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ADV ProductsADV Bike AccessoriesNew Columbia Dry Bag Raising the Bar In Motorcycle Tail Bags

New Columbia Dry Bag Raising the Bar In Motorcycle Tail Bags

Giant Loop's newest 70-liter dry duffel bag gets bigger, better and smarter.

Published on 04.15.2015

The Columbia Dry Bag is Giant Loop’s latest offering in their side-loading dry duffel bag line-up. With a 70-liter capacity, the bag features new design innovations targeted at the adventure rider seeking a durable, truly waterproof, high capacity motorcycle tail bag.

Like the two other side-loading dry duffel bags from Giant Loop, the 17-liter Rogue and 28-liter Tillamook, the Columbia is made in the USA from RF-welded military-spec materials. The bag opens from both ends, allowing access to the inside without having to unstrap it from the motorcycle, giving it an advantage over traditional roll-top motorcycle tail bags.

Beyond simply being larger, The Columbia Dry Bag improves on the line with four integrated tie-down straps, two molded carrying handles, a removable shoulder strap and exterior mesh “wet pocket” for separating wet items from the rest of your gear. The Columbia also incorporates multiple heavy-duty plastic D-rings and lash points on the top of the bag for attaching additional gear securely.

Giant Loop Columbia Dry Bag 70-liter motorcycle tail bag
The Giant Loop Columbia Dry Bag offers 70 liters of waterproof capacity, a mesh wet gear pocket, carrying handles and a removable shoulder strap.


The Bag in Action

Loading the Columbia Dry Bag for the first time impressed us with how much gear it could actually hold. During our testing, the 70-liter bag allowed us to carry the following items:

motorcycle tail bags what 70 liters of gear
Here’s what 70 liters looks like. All of this gear fit inside the Columbia Dry Bag with room to spare. Extra capacity can be used for carrying mementos from your trips.
  • One, 3-person tent
  • Large inflatable bed roll
  • Sleeping bag
  • Compressible pillow
  • Entrenching tool
  • Camping axe
  • Camping stove and fuel bottle
  • Camp Mess Kit
  • Espresso Maker
  • 15-inch laptop & charger
  • Riding suit liners
  • Pair of Shoes
  • Tool roll
  • Four, 24-ounce cans of beer

Closing the bag is an easy operation. Giant Loop recommends that rolling end closures be folded over a minimum of three times to ensure the tail bag remains watertight. The rolled over ends allow you to adjust the size of the bag for more or less gear, and snapping buckles lock the closures in place.

Giant Loop Columbia Dry Bag used as a backpack

The Columbia Dry Bag can even be rigged up as a backpack if desired.

Many motorcycle tail bags don’t have handles or straps for carrying them off the bike. This makes it awkward moving your gear more than a short distance. The shoulder strap and handles on the Columbia Dry Bag represent a significant design improvement that makes taking gear to your hotel or campsite much more convenient. They also make the Columbia Dry Bag an airline-friendly carry-on bag, perfect for fly-n-ride trips.

Another design improvement on the Columbia Dry Bag is the addition of four integrated tie down straps. Located on either side, they allow you to quickly install or remove the bag from the motorcycle. The position of the anchor straps allows the bag to be mounted lengthwise across the back of the motorcycle or longitudinally over the top of the rear seat. While the four integrated straps do a great job of holding the bag in place, Giant Loop recommends that an additional strap be used around the center of the bag to provide extra security for aggressive off-road use.

Columbia dry bag mounted over seat

The bag fits perfectly longitudinally over the seat and luggage rack of a BMW R1200GS.

giant loop dry duffel mounted sideways

The bag mounted lengthwise across the back of the motorcycle fits well over the tops of panniers.

A unique feature of the Columbia Dry bag is the exterior mesh pocket with zippered enclosures on both ends. The idea being that wet gear can be separated from your dry items in the bag. In practice, putting anything thicker than a folded map into the mesh pocket, with the bag loaded and strapped to the motorcycle, requires significant force. A more flexible mesh material or an expandable exterior pocket would make the wet storage space even more useful.

Straps for columbia dry bag

Four integrated tie down straps are used to mount the bag and snapping buckles lock the roll closures into place.

Giant loop bag mesh pocket

The mesh dry pocket is a nice feature, but a tight fit when the bag is fully loaded.

A minor issue we had with the mounting straps occurred while riding a deep sand wash in the Mojave Desert. After taking a fall in a particularly tight section of the trail, we realized we didn’t have adequate space to pick up the big BMW R1200GS with a fully-loaded tail bag attached. Accessing the straps to loosen and remove the bag was difficult with the bike laying on its side. Quick-release snap buckles, instead of slip buckles, would have been nice to have in this situation.

To test the Columbia’s waterproofing, we put the bag through a real-world wet riding situation. For six long, cold hours we rode through conditions that ranged from spitting mist to a marble-sized raindrop downpour. While the “waterproof” riding gear we were wearing soaked through completely, the Giant Loop bag did its job and kept its contents perfectly dry.

The new Columbia Dry Bag performed with high marks in durability and waterproofing, as we’ve come to expect from Giant Loop. But it’s the new functionality and smart design that has upped the ante for motorcycle tail bags. The 70-liter capacity offers ample room to carry your gear and at $170 it’s a great value too. No doubt, the Columbia Dry Bag will be joining us on many more adventures to come.

Favorite Features:

  • Large capacity with ability to compress down unused space.
  • Easy to mount on the bike in multiple directions.
  • Easily access gear without loosening retaining straps.
  • Versatile enough to be used as luggage “off” the bike.
  • Highly durable and waterproof construction.
Minor Gripes:

  • Snap release mounting straps would offer more convenience.
  • Mesh dry pocket is a tight fit with fully-loaded bag on the bike.

Shopping Options:

Revzilla Rocky Mountain ATV/MC

Author: Jim Downs

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