Having gone on countless cross-country motorcycle road tours, I have had quite a fair share of good and bad experiences.
But perhaps one of the best lessons I have learned is the importance of packing right before embarking on a motorcycle road tour.
Yes. That’s right.
Packing plays a huge role in the success of your cross-country motorcycle road tour.
Personally, I like viewing it as an art that needs to be carefully mastered.
It may seem like an easy task, but it really does require proper planning.
The good news is, in this article, I have created a motorcycle packing list guide to help you pack whenever you’re going on a cross-country road tour.
So, this is how to pack when going on a cross country motorcycle road trip:
- Pack for emergency
- Carry a protective gear
- Pack for all-weather
- Only pack clothes that you are comfortable in
- Use plastic zip bags
- Pack non-perishable foods and enough water
But before we go more into that, here are 4 key things that every rider planning to go on a cross-country motorcycle road tour needs to remember:
- Memorize at least two emergency phone numbers in case you are not able to access your phone
- Don’t forget to carry your driver’s license, cash, and credit card/s
- Carry a hard copy map
- Know how to properly use every tool that you carry when going on your trip
A good rule of the thumb when packing for a cross-country motorcycle road tour is:
- To pack light
- And pack ONLY what’s needed
Without further ado, let’s now jump right into more details:
1. Pack for emergency
Anything can happen while you’re on your motorcycle road tour. So, before embarking on your trip, you need always to be prepared for emergencies.
The following is a list of items that should be included in your emergency packing list:
- A basic Motorcycle Toolkit
Having a motorcycle toolkit saves you more than you can imagine.
Why? Because it is not a guarantee that you will go and come back without experiencing any mechanical issues, even on a new or a fully serviced motorcycle.
I mean, something always goes wrong on the road!
Sometimes, you get some minor loose parts that rattle your motorcycle due to poor road conditions, which you may need to fix yourself.
Other times you may need to change the bulbs in brake lights, headlights, etc.
For whatever may happen, be sure also to include the following maintenance supplies:
- Motor oil
- Jumper and clutch cables
- Spark plugs
- Tire inflation kit
- Replacement fuses
- Bike cover
So, a motorcycle toolkit should have:
- Vice grips
- Screwdriver (Flathead screwdriver) etc.
- Gerbing fuses
- Tire gauge
- Cycle pump
- Zip ties
- Tire plug kit
And your own toolkit should have:
- First aid kit
- Extra bulbs
But perhaps most importantly, just as I mentioned earlier, you need to know how to use every tool you carry on your road trip.
And in other words, you need to know how to get yourself out of a mess in case you encounter a mechanical problem while you’re miles away from home.
2. Carry a protective gear
You should carry good protective gear that can withstand motorcycle crashes and varying weather conditions.
Here is a list of must-have protective gears:
- A durable Helmet
And another thing, it’s good always to ensure that your protective gears have reflective areas or are bright enough to increase your visibility while on the road.
For instance, for riders who prefer wearing black protective gears, you can enhance your visibility on the road by sticking a reflective tape on your gears, including on the helmet.
3. Pack for all weather
Sometimes with every mile that you add, you feel every change in temperature across your whole body.
So, with the wrong gear, you will inevitably wish you carried a cooler gear in the heat and a much warmer gear in the cold weather.
It thus goes without saying that when packing, you should place rain gears where they can be easily be accessed in case of a sudden weather change.
Here are a few examples of these rain gears:
- Water-proof rain jackets
- Waterproof pants
- Waterproof boots
- Gloves (in case you fall)
And additionally, you could consider carrying light clothes that would typically not take long to dry, such as cotton t-shirts. This is because they don’t take long to dry even when you’ve washed them in the evening and expect to wear them the following day.
4. Only pack clothes that you’re comfortable in
You’ll need to pack clothes that will be comfortable both on and off your motorcycle.
In fact, most riders pack clothes that they feel will be comfortable riding in but often forget that they will not spend the entire day or trip on the motorcycle.
And remember, when packing, rolling your clothes will save more space for other items.
5. Use Plastic Zip Bags
Zip bags are a great way of saving space.
I mean, you can pack things like toiletries in your zip bags or anything that might leak and mess your clothes.
And if you are the kind of person who always finds it hard to be organized, then I would highly recommend that you pack different sets of clothes in different zip bags. Then this perhaps will help you stay organized and save time.
6. Pack healthy non-perishable food and enough water
Riding for a long distance can not only make you feel dehydrated but hungry as well.
Packing nonperishable food may therefore help you to retain more energy than you lose.
For instance, eating fruits and nuts and drinking enough water helps boost your energy levels.
You should hence invest in good water liter bottles for your water supply during your trip.
- After packing and loading everything onto your motorcycle, do a test pack. This will help you find out whether you have over-packed, or if you will be comfortable going on a long trip with the weight on your motorcycle.
- And then again, ensure that you put equal weight on both sides of the motorcycle, to balance it out. Try to keep your luggage low and towards the front of the bike, and also avoid hanging saddlebags around the drive chains or the exhaust pipes.
The bottom line is, a cross-country motorcycle road trip can offer you an experience like no other, but only when you pack right.