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Old 06-22-2013, 03:25 AM   #1
BrzGSAdv's Avatar
Joined: Aug 2012
Location: Sao Paulo, Brazil
Oddometer: 50
What luggage to take for a 10-day solo ride

Context: Team, I am noob going for my 1st long-dream-ride. . It is going to be a 10-day trip over the Estrada Real (nice video, nice music, a bit long though ... I am going to ride solo.

The bike and available luggage system: I own a GS1200ADV and have the whole 3 BMW aluminum cases plus the tank bank bag. My setup looks like this:

The issue:

#1 - Do I need/should to take the tank bag?

This is (if you seen the video! ) a 2000km ride, 2/3rds on compact dirt roads, so it is offroad but not basic level. The trip is a LOT about nature and hill sights from the road, so a lot of quick stop overs for quick photo shooting is a part of the fun.

For that sake, tang bag could come handy as I plan to have a digital SLR with me for nice outdoor pictures. Have to say I rode with that before and it is a bit bulky (plus gets heavy with lots of must-be-handy gadgets I love, as it happens whenever you have room, you top it up with stuff!). Is this something I want to bring along? Pros and cons, please!

Alternative: Thinking of bringing an Ogio No-drag backpack I own from my street riding days (, as I can see you saying NO WAY you are carrying that on your back for 4-6 hours a day while riding, calm down, what I'd do would be have the pillion seat removed and tie it there with a few straps.

#2 - Ideas on taking or not the top case?
I have read other posts saying that (as the tankbag) they end up becoming heavy as we stuff'em up, but location is terrible, far back on the back, and high, not great for CG. Thinking of getting rid and using some waterproof duffel on the same location and/or strapped along with my backpack.

All input greatly appreciated!!!
__________________, work, work + kid + 2011 BMW GS1200Adv.
...wifey + 2007 Ducati Monster 696
...job + 2001 Yamaha XT600
1978 Yamaha TT125
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Old 06-22-2013, 06:59 AM   #2
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Joined: Nov 2004
Location: Anaheim, CA
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It's a solo ride: pack as light as you can. I did 19 days in Alaska (granted, not camping) on two saddlebags (TT Zega Specials, small version, total of 65L space). No tank bag.

I've come to loathe tank bags. They just get in the way too often. Small P&S camera in a pocket and I'm good. I fill up too many times (petrol) on rides and just don't get any real value in tankbags anymore. I do like tank panniers though.

Unless, you're camping the real answer is to pack as light and small as possible.
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Old 06-22-2013, 07:13 AM   #3
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take the tank bag.. where else are you going to keep your wallet, phone, camera etc. Dont want to carry them on your body while riding IMHO. Leave the top box, I have the same set up and never use the top box, too high up and unwieldy. If you need more space than the two panniers, and you probably will if camping, use a waterproof duffel bag strapped to the pillon seat or where the top box would go. IMHO YMMV
We are enmeshed in the cancerous discipline of "security." And in the worship of security we fling our lives beneath the wheels of routine - and before we know it our lives are gone.
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Old 06-22-2013, 07:29 AM   #4
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My most used box is the top box.
Solo ride, you can wear dirty clothes. I pack half of what I think I need and still always overpack.
I don't like tank bags, so I rigged up a KLR handlebar bag to my GSA. It's a lot cheaper than any BMW/TT bag.
It holds my phone, wallet, earbuds, phone charger, compact camera, chapstick and a 750ml bottle of water.
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Old 06-22-2013, 08:11 PM   #5
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Location: Sao Paulo, Brazil
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Thanks all!!!

Ok... no consensus (as expected) but a lot of good ideas... I will pre-rig the bike tomorrow a week in advance then think it over the week... but for now I guess tank bag is staying and IF possible top case.. I will travel as light as possible... not camping... so I don't need much...
__________________, work, work + kid + 2011 BMW GS1200Adv.
...wifey + 2007 Ducati Monster 696
...job + 2001 Yamaha XT600
1978 Yamaha TT125
Ride on!!!
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Old 06-22-2013, 09:56 PM   #6
Dano 407
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I like my tank bag.....

And I don't have a top case. I strap a small soft ice chest in there.

You CAN do this without a lot of really nice shit.
Just a Battery for Hire with the Guitar Fire.....
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Old 06-23-2013, 07:52 AM   #7
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3 day camping.

3 day weekend moteling

5 days moteling.

21 days camping.
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Old 06-23-2013, 07:54 AM   #8
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Nice!!! Pretty visual answer... speaks for itself!!!

Originally Posted by achtung3 View Post
3 day camping.

3 day weekend moteling

5 days moteling.

21 days camping.
__________________, work, work + kid + 2011 BMW GS1200Adv.
...wifey + 2007 Ducati Monster 696
...job + 2001 Yamaha XT600
1978 Yamaha TT125
Ride on!!!
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Old 06-30-2013, 03:23 PM   #9
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I'm done with tank bag; no more. Too annoying, too easy to get stolen, always have to carry with you if you put anything valuable when going away from bike (restaurant, restroom, pay inside only pumps), unlike hardcases.

