Field Tested :: Giant Loop Adventure Gear

Giant Loop has been creating innovative motorcycle luggage since 2008 when they hit the trail with their original horseshoe-shaped bag. Beginning with the Great Basin model, GL has used Rugged Bomb Shell vinyl-coated polyester with great success. The 8-liter Fandango tank bag and Pannier Pockets reviewed here are both constructed from it. As you’ll see, the Cactus Canteens are a breed of their own.

Fandango Tank Bag

Giant Loop designed the Fandango to stay out of the rider’s way, no matter the riding conditions. There are no side pockets to foul the handlebars, and the tank-mounted harness holds the bag securely in place. The Fandango fits my Ténéré 700 perfectly for sitting or standing, never interfering with control. Fueling is simple: unzip one side of the bag to reveal the gas cap and let the bag hang from the zipper. Then it’s fill up, zip up, and hit the road. There’s also a front strap for carrying the bag and a hidden paperwork pocket on the bottom. A waterproof pass-through for cables exits the front.

Interior Space

The Fandango opens via the twin pulls on its waterproof zipper. Inside is a movable, Velcro-held divider that allows tailoring the main compartment to a rider’s gear. Elastic pockets on the divider aid in organization. I prefer the open concept, keeping the divider close to the front while tossing in sunscreen, glasses, flashlight, face shield kit, and a few energy bars. A zippered pocket on the lid’s underside holds my charging cords and notebook. The top map/phone pocket also zips open but is too small for a standard folding map.

No Water Worries

Giant Loop’s RF-welded/sewn construction makes waterproofing tricky. To ensure the Fandango is “completely waterproof, mudproof, snow proof, and dust proof,” GL includes a fitted Tank Bag Dry Pod that opens wide with a waterproof zipper and side-release buckle. It passed my 5-minute hose test with ease. Though the Fandango stayed dry in my test, I’ll be packing the pod for wet weather just in case. It also allows easier access to my stuff than a soggy tank bag rain cover–and it won’t blow off.

GL to the Rescue

In the past I’ve carried too much stuff in too large of a tank bag, hindering the bike’s handling and my comfort. In contrast, the Fandango is right-sized for my basic at-hand kit and stays out of the way. For something smaller, Giant Loop’s 6-liter Diablo ($289) has the Fandango’s features and construction but is 1.5 inches shorter. Both bags are available in gray or black.

Pannier Pockets

Carrying tools in a tank bag keeps them handy but adds weight where it’s not welcome. Giant Loop’s better idea is their Pannier Pockets, which move the load lower and forward. Each 2-liter Pocket is perfect for tools, rags, first aid kit—anything you want close at hand but out of the way. Their forward-facing, full-length YKK zippers are covered for weather protection but failed the spray test, so I keep plastic bags on hand for foul weather.

Hang ‘Em Low

A Fandango or Diablo tank bag harness provides a home for the Pockets’ upper straps, with lower straps attaching to the bike’s frame or crash bars. It took some experimenting to find the best setup on my Ténéré, but I’m pleased with the result. No tank bag? No problem, Giant Loop includes a strap for a bare-bones installation. Pannier Pockets also play nice with GL’s Buckin’ Roll Tank bag.

Cactus Canteen

Of the many ways to carry water on a motorcycle some are better suited to the rigors of adventure than others. Giant Loop’s Cactus Canteen may be the most rugged and utile system yet. Essentially an armor-clad water bag, the Canteen’s exterior is 840D nylon laminated to TPU. Inside is a food-grade TPU film bladder. They currently come in 1- and 2-gallon sizes, which weigh 10 and 12.5 ounces, respectively; new 3- and 5-gallon models are available for pre-order. Flat or rolled, Cactus Canteens take up little space when empty and are strong enough to literally throw into the back of your truck. I did that with both full Canteens, then dropped them from chest height with no failures.



Easy In, Easy Out

Cactus Canteens fill via wide screw-top openings that accept standard filter attachments. Tucked into the bottom zippered pocket is a water dispensing hose with a removable-for-cleaning pull/push valve (hot tip: release the hose before hanging the bag). Webbing handles on the top and side assist in handling and hanging the Canteens, while two rows of reflective daisy-chain make for secure strapping to the bike. Strong, light, and capable, the Cactus Canteens are an adventurer’s dream for carrying water without worry.

Fandango Tank Bag | $299

Pannier Pockets | $199

Cactus Canteen | $99, $119

Read more: Giant Loop Armadillo Bag, Giant Loop Great Basin

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Arden’s first motorcycle was a Yamaha Enduro, obtained while in high school. It set the stage for decades of off-pavement exploration on dual-sports and adventure bikes. Camping in the middle of nowhere became his favorite pursuit. As a former whitewater river guide and National Park Service seasonal employee, Arden believes in wilderness, wildlife, and being kind to the earth. A self-taught writer who barely passed English classes, he has contributed adventure stories and tested motorcycles and accessories for Rider Magazine and other outlets for nearly 30 years. In that time, he’s worn out two KLR 650s and is currently following the road to the middle of nowhere on his Ténéré 700 and an aging but reliable DR-Z 400S.