Colors: yellow/black; black/black
Cat. # 912 / $187
Reviewed by Ken Aiken
Ortlieb Dry Bag Saddlebags are for the motorcyclist who wants dry gear after a day of riding in the pouring rain. Based on the same design as the famous Ortlieb Duffle Bags, they have proven themselves during a long season of touring.
Since form follows function, the first impression is that these bags are pretty basic. Logic follows that seams and openings are the places most likely to spring a leak so these saddlebags have only one opening and the seams are heat welded. Measuring 10”H x 15”W x 8”D with a full-size top opening that utilizes the fold technique with quick-release buckles on the ends to secure it. A nylon strap with another quick-release buckle crosses the folded opening for additional security and also functions as an upper compression strap. Included are two shoulder straps with quick-release buckles, but these seem best suited as an accessory for securing the folded closed opening (loop them underneath the lower cinch/compression strap and fold the ends of the bag opening down instead of across the top).
Made of heavy PVC and polyurethane-treated ballistic nylon the saddlebags can be set up with internal stiffeners (supplied) to retain their shape or without so they can be compressed using top and bottom compression straps. I chose to utilize the internal plastic stiffening sheet, which gives them a box-like appearance, but provides additional stability. A stiff foam panel on the outside of the bag helps to protect the paint of your bike and, in the case of the Sportster, the rear suspension springs. The two wide nylon suspension straps are lined with Velcro and therefore are infinitely adjustable to fit across any pillion seat or fender. There is a hand-carrying strap on each bag, but I usually just throw the suspension straps across one shoulder. A nylon strap secures the back of the saddlebags and two straps the fronts. How these are configured depends upon the bike. (Mine have been used on a Ducati ST2, a K75 Beemer, and a H-D Sportster.)
I no longer have to secure my clothing and gear in an assortment of ziplock plastic bags before packing: whatever I place in my Ortlieb Dry Bag Saddlebags stays dry. At different times this has included my carpentry tools (including circular saw and drill); books, papers, and computer; groceries; and camping gear. I’ve inadvertently discovered that my Ortlieb Dry Duffle Bags will securely attach to the saddlebags, thereby increasing my carrying capacity. Can’t argue with that which works.
Urban combat riders will be interested to know that a thinner version—half the depth—is also available (Cat. #9005 / $177).