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Adventure Photographer: The Tank-Mounted Camera Bag

As a motorcyclist and photographer, I’ve often struggled with how to best carry my camera on the bike. For years I just plopped my DSLR into a tank bag but the constant vibrations resulted in the early demise of one lens and eventually a nice camera body. The most protective approach has been a tail-mounted case, but I can’t begin to account for all of the shots I’ve missed with my camera so far out of reach.

With a big trip to South America on the horizon, I decided to readdress my camera hauling needs, specifically with a quick-grab tank mounted setup. Having tested a dozen different tank bags in the last few years I knew exactly which one I needed to anchor the project––the Giant Loop Kiger.

I chose the Kiger for several reasons, the most compelling is the high quality of materials and impeccable construction. Not the only tank bag on the market with quick-release disconnects, the Kiger’s large gauge dual zippers don’t clog with dust and provide an easy on/off, even with gloved hands. I also like how Giant Loop’s largest bag eschews zippered closures for a simple two-buckle system. I hate fussing with zippers when I want to access my items. With the release to two buckles I can have the Kiger flopped open in seconds. Another key element to the Kiger’s camera toting abilities are the vertical sidewalls, but I’ll get to that in a minute.

Knowing the Kiger was the ideal shell for my motorcycle-based camera system, I needed to build out the interior to achieve two key goals. I had to deaden vibrations and keep my camera secured but easy to grab. After several attempts to modify padded inserts pirated from other bag systems, I finally settled on custom dividers provided by the organizing gurus at TrekPak.

After a quick round of measurements I was ready to place an order on the TrekPak website. Once my uncut TrekPak panels and pins had arrived, all it took to complete my camera kit was a few easy cuts and adjustments. In less than the time it took to drink my project beer, my brand new tank-mounted camera bag was complete.

With my camera nestled into its new home, I made a call to an old friend now working as an engineer in the aerospace industry. A fellow motorcycle rider and general smarty pants, he has extensive experience dealing with high frequency vibrations and his recommendation for insulating my camera from constant rattles was surprisingly simple. He recommended a small swatch of open-cell egg-crate foam.

The one remaining obstacle was devising a method of waterproofing the system. The Kiger normally employs an internal dry bag, but it was just too tight to allow me to build the TrekPak dividers within it. Following a similar approach, I decided to protect my camera with a dedicated silicone-nylon dry bag from Seal Line. It’s not exotic, but it will certainly keep the rain off my camera. I also used a small bead of Seam Grip on the major seams of the Kiger’s exterior to hopefully limit the ingress of water.

So far it’s proven an ideal setup. The thin TrekPak dividers didn’t reduce the internal volume by all that much and I can still squeeze a few extra items in the bag. The floating lid allows me the ability to stash a few soft items atop my camera in a pinch. Most importantly, I can stop, unclip the lid, and have my camera in hand within seconds. I’ve been so pleased with the Kiger/TrekPak combo, I made a second divider system to accommodate my DJI Mavic Pro drone with remote control. If you like to shoot and love to ride, this might be the camera tote you’ve been looking for. www.giantloopmoto.comwww.trekpak.com

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Christophe Noel is a journalist from Prescott, Arizona. Born into a family of backcountry enthusiasts, Christophe grew up backpacking the mountains and deserts of the American West. An avid cyclist and bikepacker, he also has a passion for motorcycles, travel, food and overlanding.