How secure is soft luggage?
Hi, I'm weighing up the pros and cons of metal boxes and soft bags for my bike. I want to go with soft bags because i get that metal boxes can do damage if i crash but im just worried about theft from soft bags. Its got to be easier to nick stuff right? Are there things I can do to protect my stuff if i do go that way?
Good question! It is easier to steal stuff from soft panniers over hard panniers. But, if someone really wants to get in, they'll take a chisel and hammer to your hard box and snap it open in no time. So the benefit is really in preventing the opportune thieves. To do that with soft bags you can either go for a slash proof bag like the Magadans or you can buy a Pacsafe mesh net https://www.madornomad.com/pacsafe-review/ or if that's too much of a faff, there's always a Pacsafe single cable, which you can use to wrap around your bag.
We left 3 years ago with a net and chucked it after the first few months. We went to the cable and then chucked that too. In three years we've never had a single thing go missing from our soft panniers (touch wood). Stuff is far more likely to get nicked in cities or big touristy areas which we try and avoid. Here's an article on how to keep your motorcycle gear safe while travelling https://www.madornomad.com/motorcycle-safety-while-travelling/ .
Also, we tend not to worry about kit in the soft side bags because we have a hard top box. We keep our electronics and important stuff in there, so if the clothes and flip flops get taken from the side panniers it's not the end of the world. You can read more about our set-up here: https://www.madornomad.com/hard-vs-soft-luggage-for-adventure-bikes/
So to sum up... Yeah, hard boxes can do more damage in a fall, so if you want soft panniers because of that then don't be put off by security. There are ways of protecting soft bags as mentioned above. But after travelling for a while we realised that they don't really need protecting because theft isn't as common as it's made out to be. If you still want some piece of mind (like we do), then you can always opt for a hard top box to keep your valuables safe and use soft side bags for everything else. Best of both worlds! Hope this helps.
I agree. Both can be broken into so you may as well choose the one that best suits your riding. Keeping your stuff safe is about where you park and keeping an eye on it just as much as the level of security. I use soft side bags and it's worked for me so far. Ta