Around-the-World Waterproof Luggage

Al Jesse's saddlebags are known for strength and durability.

Al Jesse no longer manufactures the adventure-style hard luggage that he created and continues to carry his name (seen here for Honda's Africa Twin). For years, Jesse farmed out the sheet-metal fabrication for his utilitarian side cases and top boxes to a company in Mesa, Arizona, while he handled final assembly. This past June, Jesse sold his business to the owner of that company, Sean Derivan.

“Al is looking forward to semi-retirement and traveling—he wants to do more riding—so he asked if I was interested in buying the company,” Derivan explained. “We have known each other for a long time, and I understand his philosophy. Our intent is to take his products a step further. We’re going to continue with the same durability and make some improvements as well.”

Jesse Luggage Systems Odyssey II
Narrow to fit in tight confines, deep to hold all but the kitchen sink: Black powdercoated Odyssey II side cases ($980, plus $300 for mounts) are available in 8- and 10-inch widths.Julia LaPalme

Materials remain identical, Derivan noted. The boxes continue to be made from 0.080-inch 5052 aluminum and the lids are 0.060—durable and easy to repair should you huck your BMW or Honda or Yamaha off a cliff. Basic shape and black, charcoal, or silver powdercoating are likewise unchanged. Derivan has targeted improving the latches and sealing of the lids. He would also like to add more accessories, like tie-down points.

Derivan, who learned to weld in the Army, has been studying the growing small-bore market. "Al and I worked together on a new more economical concept called the 'Baja Series,'" he said. "We're trying to bring the price down for do-it-yourselfers who want to handle final assembly and even get them powdercoated in the color of their choice. We are also moving forward with a slight redesign of the Odyssey II."