20 October 2013

The Search for Waterproof Motorcycle Luggage

Note: If you are in the market for waterproof motorcycle luggage, please be sure to read all the way to the end of this post...

It's a slippery slope... an Internet-enabled slippery slope...

For the past seven months I've been on a mission to gear-up for this adventure. I had ZERO idea how much "stuff" it takes beyond all the crap I already had. Let me assure you, it's a LOT!

A couple days ago it finally hit me that the North Face Base Camp Duffel I've been using for a lot of trips and was planning on taking as my main piece of luggage just may not be waterproof.  The best way I know of to check its waterproofness (waterprooficity?) on a sunny day is to put it in the shower and run water on it for about five minutes. So I did just that.

I like the bag, though as nice as it is, it's definitely NOT waterproof. The rubberized material would make a good travel sink, though, 'cause it holds water quite well.

Later the same day, the latest issue of ROADRUNNER magazine arrived and on page 115 there is an ad for Kriega Drypacks. 

Kriega US-30 Drypack 
They come in various sizes; are completely waterproof; designed to securely connect together on the back of the bike; and seemed to be just what I need.  After searching a few different sites and finding that they are not discounted (ya gotta try, right?), I bought a 30L (pictured above) and a 20L from Revzilla.comone of the great motorcycle web sites (free shipping over $40, <$8 returns) from whom I've bought a number of items.

I had to look it up... 30L is just a hair over 1 cubic foot. I'm going to have to pack really well to get everything in these two bags!  Between the packing cubes, compressed dopp kit, and a few compression sacks, I may make it. The North Face duffel will make a good outer container to keep me within the airline's two-piece luggage allowance.

The Kriega site says that up to three of the 30L bags can be strapped together, so if I have to I can get another one.

UPDATE (@ departure minus 20 hours): Although the Kriega bags are beautiful and very well made, they are just too small for my current needs. They would be great for a weekendtrip, and I may eventually re-order them. For now, I'm going with one 70L FirstGear Torrent and one 40L Ortlieb Moto. That adds up to 220% of the capacity of the Kriega bags. It might be different if I knew I'd have panniers on the Asia bike; there is too much stuff to keep dry and at departure I have to figure they will be my only luggage holders. Now back to packing...

Further update (@ 10 days down the road): The FirstGear bag has a more user-friendly handle. The Ortlieb has a pop-out valve that allows you to get most or all of the air out and therefore compress into smaller spaces like the fabric panniers I bought with the bike. If you're on the water, air is good 'cause it will help the bag float if everything goes swimming. Here, it's my enemy. If I were to do it again, I would bring two Ortlieb 40L and leave a bit more stuff at home.

Further update (@ 22 months down the road): Forget everything else and check out MoskoMoto!

While in the U.S. last month to take a few advanced motorcycle training classes, I got to see the MoskoMoto waterproof motorcycle luggage used by a couple of the instructors and Adventure motorcyclists.

I was so impressed by the versatility and the quality that within 24 hours I went on-line and placed my order for their Reckless 80 system

and the 40L duffel.
As soon as I received them, I sold my Wolfman Expedition dry duffle.

Within a couple days of arriving back home in Đà Lạt, I mounted it on my DR-Z400, and I am very much looking forward to taking it out on next month's extended adventure!

Please, before you buy ANY waterproof motorcycle luggage, check out MoskoMoto's versatile offerings.


  1. I envy you this trip. It should be a blast. Based on my time bumming around wet Third World Places, I offer you some tips. Tip: a waterproof bag inside a non-waterproof bag.... is waterproof. Second tip: plastic bags are waterproof and are easy to find, even in the Third World. Third tip: a grungy old nonwaterproof bag is less likely to attract attention from the Wrong Sort of People than a flashy expensive bag.

  2. i miss u John , please come HA NOi city soon , i think when i finish school June and July i go DA NANG or NHA TRANG or VUng TAU live . my life here not good , where are have Heaven?