Head for the Horizon with the Best Adventure Motorcycle Saddlebags


Adventure biking has taken off in a big way. There’s never been a more comprehensive selection of models from all of the mainstream manufacturers, and the list of aftermarket accessories would fill a phone book.

One of the biggest attractions of the adventure bike though is their ability to head for the horizon and take the rough with the smooth. Take a look at any of the websites that cater for adv riders, and you can see just how popular the ‘big journey’ is becoming.

You don’t have to be heading for the Silk Road to need some decent luggage, and that luggage needs to be secure, waterproof and tough.

Adv bikers have different requirements when it comes to packing kit, and although nothing says ‘adventure bike,’ like a set of enormous aluminum boxes, there are alternatives.

The Best Adventure Motorcycle Saddlebags

The Best Adventure Motorcycle Saddlebags: Hard Panniers Aren’t the Only Game in Town

Hard luggage is all well and good if you’re heading off into the wild blue yonder. When the excessive extra width isn’t a problem though, and the need to lock your luggage is a priority, there are less bulky not to mention less costly alternatives.

Saddlebags may sound like something you throw over the rump of your horse, but the new generation of adventure bike specific saddlebags are tough, waterproof and easy to secure. In most cases, you can quickly remove them for overnight stops too, which is always a good thing.

Giant Loop Siskiyou Panniers:

These American made bags are military grade ballistic nylon with reinforced vinyl and will carry your kit around the world or the block. The outer bag has a zip top opening and a lid that folds right over the edges but doesn’t just rely on that to keep the weather out.

Inside each of the panniers is a roll-top dry pod inner bag that will keep your gear in excellent condition even if the weather gets mega-nasty. The dry pods can be removed, leaving the panniers in situ.

The adjustable width means you can throw them over your seat or luggage rack and secure them via the pillion footpegs. Capacity is 70 liters in total there are multiple lash points to attach extra kit as well as bellow pockets designed for 2-liter fuel or water bottles. The Siskiyou’s also come with two, exhaust friendly heat shields.

AltRider Hemisphere Soft Panniers

This heavy-duty three-piece pannier set comes in 1050 denier ballistic nylon sewn to vinyl-coated polyester. The outer shells have a roll-top closure as back up to the interior dry bags, which gives you enough waterproofing to take them surfing. Total load capacity is an impressive 125 liters, which includes the top bag. The top bag fits across the adjustable webbing that joins the panniers and although is securely mounted via cam lock buckles, is also quick detachable.

Both side panniers split into two separate compartments, with the intention of packing your heavier gear lower down. Each compartment comes with its own dry bag, which gets fully taped seams over military grade thread.

The bags secure to the bike via aluminum tension hooks; ballistic webbing and cam lock buckles and are more suited to the more substantial adventure bike.

Wolfman Rocky Mountain Saddlebags:

The Rocky Mountain bags have been around for some time now, but to ensure that they stay ahead of the game, Wolfman has given them a makeover. One of the main features though is the addition of flexi-sides, which effectively allow for a 13-33 liter load capacity.

Heavy-duty 1680 denier vinyl coated ballistic nylon is used for the main bag, while the bottom panel is 35oz and back panel 22oz vinyl. The bags get new internal stiffeners to help with stability, and each bag comes with large D-rings for lashing extra kit too.

The internal waterproof removable liners have also come on for some updates and the bags 6-point mounting system with 1” cam buckles mean it will pretty much mount to anything.

Reflective striping runs around the entire side of each bag giving them a nice safety factor and carry handles on the top make them easy to maneuver when not on the bike.

Nelson Rigg SE-3050 Deluxe Adventure Dry Saddlebags:

Family owned Nelson Rigg has been in the motorcycle cover, rainwear and soft luggage game for over a quarter of a century. During this time, they’ve gained a reputation for quality, value for money and hard wearing gear.

These adv dry saddlebags are typical of their no-nonsense fuss-free approach, come in 24oz tarpaulin grade PVC, with heat-welded seams and are 100% waterproof.

Using aircraft grade aluminum on the mounting system, it also features four quick release cam buckles and double pull webbing. Removable stiffeners in the back of each bag together with internal back plates, help the bags keep their shape when not full.

Each outer bag has a roll-top fastening, and removable inner bags feature a zip around opening for easy access and carry handles. Combined carrying capacity is around 55 liters, and they are available in either black or yellow.

Giant Loop Great Basin Saddlebag Roll Top:

Made by off-road riders for off-road riders, the Giant Loop kit shows some well thought out and intelligent design features throughout the range. This Great Basin saddlebag is a horseshoe-shaped mono-pack, designed to mount over the back seat.

The capacity of the bag is a load swallowing 60 liters which can be stretched to 68 if you don’t completely roll down the outer closure. With the roll top appropriately closed the exterior is waterproof, but also comes with three inner waterproof dry-pods (two sides and one top bag). The pods are fitted with air purge valves so you can pack in your gear.

Vinyl coated 22oz polyester makes up the bulk of the construction and ballistic nylon reinforcing has been added on the lower sections to ward off debris strikes. Cinch rings and compression straps around each leg mean you can lash extra gear or compress when not full.

A top quality YKK zip with rain cowl runs right around the top of the bag, allowing you to retrieve gear without removal.

There is the facility to pass through a cable lock if you need to secure the bag to the bike and there’s a heat shield for high-level exhausts. The bag is semi-rigid which means it doesn’t rely on a rack and mounts to your passenger pegs.

The Best Adventure Motorcycle Saddlebags

Hard luggage is great for certain circumstances, but it means that a lot of weight is carried high up, which can affect handling. Choosing from amongst the best adventure motorcycle saddlebags will give you an extra degree of flexibility. You can also remove them when you’ve reached your destination too, giving added freedom to your adventure.