What to Pack for a Motorcycle Trip
With so many great landscapes to explore, riding motorcycles in the United States of America is incredibly fascinating and enjoyable. Being such a large country there is almost every kind of riding imaginable— from the twisty mountain passes of the Rocky Mountains to the flat grasslands of Oklahoma, from the curvy Pacific Ocean highways to the sweeping Cherohala Skyway in the mid-Atlantic region. America has been called the land of the free and the brave, which could also be called the credo of motorcyclists everywhere.
If you have a packing checklist on your fridge and have everything in perfectly organized pouches for every trip you take, we are all jealous of you! Most riders are not like that and the question of what to pack comes up for every trip.
We have narrowed down the items that we know will make your ride an enjoyable one while ensuring you have only what you need. The key to enjoying yourself along the way is early preparation, planning, and effective space management.
Let’s look at the essentials to bring on the road.
A LOT DEPENDS ON 4 KEY FACTORS
How long the trip is - we all can agree that you will pack less stuff for a shorter trip. A day ride doesn't require as much gear as doing a 2-week or a month long trip. So the first thing to consider is the length of your ride.
How much space you have - you will be limited to the available storage space on your motorcycle unless there is a support van carrying the luggage for you and the group. All tours include a support can, a spare bike, cold water, and a first aid kit. On the opposite, a backing camping trip requires you to carry everything on your bike.
Trip location and terrain - what you pack for a ride to Baja California on a dual sport bike can be very different from packing for a Route 66 trip on a touring bike. You may choose a different type of protective gear, for example.
Riding solo or with a passenger - if you have a second rider on your bike, how light you pack can be crucial. On top of that, chance are your passenger will always pack more stuff than you.
A FEW THINGS THAT WILL ALWAYS BE TRUE
Weather conditions can change quickly - No matter where you ride, weather can be very unpredictable. You can start your day on a frosty morning in Bryce Canyon in mid-May, ride through Zion where the temperatures will start increasing dramatically and then end the day with a 70-mile highway ride to Las Vegas where it will be even hotter.Rain, the extreme heat of the deserts, gusty winds, and other dramatic weather changes can affect your ride and what you pack.
Road conditions are often an unknown - not the most important consideration for packing, but definitely a helpful thing to keep in mind is that you may not always know when you have to take a service or fire road, or when you'll be riding on an old bumpy or brick stretch of the road. You want to make sure you can always balance the motorcycle well and how much you pack can affect this.
There will always be something you forgot to bring - it's one of those things that happens to all of us - you hit the road without some essential you really need. No matter how prepared you think you are, there is at least a small chance that you may have to buy something along your trip. For this, the only thing you'll need is a credit card or cash, possibly the most essential thing to pack of all!