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Review: Waterproof Duffle Bag for Motorcycle Travel

Ortlieb MOTO Rack-Pack, an alternative to a sissybar bag

By Liz Jansen
10/20/2015

Large panniers can hold a lot, but when you live and work from the road on your motorcycle for prolonged periods of time, they’re not enough. Rather than carrying additional items in a permanently mounted top case on my bike, I prefer to use a removable bag secured with tie downs and bungees that I can carry as needed.

I look for luggage that will stand up to the rigors of the road. That means it needs to be durable, convenient to use, versatile, and waterproof. I recently tested Ortlieb’s mid-sized, 49-liter MOTO Rack-Pack on an extended journey on my Triumph motorcycle.

review waterproof duffle bag for motorcycle travel ortlieb
Finding myself on a two-week working road trip on a Triumph Tiger 800 XRX with no panniers, I organize my gear into several bags that I mount securely across the passenger seat. Valuables, heavy items, and clothing go into the hi-viz yellow MOTO Rack-Pack, which is mounted low and forward. A dry bag houses my tent, jacket liner, and clothing layers, and my Sierra Designs sleeping bag rests on top.


review waterproof duffle bag for motorcycle travel
I pack the heaviest items in the MOTO Rack-Pack first to form the bottom layer — tent poles, a tarp, Thermarest sleeping cot, Thermarest sleeping pad, camp chair, and extension cord. A small backpack with my laptop, camera, and notepads is packed next, and clothing organized in small packs are tucked in last. Two straps across the top bridge the space between the handles, and when cinched tightly, ensure the contents don’t move around and the closure remains waterproof. Two more straps cinch the ends ensuring no water enters. Even if you need to get at things during the riding day, accessing them is quick and easy.


review waterproof duffle bag for motorcycle travel black moto rack pack
The MOTO Rack-Pack, shown here in black, is constructed from a tough, impervious base fabric that protects the interior from rain and dirt. While prudence is advised, the heavy-duty construction will stand up to pressure from objects like tent poles or camp chair legs. Rigid black plastic strips reinforce the open edges and help seal the roll top closure. The 3M reflective logo adds safety in the dark, especially on the black MOTO Rack-Pack.


review waterproof duffle bag for motorcycle travel moto rack pack
You can carry the MOTO Rack-Pack with the permanently affixed handles or the detachable padded shoulder strap. When packed, my bag is heavy so I keep the shoulder strap attached (shown here) and tuck it into the fold when riding to prevent it from flapping around.


review waterproof duffle bag for motorcycle travel mounted
The 49-liter MOTO Rack-Pack sits neatly across the motorcycle passenger seat, forming a comfortable backrest. Even with panniers installed there’s room to easily lift the pannier lids and access contents if necessary.


review waterproof duffle bag for motorcycle travel yamaha fj09
I also used the MOTO Rack-Pack on this Yamaha FJ-09 on another road trip, this time with neither a luggage rack or saddlebags. The pack fit neatly and securely on the bike's back seat.

Expect excellent performance, longevity, and utility from the Ortlieb MOTO Rack-Pack. In fact it’s so useful, I even use it for non-motorcycle traveling. It comes in three sizes: 31 liters costs $110, 49 liters is $125, and 89 liters costs $138. To learn more and to order online, visit OrtliebUSA.com.

To read more of Liz Jansen's reviews and touring articles, visit Liz Jansen's Touring Life column on WRN. To learn more about her, visit the WRN Contributors page

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