My riding consists of lots of day rides, a few rallies each year, and maybe a week long tour every year or three. Since my riding varies between day rides and overnight travel I want a luggage system that can be configured to meet whatever type of riding I’m doing any particular day.
The first layer in the system is the base luggage – the bags that will be on the bike 100% of the time. My base luggage consists of a tank bag, a set of saddle bags, and a fender bag. I always carry a full tire repair kit because the #1 problem encountered during dual sport riding is flat tires. I carry a set of tire spoons, a patch kit, spare front and rear tubes, a bike stand, an air pump, and the necessary tools for removing the front and rear tire. I also carry a basic tool set (ratchets, sprockets, screwdriver, pliers, adjustable wrench, allen wrenches, etc) in a tool wrap. And, finally, I carry personal items such as water, camera, ear plugs, sunglasses, and a washcloth. Obviously I need enough luggage to carry all these items.
For the tank bag I chose the Giant Loop Fandango bag. For years I’ve used Wolfman tank bags and still have several in my garage. Wolfman makes some great stuff. Still I’ve heard really good things about Giant Loop so I thought I would give their tank bag a try. It appears to be significantly more water resistant than my Wolfman bags and I like the configurable dividers inside the bag. I wrote a short comparison of the Giant Loop Fandango tank bag to the Wolfman Enduro tank bag here. I use the tank bag for my small personal items – hat, glasses, camera, etc.
In order to carry my tools and larger, heavier, or bulkier items (jacket, water, first aid kit, etc) I use a set of soft saddle bags (I’m against hard bags when riding in the dirt because I don’t want to break an ankle). I also want a modular solution – the soft bags I use for day rides likely won’t be large enough to meet my needs on multi-day rides and bags large enough for multi-day rides are larger than I want on the bike during my typical day ride.
For day rides I settled on the Wolfman E12 saddlebags. On my previous dual sport motorcycles I used the Dirt Bagz Ranger saddlebags and while they are a fine solution they do require the use of special brackets that have proven to be not quite strong enough for my needs. My friend JT and I both have had to weld our Dirt Bagz brackets due to cracking. The advantage of the Wolfman bags is that no brackets are required – the bags are designed in such a way that they can work on most any dual sport bike without needing brackets. Two big, adjustable straps on top provide the needed support, a strap across the rear fender keeps the bags from sliding forward, and a lower strap keeps the bag secured to the side of the motorcycle. Overall it seems to be smartly designed and more than capable of meeting my needs when out on a day ride.
The E12 bags (22 liters total carrying capacity) are noticeably smaller than the Dirt Bagz Ranger bags (30 liters total carrying capacity) but should be more than sufficient to carry all the things I normally carry.
With my day ride luggage system in place, I needed a solution for multi-day rides.