Tech and Travel.

This is an interesting read that has some thought provoking insights from experienced riders. It even includes a geeky algorithm which I found to be spot on.

Austin Vince's surplus pannier solution

Austin Vince’s surplus pannier solution

In planning for my first overnight trip in late fall / early winter, the need for gear hauling is quickly approaching. I must say I’m quite tempted for the $35 US Government surplus solution that Austin Vince utilizes. It’s not waterproof but I’ve got plenty of dry bags to compartmentalize everything into internally. Who knows, a few coats of ScotchGuard could give enough water repellent to the canvas material to stave off at least minor rain storms.

Giant Loop and Wolfman Luggage┬ámake popular soft luggage systems. You’re not going to be the $35 price tag but there are certainly advantages to buying a purpose built/designed product.

I’ll post back here as I get closer to actually outfitting the Aprilia with some overnight gear.

The 1200GS at the top of this post is not my bike. Check out this blog post for more details on that specific setup.

About the author

I'm a geek who loves adventure bikes. Just getting started riding in my mid-30's, I decided to document my progress for others who are on the same path or have always thought about joining the ADV world.


  1. Nice post Aaron…keep us posted when you get your first overnighter out on the road!

    That’s my bike in your headline photo, all prepped and ready to go to Prudhoe Bay. The Jesse panniers are a premium product, and have been super rugged since I bought them, having survived multiple dust naps, downpours, and seat time around a campfire. A big consideration for me while in the purchase process was security – anyone riding in an urban environment as well as on the trail has a peace of mind with secure hard luggage. Soft luggage is great for the trail, and not much of a barrier while you’re in the city and the less-than-honest-people have a blade that can cut through buckles.

    If you’re just getting started, you can also go the duffle approach: put your essentials in an overnight duffle and strap to the back.

    Ride safe out there!

    • Thanks! Good tip on the security of hard cases. For anything in town, I currently have a little Pelican case on the back that is bolted to the bike. Up front I have a Giant Loop tank bag that I zip off and take with me.

      Since my current bike is not a long term one, soft luggage will be the route I take for it. When I get my “real” bike, I will be more likely to spend the extra money outfitting it with racks and panniers.

Leave a Comment