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ADV ProductsNelson Rigg Sierra Dry Saddlebags – Budget Friendly & Waterproof

Nelson Rigg Sierra Dry Saddlebags – Budget Friendly & Waterproof

Rugged, waterproof soft panniers with an affordable price tag to match.

Published on 07.02.2019

Adventure riders are often exposed to all kinds of weather and harsh terrain, so our gear needs to be rugged and weatherproof. Nelson Rigg has been making motorcycle luggage since 1972, so they know a thing or two about building durable and versatile gear. They got into the adventure market a few years ago and now have a pretty complete line of luggage that they call Rigg Gear for those of us that like to get off the beaten path. A good set of waterproof saddlebags are an essential piece of kit for any adventure motorcycle, so we decided to try out the budget-friendly Nelson Rigg Sierra Dry Saddlebags to see if they were up to the test.

The Rigg Gear Sierra Dry Saddlebags are medium sized waterproof bags that hold 27.5 liters each. Made out of a heavy-duty, durable PVC Material with electronically welded seams, they feature a roll-top closure to keep water out. Two adjustable straps with Velcro go over your seat and provide a wide range of adjustment to accommodate a variety of bikes with pannier racks.

Nelson Rigg Sierra Dry Saddlebags
Rugged Velcro mounting straps help customize the fit of the bags for a wide variety of motorcycles.

Each bag attaches to pannier racks with four straps that go into quick-release metal buckles mounted to the bag. While they are designed to work with pannier racks, this customizable setup may still allow you to mount the bags on bikes without racks using the passenger footpeg mounts and subframe. A removable foam pad attaches to the back of each bag with Velcro to help prevent the bags from scratching your bike. Four straps with aluminum G-Hook buckles keep the bags closed, one on each end of the roll top closure and two that go over the top.


Plastic stiffeners are included which mount inside the bags and help them maintain their shape when empty. To make loading and unloading the bags easier, each bag has its own removable liner with carrying handles. D-Rings and long straps allow you to attach extra luggage to the top of the saddle bags as well.

How They Performed

Installation of the Sierra Dry Saddlebags was pretty straight forward once you lay everything out and determine where all the straps will go. The internal plastic stiffeners did prove to be a bit of a challenge to get them to fit into their mounting pockets, but eventually fit quite well and really do help keep the shape of the bags looking nice when they are empty. Overall, the install is fairly easy and the materials and craftsmanship all seem to be of high quality.

Nelson Rigg Sierra Dry Saddlebags
The Sierra Dry Saddlebags make a great combo with the Nelson Rigg Sahara Dry Duffle for a combined 95 liters of storage.

Waterproof saddlebags are a great way to carry all of your gear and they help keep the center of gravity lower which can really affect the handling of tall motorcycles. While a lot of luggage products claim to be waterproof, the Sierra Dry Saddlebags certainly proved they are – not one drop of water has gotten inside the bags despite being subjected to intense weather.

In addition, the removable liner bags make loading the saddlebags quite convenient and they slide into the saddlebags easily when stuffed with gear. Once you get to your destination, all you have to do is open the bags and pull out the liners by their carry handles and take your belongings to your tent or hotel room for the night.

Nelson Rigg Waterproof Saddlebags

Nelson Rigg Waterproof Saddlebags
Quick-Release G-Hook buckles allow you to open up the bags without completely unstrapping the tension straps.

Mounting was also secure on the bike and they don’t bounce around much on rough terrain. The aluminum buckles that are used on the closure keep the bags closed and allow you to get into the bags quickly. Although, adjusting the straps for different volumes takes a fair amount of effort due to stiff nylon webbing that doesn’t slide through the buckles smoothly. Another small nitpick of the design is with the elastic loops used to hold down any excess strap material after you tighten the bags. These loops are nice for tidying up any dangling straps but they are already beginning to stretch out.

Nelson Rigg Sierra Dry Saddlebags
The elastic loops are convenient for holding excess strap material but we did notice they had a tendency to stretch out over time.

Who Are They For

The Sierra Dry Saddlebags are a good option for riders that need rugged and waterproof luggage that won’t break the bank. Soft luggage is a great option for those that want to keep the load light on the bike and the secure mounting straps ensure you can use them in rigorous terrain.

Our Verdict

The bottom line is that this is a great value for rugged waterproof luggage. These bags have held up well and haven’t let any water in so far. You can usually mount or remove these bags in just a few minutes with their quick release buckles and Velcro top straps, so converting your bike to travel mode is easy. The mounting options for these bags and the long mounting straps mean that you can simply move these bags to different bikes which is a great option if you have multiple motorcycles or change bikes often. If you are in the market for saddlebags, these are certainly worth considering.

Nelson Rigg Waterproof Motorcycle Saddlebags

What We Liked

  • Good value.
  • Proved to be 100% waterproof in wet conditions.
  • Solid construction with secure mounting.

What Could Be Improved

  • Stiff straps make it difficult to adjust tension on the buckles.
  • Elastic loops that hold extra straps tend to stretch out quickly.

Sierra Dry Saddlebags Specs

COLOR: Black or Black/Yellow
SIZE: 27.5 Liters each side
CONSTRUCTION:24oz. Tarpaulin PVC shell with 2 lightweight inner liners
DIMENSIONS: 15” (L) X 8” (W) X 14” (H)
PRICE: $185.18

Shopping Options

Rocky Mountain ATV/MC

Photos by Chad Berger

Author: Chad Berger

He’s a freelance journalist, photographer and tour guide from Wisconsin. Since 2004, Chad has been riding dual sport and adventure bikes all over the Midwest, the Black Hills of South Dakota, Moab, Baja, Alaska and many other places in between. He shares his experiences through the photography, videos and stories he produces from his trips. In 2008, Chad created a 600-mile dual sport route called the Trans Wisconsin Adventure Trail (TWAT), which eventually led to his becoming a tour guide for RIDE Adventures.

Author: Chad Berger

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