Tank And Roll Bags

If you want to expand your bike’s storage capacity, look no further than these soft luggage options. MIKE BEDDOWS puts tank and dry roll bags to the test.

There are few things in life better than a night or two away on the bike. Of course there’s something to be said for loading up the panniers and packing kit for every eventuality, but packing light and just setting off epitomises the freedom that two wheels affords us, and it’s a dream that a lot of us have.

To make a short multi-day trip a success, you’ll no doubt need to pack some gear. If you’re planning on using B&Bs or hotels, then you won’t have to bother with leashing camping gear to your machine, so you’ll be able to make do with small capacity soft luggage. In this issue of Adventure Bike Rider we’re reviewing two different types so that you can get a good idea of what’s available out there.

You don’t need much for a night or two away, just a change of clothes, footwear and some toiletries. Anything else is a luxury which you can likely do without. During the days you will be out on the bike in your normal biking gear, so you can afford to pack light and just enjoy the roads (or trails) with minimal weight added to the bike.

There are a few storage options available if you’re planning on packing light, the most obvious is a rucksack but we’ve discounted that straight away as it can get mighty uncomfortable carrying weight on your back all day. A water bladder is more than enough for me. The other options are tank bags, roll bags and tail packs. All three have their benefits, and really what you opt for, whether it’s one or the other or a combination of the three, is down to personal choice. In this issue we’re going to be looking at tank bags and dry roll bags.

Dry roll bags are the simplest solution of the lot. These are effectively bags that contain all your gear in a single, waterproof compartment. You then have tank bags which, as the name suggests, attach to the tank (or seat in front if you’re riding an enduro). These vary in size but most have the additional features of diff erent compartments and pouches to separate your luggage. Both have pros and cons and it’s up to you to select the ideal product for your needs.

I prefer roll bags, for the simple fact that most of my riding is on trails, and having all my gear secured in a safe and dry location is preferable. I’m not so keen on tank bags as the shape of my tank isn’t ideal for this type of luggage, but ABR Assistant Editor, Bryn, takes his almost everywhere, as they’re great for keeping things like credit cards close to hand if you’re riding on toll roads.

When it comes to choosing your soft luggage, a main consideration is security. Being soft and visible on your bike it is in a prime position for theft if you leave it on show and wander away for a while.

Therefore, it is best to take the luggage with you. With this in mind you need to be able to remove the luggage easily and have a comfortable method of carrying it (good bags will come with carry straps).

Another consideration is resistance to exposure and the elements. If it rains you want dry kit at the end of the day. Next, what size do you actually need, and what happens if you require additional space for those gifts you may be buying the other half to say thanks for letting you get away? You may need several compartments to separate your gear, or may just be happy with a single large space to stuff things into. All luggage is slightly different and you will need to decide what is right for you. Finally, how does it look on the bike? It may not be a fashion statement but it has to go with your bike’s image!

WHAT WE LIKE

WATERPROOFING:
It’s preferable not to have to deal with the faff of adding a waterproof cover.

SIZE/CAPACITY:
Has to be large enough to fit enough gear in for a night or two away.

FIXING:
Has to be easy to attach and detach from bike. Does it come with built in fixing solutions or do you have to rely on extra bought straps/bungee cords?

ACCESSIBILITY:
Has to be easily accessible, allowing you to find what you need quickly.

ORGANISATION:
Different compartments to organize your luggage is preferable.

CARRYING:
Some way of carrying the luggage when off the bike.

EXPANDABLE:
Always useful to have additional space if required

SCORING

ACCESSIBILITY:
You’ve packed your kit but how accessible is it? Can you get to something quickly, or do you have to empty the contents completely. A higher score means your gear is more accessible.

SHOWER TEST:
All the dry bags are 100% waterproof and do not need an additional waterproof cover, but the tank bags and tail packs are not waterproof by default, therefore how waterproof are they if subjected to a minute of intense soaking without their additional waterproof covers? The higher the score the better they withstand the elements. A minute was given under a power shower to simulate a downpour.

