What to pack for long motorcycle rides Dec07


Related Posts

Share This

What to pack for long motorcycle rides

This post depicts what I carry with me on long motorcycle rides. Since I like to travel lightweight, what is shown here is adequate for me for a multiple day ride as well as multiple week one, and I imagine a multiple month one too! I hope other riders find it useful.

First off, the luggage:
1. Cortech sport saddle bags: These are small and lightweight and can be slung across the seat. They sit high enough that they do not touch the exhaust, although you do have to be careful that they don’t slip down low.

2. Ortleib dry bag: All my camping gear goes into this. So if I decide that I don’t want to camp on a particular trip,  all my stuff fits into just the saddle bags. Packing light FTW! This bag sits on the seat behind me and is strapped down with Rok Straps.

3. Camelbak: This holds my water reservoir and goes on my back so that I can drink water while riding. If I’m using a tank bag, I nix the Camelbak and place the bladder in there instead.

4. Magnetic tank map holder: I’m not a huge fan of tank bags, so I usually prefer to use a magnetic map holder which sticks to my metal tanks. This won’t work for plastic tanks obviously.

Also pictured is a waist pack, which I did away with shortly after I had begun this ride. I found it way too cumbersome and uncomfortable to have around my waist while riding. Other riders seem to like these though!

What goes into all these bags? Here is a categorized list.



Pictured here are:

Liquid soap – I usually care small reusable bottles of this stuff and refill/restock whenever I can.
Small microfiber towel
Hair tie
Contact Lens solution
Contact lens case
Disposable lenses
Divacup – this is a silicone menstual cup which is indispensable for female travelers. I’ve used mine for ten years and I can honestly say that nothing will revolutionize your travel experience more than this. No more using toxic tampons/pads and luggage around boxes of the stuff. The Divacup is small, reusable, non-toxic, and extremely inexpensive in the long run. Win win win!
Bandaids – this has since been replaced with a small hiking medical kit.
Eagle Creek case – To hold it all together. Everything fits in here nicely!





I am in the habit of packing very few clothes when I travel! Pictured here are:

Microfiber towel – These are quick drying and great for camping.

Pants – I wear one pair and I carry another. I can usually wear a pair for a week straight. My pants are lightweight, moisture wicking, and breathable and they don’t really need to be washed frequently

Shirts – I’ll usually carry two spare shirt and wear one.

Shorts/pajamas – Something to change into at night

Underwear – Usually two spare pairs. I wash they at the end of the day so they dry overnight.

Wool socks – I wear one pair and carry another. Wool socks don’t get stinky for an awfully long time so two pairs is more than adequate.

Lightweight layer – One layer for cold days

Fleece  – A fleece for those really cold nights while camping!

All of these go into a medium sized Eagle Creek case shown on the left here:





Tent – I use an REI Quarter Dome ultra lightweight two-person tent. It is big enough for me to sleep on one side and stash all my gear in the other side. If I’m sharing the tent with someone, my gear goes into the vestibule created by the rain fly.

Sleeping bag in compression sack – I use a Marmot down sleeping bag that is warm enough in sub-zero temperatures because I get *very* cold at night. I use a compression sack to reduce the volume as much as possible. I use my clothes bag as a pillow.

Big Agnes sleeping pad – To lay under the sleeping bag at night. It needs to be inflated by mouth, which is a bit of a pain in the butt.

Crocs – Total fashion faux pas but I’ve found crocs to be fabulous for riding. They are super lightweight and quite comfortable for walking while off the bike.

Rope – You never know when you might need some.

Emergency blanket – Never needed one, always care it anyway.

Emergency flare – Never used it, always care it.

Trowel – For when you need to poop in the woods while wild camping.

Cooking gear – Shown in detail here:


Small REI stove with fuel canister

REI titanium pan with lid – This is nice for heating up a can of food or making dehydrated meals. I never really cook fancy meals while camping like some people do.

REI titanium cup – Nice for heating up water on the stove and making instant coffee, tea or hot chocolate in the mornings.

Small foldable spatula



Windproof matches – A necessity for those windy camping evenings.

Firestarter  – To start that campfire!

Liquid soap, scaper, and cloth – For washing up (which I detest).

All the camping gear fits into the Ortleib bag:





These can go into your waist pack, tank bag or whatever you have easy access to at all times:

Headlamp – I never ever ever travel without my headlamp. It is a must-have IMO.

Whistle – For emergencies. Like the type where you’re lying in a ditch with a broken leg and need to attract someone’s attention to you. It probably makes sense to place this somewhere where you can get to it easily.

Camera accessories – These are optional. I don’t bring them anymore.

Business cards – To hand out to people you meed on the road if you want to stay in touch.

Ear plugs – You don’t ride without ear plugs, do you?

Swiss army knife – Always have one on you.




Hip flask – Some single malt scotch at the end of a hard riding day is always a nice treat. Substitute with drink of your choice.

Liquid coffee – add this to hot water and powdered mild, and voila – coffee!

Protein bars – For times when you don’t have access to food.


Toilet paper – For wild camping and restrooms that have run out!

Freshette pee funnel – For women who need to pee standing up. This was a real boon in Alaska where you just had to pee on the side of the road!

Hat – This Oregon Research hat was waterproof. It was awesome for when I’d stop riding on a rainy day and needed to protect my hat. Alas, I washed it a few months ago and now it’s a child’s hat.

Cable lock – This is great for strapping your gear to your bike. I usually wind it through a jacket arm, pant leg, helmet, and some non-removable part of my bike. Usually, making something look like it’s difficult to steal is enough to ensure its safety.

Little bottle and cloth – For cleaning off bugs and dirt from your visor.

Tire pressure gauge – Always check your pressure before every ride!


Rok Straps – I usually carry a spare pair in case I acquire something along the way that I need to strap on to the bike.




BestRest air compressor – This runs off of your battery and can be used to inflate your tires when you don’t have access to a gas station. A simple bicycle pump can be substituted, but obviously that would take much longer to do the same work.

Suction tube – This is optional. It’s nice for refueling from a friend’s gas tank. A simple piece of tubing can be substituted, although it does mean that you need to start the suction process by mouth and risk ingesting some fuel.

Spare gloves – I carry some winter gloves as my spare gloves in case of cold weather

Cooling vest – It does what it says – you soak it in water and wear it under your jacket. I have omitted this and just doused the shirt  I was wearing in ice water. Nice air conditioned ride!

Spare visor – Always carry one. The only thing worse than scratching up your visor is having to look through it for long distances before you find a spare.


If you were lucky enough to get a toolkit with your bike, you probably still need to replace the tools with better quality ones. You should also carry some spare parts that are bike specific and difficult to find out on the road.

Toolkit – Wrenches, pliers, ratchet with bits
Chain lube
JB Weld
Duct tape – wrap some around your ratchet
Electrical tape
Sand paper
Tire repair kit
Spark plugs
Brake lever
Clutch lever
Gear shifter

Everything packs up nicely into small cases. You could acquire just one large case for it all too.





The following is a hilarious vestige of what I used to carry on rides five years ago. Technology has changed so much since then!


Garmin Zumo 550 motorcycle GPS – This is the only thing I still carry with me. A motorcycle-specific GPS paired with bluetooth helmet speakers is indispensable IMO. I use it to listed to voice navigation which frees my brain from constantly having to think about directions or looking down at the GPS instead of up at the road. I also use it to listen to music.

Phone and charger

Laptop – This is optional. I have still yet to find a laptop that is small, lightweight, powerful enough for blogging and image processing, and inexpensive (so it’s not a big deal if it gets stolen).