Aux Lighting, DIY Molle Tank Bags, and my Touring/Luggage Setup

In preparation of a 500 mile trip, I decided that I was in need of some luggage. After looking at setups on thumpertalk as well as adv, I figured I would at least need a tank bag of some sort, panniers of some variety, and a duffle/box for the top. So the search began... and the regular suspects floated to the top: Wolfman luggage, and giant loop. What I found very frustrating was the cost associated with their products, and for me it was downright prohibitive, especially with tank Bags. So, I made my own. 


Materials required were $20 worth of webbing, Buckles and tensioners. Rigging things up was really very simple, and turned out to be extremely sturdy.  the side tank bags touch the handlebars, but do not interfere with hand position or turning radius of the bike.  




and A few Molle Pouches I had Left over from a former life: 










And Just a random Picture of a test run... the highest point in Mississippi!!




I did break down and purchase a set of the Wolfman E-12 bags, and it was money well spend.  The installation took a bit of fiddling with the buckles due to how they have the webbing routed, but in the end it is a very solid setup.  I was a bit surprised at how small they were, but that is no fault of the product, and more a personal perception of what I saw before buying. That said, I am glad that I did not go with the Daytripper bags, which was my second option.








After filling the E-12's it was clear I needed more space, and not wanting to carry a backpack, I pulled out my Plano gun case that I picked up at walmart a while back.  It has a decent amount of space without being gigantic on the back, and will take some of the more bulky things that did not really fit well in the bags.  (Disregard the mounting method of the fuel bottle... that is not how it will be mounted while riding)






And the end result: 






All In all I am pretty happy with the loadout.  I should be able to carry everything I need for a weekend trip and some camping.  



The other addition I did was to add some LED aux lights to the system.  Mounting them in a tucked away location was the biggest challenge... I did not want them to be sticking out all goofy like, and wanted them to be below the top of the headlight fairing.  Creating a mount took some creativity since my welder was not currently in my posession, or even within the same state.  So welding aside, I found that bending up some aluminum strap was sufficiently easy, and resulted in a fairly rigid solution.  










For wiring, used a fused power lead, then spliced into the high-beam circuit to trigger a relay to power the lights.  That way I am not tapping more power from the headlight wiring, and have the aux lights on a separate fuse.  


I may try and snap some shots of the light output difference if people are interested.  


As always, comments/concerns are always appreciated. 




Edited by dgrigorenko

How much weight are you planning on putting on the tail? If it's more than the 4.5kg specified you may want to think about bracing the subframe?

How much weight are you planning on putting on the tail? If it's more than the 4.5kg specified you may want to think about bracing the subframe?

I am what many would call a "minimalist" camper... no tent, small stove limited water stores (but carry a pump to produce potable water anywhere)...if it all added up to 25lb I would be surprised.  I am not really worried about the subframe, especially since all my riding on this trip is going to be pavement.  also check out this thread: are people loading way more than I will be.  Just for the sake of due diligence, I will try and weight all my gear and see what I come out to.   

Hopefully ok if all riding is on pavement. This complete break of the subframe was caused by a rotopak (less than 10kg with 1 U.S. Gallon of fuel). But it was discovered following trail riding.ImageUploadedByThumper Talk1439327956.138569.jpg

Nice YJ :thumbsup: :thumbsup: :thumbsup:

Nice YJ :thumbsup: :thumbsup: :thumbsup:

XJ actually... both have square headlights though Edited by dgrigorenko

Just weighed all the gear, and including box and bags it's 27.3 lbs. I forgot how much that plano box weighs... It's weighs 9 lbs empty... But all the gear in the Wolfman bags was 10. 3 and the box and goods was 17.0. But even at 27 lbs I am still not worried about frame failure from road riding, especially when I look at where the loads are and how they are distributed... A 10lb load at the farthest point of the fender can easily put more stress on the frame than a heavier load mounted inward... Especially when we are talking about a frame design that has a reducing section modulus. That in combination of full reversal fatigue when riding off road can cause problems.

Edited by dgrigorenko

I love your tank bag setup ....  :thumbsup:  nice job and the best I have seen thus far ... :prof:  


When it comes to the rear sub frame durability ... I think it is all about how you ride and the abuse you impart upon it.

Some guys can wipe out the sub frame with 20lbs on it while others have no problem at all with 40lbs loaded up...  :excuseme:

Just being aware that it can be a problem, will help you avoid it ....  :thumbsup:  

Most if not all of your lightweight dual sport bikes have a weak subframe when it comes to loading gear for adventure travels. 



just my opinion and not to be confused with actual facts ....  :p 

Good luck. It can always be braced and welded later.

What might help is if you can bring much of that weight onto the pillion

Well just to put this thread to bed... I finished the trip.... First thought after the fact.... Man was Google maps wrong about time. Gmaps said it would be about 10:30 road time, but it ended up being 14:35. I accept a margin of error, but 4 hours of unexpected seat time started to wear on me... Literally. Speaking if which I splurged on some fancy undies before rolling out: moto skiveez, adv version. Gotta say, they are fantastic! No chaffing, monkey butt, or any moisture issues, but most of all, it really stretched the amount of time it took for the butt burn to set in, and it was diminished at that. Money very well spent.


And here are more random pics.




Serious bugs once night fell in Indiana


And the ride home


All in all, great ride, luggage worked perfectly, the molle pouch was just the right size for what I needed quick access to. Next time I think I would ditch the box for some small duffels just to save weight.

Oh and I pulled the rear plastics... No Frame cracking or signs of excessive strain

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