Hard or Soft Adventure Panniers – Which is Best
Articles,  Blog

Hard or Soft Adventure Panniers – Which is Best


hard panniers or soft panniers the
question is which one works best so the reality is the right system depends on
what you want it to do I use both this is the Jessi luggage system and I rode
with this through North Central and South America this is the Mosko Moto
backcountry 35 liter system this one I rode through Europe and West Africa I’m
going to start with the hard panniers the most significant advantages of a
hard pannier are convenience and security these are almost always larger
in volume than a soft pannier system and on top of that because they are fixed in
size and the shape is always consistent it’s much easier to compartmentalize
also to have things staged in there for me I carry a lot of camera gear
I carry computers I want to charge those when I’m on the road so I’m able to put
a converter inside the bag and have it there all the time
also things like shield cleaning or my compass those are all in the bag all the
time very convenient they lock down they’re
sealed the watertight love these for that there’s two different ways that
hard panniers mount to the bike either they have an external latch and lock
system or they lock from the inside this particular one only locks from the
inside that means when it’s on the bike and they lock down that people can’t
remove my painters from the bike one of the reasons I chose a hard pannier
system when I rode through South America was the security we spent a lot of time
in cities and a lot of time on the road where we wanted to have things locked
down and we could walk away from the bikes
personal safety is the largest con to a hard pannier if you’re to come off and
have your leg come off the foot peg and get caught between the hard pannier and
the ground the chance of ending up with an injury grows significantly and if
you’re pannier comes to a point and you happen to get caught right on that point
it means all of the energy from the fall all the weight of your gear ends up all
on one specific point on the bone not a good thing
this one has a slanted edge which is one of the reasons I picked this one this
slanted edge means that if I come off the bike I’m less likely to get caught
on a hard just single point it disperses the amount of energy and the likelihood
of me breaking a bone or having something bad happen decreases the other
disadvantage of a hard pannier is there’s no bumper the energy if you fall
down all goes directly into the bag and it can’t be dispersed through the soft
areas that means if you hit here all that energy goes into the bag and
whatever doesn’t crumple your bag is transferred into the mounting system and
the mounting system is mounted to your subframe or frame and in a worst-case
scenario you can twist and tweak that subframe or frame of your motorcycle and
that’s pretty hard to repair on the road now let’s talk about soft panniers this
pannier we’ve spent a whole lot of miles and time together and it’s held up very
very well personal safety is the number-one advantage of a soft pannier
system and that’s because since this squishes if I fall down and I get caught
between my pannier it absorbs a lot of the energy into the pannier also if it
squishes that also means that energy isn’t being transferred into the
motorcycle where I can cause a rack failure or damage the subframe or frame
of the motorcycle soft panniers generally have less space than a hard
pannier set up however they do have a lot of adjustability so you can cinch
them down so the load inside isn’t shift around and many of the systems like this
one has a MOLLE system so you can expand and by putting bags and luggage on the
outside often to customize it to what works best for you
I love the fact that this one is a two-layer pannier system so inside I
have a waterproof liner and the outside is just the outer shell also this has a
large panel on the outside so if I fall down even if it’s on the pavement and
grind through this I’m less likely to damage it all the way to the inside
where the integrity is to keep all my stuff safe and protected your kit or
gear on the inside of these bags is not as well protected from impact because of
the soft bag that protects you and protects the bike it also means all of
your stuff inside is also absorbing that so make sure anything that’s delicate
electronics and things like that are kept high in the luggage or to the back
side of it although soft painters don’t offer the
same security as a hard painters system they’re often much easier to pull on and
off the bike so you can take all of your stuff with you nothing else I found
comes on or off the bike as quickly if you like your ankles and your leg bones
pick the soft pannier if you like convenience security and volume pick the
hard pannier my luggage rack supports both so if I’m on a ride where I think
the likelihood of me falling over is high I’m gonna always bring my soft
panniers if I’m on a road trip and I want the security and the convenience of
the hard pannier then I use these one other thing to think about because these
are very expensive and soft painters are generally less expensive if I fall down
in an adventure environment and damaged my hard pannier or damaged the rack that
goes with the hard pannier the repair cost might be equal to just owning a
soft pannier so having both systems may be the best choice in the end

11 Comments

  • Verdon Rocks Photography

    What about soft ones on the sides and hard one in the middle back….? Just thinking, great episode, thank you V!

  • Chowdary Y J

    Can you please advice where I can get the winch you mounted on your bike back size on the box base plate please !

  • Des W

    My KTM Adventure will never have panties. They just snag on everything when I'm tooling through the woods. Put your stuff where the passenger goes, strap it down, and stop carrying so much garbage.

  • Dark Legionnaire

    neither the space they actually give you if you get a surplus military bergen you actually add heaps more space saddle bags and tank bags are all huge scams if you really want rack storage get military surplus canvas is gna last years longer than this crap. NO BIKE RIDER NEEDS TO BE CARRYING THIS MUCH RACKS ARE FOR FUEL AND HEAVY SHIT YOU CANT STRAP TO YOUR BACK. IF YOU NEED THIS MUCH SPACE GET A CAR THATS THEIR ENTIRE POINT . THE TERM ALL THE GEAR AND NO IDEA COMES TO MIND WITH LIKE ALL THESE BIKE YOUTUBERS

  • Steve

    Soft bags are great for preventing damage to your bike too in a minor off. A friend has a cheapo pair of Oxford bags on his KTM1190. They look ridiculous and flop about like spaniel's ears, but they've saved his plastics and paint a few times.

  • Thursdayftw

    Right now, I plan on running a combination of hard and soft for all of the reasons listed above. I normally run my bike with a top case to hold all of my important stuff and I'm planning on eventually grabbing soft panniers for longer adventures. Best of both worlds.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *