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  #1  
Old 16 Aug 2011
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Soft Luggage Security ?

Hi

Looking at getting some Wolfman soft luggage for a forthcoming trip to Africa . I've never travelled with soft luggage before, any tips or advice on how to prevent them or their contents getting stolen ?

Thanks very much

Neil
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  #2  
Old 16 Aug 2011
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I think that most people are using a one or more of either a Pacsafe, Lockstrap or something like a Dowco cover alarm.
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  #3  
Old 16 Aug 2011
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You don't need to... Really !!!!

They're no more vulnerable than those tin cans people dote on..

BUT !! You do need some secure luggage...

Keep your REALLY valuable stuff in a tank bag which follows you everywhere. I have the wolfman trail bag which I keep my camera, papers, Ipod, torch etc.

Your passport and wallet should never be anywhere but next to your chest in a waterproof pouch/bag.

No doubt you will have a waterproof ortlieb type roll bag on the back too. Here you keep your tools, spares and camping equipment in. This is what you keep in a pacsafe as you don't need to get in and out of it very often.

With your soft-bags, only keep stuff in that nobody really wants to steal or that you can cheaply replace. We're talking about clothes, underwear, food, books.

In South America and Africa, I never had anyone even try to nick anything out of my soft-bags nor do I know anyone who has. It's actually very rare that you will leave your bike unattended and loaded up anyway.
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  #4  
Old 16 Aug 2011
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[QUOTE=*Touring Ted*;345954]
No doubt you will have a waterproof ortlieb type roll bag on the back too. Here you keep your tools, spares and camping equipment in. This is what you keep in a pacsafe as you don't need to get in and out of it very often.

/QUOTE]


but dude.... camping equipment is used every night - well for me 85 nights out of a 100 so that don't work.
suppose its ok for the credit card brigade
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  #5  
Old 16 Aug 2011
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[QUOTE=bugsy;345958]
Quote:
Originally Posted by *Touring Ted* View Post
No doubt you will have a waterproof ortlieb type roll bag on the back too. Here you keep your tools, spares and camping equipment in. This is what you keep in a pacsafe as you don't need to get in and out of it very often.

/QUOTE]


but dude.... camping equipment is used every night - well for me 85 nights out of a 100 so that don't work.
suppose its ok for the credit card brigade
Well me too.. But by "not very often" I meant once a day.

It's no big deal unpacking your roll bag every night because you'l be throwing it in your tent anyway. (the Ortlieb rack packs are the best btw).. Opening up a pacsafe and ortielb combo just to get your camera is a very different different story.
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  #6  
Old 16 Aug 2011
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I've never had any security problems with soft luggage in Europe. Tankbag & throwover panniers. I don't put anything of value in them but it wouldn't have mattered if I had. As Ted says keep your wallet & passport (I keep vehicle docs as well) about you in a pocket.
The only theft attempt I've had was a trashed lock on my topbox in Paris, hotel night man chased them away but hard luggage with no lock is a real pain in the arse. Bungeed it up to keep it on the bike. Hard luggage isn't necessarily that secure
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  #7  
Old 16 Aug 2011
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Im still researching for my first trip but having read lots of posts over the last 12 months or so the general consensus is that generally the level of theft from the bike on a long trip is so rare that wether you have hard or soft luggage makes no real difference. Unless perhaps in your own head you feel more secure with hard luggage.
I have had read lots of posts where people have had relatively minor falls and trashed their expensive hard luggage.
The other advantage of soft is that they may be safer for the legs in a crash.
At this stage having read lots of posts, I'm leaning towards soft.

just dont leave anything you cant afford to loose in your panniers, hard or soft.
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  #8  
Old 16 Aug 2011
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I am a convert from hard alu panniers to soft luggage. Used Enduristan Monsoons on my last trip; excellent bit of kit. Had no security issues so far. I reckon if somebody is hell bent on nicking stuff out your panniers, they will succeed regardless of hard or soft. Also, with a rollbag strapped on to the back seat, it is not easy for the casual thief to get at the soft bags.
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Old 16 Aug 2011
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Reading this post has made me realise something.

The only people I know who have had ANYTHING stolen were people in 4x4's or people on the big expensive bikes dripping in the latest bling luggage....

I came across three separate 4x4 vehicles in Africa who had windows smashed in or locks tampered with. I believe this is because they look like rolling gold mines. You would think a truck would give you the best security but it is just advertisement to wealth. I also think they lead to too much complacency.

I think it's the same for these big expensive beemers with all their posh luggage. They look like they're worth breaking into and they usually are. If you're rolling through the third world on a £15,000 bike, you're panniers aren't going to be filled with old junk.

