After using the ViaTerra Raptor tail bag on my North East ride, I think I’m now in a position to offer my two paisa on it. In summary, it was perfect for the two week ride. For my next multi-week ride in India I’m going to use it again. And when it gets old, I’m going to buy another one.
At the outset, I would like to clarify that ViaTerra promotes this tail bag as an office bag. It has straps to hold a laptop as well as slots to stick pens in. It also comes with a shoulder strap to carry it around like a regular office bag.
Last year, I used the Cramster Stallion saddle bags for my two week ride around the Annapurna Circuit in Nepal. The reason I chose not to use saddle bags for my North East ride was because I wanted to travel very light this year. I knew that we were going to have to ride in snow and ice. I may have had to walk the bike in some places and I didn’t want the saddle bags getting in the way.
The tail bag accommodated my clothes, slippers, some spares and a whole lot of urrack to last the entire two week long trip. I filled the alcohol in a dozen 200 ml bottles so that I could squeeze them between stuff inside the bag. Also as the days passed I could free up space in the bag by discarding a bottle once every one or two days. We had split the common stuff between the five of us and I carried two spare tubes. My compressor and toolkit was with Altaf Khalifa since he was tailing the group. But if I hadn’t carried the alcohol, both items would have easily fit into the tail bag.
The only drawback I found was the securing mechanism. Well, its really not a drawback if you are going to ride your motorcycle on tarmac. But if you are going to thrash your motorcycle off road like I do, then the double bungee chord securing mechanism proves to be a little weak. I ended up using only one of the bungee chords to secure the front end of the bag to the pillion foot pegs and used a velcro strap to secure the rear end of the bad to my luggage rack. That worked fine for the entire duration of the trip and the tail bag didn’t come loose or shift on the luggage rack. Read this post for details.
If feels nice to know that I’ve reached a point where I can live off just a tail bag for a couple of weeks. Come to think of it, the length of the trip doesn’t matter anymore. I can strap the Raptor tail bag to any of my motorcycles and be on the road for as long as I want. I have found that the more space you have the more stuff you end up carrying. So my advice would be to start with a small bag like the Raptor and pick just the stuff that you will use everyday, the only exception being spares. Leave everything else at home. In adventure motorcycling, less is more.