FIXING:
How easy is it to attach the item to the bike?

NIGHT AWAY:
Can I easily fit in the following for a night away? Jeans, t-shirt, fleece top, socks, boxers, small towel, toiletries, small sleeping bag (luxury), trainers.

VALUE FOR MONEY:
Is it worth the dosh?

AS WE HAVE REVIEWED BOTH TYPES OF LUGGAGE (TANK BAGS AND ROLL BAGS) IT’S ONLY FAIR TO RECOMMEND ONE OF EACH.

DRY ROLL BAG
The Kappa has to take the title in this category. It’s a fantastic, durable bag that is 100% waterproof. It’s easy to attach to the bike using the supplied bungies and the loops on either side are fantastic to use. A close second is the Givi dry bag, and the only reason the Kappa claims top spot is that its slightly cheaper and a fantastic price at sub-£40. There really isn’t much between these two brilliant products.

TANK BAG
I’m a big fan of Oxford Products and the Oxford Adventure is the best tank bag on test. It looks great and has a decent 20L worth of capacity. The fixing harness is good and really easy to use, and means the bag can be removed and carried easily. I especially like the way the tank bag converts easily into a rucksack. A really neat idea for carrying when off the bike. And it actually looks good as a rucksack.

RICHA H20 CYLINDER BAG
£39.99
www.nevis.uk.com

Along with the Spada 40L dry bag and the Kappa Dry Bag, the Richa H20 Cylinder Bag is the cheapest product in this test. Essentially it’s a simple, 30-litre roll bag that’s fully waterproof and made to withstand the harsh environment of the rear of a bike. It’s available in two colours, these being a white and black with reflective details, and hi-vis yellow and black. As standard, the Richa comes with two straps that can be used to convert it into a rucksack, and that’s the extent of the extras.

These are a nice inclusion, though they offer no padding, so bear that in mind if you’re planning on carrying it for long periods of time. If you want to strap the bag to your bike you’re going to have to use your own straps or bungee cords, using the four fixing points on the bag to anchor it to the bike.

For ease of carrying, as well as the shoulder straps, you get a nicely placed grab handle near the top. A nice touch is the inclusion of cordage on the outer which is great for leashing waterproofs to so that they’re easy to access.

The hi-vis yellow is the one to go for if you want to increase your road presence to drivers behind you. The white and black model features two small reflective patches, which are of minimal use, especially when you consider that only one is going to be visible to those behind you as the other will be facing the rider.

All in all, the Richa H20 Cylinder Bag is a good product. It’s dead simple and no thrills, but sometimes that’s exactly what you want in a roll bag. At £39.99 it represents good value for money, and with it being the size it is, it also doubles up as a dry bag that you can stash inside your panniers.

NIGHT AWAY If you pack light, you’ll be fine.
IN A LINE Dead simple, but effective.
FIXING No bungees supplied.

ABR RATING 7/10

SPADA 40L DRY ROLL BAG
£39.99
www.feridax.com

This Spada 40L dry bag is the same size as the Kappa bag we also have on review. Both are very similar but for me the Kappa edges ahead as it feels stronger and more durable. Don’t get me wrong, the Spada is also an excellent bag. The only real difference is that the Kappa has bungees included as standard. The Spada does not, which means you will have to secure the bag with your own straps. Both are a similar price.

Unlike the Kappa, which features four fixing loops (one on each corner of the bag), the Spada has a strong loop on either side of the carry handle that serves the same purpose, and they work well at at keeping the bag tightly secured to the bike. I really like these loops for securing luggage so it’s good to see Spada has incorporated the idea in their bag. As has been mentioned, the bag comes with a carry handle and shoulder straps to allow for easier carrying when not on the bike. The shoulder straps do the job, though I would have preferred them to have more padding for comfort reasons.

The bag is made from a tough PVC material and feels strong and robust. Again, loading the bag is very straightforward. Simply drop your contents into the bag, compress it to release any trapped air (this is where the one-way valve on the Oxford 20L bag comes in really handy), place the two sides together and roll down. Now secure the opening with the fixed clips and voilà, a water tight bag.

