About time to update this thread. So I had started with just a bag snake kit from Green Chile Adventure Gear and that seemed to work out well for me, so I eventually upgraded to the full soft-rack with side-bag straps.
What I like about this system is that it's very versatile. I can strap almost anything onto the bike and it holds securely. It's also pretty easy to reconfigure the straps for different types of loads. It does work particularly well with dry bags, which are handy to have anyways.
Most recently, I switched from using a bag snake kit on the top of the rack to using their new Mondo UL kit, which has side-release buckles.
I'm not generally a fan of plastic hardware, but in this case they seem pretty solid and the convenience is welcome. As my car has been in the shop for the past month I've been riding the bike everywhere and these straps allow me to easily secure my laptop when commuting to/from work.
This past weekend I really loaded the bike down for a camping trip up in PA.
The system worked perfectly and kept all my gear solid and secure for the 4.5 hour trip. Nothing came loose or shifted around, even when I may have been traveling above the posted speed limit.
To manage the slack, I had picked up a bunch of Web Dominators.
These things are great. They slip onto 1" webbing straps and have a shock cord that snaps across and holds your excess straps in place. I was initially skeptical that they would hold, but they didn't budge even once. Quick, simple, and secure.
In the last picture, you can see the my machete strapped to the bike. I used ADV Sushi to secure that. It's basically like velcro cable ties on steroids. Just like the soft rack, they have lots loops that allow them to be threaded together or with other 1" straps to increase their versatility.
The issue I have with the whole system is that you have to half-way remove the rack to get the seat off. Normally that's not a problem, but this weekend I discovered that my battery is dying and I had to get the seat of to jump the bike. Luckily I was carrying a portable jump pack with me, which worked like a charm.
Amazon.com: Antigravity Batteries Micro-Start Jump Starter/Personal Power Supply XP-1 XP-1: Automotive
Not long (enough) after I jumped the bike and got on the road, I made the mistake of stopping and turning off the engine. Needless to say the bike again wouldn't start. I could have removed the seat to jump it again, but the rack system being a little tedious to remove I instead tried to push-start the bike in a parking lot. (This wasn't an option because I was at the camp site with nothing but grass and dirt roads.) My first attempt to push-start the bike failed, but luckily there was another biker who came over and gave me a hand. Most bikers I've met are awesome people.
After riding for a few hours the battery was charged enough to start the bike, but then after sitting for about a day I had to jump it again... twice actually. So I've jumped it now three times from the same battery pack without recharging the jumper and it still reads as fully-charged. Supposedly these Lithium batteries can jump a full-sized car over a dozen times before needing to be recharged. Very impressive.
One last piece of gear I'll review in this post is the hydration pack I used. I picked up a High Sierra 10L hydration pack on Woot for about $25. At that price, it would have been worth it just for the 2L hydration reservoir. As it turns out, it's pretty good bag as well. It fit well over top of my riding jacket and I was able to fit the hose up under my helmet when I got thirsty. The water in the tube would tend to get warm from baking in the sun, but the water still in the reservoir stayed refreshingly cool the whole ride. Worked out very well.