Riders who have cut their teeth in the urban jungle don’t understand the fear that can grip a traveling rider when the fuel light comes on while deep in the American Southwest. I’ve seen stretches of road with no fuel for over 100 miles, and on the Dalton Highway in Alaska, I undertook a section of road that I knew was too much for either my Harley-Davidson Electra Glide Ultra or the hardy Kawasaki Ninja 600 my companion was riding on the final gravel stretch to Prudhoe Bay. In most instances, a little common sense can go a long way towards making sure you aren’t stranded by simply filling your tank when it gets less than half-full while riding remote, unfamiliar roads.

Out of gas

The Rotopax fuel cell fits nicely behind this luggage.

Sometimes, the adventure gets the best of our self-control, sending us off half-cocked into the wilderness – or maybe we just get lost occasionally. You can, without too much trouble, carry some extra fuel with you. On the aforementioned Alaska trip, I strapped a five gallon plastic can on the passenger seat of the Ultra. When I got back to a more civilized environment, I fueled my bike and gave the can to a local bike shop. I considered the cost of the donor can to be a worthwhile insurance payment against getting stranded.

Off-road riders who routinely travel beyond their bike’s range buy fuel cans that are made to be mounted on motorcycles. Roto Pax and other manufacturers make cans in a wide range of sizes and designs mounting solutions that can be adapted to motorcycles. Still, storing that extra gas can be dangerous if not done properly.

Recently, we discovered Magic Tank a fuel substitute that eliminates much of the danger associated with storing fuel. In fact, containers of Magic Tank can be safely shipped for home delivery by shippers like UPS and FedEx. Try that with a container of gasoline and you’ll probably get a visit from feds asking difficult questions. Magic Tank packs comes in a half-gallon container that packs small enough to fit in a saddlebag. Although we didn’t need it on our Ultimate Sports-Adventure-Touring Shootout last year, we carried it along just in case.

Out of gas

Magic Tank will get you as far as a half-gallon of regular gas.

So, when you’re pre-planning your big tour for next year, pay attention to the distances between areas that will have gas stations. If you think you might be pushing your luck, carry a little insurance.

  • Douglas

    Easy enuf…..get a bigger tank.

  • Sayyed Bashir

    On long trips I fill up every 100 miles. Walking around is good for your circulation, getting something to eat and drink, bathroom break, enjoying the scenery, talking to people. In Manitoba, North of Winnipeg, gas stations are 120 miles apart. I didn’t know that during my trip from Texas in 1987 and ran out of fuel 60 miles out. Finally I was able to flag someone down. He asked if other people had not stopped. He said it was against the law for people not to stop because the mosquitos will eat you alive.

    • Peggy99

      LOL. I live in Manitoba and have a smallish 2.5 Gal tank. Have done a bit of rural driving with the bike, but nothing further North than Gimli. And every time I pass a gas station when driving in rural Manitoba – I fill up, whether I think I need it or not.

  • Mahatma

    I always carry a 1.5 liter bottle of glass in my box.99% of the times I don’t need it,and 99% of the times I get too adventurous it’ll save my bacon.But sooner or later it’ll just get me closer.

  • DickRuble

    After using its content in my leaf blower, I rinsed it well with gasoline and repurposed it as ultra-mini jerrycan for both my motorcycle (long trips) and car (any trips). It’s metal, it doesn’t leak, and it’s meant for hydrocarbon fuels. Again, rinse it once or twice with gasoline after using its content.

    http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/81M6pR%2BpW6L._SL1500_.jpg

  • Steve T

    A NOS tank makes a nice extra, permanent fuel tank for bikes with electric fuel pumps especially.

  • http://www.mymotorrad.com/ james lagnese

    Get a bike with more range, like a R1200GSA or RT. 300+ mile range is very possible.

    • DickRuble

      That, have a convoy of gasoline tankers follow you, or, even better, stay home.

      • http://www.mymotorrad.com/ james lagnese

        I don’t think there’s a place in the US where a gas station is more than 300 miles away. Certainly not the continental US.

        • TonyCarlos

          That assumes you knew enough to fill up at the last station before entering the 300 mile dead zone.