NIGHT AWAY: Easy to fit all the gear in for a night away.
IN A LINE: Great bag but tough competition from the Kappa dry bag.
FIXING: Easy to strap to the rear but no bungees supplied as standard.

ABR RATING 8/10

KAPPA WA405F DRY BAG
£39.99
www.kappamoto.com

Kappa produces dry bags in 30L and 40L capacities. These are really strong bags that look ideal for strapping to the rear rack on a bike. The 30L supplied was in silver, and the 40L was fluorescent orange. They are both exactly the same except one is slightly larger. The bags come with a single carry handle and both have extremely strong, durable clips. A shoulder strap with padding is also included.

The bag is very easy to pack. Simply drop your kit into the opening, close the bag and roll down as you would with any dry bag. Attach the clips and the bag is secure. The Kappa dry bag is made from tarpaulin and benefits from seamless technology, meaning that there are few weak points on the bag. As a result, this is one of the strongest bags on test.

To fix to the bike you use the two included bungees. These can be threaded through four loops on either side of the bag. It’s then a simple case of tightening and attaching to a suitable fixing point on your bike. I really like the way the bungee is fixed to the bag. It’s a good idea as the alternative is to wrap the bungees around the dry bag but this will not be as secure.

For the price the Kappa 40L dry bag is excellent value for money. I would have no issues using this bag on the trails to carry my gear.

NIGHT AWAY: Easy to fi t all the gear in for a night away.
IN A LINE: A great, nice and easy-to-use, fully waterproof bag.
FIXING: Easy to attach using included bungees and bungee loops on the bag.

ABR RATING 9/10

GIVI WP407 30L ROLL BAG
£43
www.givi.co.uk

Here we check out the 30L dry bag from Givi. It’s a cracking luggage option and looks fantastic, but it’s missing the one-way valve that the brand has incorporated on the smaller 20L bag, which is a shame as that feature works very well. The bag is made from a heavy duty tarpaulin material which is really strong and feels like it will live up to whatever conditions you can throw at it. The dry bag on test is black with yellow fluorescent sections which really help to make it visible in poor lighting, increasing your road presence and therefore safety when out on the roads.

The bag comes with a single carry handle and an additional shoulder strap, but it’s a shame the strap isn’t padded as when fully packed it dug into my shoulders. The WP407 really could do with some additional padding to ease the load.

As it’s a standard dry bag its very similar to the others on test in that once loaded, the sides are rolled down to form a water tight seal and then held in place using the side clips. Just make sure you compress all the air out first (this is where the one-way valve would come in really handy).

Fixing to the bike is really easy using the two supplied bungees. As with some other bags on test the Givi 30L has four fixed loops to thread the bungee through. This is a great feature and should be standard on all bags. It really makes securing to the bike so much easier than without them.

NIGHT AWAY Easy to fit all the gear in for a night away.
IN A LINE Great looking bag with plenty of storage space.
FIXING Really easy to strap to the bike using the included bungees.

ABR RATING 9/10

EIGO H20 30L
£49.99
www.bikeittrade.com

The Eigo H20 is a fantastic looking bag and, as the H20 (water!) in the name might suggest, it’s 100% waterproof. This is a major benefit as it means you don’t have to mess around with extra dry bags or rain covers.

The bag feels extremely durable and strong. It is really simply to use and is more like a holdall than a roll bag. Again, this is a major benefit. It’s a lot easier to load (and unload) the contents with a large opening rather than to have to stuff your kit into a standard roll bag. The bag is secured by placing the two sides together, which attach via Velcro, these are then rolled down together forming a waterproof tight seal, and both edges are clipped to the bag to secure completely. The bag comes with two carry handles and these can be attached to form one handle using Velcro. Unfortunately, there is no shoulder strap included which is a real shame.

