Monday, April 11, 2011

Gear Review - Aerostich Dispatch Bag

For awhile, I've been wanting something that would carry an overnight's worth of gear when I go on a motorcycle adventure. (When I go longer than that, the saddlebags come out, but they're overkill if I'm just making an overnight run a couple hundred miles away, and staying in a motel instead of camping.)

After considerable noodlin' of the situation, I settled on the Aerostich Dispatch Bag.

Aerostich, out of Duluth, MN, makes some awesome motorcycle gear including the Roadcrafter zip-in suit, as used by SERIOUS touring motorcyclists. Their catalog is always chock-full of interesting gear; I've ordered some nice stuff from them over the years including some elkskin "roper gloves" that are fantastic. Their website is here.

I got the bag in the hi-viz yellow. It has a large reflective panel as well, making it about as visible as it can be, without disco strobe lights. The Dispatch is the smallest of 3 bags; the base is 12 inches across and the top 18 inches. (Volume is 1100 cubic inches; the bigger "Courier" holds 1700CI, and the biggest "Parcel" holds 2700CI - a regular back-mounted duffel bag! I was willing to sacrifice some hauling space in exchange for long-term comfort, since I'll be using different luggage when more volume is needed.

The Dispatch should carry my netbook computer, rain gear, some provisions and toiletries quite nicely.) I expect this will be a good option for (bi)cycling, as well - an alternative to a briefcase or backpack. I expect I'll continue using my fanny pack for my sack lunch and a couple small items, but the Aerostich bag would be nice when I need to haul some clothes or whatever.

It's expensive at $77 - but build quality is excellent (made in the USA, too!), and after comparing with some other brands, that was right in the ballpark for quality gear. Hopefully after a summer's worth of use, I can post some follow-up impressions.


RAC said...

Looks like a great bag....
However, I went through a similar progression for toting my "brief case", etc to and from my office on my bike. I landed on a Chrome Messenger Bag. Not only is it completely comfortable and totally waterproof, it is 100% BAD-ASS.
I have had mine for about 5 years and I LOVE it.

I think IMT is selling them now, too. But on the website you can order any color combo you want.

Bikeboy said...

When I was deliberating, RAC, I definitely took a look at the Chrome models. (The buckles are very unique!) I can certainly understand why you went with that brand! Also I took a look at the Timbuk2 line. They make so many models it's almost bewildering! (Or you can design-your-own and pick what colors you want, etc.)

I was partly sold by the simplicity of the Aerostich model. I didn't need all the little pockets for pens, cellphones, day planners, etc., that some of them have.

Clancy said...

I am looking for a good seat/saddle bag. It needs to hang off my Brooks loops and handle a light jacket, or a small tupperware for lunch. I have looked at a couple of cool ones but they seem to be pricey or not the right size.