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Old 08-13-2012, 02:46 PM   #1
Aventeren OP
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Tank Bags: Which One, Packing Them, Pictures of Them, Advice

I find myself at the tail end of pulling together various bits of gear for my upcoming trip to Mexico and Belize (and I think I just convinced myself to check out Guatemala, too). The one hold out is a tank bag. As this will be my first extended trip, I am curious as to whether a larger one or smaller one is better--and just want to pack in this damn thing. (No, not )

So I figured that I would reach out to those in the know to help settle the matter: The ADV Rider Community.

Please provide your tank bag:

1. Advice (size, types, brands, etc)
2. Packing Tips (just what the hell goes in a damn tank bag)
3. Photos (of course)

I have a ragged ole tank bag on my '02 1150 GSA that currently contains a sun melted Clif Bar and a bunch of TP sealed up in a Ziploc--but surely these things are more useful than Clif Bars and TP.

Hopefully this will be an opportunity to shine a little light on one of the most under represented pieces of ADV trip planning gear.

Thanks
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Old 08-14-2012, 04:13 AM   #2
dddd
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-dont bring a tank bag unless you absolutely need the extra luggage space it provides. Otherwise its just in the way while riding and especially fueling.

-otherwise pick one small enough to avoid interference with handlebar. avoid the horn button being pressed for example while you make steep turn...

-tank bag typically holds camera, sunglasses, paper maps, notepad and pen, little box for loose things (like medications), flashlight, and other light on-the-road commodity stuff so you dont have to dig in the other luggage (water bottle, lighter, pocket knife to open the damn sealed sandwich bag...! lol)

-waterproof as much as possible, but nothing beats the rain cover that usually comes with it, even if it is annoying to put and remove.
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Old 08-14-2012, 04:31 AM   #3
Grinnin
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I use a tank bag any time I need a map. My bags are waterproof so I don't even have a cover.

The largest thing inside is my hydration bladder.
Next largest is gloves for changing weather.
Next are the wet visor cloths in zip-locks marked "clean" and "dirty".
There's usually a flashlight in there.
There are also pens and earplugs.
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Old 08-14-2012, 04:57 AM   #4
Unstable Rider
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Much as I was fond of having a tank bag, I would not get another unless it was the kind that mostly hovered ABOVE my tank from one of those spendy horse shoe mount rings that affixes to one's flush mount gas cap rings. But they don't make em for the infamoose 2nd gen. KLR....

That being said, the ones that affix by big magnets are certainly stable, and don't even need the straps n buckles, but they sand and scrape up your tank to the bone. Tank bag + black gas tank = paying to get your tank repainted & clearcoated any other colour....

Plus, in the territory you describe, if you get off your bike and walk away to get a taco, or to admire a waterfall, you will come back and find all your stuff gone...... unless it's "rigid" hard sided, and locks. And it does suck to fuel with a tank bag in place.

For the hundred bucks it would have cost you, pick up a SPARE camera, as your primary is about to get stolen anyway.

A four dollar $ Agri Supply tool tube holds maps and other items. Much cheaper.
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Old 08-14-2012, 06:34 AM   #5
Jamie Z
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I'm on the smaller-is-better team. I use my tank bag just to carry a few small essentials.

My camera, phone, wallet, passport, and small flashlight are basically the only things in there. My earplugs, some spare change for tolls or other uses, a couple of pens and pencils, a small notebook, and various other little stuff ends up in there too.

I use a Cortech Super Mini...



When I leave the bike, there are two things I might do. Since it's magnetic (on my bike) I can just pull it off and carry it with me as a man-purse. Or, if I don't want to carry it, I try to leave room in my topcase so it'll fit and I can lock it up. Frankly, I wish I could find a smaller bag.

I seem to be in the minority. Almost everyone else I have ever met on a long ride has a suitcase up there. Like my buddy Brian:



For the life of me, I can't imagine what he puts in there. I like to keep things simple and compact.

Jamie
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Old 08-14-2012, 06:40 AM   #6
Jamie Z
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Unstable Rider View Post
That being said, the ones that affix by big magnets are certainly stable, and don't even need the straps n buckles, but they sand and scrape up your tank to the bone. Tank bag + black gas tank = paying to get your tank repainted & clearcoated any other colour....

Plus, in the territory you describe, if you get off your bike and walk away to get a taco, or to admire a waterfall, you will come back and find all your stuff gone...... unless it's "rigid" hard sided, and locks. And it does suck to fuel with a tank bag in place.
My experience is pretty much the opposite of our fancy-fonted friend. Sort of. My magnetic bag hasn't seemed to damage my paint to any noticeable degree, and I use it pretty much 100% of the time. I bet if I look there are some swirls or scratches, but if there are, I'm not worried about it.

I used my tankbag for a several-month trip in Mexico and Central America and got rather lazy about leaving it on the bike. Not that I condone leaving your tankbag on your bike anywhere, but Mexico is not the den of thieves Unstable seems to think it is. No more than any other place. I never had my stuff stolen.

An fueling up isn't an issue at all.