There’s a clear compartment that is obviously intended to be used as a name tag, I really can’t see the point in this, but it’s there in case you want to label your luggage. The Eigo H20 does not come with any straps or bungees so you are leſt to your own devices when it comes to securing to the bike.

I really like this bag, it’s very simple to use, completely waterproof and comes at a great price, but it’s a shame that it doesn’t come with bungee straps as standard.

NIGHT AWAY: Easy to fi t all the gear in for a night away.
IN A LINE: Fantastic bag at an even better price.
FIXING: Really easy to strap to the rear of your bike, but unfortunately no supplied straps or bungees.

ABR RATING 8.5/10

JOFAMA BAG (LARGE 52L) (SMALL 42L)
£89/£79
www.jofama.se

Coming in at £89 this is the most expensive bag in test, and fortunately it’s also a fantastic option. It is also the second largest on test in this edition and borders the type of storage capacity that you’d expect from your panniers. The Jofama Bag (yep, it’s called Bag) comes in two sizes, 52L (reviewed here) and 42L, both just priced a tenner apart.

The bag is very easy to pack. Simply drop your kit into the opening, close the bag and roll down as you would with any dry bag. Attach the clips and the bag is secure. The Kappa dry bag is made from tarpaulin and benefits from seamless technology, meaning that there are few weak points on the bag. As a result, this is one of the strongest bags on test.

To fix to the bike you use the two included bungees. These can be threaded through four loops on either side of the bag. It’s then a simple case of tightening and attaching to a suitable fixing point on your bike. I really like the way the bungee is fixed to the bag. It’s a good idea as the alternative is to wrap the bungees around the dry bag but this will not be as secure.

For the price the Kappa 30L and 40L dry bags are excellent value for money. I would have no issues using this bag on the trails to carry my gear.

NIGHT AWAY: Easy to fit all the gear in for a night away. Both in the 30L and 40L.
IN A LINE: A great, nice and easy to use, fully waterproof bag.
FIXING: Easy to attach using included bungees and bungee loops on the bag.

ABR RATING 8/10

SW-MOTECH DRYBAG 620
£133.75
www.sw-motech.com

At £133.75 the SW-Motech 620 commands a monstrous price tag, but it is equally monstrous in its size and presence on the bike. With 62-litres of capacity, which can be expanded to 72-litres with use of the width adjustment zipper, the 620 is a perfect solution for those looking to pack everything but the kitchen sink.

With that in mind, the Drybag 620 isn’t the sort of bag you’re going to be using on a short weekend away, especially if you’re making the trip on a smaller bike. The bag is constructed in such a way that either end of it hangs over the back of the machine (where your pannier racks might be), and it’s easily fitted thanks to a universal fitting kit.

Made from a tough and thick welded tarpaulin, the 620 is fully waterproof once the opening, which is nice and large for easy access, is rolled up, providing a water-tight seal. The bag is easy to fit to most bikes and the simple and concise instructions make are easy to follow if you get stuck.

While the bag is expandable to provide an extra 10 litres, this is done via three zips, two of these (located on either end of the bag) are very stiff to operate, and I felt at times that I was going to break them with the force I had to put in to get them to open.

NIGHT AWAY Enough room for you to pack multiple evening wear choices for a month.
IN A LINE Huge bag that’s easy to fit. If you need the storage, this it the one for you.
FIXING Comes with included fixing straps and is simple to use.

ABR RATING 9/10

BAGSTER MATRIX
£78.72
www.bagster.com

The Bagster Matrix is a 15-litre tank bag that’s more suited to larger bikes as it’s fairly in-your-face when on the tank. At 15 litres it’s on the borderline of being suitable for fitting everything in on a night or two away. On top of the bag there’s a pocket with a really tough to operate waterproof zip. You won’t get much in this pocket but its ideal for a wallet or valuables.

On both sides there are smaller pockets with waterproof zips. The main compartment opens fully to give access to the space inside, again secured by another waterproof zip. There’s a useful strap on the inside for securing gear, which will save it from moving around if the bag’s not fully loaded, and an internal mesh pouch for smaller items.

