We're headed up to the James Bay Road next weekend, so my buddy built me a gas can rack that replaces the passenger peg. He had to do some bending and welding, but it's made from 1/8" sheet metal from Home Depot. I painted it with metallic Rustoleum to ward off rusting, and added a retention strap from REI and door edge moulding from Pep Boys. The can is only 1.25 gallons, but that should get me at least another 60 miles on the Versys. Total cost, including paint and the gas can: around $40.
I like it because when I get back from my trip, I can just pop it off and put my passenger peg back on. It's not a permanent attachment, nor is it just strapped onto the bike like loose luggage. It's a little in the way, getting on and off the bike, and especially if I had to push the bike (but I could always pull it off if it gets to that). Over the winter, I might see if I can find a differently-shaped gas can that won't be in the way as much, but still has similar capacity. If I pick up a tail rack that works with the Givi side racks, I may move the gas can storage to there.
I did, after cutting my shin open the first time I dismounted the bike with the rack installed. With the underbody exhaust, I don't know why I insisted on the left side. Unfortunately, the angle of the mount means it's only good on one side. Ideally, I'd prefer to get a tail rack and mount it there.
Maybe I'm a chicken, but I'd be scared to ride with a firebomb right behind my feet, let alone sharp metal edges.
Therefore, +1 on a tail rack
sorry, i don't want fuel on a tail rack, but i don't want fuel down low on exposed cans either. that weight is better carried low, but enclose the can.
the James Bay and Trans Taiga can present you with the longest potential stretch of road without reliable fuel in all of North America, up to 650km if you're unlucky, so your 5gal main tank won't cut it.
if on the James Bay, you better know your range with a heavily loaded bike in poor conditions, like a big headwind, or you might not make Relais 381.
Here's my solution to a little extra range. Each tank is a liter so this gives me the confidence to go untill the "Fuel" light starts flashing. SW mototech side racks with K-mart gun boxes for side luggage.