And assuming you wear protection (pants an jacket), you should have plenty of pockets if you get the right touring gear (I have Revit Sand). But not for a SLR...

If you can, forget the camera: get a 12MP+ waterproof smartphone and keep in on you, that solved my problem right there for beautiful on the road pictures (outdoor day pictures don't need much lense diameter, slr is overkill) and next hotel internet reservation (always get a wifi hotel for doing the same on next day of course).
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Old 07-01-2013, 04:54 AM   #10
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Location: Halifax, NS
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Personally I typically always take my top box, but leave it basically empty. Solo I use the back seat to strap on my "accommodations" (for camping).

Why empty? Because it becomes a great place to put my helmet and anything else while stopped, or overnight camping. Also allows a place to quickly put stuff temporarily till I get settled for the night and packed properly, like lunch, beer, firewood, etc. Mine locks and everything in it is out of sight, out of mind, so gives me a "little" more peace when walking away from my bike.

If your leaving behind the tank bag, consider tank panniers. These are infinitely handy storage space, provide some knee protection in bad weather, keep weight low and add some weight to front (as typically we overload the rear). My Wolfman ones have served me over several motorcycles and I still love them (not waterproof though).
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Old 07-01-2013, 05:53 AM   #11
Joined: Mar 2009
Location: Edge of the light
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Same bike and set-up

I use the tank bag and the top box. It is a bit annoying in a really stiff crosswind at Interstate speeds but worth it for the capacity if you're carrying camping gear. If you're using hotels pack light with minimal gear, use the hotel laundry or bath tub. The tank bag is one item I use all the time. If you're going in to eat or visit the head the GPS and other valuables are easily stored and transported. My helmet goes in the top box.
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Old 07-01-2013, 07:23 AM   #12
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Those roads look pretty well packed, so I think full luggage would be fine. That said, the lighter the bike the better.

I would ditch the top box/pillion seat and replace it with a waterproof backpack (I use a low profile 30L). It's very nice to have a backpack to carry stuff around with you when you stop or if you have to leave the bike and hike. It's low profile enough (8 inches) that it doesn't get in the way (like a big duffel or even the giant loop) when I shift my weight back while standing up. I keep my tent and sleeping equipment in there (the bag weighs about 10lbs loaded), just because I like to set up camp before I start opening up cases.

Forget that huge tankbag. Like others say, they just get in the way when riding off-road and what do you need at your fingertips that you can't throw in your jacket pocket or the pocket of the waterproof backpack you just strapped on behind you? I've got a small and large TT tankbag (came with bike I bought) and the only time I use them is when I'm touring on pavement which is rare.
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Old 07-01-2013, 06:59 PM   #13
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Originally Posted by BrzGSAdv View Post

#1 - Do I need/should to take the tank bag?
All input greatly appreciated!!!
Do you ride standing? If you do, get the smallest tank bag you can find and mount it as far forward as you can. You need a small footprint, the bag could be tall. There are number of options to attach it secure.
Tank bags shown in the other posts are good only if you are seating all the time. No need to get into details how I know. Lets just say, you'll put tender parts and weight on the tank when off-roading. Anything between you and the tank will hurt or make you go down.
For me a tank bag is essential, particularly for long adventure riding. No need to be big, just enough for things you can access without dismounting.
Horn activation when turning the bars is resolved with a little piece of flat steel mounted in front of it. DIY or bought, they are cheep.
Anything in your pockets will hurt you if you go down. In off-road riding it's pretty much guaranteed or you are not doing it "right".
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Old 07-02-2013, 08:36 AM   #14
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A small tankbag off road suits me fine (but I'm more of a gravel / dual track rider than a Darien Gap explorer, so take that into consideration).

Soft luggage, so when I drop the bike on my leg, compound fractures do not ensue ;-}

Top box . . . . I don't like em -- them make mounting/dismounting to much of a trial for me (but my flexibility isn't what it might me), and I prefer keeping the wieght as low as possible.
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Old 07-03-2013, 01:57 AM   #15
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Joined: Aug 2012
Location: Sao Paulo, Brazil
Oddometer: 50
On the road: with TB, no TP

First and foremost, thank you all for the great advice... good deal of lessons learned and tips absorbed.

I hit the road yesterday and here is how I settled it: I brought the tank bag for on-road sections and where I need to follow a map (as I am not 100% sure GPS will have all the roads I need in it) and removed the top case.

I am using hard BMW adv side boxes with liners.

Day 1 which was mostly pavement did OK with tank bag on most of time till I got mad at it for limiting my movements and tied it to pillion on top of a softbag I used to replace the top case (actually this is the top case's liner).

Day 2 I am planning on storing the tank bag inside a side case, getting the liner and having both liners (BMW whaterproofs) tied up pillion, rear next to each other (instead of on top of each other) to avoid blocking me while riding standing. Let's see how that works!!!

I will try to have just lighter stuff on those top-bags to avoid displacing CoG too much to the top.

Tell you guys later.
__________________, work, work + kid + 2011 BMW GS1200Adv.
...wifey + 2007 Ducati Monster 696
...job + 2001 Yamaha XT600
1978 Yamaha TT125
Ride on!!!
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