The hardest part of pretty much anything is the planning. Ironing out details, mapping routes, and packing bags are just some of the plans involved in ADV riding, and, we get it – it’s not for everyone. Just because you don’t like planning, though, doesn’t mean you won’t ever get into an accident or a situation where you need, or even just want, certain things on your ride. The same applies even if you do like to plan. With ADV riding, though, you’re in luck. A little effort and planning at the beginning can help you curate the perfect riding setup for most rides you go on. One of those setups you can dial-in for nearly every ride is your adventure motorcycle tank bag. When done right, a tank bag can have the necessities and niceties in one convenient, accessible place. 

Tusk ADV Tank Bag

 In this article, we’re going over everything you need to know about tank bags, from choosing your bag to packing it. By the end, you’ll understand why we never go on ADV ride without ours.  

Choosing Your Tank Bag 

It should go without saying that the first and most important step in this process in choosing your tank bag. There are three aspects to take into consideration: mounting, functionality, and conveniences.  

1. Mounting 

ADV tank bags will have one of three mounting systems: magnets, tank rings, or straps. Most will have tank rings or straps. The former comes with machine-specific rings and adapters to keep the bag securely fastened to your tank. The latter offers a more universal fit as the straps and often quick-release buckles work on most models of bikes.  

That being said, there are pros and cons to each system. While one benefit of straps is their versatility and ability to be easily moved from bike to bike, one benefit of tank rings is that, as they’re machine specific, they can make accessing the fuel tank easier. We find ourselves running straps more (we even made our in-house bag with them) for their ease of use, but most options on the market – regardless of their mounting setup – will be a great fit on any bike.  

Riding with ADV Tank Bags

2. Functionality 

The second aspect of ADV tank bags is their functionality. Mounting capabilities and accessing the fuel tank plays into this, but so does water- and weather-proofing. When looking for a tank bag, it is important to make sure it’s made of durable, high-quality materials that offer at least some protection from the elements. Extra features like reflective logos and strong handles are other great, functional additions to keep an eye out for.  

Another important factor to consider is zippers. Unlike your other pieces of luggage that get opened only one or two times a day, your tank bag will likely be opened multiple times throughout the day. This type of constant access can where down a zipper or zipper pull, so you want to keep an eye out for something that is as reliable as it is functional.  Look for bags that have two zippers, longer pulls, or even rubber caps on the end of the pulls for added durability.  

An Easily-Accessible Tank Bag

3. Conveniences 

Conveniences are the little, thoughtful additions that take a tank bag to the next level and make it a must-have accessory for every ride. Things like elastic loops to hold gloves and sunglasses while parked, bungees on top to stow away different items, and clear pockets to store maps or phones while riding can make your adventure that much easier. Innovative features like those, and more, are included in a lot of the bags we stock on our website. Use the table below to navigate to some of our favorite and most popular options.  

Parts Available at Rocky Mountain ATV/MC
Shop Now: Tusk Olympus Tank Bag Shop Now: Wolfman Waterproof Enduro Tank Bag Shop Now: Giant Loop Buckin' Roll Tank Bag
Tusk Olympus Tank BagWolfman Waterproof Enduro Tank BagGiant Loop Buckin’ Roll Tank Bag
Shop Now: Nelson Rigg Journey GPS Tank Bag Shop Now: Giant Loop Diablo Tank Bag Shop Now: Wolfman Waterproof Blackhawk Tank Bag
Nelson Rigg Journey GPS Tank BagGiant Loop Diablo Tank BagWolfman Waterproof Blackhawk Tank Bag
Shop Now: KTM Tank Bag Shop Now: Nelson Rigg Hurricane Dual Sport Enduro Tank Bag Black Shop Now: Nelson Rigg Trails End Adventure Tank Bag
KTM Tank BagNelson Rigg Hurricane Dual Sport Enduro Tank Bag BlackNelson Rigg Trails End Adventure Tank Bag

What to Keep in Your Tank Bag 

A little harder than picking what tank bag is picking what to put inside it. There are a lot of opinions and ideas out there about what to pack, so we did the research to compile a master list of everything that could be useful in a tank bag. These are some ideas that you’ve probably had, along with a few that you probably haven’t. You can’t fit all of these items in your bag, but you’re guaranteed to find the combination that works best for you and your ride.  

Must-Haves: 

Tank Bag Must Haves

Personal Care: 

Tools 

A Tool Roll

Accessories 

  • Sunglasses 
  • Night Riding Glasses 
  • Clear Lens (for night riding) 
  • Ball Cap 
  • Balaclava, Neck Buff, or Bandanna 
  • Extra Gloves 
  • Ear Plugs 
  • Rain Jacket or Umbrella (it’s less likely to rain if you pack these things, it’s a proven fact) 
  • Notebook/Journal – for refection, taking field notes 
  • Paper Map and Pen – devices can die or malfunction, you know 
Riding with Sunglasses

Snacks 

  • Trail Mix 
  • Jerky 
  • Granola Bars 
  • Gum 
  • Candy – sour candy, spicy candy, or mints can help you stay awake 
  • Water Bottle 
  • Empty Ziploc Bags – for trash 

Self Defense 

  • Pepper Spray 
  • Stun Gun 
  • Bear Spray 

Something to Consider 

Your phone, wallet, and keys are probably the first thing you thought about storing in your tank bag. And there’s nothing wrong with that – the tank bag is the most accessible area that is still somewhat secure. That said, a few veteran riders have been known to shift those key items from their bag to the pockets of their riding gear. Why? Well, in the case of an accident or crash, you’d have your essentials right there with you rather than in a bike that you could become separated from. So, it’s worth considering where you really want these essential items. Maybe you choose to keep your phone in your pocket and everything else in your tank bag. Or, you could keep just a few bills on your person rather than in your wallet. Either way, it’s just an extra thing to think about when it comes to packing your bag.  

Get Riding 

It may take some careful consideration at the start, but once you have your tank bag packed and fitted, it will be ready to go on just about any ride with you.  

Tell Us What You Think

What do you keep in your ADV tank bag? Is there anything we left off of this list? Let us know in the comments below!