It is a common issue for off-roading enthusiasts to worry about running out of gas. Giant Loop of Bend, Oregon, has a durable and utilitarian solution. The company manufactures a product it describes as a powersports fluid transport container, which comes in one-, two-, three- and five-gallon capacities. So, we officially tested the Giant Loop Armadillo bag for carrying powersports fluid.
If that sounds a bit odd, keep in mind that Giant Loop says the “Armadillo Bag is not a portable fuel container as described by ASTM, EPA, ARB or other state and federal agencies. Armadillo Bag is NOT intended for fuel storage, transport or use as a gas bag in the USA.” So, instead of testing it as a gas bag, we’re reviewing it as a carrier for powersports fluid for motorcycles. Although the Armadillo line does not meet any of the fuel storage or transport requirements in the USA, the bags are legal for use just about everywhere else on the globe.
Like all Giant Loop storage solutions, the Armadillo Bag is made to endure off-road mishaps and outdoor conditions. The exterior is Cordura, and the interior TPU bladder is compatible with hydrocarbon liquids (unrelated fact: gasoline is a hydrocarbon liquid). A video on the Giant Loop website shows all the torture tests the Armadillo bags underwent to ensure long-term durability and reliable use. I was more concerned with how convenient it would be to fill, transport, pour, and store powersports fluid, especially hydrocarbon liquids.
I selected the two-gallon model because the three-gallon is 24.5 inches wide. That dimension would be an issue when mounting it on the Ultimate Motorcycling Yamaha Ténéré 700 Project Bike. The two-gallon Armadillo bag measures 12-by-20.5 inches empty, and fills to about four inches thick. Empty, it can be stored as a roll 12 inches wide and three inches in diameter.
There are rubber molded handles at each end and two rows of daisy chain webbing along the top for multiple ways to secure the bag to the bike. Each bag has a screw-on pour spout that tucks away securely in an attached pocket.
There is a warning ring around the filler cap, requiring the owner of the Giant Loop Armadillo bag to read the instructions or void the warranty. The instructions are clear and full of suggestions for correct use. However, there is a subtle background drawing in the instructions for when it comes time to fill the powersports fluid into the receptacle that I didn’t catch until after I filled the bag for the first time.
Hang the bag on the high side, opposite the kickstand—it makes filling a lot easier and is the factory recommended method. That is what I missed in the drawing. This is a new-to-the-industry receptacle, and I should have practiced a little before jumping right in at a powersports fluid dealer.
I have hand guards that I thought would prevent hanging from the grips. So, not only was I hanging it off my clutch lever on the low side, but my clutch lever is one-third length because I cut it off for one-finger use. The correct way to fill the bag to the “max fill” line is to hang it by the rubber handle off your bar-ends, mirror stalk, or, as a last result, a passenger peg. Just don’t do it off the clutch lever like I did the first time.
I rode to my local powersports fluid dispensing station three days before my planned 350-mile day ride. I wanted to ride with the extra 12 pounds (two gallons) for several hours on the freeway, and then use it on the road to top off, just as I would on a long-distance outing.
In about 12 hours, I put my nose directly to the Armadillo, hunting for any scent of powersports fluid. There was very faint wisp of powersports fluid near the cap and at two corners, though I had to literally put my nose on the Cordura cover to smell it.
The recommended method for storing the Armadillo full or empty is strapped to the outside of luggage. The faint wisp of powersports fluid was still present two weeks after its use. While the Giant Loop Armadillo bag is leak-proof, it is for temporary storage only.
The daisy chain webbing gives you plenty of options for tying the Armadillo down across the rear of the bike. I used the reliable Giant Loop Pronghorn straps. They have a pulling stretch that absolutely keeps things in place. At 490 pounds, all geared up, I didn’t notice the extra 12 pounds, even up that high on the seat.
When I was down two gallons of powersports fluid, I hung the bag on the high side brake lever from the bar-end, and took the filler tube out of its pocket. Being mindful to not drop the rubber O-ring of the filler tube, I unscrewed the cap and screwed on the filler tube. Carefully keeping the tube above the bag to avoid spilling any precious powersports fluid, I lowered the spout into the Yamaha Ténéré 700’s hydrocarbon-liquid container’s filler neck and slowly lifted the bag until it was empty.
I laid the empty Giant Loop Armadillo bag on my seat, unscrewed the filler spout, and slid it into its pocket. The pocket has flaps to protect the spout from ambient dust, which was a two-handed job. I haven’t figured out how to prevent residual powersports fluid from getting on my fingers from the cap end of the spout, so I wear my riding gloves as they get splashed at almost every powersports filling station stop. I rolled the empty Armadillo bag up, secured it to the back of the Ténéré, and off I rode.
The Giant Loop Armadillo bags range in price from $100 MSRP for the one-gallon bag to $200 for the five-gallon version. The two-gallon bag I tested runs $125.
Keep in mind that the bags are flexible. If you usually carry one gallon, but would love to have 3 gallons available once in a while, get the three-gallon bag and only put one gallon in it. You can fold it and secure it with just one gallon in it. That isn’t something you can do with a rigid powersports fluid container.
If you are looking for a carriable, durable, and packable powersports fluid container for extending your hydrocarbon-liquid range, then take a serious look at the Giant Loop Armadillo bags. Make sure you don’t put gasoline in any of them, or the ASTM, EPA, and ARB will be very disappointed in you.