Along the Highway 20 corridor in the North Cascades, snowmobiles provide valuable access to backcountry skiing and having a solid set-up to keep your gear dry and attached to your sled is paramount. Giant Loop from Bend, Oregon makes a great waterproof snowmobile bag that suits backcountry skiers well. A quality gear set-up prevents the miles-long yardsale of gear and helps mitigate some of the risks of remote skiing.
In addition to my ski touring gear, I like to keep enough equipment at the snowmobile to manage a more significant incident and spend the night out – that means hauling a sleeping bag, tent and stove on my sled plus keeping it secure and dry. I’ve used a variety of systems over the years and recently started using the 37 liter Giant Loop Torngat Tunnel bag (they make a smaller 24 liter version as well called the Revelstoke). Giant Loop is best known for expeditionary motorcycling accessories and has only recently moved into snowmobile products.
The Torngat is basically just a bomber dry bag paired with a simple and effective tunnel mounting system. The bag has a reinforced bottom where it comes into contact with the tunnel (framing) and is a fully welded waterproof dry bag. Having a dry bag is really nice because it means never having to remove it from my sled to dry the contents. There’s a small mesh pocket on the exterior and some sewn daisy chains if you need to haul additional gear or attach your backpack while riding. The Torngat easily swallows a down sleeping bag (compressed), a black diamond first light tent and my MSR Reactor stove, as well as a bit of food.
For a lot less money, you could certainly buy a similarly sized dry bag and strap it onto your sled. The advantage of the Giant Loop system is how it attaches to your tunnel. The included hardware works with a variety of different systems (including Polaris “track” and Ski-Doo “LinQ”) but, by drilling 4 holes in your tunnel, the attachment system will work with any sled with a tunnel large enough to fit the bag. All the attachment hardware is stainless including the metal clips that the bag straps pass through. Installation takes no more than 10 minutes. I’ve ridden with the bag off trail and at high speeds and it is rock solid. Although Giant Loop recommends attaching the Torngat perpendicular to the tunnel, I mounted it parallel to maintain enough room on either side for a pair of skis (mounting skis to your snowmobile is a whole other topic).
Backcountry skiers tend to be tinkerers, and if you look at the lineup of sleds parked at the “end of the road” in Mazama, you’ll see a plethora of ski mounting and gear storage systems. I’d rather go mountain biking in the fall than work on my sled, so the Giant Loop system is the slickest, cleanest and simplest plug and play system I’ve found for carrying gear on my snowmobile. – Joshua Cole, guide and o-owner at North Cascade Mountain Guides.