Soft motorcycle luggage is awesome in so many ways: it weighs less, it’s easy to pack, it won’t squish your ankle if you happen to land unexpectedly, and it’s so versatile you can use some of the bags as a backpack or duffel bag.

However, with time, wear and use, your soft luggage can start cracking, straps may begin fraying, and zippers and buckles might begin to stick if you don’t take care of these things. So, to keep your bags going for years, here’s how to look after soft motorcycle luggage.

Saddle soap

Clean your bags. This one’s obvious, but so often, when we get back after a long day’s ride, we just leave it for the morning… and the next, and then the cleaning just keeps getting postponed.

Try and clean your bags after each long weekend ride, especially if you’ve been out on the trails. If you’re on the road long-term, once a month should be good enough.

A tip from an equestrian: even if your saddlebags aren’t made of leather, use a little bit of saddle soap and grease the fabric up a bit, especially in places where it’s suffering the most (where you put rok straps over, etc). Saddle soap will soften the bag making it more flexible and less prone to cracking and fraying.

Clean zippers

Sticking zippers are bad for your zen. Dirt, dust, road grime – all of this can make your zippers stick, so to make life easier, make sure you clean and lube the zippers on your bags every once in a while.

To lube them, you can use the same good old saddle soap – if it’s good for equestrian riding boot zippers, it should work wonders on your bag zippers, too.

Don’t overpack

If you constantly stuff your bags so they’re almost bursting, get bigger bags – or reduce the amount of things you carry. Constantly overstretching your bags will lead to faster wear, breaks, bursts, and fraying.

Pack less. Travel light!

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