Jamie
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Old 08-14-2012, 06:52 AM   #7
Twinz
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I'm in the bigger-is-better tankbag camp. I use a RKA 26 liter expandable Sonoman tankbag and find it indispensable on trips: http://rka-luggage.com/A02%20Tankbag...d%20Sheet.html

It stores all the things I need quickly and provides lots of space for those impulse purchases (a 6 pack of beer fits in the expandable section!). Keep a little unused space in your tankbag to be ready for anything. You won't have to find space in your crammed panniers either. Mine uses 3 straps with Fastex clips for easy gas-ups. I wouldn't leave home without it!
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Old 08-14-2012, 07:13 AM   #8
willys
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I had a medium sized one that unzipped into a large one that served me well for 5 years....sadly the zipper died and I chucked it in a fit of rage...yes known to do such stupid things.....now I too have the hunt for a replacement......I have a small one....good for carrying a pack of smokes if you smoke or a flask if you dring or your wallet if you have one......not much use otherwise on a long trip.....plus it was expensive!!! A waste of money really! Great for a sportbike I suppose but useless on a KLR or other long distance adventure bike........where you can afford the space to use a medium or large bag. I would strongly suggest getting one that collapses or expands whichever way you look at it over one that is just a bag without that option....it is nice to be able to choose and worth the extra $$ to be able to do so. Also get one that ties to the bike compared to just magnets...it's a bit harder to just snatch and grab. But still easy to steal whatever you have inside if they really want .....there are steel nets to protect your stuff if that is a concern too....expensive but if the stuff is expensive in your tankbag worth it...to.
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Old 08-14-2012, 09:23 AM   #9
froggy68
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Tank Bag

I use the Wolfman Enduro Tank Bag. Not to big, not to small, just right for my needs. A quality tank bag. Holds bilfold, two p&s cameras, cellphone, snacks, Petzel headlight with a little room to spare for whatever fits. Also has zippered side pockets and map pocket on top. A non-issue when filling my gas tank.
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Old 08-14-2012, 09:51 AM   #10
DirtDancer
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small Adrian

I use the small adrian and it is excellent. I discarded the plastic map holder at 100. magnets hold bag solid, and no scratching after 8 years. multiple pockets, sturdy zippers. waterproof. can carry around by handle. still made 8-2012. cost 69.00 in it year round- earplugs, aspirin, snack, cloth, pen, paper, zip ties,night riding lenses, sunscreen, monocular, small multi-tool, camera. on trips I add various stuff, esp maps and contact info. but I never fill more than 1/2 full. go to there website for pics, my only pics are of it on my harley and i wouldn't want that known!
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Old 08-14-2012, 05:04 PM   #11
TwoShots
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dddd View Post
-dont bring a tank bag unless you absolutely need the extra luggage space it provides. Otherwise its just in the way while riding and especially fueling.
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Old 08-14-2012, 05:14 PM   #12
uraberg
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I've got a cortech mini as well. I've been riding with it for years, and contrary to other folks, it does not bother me at all when fueling.
It holds all the stuff that I normally have in my pockets, but I feel is cumbersome when I wear all my gear. (wallet, phone, cigs, couple of lighters, some first aid stuff, ear plugs etc.)

I'll never ride without one anymore.
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Old 08-16-2012, 06:44 PM   #13
Moving Pictures
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I'm quite partial to a large Cortech, expandable, tankbag for touring. When The Lady and I are two-up, storage is a challenge: the big bag really comes in handy. And like someone else said, I just hae to pick 'er up to turn it into a man-purse... although the one I have transforms into a backpack(!) which makes it much better, esp for things like walks/hikes away from the bike.
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Old 08-20-2012, 09:02 AM   #14
wbbnm
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I just started using one about a year ago. I bought a Built cheapie at Cycle Gear. I would definitely not recommend getting one of these. It is very cheaply made. All of the straps broke as I was trying to install it.

I have managed to make it work by putting add-on straps.

I decided to try it for a while to see if I like it before getting a better one. It took a while to get used to, but now I don't even notice it's there. It fits around the gas tank lid nicely on my KLR, so it is no problem putting gas in.

One big reason I got one was for the clear window for having a map. That works well.

I swore when I bought it that I would not use it to justify carrying more stuff on rides and have stuck to it.

The main thing I use it for is putting my layered clothing and gloves in as it warms during the day. I used to try to stuff these into my already full tail bag. I now keep my rainsuit there, so it is easier to get to in case of a quick downpour.

It is handy for carrying a couple of cans of beer and snacks to the motel.
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Old 10-10-2012, 01:44 AM   #15
UFObuster
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Smaller = better

I use the Wunderlich bag -- small size. Can't remember if the model has a name. In my experience, when
any luggage gets larger, it becomes more difficult to find things. Small bags are handy for the essentials as
others have already mentioned. Gloves, pocket knife, camera, phone, wallet, note pad, pens, a small towel or
bandanna. And of course, folded paper maps.

If you carry more on the tank, it just adds to the top heavy feel of the bike. Also, when you dismount, a small bag
is easier to just carry around like a day-pack, especially if you equip it with a clip on strap or two.

I like the front/back velcro plus snap buckles...easy on or off. It's stable and easily adjusted front to back to make
for a comfortable fit.

As mentioned, smaller usually does not interfere with the bars or accidentally set off horn or signals.
In reality, I only use it for long road trips when my panniers are starting to get full. Otherwise, I pack the same
small periphenalia in a simple canvas tote and drop it in a pannier.
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