Laguna GPS Tank Bag

By Ken Aiken - the Gear Guy on

Laguna GPS Tank Bag with Backpack
Cat. # LTB
Retail: $159.95
Size: 28-33 liter capacity
Color: black
Whitehorse Gear
(800) 531-1133
www.WhitehorseGear.com
Reviewed by Ken Aiken

Firstgear created the Laguna GPS Tank Bag to allow electronic gizmos — especially GPS units, cell phones, and MP3 players–to be operable while riding. This means visible and plugged in.

Let me up front about this: tank bags are rather personal pieces of luggage and every rider has different ideas as to what to pack in them. Even the best ones aren’t suitable for everyone, but the Laguna GPS Tank Bag from Firstgear is one of more interesting pieces of luggage that I’ve had the opportunity to test.

Your GPS unit is zippered into a 5 x 4.5-inch case with a clear mylar window. When not in use the case folds into a water-resistant compartment in the top of the tankbag and is zippered closed. Unzip the compartment and the attached hinged case swings out to be secured at a 45-degree position by Velcro, and places the GPS unit’s LCD screen where it can easily be viewed. (Note: I do NOT recommend viewing a GPS screen while a motorcycle is in motion.) The 4 x 4.5-inch cell phone / MP3 player compartment is located in front of the GPS (i.e., closer to you). It too has a clear mylar window, but the zippered compartment is accessible only from the inside of the tankbag.

These units are powered by any one of several styles of auxiliary power cords running from the motorcycle battery. Small rubber grommets with a “+”shaped slit allow ingress for an electrical cord while maintaining a fairly high degree of water resistance. These “+”shaped slits just barely allow a SAE plug to be pushed through them. Inside the bag are four sets of Velcro tabs to allow routing of wires along the top left-hand edge of the main compartment. GPS units, radar detectors, MP3 players, battery chargers, cell phones, cameras, and other electronic gizmos can be operated or recharged inside the tankbag while rolling down the highway.

The bag zippers to a base that can be secured to any gas tank, whether it’s made of steel, aluminum, or plastic. Obviously patterned after a bearskin rug, the four legs have Velcro closed “paws” containing powerful magnets. The magnets are easily removed and four suction cups (included) attached. The base also has an excellent four-point nylon-strap tie-down system with quick-release buckles. The combination of the magnets and four-point straps provide a rock-solid bag that won’t shift position at speed or in nasty crosswinds. Access to the gas cap is certainly easy enough by releasing the front two buckles, grasping the two front “paws” and lifting the bag towards the saddle. The base also has a zippered map pocket (5” wide x 12” long).with a mylar window.

Hidden between the base and the bag are two adjustable padded shoulder straps and a waist belt with a quick release buckle that transforms the tank bag into a backpack. This feature is well thought out and better than any I’ve ever owned or tested. It also comes with an adjustable nylon shoulder strap (with a plastic shoulder pad) that attaches to two D-rings by snap swivels. It even has an excellent, well-padded hand strap.

An attached rain cover is hidden in a zippered compartment at the front of the bag. The cover is made of heavy PVC-coated nylon with a draw cord and another mylar window. It’s a bit awkward to get the cover out when the tankbag is mounted on the bike, but practice will solve this little issue.

Two sides of the bag have stiffeners to keep it rigid, but the liner has a zipper on and these can be removed if you desire. I found these are good places to keep crucial documents. There’s a zippered cargo pocket on each side that measures 12.5 inches long and 6-inches tapering to 4, but it’s only an inch deep. It’s sufficient for gloves, sunglasses, and other compact essentials. The small pocket on the end has a flap with Velcro closure and seems to work well for spare change, business cards, and earplugs.

Regardless of what the advertising copy states, the outside of the main bag actually measures 10-inches wide by 14-inches long. The expansion gusset is well constructed but the extension is barely two inches and not the stated three. The GPS and cell phone compartments take up some of the depth of the interior space and the tapered width means the opening is wider toward the front and narrower in the back, but there remains enough space for most needs. My only criticism is that some handheld GPS units only fit into the GPS compartment on a diagonal.

Made of ballistic nylon, the Laguna GPS Tank Bag is a quality piece of luggage of excellent construction. It doesn’t come with wiring, but Whitehorse Gear offers an extensive range of electrical connectors with SAE and Powerlet plugs; different adaptors, Y cables, and extensions to meet your needs.