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When touring on a motorcycle, the tank pouch is one of the most versatile and essential pieces of luggage. They are versatile because they are available in a number of shapes, sizes, colours and have several mounting options depending on the type of motorcycle.

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The first thing you must decide upon is the size of the tank pouch, depending on how you use your bike (adventure, touring, city) and also on what luggage you’ll like to carry in your tank pouch.

A small micro tank pouch can only hold the essentials, but it's great for off-roading because it doesn’t interfere with the steering.

Commuters can use tank pouches 10 litres and above because they give you more room to hold things like your shoes, an additional face mask, lunch, etc.

Touring riders can install tank pouches that are much larger so that they can carry even more items like clothes, etc. Having a waterproof tank pouch is also a real advantage when touring in rainy weather.

The shape of the motorcycle's tank is also a deciding factor for your tank pouch. Smaller tank pouches can fit almost any tank shape, but for a larger tank pouch the shape of the tank will have to be considered. Is the tank sloped or flat surfaced?

Sloped tank pouches fit on cruisers and adventure bikes with ease while tank pouches with a flat surface will fit on street bikes and sport tourers.

Fuel tanks on sports bikes slope away from the rider and a tank pouch that slopes away from the rider will suit better on these types of bikes.


Some features are shared by all tank pouches, for example rain covers, reflective details, expansion zippers, carry handles, cable ports and headset power cables. Specific details of tank pouches are niche products and you would have to check the details of the particular products before purchasing a tank pouch.

Some features that you might find useful are clear pockets to keep your phone navigation maps, traditional maps, interior and exterior pouches, dividers for organising your compartments, shoulder straps that can make a tank pouch into a backpack, chain loops and removable pockets.

One more convenient option a tank pouch can have is an electrified tank ring mount, with which you can charge your smartphone or tablet while you ride.

Some tank pouches have mounts for a GPS receiver and with an electrified mount, you can carry all your mobile devices with ease and comfort.


For the exterior material, most tank pouches use a water resistant, nylon in block colour. There are various types of nylon material in use, however there are some exceptions. Semi rigid tank pouches are made from thermoformed, laminated polyester. They come in a clam shell design and are great to protect breakable items.

Other tank pouches use wax coated canvas with synthetic layer accents that give a vintage look. Finally, you get 100% waterproof tarpaulin PVC tank pouches that come in colours other than black.

The interiors of the tank pouches are mostly light coloured so that you can find items easily. Zipper pulls with strings provide the opportunity to add padlocks to them adding another layer of security.

Some tank pouches have waterproof zippers or flaps over the zipper of the main compartment. A nice feature to have on tank pouches is the semi rigid sides that keep the tank pouch upright even when they are not full.


There are three main ways that tank pouches are mounted onto the tank. They are strap mounted, magnetic based and clamp on the tank ring. Each type of mounting option has advantages and disadvantages depending on your needs.

Magnetic based tank pouches use a magnet sewn to the base which golds onto the fuel tank of the motorcycle. This would only work for a motorcycle with a metal tank, which is becoming rarer these days with carbon fibre and reinforced plastics being more commonly used.

The best advantage of a magnetic based tank pouch is that they are easy to mount and dismount for the traveller that is running errands or those that have to fill up on petrol often. Just mount the tank pouch and go, and it doesn’t leave any mounting straps or hardware behind when you remove it. You can use magnetic based tank pouches on multiple bikes provided they have metal fuel tanks.

The disadvantages with magnetic based tank pouches are that they are easy to steal. The soft material between the tank pouch and the tank won’t make any scratches, however, if dirt accumulates in that space, it may spoil the finish of the tank paint.It is essential to keep the space clean at all times.

Another disadvantage is with bikes that don’t have fairings like naked street bikes. At high speeds the tank pouch catches the wind and slips off. This can be somewhat dangerous if not distracting for the rider. With a bike having a fairing or a windscreen, this may not happen. Many magnetic based tank bags come with leather straps attached to the steering head so that the tank pouch won’t fly off even if it comes undone.

Tip : Don’t put a wallet with credit or debit cards in the magnetic based tank pouch, because the magnets may mess up the cards.

A more universal and secure option is tank pouches with straps to attach to the bike tank. They are really good for off-roading because they stay secured to the tank even when you are bouncing off trails and have heavy items in the tank pouch.

Although they can be stolen, tank pouches with straps take longer to dismount. They could also possibly scratch the tank if dirt gets in between the tank and the tank pouch. Finally, moving them to different bikes may be a challenge because the straps will have to be removed and adjusted every time.

The last method of tank pouch mounting is the tank ring method. The tank ring is like a pair of rails with binding on it. The tank pouch is mounted on the tank and secured with bolts. Tank ring mounted tank pouches are bike specific, so you would have to get one specifically for your model.

The advantages of the tank ring method are that it doesn’t spoil the look of your bike. The tank pouch is placed on the ring and won’t damage the paint finish on your bike. The ring can also be electrified to power up your mobile devices.

Finding the perfect tank pouch is not that easy with so many shapes and sizes out there for your bike. Remember to consider your needs, type of bike and features of the tank pouch. With the process of elimination, you can surely narrow down your choice to find the right bag. On a lighter note, choose the tank pouch that matches your boots the best.