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Tail Bag to Adventure: Always Loaded and Ready to Go

A few months ago I was on a short motorcycle trip to the Grand Canyon for a quick overnighter. While talking to a friend and fellow rider he asked, “Are you taking any camping gear?” Pointing to my Kriega US 20 tail bag, I replied, “It’s all in there.” The look of complete contempt on his face made me realize I was going to have to prove it to him, which I did. In packing everything away I have to admit, I was impressed it all fit.

Modern camping gear has become so compact, it’s now possible to have shelter, pad, bag and even a stove all tucked into a bag small enough to fit on a tank or tail section. I now keep that bag conveniently stashed next to the back door just in case adventure calls and I have slip away at a moment’s notice. So, what’s in this impossibly small kit?

The key component to this system is a Kriega US 20 dry bag. If you’ve never used Kriega gear, you’re really missing out. Waterproof and rugged, the Kriega US 20 can be used as a tail bag, or a tank bag with the clever tank adapter. Mounting the US 20 takes just a few seconds and is held secure by heavy straps and machined aluminum hardware.

The most important piece of gear in my adventure kit is a Nemo Equipment Obi 2p tent. I suppose it is technically a two-person tent, but I’d consider it an cavernous sleeper for one. I have used it backpacking with my wife and let’s just say it was cozy. The two vestibules allow for excellent gear storage and pitching the Obi 2p takes all of a few quick and easy minutes.

The sleeping pad I use is the Nemo Equipment Zor. This is a full length pad, foam-filled, and self inflating. It’s not the thickest pad, but being foam-filled, it is warmer than most. I could probably save a bit more space by using Nemo’s highly regarded Astro sleeping pad. Either would do the trick and fit nicely in the Kriega US 20.

Maximum sleep comfort is derived from the Nemo Equipment Siren 30 down quilt. Filled with 850 fill water-resistant down, the Siren is one part sleeping bag, and one part down blanket. For those who feel constrained in a traditional sleeping bag, the Siren has a generous cut, allows uncompromising freedom of movement, and is so light and etherial, it’s like sleeping in a cloud of warm air. I don’t fret the ounces when hauling gear on a motorcycle, but at under 2 pounds for the bag and pad, this is an incredibly light setup.

Mornings for me require ample priming with a good cup of coffee, and that’s facilitated by the MSR Reactor 1L stove system. It rallies far quicker than I do and can have water boiling in 90 seconds. Coffee consumed and camping gear tucked back into the Kriega US 20, I’m free to motor on. 

I do need to point out that I do carry additional items and not everything fits in the tail bag. The Obi 2p pole sections, too long to fit in the tail bag, are usually stored in my lightweight Kriega R20 backpack. That’s also where I usually keep a few snacks and other essentials, like a three liter hydration reservoir. It’s been a great little system. Always at the ready it has allowed me to slip away for fun adventures at the drop of a hat.





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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.