A great feature is the two built-in rucksack straps which will make carrying the bag when off the bike really easy. Due to the shape, it actually looks pretty good when worn as a rucksack. A front carry handle completes the carrying options.

The bag expands by unzipping the bottom to create additional space if required, which is a great feature, and it’s something that I personally consider essential on a tank bag. There’s an elasticated waterproof bag included with a map viewing window. So, although the Bagster has water resistant zips, for fail-safe waterproofing you’ll have to make use of the cover.

NIGHT AWAY 15 litres is a bit on the small side.
IN A LINE Great looking tank bag with unique rucksack straps for carrying.
FIXING Detachable magnets for metal tanks. I used bungees which attach to the loops on the bag.

ABR RATING 7.5/10

RICHA DES IGNER TANK BAG
£79.99
www.nevis.uk.com

This is one of two Richa tank bags on test and it’s another large offering. Once again, it looks great and has some cracking features. The best of these is the SatNav pouch on the top. This is located under the map holder and is accessed by unzipping the top which reveals the case underneath. This can be positioned so you can see the SatNav whilst riding, while protecting it from the elements. A really good feature.

The tank bag comes with a rain cover included for full weather protection, so just remember that without it your kit isn’t guaranteed to stay dry.

The Richa has a waterproof map holder that secures to the top of the bag well. It has Velcro at the front so you can peel it forward to access the bag. There are straps at the rear so it wont fly away in the wind or whilst riding (if the Velcro comes loose).

In testing I found that the main compartment can be a bit awkward to unzip at times. I had to force it open on occasions, and it’s an unfortunate reality that anything that needs forcing open has a higher risk of breaking.

The bag is different from the other Richa on review as this one simply unzips and expands to give more capacity rather than allowing you to zip off different compartments to alter the size. I much prefer this over the three-in-one approach the Richa Multi tank bag takes, as it allows you to alter the capacity of the bag on the fly without you having to carry the other compartments.

NIGHT AWAY Plenty of room for you’re an evening’s worth of gear.
IN A LINE Large tank bag that will require a large bike to suit.
FIXING Magnets in the base for metal tanks. No fixing supplied for plastic tanks. I used bungees.

ABR RATING 7/10

RICHA MULTI
£79.99
www.nevis.uk.com

The Richa Multi tank bag is large and looks great, but you will need a decent sized bike to justify the size. Its unique selling point is that it’s actually three tank bags in one. Instead of expanding to create more space as some others do, you can remove the top section by unzipping to make the bag a third smaller. You then have the option of unzipping the next compartment to make it smaller still. And then if you unzip this you are leſt with just a map holder on the tank. Personally I’m not a fan of this method as it’s all too easy to leave a compartment at home, only to find out you need the extra space later on in your trip.

As it’s possible to have three different sized tank bags, there are three rain covers, which is a bit of an overkill, and these are simply attached by covering the bag and pulling the drawstring to secure. You just have to remember to pack the correct size for the tank bag option you have chosen.

There’s a glasses case on the outside that just flaps about and doesn’t neatly fi t with the style of the bag. However, it simply unclips so it can be removed easily if required. It’s see-through on one side so you can see what’s inside, and I could see this being useful for toll money or valuables.

NIGHT AWAY Plenty of room for your gear.
IN A LINE Large tank bag that will suit larger adventure bikes.
FIXING Magnets on base for metal tanks, and bungees included which are easy to attach to loops on the bag.

ABR RATING 7/10

OXFORD S20R ADVENTURE
£89.99
www.oxfordproducts.com

The Oxford Adventure SR20 tank bag provides ample storage, and with a 20-litre capacity it should be enough for a night or two away on the bike. On the top is a map holder which can be accessed via unzipping the main compartment. Directly beneath this is a SatNav compartment (again accessed via the main compartment). This has an electrical outlet socket so you can charge your goodies whilst on the road.

