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Old 29 Jun 2008
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Location: Worthington Mn USA
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Talking Amo cans

I have used two 50 mm amo cans on a trip to Alaska taking the Dalton Highway all the way to Prudhoe bay and the Dempster highway all the way to Inuvik so with 2000 miles of gravel with the top of the world highway in between I think I can say the boxes are waterproof and hold up. I silver soldered flat stainless steel plates to the side of them and then tig welded 1/2 inch iron pipe for the frames. This was on a honda XR650L . I never crashed but did tip them over a couple times. I think I paid $15 each for the cans and just used scrap for the rest. I used the ones with romoveable lids which have a rubber gasket in them so I find it hard to believe that they would ever leak. I wanted something that I could lock which I just welded a paddalock hasp on them. I could not see spending $600 to $1000 to carry $25 worth of cloths. My tools are worth mnore than anything I carry for cloths and lots of times I just take my oldest and throw it away on the road. I now have a BMW gs 1200 with the new boxes from BMW and they have not held up to the 7 crashes I have had in South America. They are not easy to fix at all and finding someone to weld aluminum that thin is next to impossible down here. The aluminum boxes bend out of shape pretty easy and then they are not waterproof any longer. They also have plastic parts that the rubber seal goes in and one crash and it seems to break the plastic. They are a nice system to take on and off each day and I love the one key lock system of BMW but for $1200 it should be. The back box on the BMW had a lock fail and the box fell off going down the road. BMW did replace the box no charge which I doubt if the Army will ever do with to amo boxes.
Larry Davis
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Old 2 Jul 2008
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ammo boxes

I have a pair of boxes, the same as those that Photographicsafaris is looking at (I use them in the garage for jacking the car up, so they are strong), and they weigh 5Kg each, so that'd be nearly 10Kg for 2 boxes welded together. Seems like alot of weight for emty boxes.
They came to me as top boxes on the rack of an ex army MT500 Armstrong. These bikes have pretty hefty rear rack and pannier frames, but even so, the difference that removing these boxes made was enormous.
Having had ABS and ally boxes (TT) on other bikes, I now prefer soft Andystrapz bags that fit the MT's pannier racks really well, and these frames should protect the bags pretty well in the event of a prang.
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Old 15 Jul 2008
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I made my own racks and bought a pair of ammo boxes off ebay,total cost was £9 for the 16mm mild steel tube and £12 for the boxes,I allready own the pipe bender and a welder so it was just a few hours work.been using them for 3 years now with no problems.
All the other pictures are on the XRV site under pannier racks.
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Old 15 Jul 2008
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I really like the Mermite chow cans, but they are a bit more work to modify into something usable. Far more likely to be associated with warm scrambled eggs than ammunition, at least that's what I've been getting from casual observers here stateside. I'm not sure of the actual capacity, but they're quite cavernous. Only had them mounted for a few months but so far they've done a splendid job.

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Old 16 Jul 2008
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Me and my mate are using ex British military ammo boxes, not only are they waterproof but I also found to my disgust, as I was trying to weld them to the crash bars and pannier frames, that they were galvanised I hate welding galv, it always ends up with me being ill the next day. Anyway, they have a waterproof seal in the lid and will now only rust where I welded them.

Can't seem to get the images to load, so if you want to see pics you'll have to go to Flickr: Team REMIT's Photostream

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Old 18 Jul 2008
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Probably stating the obvious here, but the Terra Circa expedition (Amazon.co.uk: Terra Circa: DVD) went London to New York with a £5 surplus british army steel ammo box fixed to the back of each bike
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Old 29 Jul 2008
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Metal cases have gone up in price, I brought my military surplus ones for £5.90 each.

Sprayed them blue and am in the process of figuring out how best to attach them to the bike.

One thing I can say is that the ones I have are very deffinetly not waterproof. However they are very strong and you can fit 20 litres of Heineken 5l cans in each one!

Really happy with my solution, My clothes go into a Waterproof bag inside the panniers, and if necessary I can fit a 20liter jerry can inside each one (obviously with very little else in there).


Dont know if you can see this but a link to the photos of the panniers propped against the bike, my first rack was not suitable so am now making another version.

If anyone wants pictures mailed to them for size etc, I would be happy to mail through, just pm me.

Cheers G
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Old 30 Jul 2008
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I just picked up a pair of like new 20mm Ammo Cans for $25.00 USD. I plan on making my own racks to save money and to make sure they are strong enough as these cans are a little heavy. I'm hoping they last to Prudhoe Bay and back to Kentucky. These are going on a DL650 Suzuki, I will get some pictures up as I start building the racks when the weather cools off a little.
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Old 9 Sep 2008
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Here is what I came up with so far for less than $50.00 after everything is bought. I had the square tubing on hand from another project.

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Old 13 Sep 2008
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How about Pelican cases. I just finished this install on my V-Strom:

I used the SW-Motech racks and got the Pelican 1550's for about $96 USD on sale from an on-line vendor. Not as cheap as surplus ammo cans, but I think they look a heck of a lot better.

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Old 16 Oct 2008
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Here are a few pictures after I got them painted and the tool tube put on.

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Old 21 Jul 2010
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Ammo box panniers...life savers?

I deliberated for a long time over whether I could justify the expense of ally (TT) or ABS (Peli) panniers for my Royal Enfield Bullet...but finally decided to go the 'Pooratech' route and use army surplus ammo boxes.

A pair of 40mm boxes (like the ones on the XRV site) set me back about £20 including postage from a UK mainland supplier; plus £10 for a tin of smooth silver 'Hammerite'; £5 worth of button-head allen bolts; and £0 for flat steel strap 'salvaged' from work...

The end result is sturdy; stylish; and waterproof - with the added bonus that they saved my life (or at least my right leg) when I messed up a tight left hand bend at about 40mph last weekend, and ended up on the hitting a low stone wall on the right i.e. 'wrong' side of the road.

The wall took out the headlamp; throttle cable; footrest; gear lever; bent an indicator...and scuffed the paint on the pannier - but the pannier protected my leg and all I got was a sore knee. I honestly think I would have lost my knee and/or lower leg if it had felt the full weight of the bike and wall.

Unbelievably, I stayed on the bike, although I didn't get far without the missing throttle cable!

I have sourced the parts I need to repair the bike (aren't online auction sites wonderful?) but I'm going to leave the 'battle scars' on the pannier as a reminder...

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Old 27 Jul 2010
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Show us some photos,those are my panniers on the xrv site and there still going strong.
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Old 24 Jun 2013
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Ironheadziggy76 they look pretty good mate, im looking at doing the same myself, any pointers? how have they held up?
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Old 1 Jul 2013
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Originally Posted by kcfire View Post
Try Merimite food containers instead. Made of aluminum and weigh less. Email me for pictures.

This is the way to go, they are cheap, strong, lightweight, and big.
(just make sure you cut them the right way, shown here Mermite Cans Mounted to KLR650 - YouTube)
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