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Photo by Bettina Hoebenreich, At the foot of the Bear Glaciers, eternal ice, British Columbia, Canada

Adventure is what you make it

Photo by Bettina Hoebenreich, at the foot of the Bear Glaciers, British Columbia, Canada.



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  #1  
Old 7 Dec 2014
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One Disadvantage of Soft Bags: Mud and Silt on Wet Dirt Roads

While browsing some of my photos of trips in Alaska and the Yukon I was reminded of an annoying issue with soft luggage. Travel on wet dirt and gravel roads tends to produce a fine spray of dirty water which can end up partially covering the bags. This state of affairs is worsened if road maintenance has involved the use of calcium chloride to keep the dust down in dry conditions. The silty calcium chloride content in the spray tends to dry to a very hard and crusty film.


So not only did my bags repeatedly get covered by this stuff, the buckles and knots used to secure the bags to the bike tended to end up semi frozen by the dried grit. The stuff even managed to work its way into zippers despite flaps of material covering them. All very annoying at the end of a long day. Also a disincentive to bringing the bags into a tent or motel roomy. At the ends of the trips clean up of the bags was a major project as the silt tends to work its way into the weave of the material and stinks up the joint.


Waterproof covers, with elasticized rims, are available for some soft bags and I did try a set. They were less than satisfactory however. To get into the bags you need to remove the muddy covers. In addition the covers did not shield the back of the bags which is where the attachment points were. The covers were also one more thing to lose and to carry crap into your shelter.


All hardly an earth shaking problem but an aggravation worth noting if you're planning to travel in those sorts of conditions. I now use hard luggage which I don't remove during a trip. A nice, clean, dry inner bag comes out and with me at night. No sweat.
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  #2  
Old 8 Dec 2014
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Excellent point, it's somthing I've thought about recently. I saw Lyndon Poskitts' review of the Magadan bags the other day from ADV-SPEC. They have an inner dry bag, which although covered in a fine dust, the contents of the inner dry bay looked clean as a whistle. I've always used hard luggage but I have bought some soft Wolfman Tetons to try out. So this is a good point to consider that I hadn't done previously. Thanks.



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Old 8 Dec 2014
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I use inner bags with soft luggage just as I did with hard ones. The hassle of getting a pannier off a bike and clean enough to bring indoors is pretty much the same in my experience unless we are talking GIVI style plastic suitcase type things which have more serious problems to lay against this advantage.


Rucksack type snap buckles on the outer "holding" bag make life easier than zips and roll down stuff sacks inside stay dry enough and clean enough. The snap buckles are far easier to fix on the roadside than zips too.


Andy
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Old 8 Dec 2014
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It's true, soft bags get pretty grungy. Just did 4000 miles in Mexico ... LOTS of road construction and LOTS of water trucks. All my off road riding was dry, so just a bit of dust. But on the highway ... massive construction projects, some going for 60 miles.

You might consider using inner bags inside your soft bags. My soft panniers stay ON THE BIKE, never come off. I simply unzip pannier, lift out my inner bag and I'm away. No dirty panniers in room or tent. Loading in just as easy/quick.

I did spray off my bags one time on my trip. Used a hose in a Pemex station. Took all of about 3 minutes, got about 80% of the mud grunge off the bags and bike. Easy.

That Calcium Cloride is a BITCH ... it can also damage fabric and Aluminum.
I try to wash it off daily if possible.

One other thing ... dirt and mud affected the Zippers on my panniers. But washing them off helped. I used silicone spray polish once back home to get them zipping good as new.

Once home, I made a warm solution of Tide and soaked the bags a while, then did a quick scrub. Rinse it all off really well. Clean as new.

Last edited by mollydog; 10 Dec 2014 at 20:50.
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  #5  
Old 9 Dec 2014
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A crayon or wax lubes zippers nicely.
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Old 9 Dec 2014
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Right, but first you've got to get the sand and grit out. Adding wax or lube to a dirty, gritty zipper just makes if worse. Don't ask me how I know this!

Usually a rinse with high pressure water does it, maybe a bit a scrubbing with a bristle brush. Dry, then wax it up. Silicone polish works OK too.
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Old 9 Dec 2014
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I am thinking to use Ortlieb Dry Bag Liner PS10 the "short version", with my soft panniers is 42 ltr (2563 inĀ³)....

I use them in my hard panniers and work fine!

So if my soft bags get dirty i can wash them in a gas station with the dry bags inside.
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  #8  
Old 10 Dec 2014
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Nearly alway's use soft bag's. But I'm not a round the world rider. More European, popping in and out of country with-in the EU. I find the trick is, to use sandwich bags. You can buy them in most shop's, and a few black bin bag's. Every thing goes in side a black sack. All clothes in to sandwich bag's. So it's "T" shirts, socks, and short's. In to sandwich bag's. Sandwich bag's in to black bin liner bag's. Black bin liner bag's in to soft luggage. As you can guess, so far no problem. Hell you could even put a cover over the soft luggage. Or do I have to tell any body that plastic bag's are a God send to traveller's.
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Old 10 Dec 2014
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I use clear plastic bags to organize stuff. But stow it all within removable inner bags (grocery bags), which slip nicely into soft pannier.

