Since time began mankind has had a need to stash stuff. Everything had to be carried on the body. Belts and over-shoulder slings over time gave rise to haversacks and such. Being what we are, we never stopped there. The nature of man is never to quite get when enough is enough, but rather to end up wallowing in his excess. Witness the top of the range camping caravans and trailers that people haul behind their huge (they have to be to pull those rigs) 4x4s. Us bikers are a different bunch, however. We just don’t have the luxury of a lot of space. Forget for a moment those dudes in the States who haul campers behind their behemoth Harleys and Goldwings and think more about Adventure bikers. Guys and girls who venture off the beaten track, and intend to rough it, but do need some essential kit to make the journey less rigorous, as well as to haul some essential tools and spares.
Such a guy and girl are Michnus and Elsebie Olivier who got ‘gatvol’ of the corporate grind, sold a lot of their ‘stuff’, bought a couple of Suzuki DR650s and set off travelling far and wide. Follow PikiPiki Overland on Facebook and prepare to be enthralled by their experiences travelling remote parts of South America. Why am I telling you this? Because like anyone preparing to do this kind of travelling, they did a bucket load of research. What bike, what kit, what luggage system, what, what, what. They had more questions than answers. Names like GIVI, Oxford, Kriega, Tusk, Enduristan….the list goes on and on. They dipped their toes in that bottomless pool and started travelling. They say that necessity is the mother of invention, and for Michnus and Elsebie it really was.
To keep the bikes as light and uncomplicated as possible they went with rackless systems. Over time, everything they tried came up a bit short. Often outrageously expensive, it could not always fit just right and didn’t always survive the rigours of serious offroad adventuring. I haven’t asked them exactly, but I suspect that while gazing into a campfire after a hard day made harder by struggling with a failing luggage system, they had an epiphany. Stuff this, we going to consider all we’ve learned and make our own sh*t! Enter Turkana Adventure kit. Possibly the roughest, toughest and most badass rackless soft luggage on the market.
I contacted Michnus after shooting the breeze with him and Elsebie at Triumph where we were loitering with intent. I recently acquired a Scrambler Ducati. I plan on doing some silly trips with it, which the manufacturers of this fine steed didn’t necessarily have in mind when they designed it. As a minimalistic beast, I don’t see my way clear to putting luggage ‘scaffolding’ on it. When I laid my eyes on the Turkana MadMule Rackless Luggage I knew it was just the ticket. Michnus had a set delivered to me and I set about fitting it after reading the instructions.
Let me say at this point that the instructions, both written and available on Turkana Gear’s YouTube, made understanding how to proceed loads easier. Just handling the luggage makes you realize that this is next level.
The fabrics used, the double stitching and reinforcement, everything about them is super strong and durable. I used to think that only cockroaches and Kawasaki KLRs would survive the Apocalypse, but now I know that the KLR will be sporting Turkana luggage! Every aspect of the luggage screams ROBUST. Load is spread over wide reinforced areas, thereby reducing the chance of tears and failure to an absolute minimum (I wanted to say ‘to zero’, but life has taught me that some people will break their own fingers in their bums, given half a chance).
Be patient and fit the luggage properly. It is adjustable to achieve the exact angle suitable for your particular bike. Then there is a real ‘belts and braces’ approach. You can boppa this stuff on your bike properly! Once done, you have great peace of mind, it won’t shift, burn through on your exhaust, or whatever. The bags I have are the 15L chaps which sit astride the back seat, complimented by a 40L duffel bag that mounts onto the seat proper. Straps and “D” loops abound, as well as strips attached to the bags which allow loose ends to be properly secured. Nothing flaps around once properly installed.
The strips also allow smaller, modular bags, to be attached to the large bags for oddments requiring easy access. By ‘STRIPS’ I mean strapping sown at regular intervals to virtually integrate into the side of the bags. Think for a moment of the integrated ‘bones’ that ladies had in their corsets back in the distant past. These integrated strips would give shape to the garment. The fiendishly clever Turkana design utilises these to mount the bags to the adjustable base which fits over the seat. It means that the bags attach via a myriad of points, virtually making them one with the base.
Spread the load and negate tears. The bags sport roll tops and come with water and dustproof inners. This is cool because not only do they keep your kit clean and dry but you don’t have to take all the kit off when overnighting.
If you are in the market for arguably the best, most adjustable, toughest rackless soft luggage on the Globe, then I think you need to get yourself some of this kit. It is designed for SERIOUS use. Round The World trip in the offing, or just a weekend trip to Tankwa? Your Turkana MadMules will serve you well. Use them on all your bikes too. My mate, Brian Cheyne, popped them on his Ducati 950SS for a Lowveld ride recently.
Just decide who you are going to leave them to when you depart the planet, because I am convinced they will outlast you! For prices and options (and sage advice), I would suggest that you contact Turkana directly.
MadMules Rackless Luggage
For more information on the product featured in this article, click on the link below…