  • Randy Talburt

    I’m gonna try something I saw on facebook of using the liner from a gallon coffee container from Starbucks. Suppossedly gas won’t dissolve it and it folds flat. I have a hard time finding room for a can or bottle of anything in bags that fit on a sportbike.

    • Evans Brasfield

      Be careful. That sounds pretty dicey.

      • Randy Talburt

        I’ve always carried a siphon hose. Now this. Never had to use them for myself, always giving to others. Maybe karma will kick in if I need it. I had a guy offer me $20 bucks for the hose off my Camelback. I gave him some gas and my siphon hose. If Id’ve had this bag I could tell how much I was giving him. Replenished at NAPA next gas stop.

    • DickRuble

      Please post pictures of the “before” and “after”, with a firefighter boot next to your bike’s remains so we know you’re for real.

    • Mahatma

      lol.That’s the spirit,but test it long term first ofcourse by loading it with gas,and let it sit in a safe place for a long while and monitoring if it leaks.But you knew that;)

      • Randy Talburt

        I’ve only let it sit outside for a week, no issue. It’s just a disposable, reserve, siphon, emergency. So far I’ve seen glass, metal. I’d rather carry a few tools than an empty emergency gas container.

      • Randy Talburt

        I’ve only let it sit outside for a week, no issue. It’s just a disposable, reserve, siphon, emergency. So far I’ve seen glass, metal. I’d rather carry a few tools than an empty emergency gas container.

        • DickRuble

          Everyone here assumed you would carry it filled with gasoline on your bike. I am retracting my up vote.

          • Mahatma

            Woot!Siphoning will leave you stranded.No way would I allow a stranger to stick a tube down my gastank.Remove man-points.

          • Randy Talburt

            No problem. reply away. I’ve only been riding for 30+ plus years and don’t know everything, and had my manhood questioned many times to no real detriment to my ego.

          • Randy Talburt

            I’ve never had to walk to find gas (yet). But screwed up once and managed to pull into a driveway and find somebody home, they let me siphon some gas (paid handsomely) and didn’t sweat as bad to next station. In the middle of nowhere, I’m screwed, picked the wrong bike or wrong route.

    • Ian Parkes

      I’ve heard of super-sizing tall and grande or whatever they call them but a gallon of coffee??

      • Randy Talburt

        Yep kinda like a partyball without the hangover. Some guys at work bring ’em when they know it’s gonna be a bunch of guys standing around for awhile. It comes in a cardboard box with an aluminum foil bladder inside. Take the box off, save the bladder, fold it flat, put it in the tankbag, under the seat. If you didn’t take the box off, you could probably bungee that down with gas in it. But, I’ve been fortunate, with, bikes, gas stations, and routes, I’ve made it every time. I don’t get to ride as much as some, with our short seasons, and I don’t wanna suffer as much anymore either
        .

  • nitramshirley

    Easy and very cheap solution: Sweet Cheeks ( http://cycle-analyst.com/sweetcheeks ) with two 1.5 liter bottles slotted into each side. Added bonus of having a wider seat upon which to spread your weary ass-cheeks if you’re on a thin dual sport seat like my KTM 690 Enduro

  • TonyCarlos

    Not enough info.
    Do Roto Pax get plumbed into your fuel system, or do you yank them off and pour the fuel into your tank? If it’s the latter, how about reporting on something a bit more elegant?
    And what exactly is Magic Tank? Okay, it’s a fuel substitute, but what makes it safer to carry than gas? And how does it react with fiberglass fuel tanks, or old-school rubber lines? What’s it do to my catalyst?
    If you are going to go to the trouble of writing an article, it should at least be informative. All this one did was provide two leads that I’d have to research myself if I actually wanted to learn anything.

    • Evans Brasfield

      There is a review of the Magic Tank fuel substitute in the works. The purpose of this article was show that there are options available, not list every single one. My goal was to point readers in the right direction to look for solutions fitting their specific needs.

  • krishan adhikari

    i have used the plastic cans that are sold in markets or I have used the two liter cans of engine oil. I prefer the engine oil cans as they don’t leak and are strong. The only problem with carrying fuel is that anything that touches the can smells of petrol/gasoline.