It is fair to say, motorcycle pannier bags are a fairly expensive piece of equipment.
If you were lucky enough to inherit some nice boxes when buying your motorcycle and they cover your necessities to travel – you’re in luck.
If you’re just starting out (like me), it might be a big hit on your wallet if you go for a big set from big-name brands in one go.
Some of the boxes are priced starting at a couple of hundred pounds each!
Sometimes that could be even more than your motorcycle is worth.
However, do no panic – it doesn’t have to be that pricey if you’re willing to be more flexible with the kind of bags you choose.
Also, having a creative flair might help you to figure out how to fit them to your motorcycle.
Let’s go through the options, shall we?
Lomo is a UK-based brand producing drybags for the outdoors. That includes kayaking, diving and sailing – many more options can be found on their website.
We’ll explore their collection of motorcycle drybags.
A drybag is a watertight container, often used in water sports, but also serving many uses in climates where rain is often present.
A drybag will save your clothes, electronics and other essentials from getting soaked, even when it’s pissing it down on the road.
It has been used for years by cyclists and travellers who are likely to come across drizzles and showers on their excursions.
For some time now, Lomo have offered a line of products suitable to work with motorcycle aerodynamics and limitations (shape, sizes, mount availability, colours).
Lomo bags come in a variety of colours – black, grey, white, and if you’re brave you can go for neon yellow or green.
It might actually be a great idea for visibility at night.
In terms of bag selection, there’s all you might need – tail bags, side panniers, tank bags and rucksacks.
Prices vary from £10 to £58 – so you should be fine to get a complete set of motorcycle luggage for near or under £100.
If you’re looking for something to compliment your vintage motorcycle style, do bags from WWII sound epic enough?
There’s plenty authentic pannier bags to pick from – you can grab a great deal off of eBay or army surplus suppliers, like Silvermans.
Most likely they will not be the perfect choice for wet conditions, as they are usually made from canvas.
This is quite an affordable option if you’re looking for extra style points.
Take yourself back in time with army pannier bags!
You might feel like a war messenger – how cool is that?
With a bit of research and luck you will be able to buy some new or nearly-new bags from someone, who likes to be over-prepared before going on an adventure.
This year in particular (with many plans and trips cancelled) many people will prefer to cash-in their gear, instead of keeping it in times of uncertainty.
Seems like a great opportunity to get a branded equipment for a fraction of a price, if you ask me.
Try to keep it local – search on Facebook Marketplace, Gumtree or any other local classifield available in your areas (my personal favourite is Facebook Groups).
Make sure the set is compatible with your motorcycle.
Also, check if all small parts are included.
If it’s a well-known brand and some of the elements are missing, you can purchase spare parts online (like racks, plates and all required nuts and bolts).
Order accordingly to your needs and enjoy your savings (which most likely will be spent elsewhere!).
Depending on your travel goals, you might need bags for only a short amount of time.
To ease the hassle (and financial burden) of buying a whole set of bags or boxes, it might be a good idea to check your local motorcycle dealership or luggage rentals around.
Rent it for the time you need it – and save on storage and maintenance of your luggage, if you’re short on space at home.
It might also be a good idea if you want to test some particular kinds of luggage before making a big decision of buying it.
Green Chile Luggage System
Green Chile has a completely different approach to motorcycle luggage.
It is flexible, adjustable and more accessible than you think – their sets of bungee cords, strap kits and soft racks can be used on different motorcycles.
If you tend to change your machines quite often, it doesn’t mean you need to get another set of luggage to go with it – just adjust the straps and it’s good to go.
Also, the system allows you to build up the capacity of your setup gradually – if you only need to attach one extra bag (where you will carry your food as an example) – that’s only one runner loop or strap adjustment away from keeping it safe.
Very clever idea and great quality.
Check out Green Chile website.
Travelling on a motorcycle can be as cheap or as expensive as you want it to be, depending on your wants and needs.
Adventure goes way beyond money spent, that’s why I try to set an example of being a financially reasonable adventure rider.
My first camping trip setup was successful with only 2 bungee cords, a couple of straps and a backpack I use for day trips or overnight stays with Mandell.
Keep on exploring, the lack of travel gear shouldn’t discourage you!