SW-Motech Drybag Review [80 and 180 Tail Bags: ADV Ready]

I have been into adventure touring since I began work on the Ultimate Motorcycling Yamaha Ténéré 700 Project Bike two years ago. My initial plan was to have big panniers and fill them as needed for each trip. I have found that day trips don’t require such large luggage, and weeks-long trips require better organization than everything in big open bags. The SW-Motech Drybag 80 and 180 tail bags are a great way to organize cargo for day trips and week-long excursions, and their modular utility makes them so handy.

SW-Motech Drybag 180 Review

The SW-Motech 8-liter Drybag 80 ($90) and 18-liter Drybag 180 ($80 MSRP) tail bags are made of 500D polyester with waterproof PVC-coated inside and out. After multiple rain rides, the waterproofing claim is confirmed in our testing.

The Drybag 180 has a utility zipper front pocket that is splash-resistant, but not waterproof. I have gone with smaller panniers, and when I need additional space, I can attach the SW-Motech Drybags. The 180 securely attaches on top of my soft panniers, the top of my hard pannier, or to the seat section behind me. It can also be carried as a shoulder bag or folded flat for storage.

I can fit into the Drybag 180 all the clothes I took on my last 8-day road trip:

  • 2 pairs of Kevlar-reinforced riding pants w/ knee armor
  • 1 pair of lightweight cargo pants
  • 2 T-shirts
  • 2 underwear
  • 1 pair of boot compression socks
  • 1 pair of long underwear
  • 1 windproof, warm underlayer shirt
  • Toiletries

The SW-Motech Drybag 180 comes with four 30-inch buckle straps and one shoulder strap. The four buckle straps have a loop at one end and a male buckle at the other. You make a slipknot with the loop, creating a secure, universal connection to almost any tube or frame member on your bike.

SW-Motech Drybag 80 Review

The SW-Motech Drybag 80 can be used as a tank bag, crash-bar bag, or tail bag, or they can be attached to the side or top of panniers. Its unique V shape facilitates stuffing, though the fixed-length buckles that secure the top to the base do not allow for overstuffing vertically—the only negative for the Drybag 80. The top roll buckle straps have no adjustment, so you are required to maintain a waterproof top roll.

I don’t ride in places where I will submerge the bike, so I could use the space that one less top roll would give me. I filled the Drybag 80 with every repair tool I carry, and I could have fit my rear axle wrench and my 12-volt air pump in there if I could secure the top with one less waterproofing roll.

SW-Motech Drybag Review: 180 edition mounted on adventure motorcycle

The Drybag 80 uses a three-point strap system, and the Drybag 180 uses four straps. They stay secure with no bouncing, slipping, or strap loosening. SW-Motech has a two-year warranty on its luggage systems against defects. Although I have accidentally crash-tested some of the products I reviewed, that didn’t happen this time. However, based on extensive experience with SW-Motech products, I expect the Drybag 80 and 180 will provide years of quality service.

SW-Motech Drybag Review: 80 Version mounted on adventure motorcycle

I now have my every-ride carries, my cold-weather carries, my hot-weather carries, my overnight carries, my week carries, and my camping carries. Using a modular method, I efficiently pack what I need for the trip and leave the rest home. The SW-Motech Drybag 80 is mounted to my front left crash bar with my every ride tools, and the SW-Motech Drybag 180 tail bag is mounted behind me, where I can easily access or put away clothing layers. The utility of modular packing is something I am learning to fully appreciate.

SW-Motech Drybag Review Photo Gallery