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Viking Bags – bags for near and far expeditions

If you follow our social media, you are well aware that a lot has changed in our traveling. No longer one, but two motorcycles carry us around the Americas. Karolina, with a new driver’s license, decided to switch from the back seat of our BMW to a Kawasaki KLR650. And thus we got the opportunity to relieve our GS and shift some luggage to the new motorcycle. The plan was to reduce the load on the Basiorek as much as possible, while not overloading the new rider and her vehicle. Was it successful? Go read it yourselves!

Already at the start we rejected aluminum trunks due to the weight and the need to install a rack. We decided to install a rather large tailbag on the Piglet (because that’s the name we gave to our new team member). Since we bought the Kawasaki in the United States in Los Angeles, our choice was the 30-liter Apex Large ADV Touring Duffel Bag from Viking Bags, a well-known company in that market. 


The shipment with the bag arrived quickly and efficiently, as it was just a few days later. Our first impressions after unpacking were very positive. The bag seemed really solid and durable. What we liked very much from the very beginning was the possibility of attaching an additional equipement to the bag from Viking Bags. This is a super option when we need to take a bit more luggage than just for a weekend trip.


However, the problem appeared when we tried to mount the bag on the motorcycle. We had never dealt with bags before, having always had trunks, and the number of mounting straps overwhelmed us a bit at first. We didn’t quite know what mounted where, and the information in the mounting instructions was quite sparse. Although the bag is universal and fits any type of motorcycle, which would explain the rationale behind the poor instructions, it would still have been helpful to have more information on the methods of fastening the straps to the rack. It would certainly make installation easier for people like us, accustomed to having the trunks simply removed from the rack. :)))

After a dozen or so attempts and the support of an internet, we finally managed to solidly attach the bag to our Kawasaki, and that’s when we began to appreciate the ingenuity of the Viking Bags designers’ solutions. The fastening system, once you’ve figured out what to do with the straps, allows you to really quickly remove and attach the bag back to the motorcycle. Another feature for which Viking Bags deserves credit is the velcro-fastener installed on the tie-down straps. They can be used to easily fasten excess straps once the bag is secured to the motorcycle, so that they don’t move everywhere to the sides, getting in the way or causing danger while riding. Although probably these velcro-fastener will find as many fans as staunch opponents, because when increasing the volume of luggage, we have to unfasten them to adjust the straps to the new dimensions of the bag, roll and fasten them again.  


The bag is made of durable ballistic nylon. A material known for its durability, resistant to abrasion and cutting, considered one of the most durable materials available on the market. Its name derives from the Vietnam War, where the very same material was used to make ballistic jackets for soldiers to protect them from shrapnel. Also, when it comes to the quality of the material we probably don’t have to worry too much. Inside our bag we’ll find a second layer, made of waterproof TPU membrane that retains all kinds of moisture. Due to the thick material from which it is made, the bag is very hard and we thought that its rolling would be problematic. However, after several weeks of daily use it stopped bothering us at all, the material in the places of rolling became softer and more flexible, but the whole bag still holds its shape. Access to the main 30-liter compartment is made on the sides, on both sides, which allows quick access to individual items stored there, without having to pull everything out, because something we need is at the very bottom. With well-thought-out packing, you do not need to remove it from the rack at all, although we must admit that we often forget what we put where, and so we end up pulling everything out. Each of the side openings, when rolled up, closes with three snaps. One holds the entire roll, two fasten the sides, securing our luggage well. It has never happened to us that any of the latches came undone, even after scoring epic crashes on gravel roads and sands. :)))

At the top of the bag, under the flaps with snap fasteners, we get additional luggage space, which we can freely adjust to our needs. There are also two very practical pockets, one mesh for various small items, the other transparent, waterproof – ideal for maps and our travel notes. Thanks to the MOLLE system at the top of the bag, we can accessorize it at our own discretion with other elements. Here a huge plus for the designers, because each of us travels differently, giving us the possibility of any customization, it’s easier for us to fit the bag to our needs.


Now it was time to try to load it with our stuff. To Karolina’s motorcycle we wanted to move things that we don’t use on a daily basis, but also need to be easily accessible in case of need. So, first of all, all the tools and spare parts for the motorcycle, which until now were loaded in one of the side trunks in the BMW, went to her. And here we met the first pleasant surprise – the bag is very roomy. We put the contents of almost the entire trunk into it, and there was still plenty of room left, so we continued on. The bag also contained all the spare cables for the electronics, quite a large first aid kit, spare oil and lubricants for the chain, and several bags of personal things. The fully stuffed bag landed on Piglet. The space on the bag would be perfect for attaching a tent and camping gear if riding alone. We decided to attach a camera tripod here, which has always been a problem, because even though it is small, it still takes up a lot of space in the trunk. In addition to the tripod, we also threw in some kitchen accessories for cooking our morning coffee in a waterproof bag. We always start the day with coffee, so from now on it will literally be at hand. The only thing is that you need to remember that the bag is not protected in any way, so we recommend packing wisely. Unfortunately, we’ve heard many different stories, it’s better not to put things that are precious to you in the soft luggage. Unless we never leave it unattended on the motorcycle. In general, we were very pleased with the result, because we managed to take a lot of weight off the Basiorek, so that suddenly there was room in the two 40-liter side trunks for sleeping bags and mats, which we had carried earlier in drybags on the side trunks.


The internal compartment for small items under the flap of the bag, which we have already mentioned, is perfect for storing glasses, glass and lens cleaning fluids, microfiber wipes, mosquito spray and face cream. That is, things that have always been banging around in the central trunk, but have now found their place.

For hiking fans, the Viking Bags bag offers additional functionality. Under the zippered membrane you will find a harness system, so that this bag can be used like a backpack. Very useful not only for hiking, but even to go shopping. 

Two metal handles on either side of the bag, worked perfectly in our case to attach the roll behind Carolina’s back. To be honest, we have no idea if this was the way they were supposed to be anchored, but after removing the drybags from the BMW, we were left with expanders, with which we perfectly hooked up another roll.


The bag has already traveled more than 10000 kilometers with us and thousands more ahead of it. We rode both on asphalt and gravel roads. It has never happened to us that it came untided, even after several falls on sands and stones. The attachment on the trunk is secure and stable, and we have never had any problems with the bag slipping to one of the sides. So far we haven’t noticed any signs of deterioration of the bag’s material, all the buckles are intact, nothing has cracked. I don’t think there is one bad word we could say about the bag after months of daily use. Well, maybe problems with its first fastening, but that’s more our ignorance and not a flaw in the bag itself. If any of you is looking for a cool, well-made bag, at an affordable price, because this is its undoubted advantage, we can confidently recommend it. Ours has really survived a lot with us, and it’s not weekend trips once in a while, but daily use for months.

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