Some Zip-Loc type sandwich bags used for small items, but prefer clear plastic bags (pillows, comforters and such come stored in. FREE) Nice, clear, zippered, but don't last long. Good for one or two trips only, due to compressing. This makes them very SMALL, but hard on bag and cheap zippers. Even when broken, they still work fine and allow organization and compressing of items.

Pannier #1
Clear plastic bags makes identify/sorting quick & easy:
#1 Bag (small) - underwear, socks, neck warmer, silk glove liners
#2 Bag (medium) T-Shirts, misc.
#3 Bag (medium) Non wrinkle pants, shorts, dress shirt, swim trunks, misc.

Camera bag. sits on its own.

All above fits into one inner bag, then inner bag fits into pannier #1, room to spare. Light.

Pannier #2 - This pannier contains items mostly stored in large Zip-Loc bags:
Chain lube & rags (Zip-Loc bag), fuel additives, Spare nut/bolt kit (Zip-Loc bag), a few tools, Paper work (zip-loc bag), disc lock, C clamp (used as bead breaker), extra water, snacks, hat. Gerbing electric jacket (zip loc bag)
Toiletries kit. Room to spare.

I use my Wolfman Dry top Bag, small size) for:
Spare inner tubes (2), Dirt Bike pants (or leather riding pants when very HOT), Mesh jacket (for HOT weather), sandals, Rain jacket, Rain pants, Merino Wool Sweater, Winter gloves, Balaclava.
Wolfman less than 3/4 full.

All up weight of both panniers and top bag, including bags themselves, about 50 lbs.

Does not include separate tool kit stored elsewhere on bike or cable lock.


Starting out ... nice and clean. $100 usd Nelson-Rigg bags. Are they as good as Magadan? Probably not, but these stay on the bike ALL THE TIME. No fiddling them on and off. I grab inner bag and go into Hotel or camp, leave panniers on bike.
Easy Peasy. Pretty good so far ... but zippers are stubborn when dirty.

Last edited by mollydog; 10 Dec 2014 at 20:56.
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  #10  
Old 10 Dec 2014
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mollydog View Post
I use clear plastic bags to organize stuff. But stow it all within removable inner bags (grocery bags), which slip nicely into soft pannier.

Some Zip-Loc type sandwich bags used for small items, but prefer clear plastic bags (pillows, comforters and such come stored in. FREE) Nice, clear, zippered, but don't last long. Good for one or two trips only, due to compressing. This makes them very SMALL, but hard on bag and cheap zippers. Even when broken, they still work fine and allow organization and compressing of items.

Pannier #1
Clear plastic bags makes identify/sorting quick & easy:
#1 Bag (small) - underwear, socks, neck warmer, silk glove liners
#2 Bag (medium) T-Shirts, misc.
#3 Bag (medium) Non wrinkle pants, shorts, dress shirt, swim trunks, misc.

Camera bag. sits on its own.

All above fits into one inner bag, then inner bag fits into pannier #1, room to spare. Light.

Pannier #2 - This pannier contains items mostly stored in large Zip-Loc bags:
Chain lube & rags (Zip-Loc bag), fuel additives, Spare nut/bolt kit (Zip-Loc bag), a few tools, Paper work (zip-loc bag), disc lock, C clamp (used as bead breaker), extra water, snacks, hat. Gerbing electric jacket (zip loc bag)
Toiletries kit. Room to spare.

I use my Wolfman Dry top Bag, small size) for:
Spare inner tubes (2), Dirt Bike pants (or leather riding pants when very HOT), Mesh jacket (for HOT weather), sandals, Rain jacket, Rain pants, Merino Wool Sweater, Winter gloves, Balaclava.
Wolfman less than 3/4 full.

All up weight of both panniers and top bag, including bags themselves, about 50 lbs.

Does not include separate tool kit stored elsewhere on bike or cable lock.


Starting out ... nice and clean. $100 usd Nelson-Rigg bags. Are they as good as Magadan? Probably not, but these stay on the bike ALL THE TIME. No fiddling them on and off. I grab inner bag and go into Hotel or camp, leave panniers on bike.
Easy Peasy. Pretty good so far ... but zippers are stubborn when dirty.
+1


That's more or less what I do. The only problem I do have. Is where to carry my map's, that are easy to get hold of for a quick check to see if I'm on the right road. But kind of got that half sorted now.
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  #11  
Old 10 Dec 2014
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WHAT! ??? You use maps? Yea, me too.

Seems everyone is on GPS units now. I'm learning about them ... but haven't bought one yet. My smart phone does a pretty good job for this actually ... for basic "show me where I am" type stuff. Really handy getting through an Urban area. But for planning and thinking ... still prefer paper maps.

Storing paper maps is a tough one with some luggage set ups. Luckily my Nelson-Rigg panniers have nice inner pouch pockets inside the outside cover or "door". Maps slip into the pouch and stay in good condition.