My bike always looks trashed, old and dirty and my 50 year old canvas bags don't look like they contain anything but dirty old clothes. It's hardly appealing to the opportunist.

Travel light and travel cheap...
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  #10  
Old 16 Aug 2011
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Quote:
Originally Posted by *Touring Ted* View Post
...my 50 year old canvas bags don't look like they contain anything but dirty old clothes.
And thats true, no ?
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  #11  
Old 16 Aug 2011
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Just use a cover

I prefer soft bags and think they are no more or less of a security risk than hard cases - but my take is use a bike cover (old and dirty) whenever you're leaving the bike for any length of time. What can't be seen is attractive. My bike is at present parked behind a hostel in Ulan Ude with all the camping gear in soft panniers still on it - so I hope I'm right with this philosophy.
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  #12  
Old 16 Aug 2011
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Originally Posted by colebatch View Post
And thats true, no ?
Dirty old clothes, a trashy 'swap' novel, small bottle of local spirit, toiletries and a few random spare parts.

Hardly a treasure trove for a local pick pocket
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  #13  
Old 16 Aug 2011
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I used Packsafes on each of my Andy Strapz and an Ortlieb on the seat. HUGE PITA to get in and out of the panniers but did give some comfort when away from the bike like passport control etc. I could hear the alarm going off every few minutes but that was only from the guys poking at it (a dirty DR650). But they were handy for stowing everything away in your room when your out, not massively secure but better than nothing. Day to day stuff went in the Ortlieb while camping/cooking stuff (not used much in SE Asia) sat in the panniers along with the tools/spares.

Never had any luggage stolen but the stuff I did loose included:

Arai Tour X (in KL) - Put it on the helmet lock thinking it would be fine while I popped into a shop. It wasn't. They just cut the strap off it. I always put a locking cable through it but was lazy on this one occasion.

Petrol cap (Pak) - Had a non-locking cap for an IMS tank. Found it shortly after but wasn't best amused when I saw it had gone. Also had some fuel stolen one night in Laos.

Cramp Buster (Malaysia) - left it on overnight..

GPS (India) - Normally removed it but left it on while having lunch in a tiny village one day. Kids tried to remove it and broke the folding antenna (nothing some gaffer tape didn't put right).

So its mainly the peripheral stuff attached to the bike that is likely to walk/get broken in my experience.
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Old 16 Aug 2011
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One thing that increasingly occurs to me is that soft luggage is usually 'lower-profile' - ally boxes just seem to stick out a mile. Well, mine do. I've pretty much given up filtering when loaded up as one of these days I'm just going to tear a new air-vent in somebody's Audi TT.

Soft bags usually seem to sit closer to the bike and presumably, if you do nudge someone in a car, no damage will be done.

There's also the streamlining. Because they sit closer in they are presumably more streamlined. They also tend to be a bit less 'square'. I have no idea what the effect of this on fuel consumption might be, but I wouldn't be surprised if having great big boxes on your bike made a big difference to your mpg. Look at my bike head on when its 'tooled up' and it's bloomin' laughable - it looks like a galleon under full sail. The AA reckon adding a (empty) roofrack to a car can add 10% to fuel consumption, so God knows what a couple of big boxes add to a bike.

Oh, in terms of security...

You could always have a strong top box for the expensive items. You could get into my ally panniers with a set of strong fingers but I made my own topbox out of a peli case which is extremely strong and in conjunction with a solid padlock would take a hell of a lot of getting into. I'm confident its secure against all but a pretty determined attack.

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*Disclaimer* - I am not saying my bike is better than your bike. I am not saying my way is better than your way. I am not mocking your religion/politics/other belief system. When reading my post imagine me sitting behind a frothing pint of ale, smiling and offering you a bag of peanuts. This is the sentiment in which my post is made. Please accept it as such!
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Old 16 Aug 2011
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Quote:
Originally Posted by *Touring Ted* View Post

The only people I know who have had ANYTHING stolen were people in 4x4's or people on the big expensive bikes dripping in the latest bling luggage....

I came across three separate 4x4 vehicles in Africa who had windows smashed in or locks tampered with.
Probably they were not using the ultimate state-of-the-art deterrants: black gaffer tape on the driver's otherwise falling lock (years ago tampered back in Spain and closed since long ago) and a HU sticker on the back... Add a poorly shaved and blind looking Spaniard and his shouting girlfriend -reaching 120 dB when disturbed from her siesta- and then you can feel your belongings are safe anywhere.



PS: Could not find any pics with both "stickers" but without poorly shaved Spaniard!
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