On top of the bag is an anti-glare shield and although this will be great to protect a SatNav from the sun’s glare it does tend to collect rain water in bad weather. As dry bags are supplied for putting your gear into before loading into the tank bag it suggests that the bag is not waterproof, but I like the included dry bag and prefer to waterproof my kit this way than have an extra rain cover.

You are able to expand the bag by unzipping the top to create more space. I’m always in favour of this approach (expanding from the top rather than bottom) and it’s really useful to have the added storage for things you might buy when you’re travelling.

Another fantastic feature with this bag is that it’s simple to unzip and remove from the bike. This means you don’t have to fully remove the mount as this remains strapped to the bike, with an additional map holder for the times you want to leave the tank bag at home. Once removed, the tank bag can be turned into a rucksack with the included fitted straps. I really like this bag for the extra features it has over other tank bags, and these make it worth the high price.

NIGHT AWAY Just enough room to fi t all the gear in for a night away.
IN A LINE Pricey, but a great looking tank bag with some good features.
FIXING Easy to attach to a bike using the fixing harness supplied.

ABR RATING 8.5/10

TUCANO URBANO ENDURE GRANDE
£104.99
www.tucanourbano.com

There’s no getting around the fact that the Tucano Urbano Endure Grande is a massive tank bag. As standard, it has a capacity of 21 litres, but this can easily be unzipped from the bottom and expanded to a colossal 30 litres, making it a seriously large tank bag.

There’s a waterproof map pocket that secures to the top of the bag, but in use it’s not wide enough for most maps that you might be using. This is secured with small clips at the bottom and Velcro at the top. The middle part of the map pocket is free to flap about in the wind, so additional Velcro would be good here. I’m not keen on this and would prefer to see the map holder integral to the bag, but it does mean that you can quickly and easily unclip it if you find that you don’t use it.

The bag has two side pockets and useful mesh storage on either side to stuff extra items. These are secured with pull toggles.

The bag comes with a rain cover included as standard. The rain cover is integrated into a pocket in the front of the bag, and you simply unravel it before pulling it over. I’m a fan of this method as all the other tank bags on review have loose rain covers that could easily get misplaced. The rain cover is bright orange, which might put some users off . Tucano Urbano also do a smaller 13/18L bag for £95.99.

NIGHT AWAY Loads of room for all your gear when staying away for the night.
IN A LINE Massive tank bag with a massive price tag
FIXING Comes with a good harness for non-metallic tanks, and magnets for metal tanks loops on the bag.

ABR RATING 8/10

GIVI GRT705
£126.41
www.givi.co.uk

At £126 the Givi GRT705 (I know, imaginative name) is the most expensive tank bag in this test, but it’s also one of the most well specced, being completely waterproof as standard without the need for a painfully annoying cover. With a capacity of 20 litres there’s plenty of room to store the kit you need to keep close to hand, and best of all, you know it’s going to be safe from the elements.

As with most tank bags, the GRT705 has an upper pocket with a see-through window so that you can easily look at your map while on the fly, and the fixing kit that’s supplied is simple to use, consisting of two straps that tie to the bike, and a clip that goes around the handlebars. Once the fixing pad is properly located, it’s just a simple case of clipping the bag in place and you’re ready to go.

The bag has two side pockets, though these aren’t waterproof, and a useful handle on the top for ease of carrying when you leave the bike for a bit. If you’re going to be away for a while, then the padded shoulder strap comes in handy.

I’ve used the GRT705 for well over 3,000 miles now, in all sorts of conditions, and so far it’s stood up to everything I’ve thrown at it. The red clips on the bike fixing pad have become a bit sun bleached, but that’s about it. In terms of waterproofing it’s brilliant, with the substantial storm flaps not once being breached. It may be expensive, but it’s a top quality tank bag.

NIGHT AWAY You’ll be able to fi t the essentials in.
IN A LINE Fully waterproof from the off, simple to fix and a pleasure to use. Buy one.
FIXING Comes with an easy-to-use harness that holds the bag firmly in place.

ABR RATING 9/10