I don't use a tank bag, but many do. A good tank bag works well for maps.
I use a Camel Back type pack. 2 liters of water and much more. Holds lots of odds and ends in various compartments and zip pouches ... and has a pretty good compartment for maps.

The Camel Back is very handy, adds protection if you land on your back!
(sort of a spine protector ... especially if full of water) I wear high quality memory foam back armor too (From Aerostitch), but a bladder full of water
provides a great cushion ... crash tested by me!
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Old 11 Dec 2014
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Ok may be I cheat. Got a GPS as well. In fact I've got two.


Why do I still use map's if I've got GPS. GPS is great to get you to the door of a house in a street, in a city. A map woun't do that. But on the other hand a GPS will take you through a town or city. When there is a ring road round. A map will tell you that. Map case's are a good idea. It's get the right size not paper to fit the case. Well my one any way. Have to cut down A4 size to get it in with the paper crumpling up. A great big felt tip black marker to write on the paper. Three bit's of information per sheet. You know the idea, next city, road number's and distance. When I get 20 miles from the last bit. Stop take that sheet out. Use the next one under. Then when I get to where I am going. Use the GPS. So far it's worked OK. GPS is only a guide. It's not the law on the way to get there.




One other thing. You've got a mobile phone???? Shock horrors. Don't own one. Well that's not exactly true. As when I tell friends I don't have one. Usually with in a week they turn up saying I can have there old one. So sitting in one of the back room's is about four or five mobile phone's. Never use them, or more to the point never find the need to use one. Hell tell me............ What pay a sack full of money for some one to pester the poo out of you.
John933






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  #13  
Old 11 Dec 2014
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New smart phones have a thousand features ... most of which I neither use or understand. But making progress, slowly learning my Samsung Android Smart Phone. Kids pick all this up by osmosis, I feel retarded every time I ask for help.

A Smart Phone is quite handy for a lot of things ... and cost's me almost nothing. I use TracFone, a "Pay As You Go" company here in the USA. The Phone was $100 usd, came with 500 minutes Plus data ... and every time I buy minutes they are tripled. Never use them all up. Every 90 days you must buy more minutes, and get 90 days more. Time, minutes and data are ALL carried over month to month. Costs $20 every 90 days. Not bad.

Data comes when you buy minutes ... but I do use my Data up, so that does add to expense. Works out to about $10 USD per month (includes buying extra data) Most everyone I know spends about $100 usd a month on their Phone. Absurd. Not me!

A Smart Phone with Data lets you go on internet, listen to FM radio world wide, and much much more. (TuneIn Radio app) Using good quality "Ear Buds" a must!

I also put ALL my own music (about 1200 songs) into my phone, and I can listen FREE anytime. Same with Photos. About 300 pics in my phone to share with people on the road. Nice!

All this took me time to learn and sort out ... and I've just scratched the surface in terms of all Smart Phones can do. Most of it is stupid crap for the kids.

But some of the "Apps" are useful to travelers. I hardly ever talk on my Cell phone, got over 1100 minutes now, same in text (which I don't ever do).

I mentioned the GPS function. Handy. There are better "Apps" for GPS stuff, so far I've not got there. So, for me, baby steps and keeps the brain cells working a bit. If you can afford it, get an iPhone. I could not, so went with the $100 Samsung phone. Only problem is short battery life. But if you turn off Mobil Data and some other functions, it's much better. Charges up in an hour or less. Handy ... and now ...??? Can't live without it! BUGGER !!*#@

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  #14  
Old 6 Jan 2015
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I've been using a Giant Loop on a XR250 here in South America, my thoughts;

Obviously great for small bikes, lightweight no frame needed.

Protects the bike when you drop it or come off. Sowing is easier than welding too!

Squishes whatever is inside if you do fall off, forget putting your MacBook in there!

Definitely need to be very organised with dry bags otherwise living out of one is frustrating.

As for dirt and mud, even with the super solid salt/dust/mud combination I just hosed it off - no issues. And so far had no problems with zip, as it has a flap which covers it and stops majority of stuff getting stuck in there.
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  #15  
Old 21 Jan 2015
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Quote:
Originally Posted by normw View Post
While browsing some of my photos of trips in Alaska and the Yukon . . . The silty calcium chloride content in the spray tends to dry to a very hard and crusty film.

The stuff even managed to work its way into zippers despite flaps of material covering them.
I have never encountered mud, clay, sand, or road salt as insidious as calcium chloride. The leg zips on my overpants started to pack up, was able to clean and lube to get home, but a short time later they failed completely.

When I was up Yukon way I had mostly hard luggage but also had a zippless tank bag -- drawstring under the velcro'd down "cap" that included the map window. All that luggage survived very well.

I have also used roll-top soft luggage and I believe it would have survived the calcium chloride pretty well since mine have largish buckles. I don't really like roll-top, but it is simple, waterproof, and secure (not theft-proof secure, but stays-in-place secure).
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