I recently had the opportunity to do a really proper test of GoGravel’s 40L duffel bag. The bag looks good in a grey material finish emblazoned with a funky Go Gravel logo in yellow. As technical motorcycle luggage goes, it certainly looks the part. The bag is made of a material called TPU, which is rated at 450 denier. It is light, abrasion resistant, UV resistant and can withstand big changes in ambient temperature. All the seams are welded for weather band dust proofing.
The bag has a double layer bottom for strength and durability. The neck is as wide as the bag making packing and unpacking hassle free. The top of the neck has two firm strips with a wide strip of velcro in the middle. This facilitates proper closure, keeping the closing strips aligned as you roll the top and secure it on each side with two clips.
The handles are robust and reinforced. You will have to really abuse the bag to have any problems toting it around. A shoulder strap comes as standard and can be attached in seconds for further carrying convenience. The bag has a IP 66 dust and waterproof rating, if that means anything to you. So there, you have the specs, how does it work in the real world?
I did a two week roadtrip on my BMW R1200GS Adventure and needed to take a really huge amount of kit. With the panniers full, I put a lot of bulky clothing in the bag as I was expecting cold and grotty weather. Attaching the bag was really easy. The four cinch straps provided have a clip on the one end to attach to the well placed heavy duty plastic loops on the bag and a loop on the other end to attach to the bike.
They are long enough for any imaginable application and I literally had the bag secured in 5 minutes max. A nice feature is the plastic screw type air bleed valve which allows one to pull the bag tight around the contents with the two integrated compression straps, then close the valve to keep the contents snug and airtight. Almost “vacuum packed”!
Over my 5000 odd kilometre trip, I encountered hours of rain and cold, yet had absolute peace of mind that the contents of the bag would emerge unscathed, and indeed they did. If water cannot penetrate the bag then neither will dust. I would go anywhere with this bag in a heartbeat. Two parallel strips of heavy duty loops run the length of the bag, allowing you to strap a tent or sleeping bag on top, if needs be.
This typifies the amount of thought that has gone into the construction and design of this bag. Perhaps the only improvement I can think of is strategically placed velcro on the cinch straps to stop excess strapping from flapping. Come to think of it, I don’t really know of any manufacturer that has solved that problem yet.
In summary, I think that Go Gravel can be justifiably proud of this “proudly South African” product. At a suggested retail price of around R1200, it offers decent value for money, and judging by the build integrity and material quality, it should give years of solid service. Check out the Go Gravel website at: www.gogravel.co.za, for other products in their ever expanding range of goodies for adventure travel.