Ultimate Packing List For A Motorcycle Trip
There are some things you must know about before you even start thinking about packing and one of them is the so called Mass-Centralisation, which means, keeping the mass as close to the motorcycle’s center of gravity (CG) as possible. You want to keep your bags close to places such as the top of the transmission case, on top of the fuel tank, in saddlebags or in the sit behind you.
A backpack is always good if carrying something light, otherwise you would get to tired,r and soft as it can act as padding in a fall. In this case this backpack would be useful to have always the important stuff which has to be with you: passport, money, map, water, a hoodie, cell phone… despite all of this could also go on a magnetic bag on top of the tank and you could be having a larger backpack that rests on the seat behind you so you don’t get tired while riding. Try to bring just the necessary which normally is one third of what you actually think you need. Saddlebags, and an extra bag, either in front or back should be more than enough. A day or two before you leave, pack the bike and go for a short ride, then adjust the load so it is as balanced and “mass-centralised” as possible.
Something else you should take care of before packing would be making a little check of the general estate of your bike. Increase tire pressure to compensate the weight, check the oil and add if necessary, brakes, lights, leaks, etc.
And so here we go with the proper list:
1. GPS/MAP – It is important to know where you are and just sometimes where to go. It is for this reason that you should take a physical map always with you, preferably get a Butler Map, as it is specially made for motorcyclists by motorcyclists. On the other hand and if you don’t mind being a bit less romantic about it you can also take a GPS with you. The phone might lose connection from now to then or when going in the middle of nowhere but a GPS won’t let you down. In case you are going for this option go all the way and bring a waterproof crash resistant casing too so you can drive with it under any weather.
2. TOOL SET – Every bike should always bring a tool set with it and most importantly if going on a trip for several days, and even more if the bike is older than you! We will make another post on what the most important pieces to bring on a tool set are but be sure that you will need an adjustable wrench, alan wrenches, a screwdriver, a roll of duct tape, an air pump, a multi tool like a leatherman and a swiss knife and maybe a tire inflator aerosol like Fix-A-Flat designed to seal small tire punctures and provide enough inflation to lift the rim off the ground to get to the next gas station to fix it.
3. RAINPROOF CLOTHING – You should most def bring some rain suits, rain pants, and waterproof protection for your boots and hands. In case you have to improvise you can put a clothe around your neck so the water doesn’t go down your back, you could put bags around your boots so your feet don’t get wet and cleaning gloves over your normal gloves to make them waterproof. Bare in mind that the backpacks and saddlebags will also get wet if it rains so try to procure your self with some rainproof covers for these. The motorcycle could also use a cover for keeping the morning dew off your sit.
4. THE GIVENS – We normally don’t count these on lists but they probably are the most important of them all, the items you always carry with you no matter what. ID, cash, insurance, roadside assistance info, motorcycle key, phone, map, sunglasses, helmet, gloves, riding shoes, clothing worn on the first day and whatever is wandering around your pockets like a lighter or a swiss knife.
5. THE APOTHECARY – Under this title we have stuff which we can use for many things such as a bunch of Ziplock bags which we can use for laundry or storing little things like our First Aid Kit composed by: bandaids, aspirin, povidone-iodine, antihistamine, ibuprofen, bandage, duct tape and wet wipes. Something I also strongly recommend bringing as it wont take any space but it might take you out of an ordeal is a sewing kit. These sewing kits you get at hotels, a flat carton with threads, needles and a couple of buttons. You don’t know how much its worth until you needle it 😉
6. WEARABLES – First of all you need to understand you are going on an adventurous road trip with a motorcycle, not on a catwalk, once the is said let’s get into it. take one extra pair of pants, in case they both get too dirty because your trip was kind of messy you can alway wash one with some detergent powder and same for the rest of your clothes. Be optimistic, take a bathing suit. Remember that polyester is a good ally due to its lightweight, packs small and dries quickly. Use Ziplock bags to keep your clothes dry and organised. Bring socks and underwear for everyday (you don’t want to save space here). A hoodie, a neck warmer, warm and light gloves and a hat just in case your hair looks like you got hit by a thunder due to the helmet. And remember that rolling your clothes you take less space than folding them.
7. TOILETRIES – Sample sizes are also your friends, soap, shampoo, toothbrush, deodorant, comb, chapstick, kleenex and wet wipes. Wet wipes can be used to clean stuff, as toilet paper, to clean your hands after doing repairs or eating or even to wipe your boots.
8. FOODIES – Pack some snacks, these must not be considered as proper meals but as power foods to get you going in case you need it. These snacks can be small hermetic packs such as jerky, dried fruit, nuts, or M&Ms. Don’t forget to have always a couple of water bottles or bags with you, if there is something you don’t want to save space with it should be this.
9. CASH – You will obviously bring your plastic money with you as this one is less likely to run off but you will need to bring cash as well. You’ll have some in your wallet which comes with the givens but you will also hide a note somewhere with your things or most preferably in the bike. If you lose your stuff or get stolen you will still have a 100€ note hiding somewhere in your bike to get you back home. You can hide this in a plastic container in the gas tank or in the toolbox, use your imagination. You also will want to bring coins as in many occasions notes wont be accepted, vending machines, car wash, tolls. For this I recommend going to the bank in advance and getting a roll of Euros in a clear plastic wrapper than you can open and close so you can always put more back when you have some, this way you will never run out.
10. GAS – You are an adventurer and it is precisely for this reason that you are most likely to run out of gas in the middle of nowhere. As I mentioned before, water is a must for you as much as gas is for the bike so an extra fuel can will give you great peace of mind no matter where you are. It probably wont get your tank full but hopefully take you to the nearest gas station so you can refill both again.
11. CARGO NET – It doesn’t take much space and on the other side it can generate a lot of it if necessary. Whenever you ran out of space and need to store something else, get out your cargo net and strap it from both sides to your back seat and store your helmets or bags of souvenirs there. Bungee cords and straps are also more than useful and taking away little space from you.
12. CAMPING – In case you are camping, make sure the bag for your tent and sleeping bag are waterproof. U would also want to set them up a couple of times before you go to see how it works, what you can dispense and to be able to set it up in the dark. If camping you will also need cooking material, a hatchet, cutlery, spices and if you have the space and motivation why not a little fishing rod. You can pack most of your other stuff in compression stuff sacks so they go into a smaller shape and you can fit more in your saddlebags.
13. LIGHT SOURCE- Apart from checking all the lights in your bike before you take off you also need to make sure you have other devices which will procure you with a good source of light if needed. A head lamp would be a good idea to leave you with free hands to fix your bike in the night or to set up your tent, but a normal hand torch will also do the job. Ultimately I would recommend you to alway have a lighter with you, in case you need it you can also start a fire if lost in the middle of nowhere with it and a bit of gas and some wood.
14. BATTERY – If you are into social media you will most definitely bring your GoPro or camera with you. Make sure you either have a battery charger powered by the bike’s lighter accessory with you or that you bring extra batteries. There are also powerful external batteries in the market that can charge all devices at very high speeds. There are also solar power banks which can be reloaded while you drive.
15. BLUETOOTH HEADSET – If not riding solo, adding a headset to your helmet can be a good idea at an affordable price. Going with a passenger behind you or riding with friends this is a great and cheap way to communicate with each other and not risking getting lost or left behind as well as informing whatever is to come. Low on gas, sightseeing point, danger ahead, hungry, need a toilet, directions, etc. A bluetooth headset is in my opinion a safety plus and can also be fun!