ten essentials to pack for a motorcycle trip

Discussion in 'Trip Planning' started by charlw, May 18, 2011.

  1. kamikazekyle

    kamikazekyle Been here awhile

    Feb 12, 2012
    Greater Hampton Roads, VA
    Well, hell, since the thread got bumped and I haven't seen it mentioned:

    Velcro ties and/or velcro straps and/or velcro cinch straps. They come in varying widths and lengths, but like zip ties you can always connect one strap to another to make a longer one. Or buy a continuous roll and use it like tape. Surprisingly strong, UV and twist tortioning resistant.

    Unlike zip ties, they're reusable (well, zip ties can kinda be reused if you can release the lock tab). Because of that you can wrap them around bits of framework on the bike -- handle bars, forks, swing arm, frame, mirror stalks, cables and wiring. I actually have one wrapped around a Givi baseplate for the past 5 months because I keep forgetting to take it off. Having them on the bike means you don't need them in your toolkit or storage. Reusability also makes them toolless for removal.

    They are, however, wider than zip ties and a good, thick set of zip ties can probably hold more weight than the velcro straps. Zip ties are also a boon if you really need to apply a lot of pressure to strap something down. The width does help, though, as I used several straps wound around the joint of a bar end mirror to keep it from folding in.

    I carry a few wrapped around my everyday toolkit pouches that are stored 24/7 in the bikes. I have a supplimental repair kit that I carry whenever I'm going a distance which has more, along with some strapped around cable bundles or the like in lieu of zip ties that I could repurpose in a pinch. I still carry zip ties but 50 velcro straps pack smaller than 50 same-length zip ties.
  2. bush pilot

    bush pilot Long timer

    Jun 23, 2006
    No one has mentioned the Kermit Chair.

    Honestly it the the first thing to be unpacked and the last thing to be packed up.
    Sitting in a Kermit Chair is very close to nirvana... seriously! It ties it all together it is quite the brilliant bit of kit. If you haven't tried one; do.:clap
  3. Manneman

    Manneman Polarbear

    Oct 15, 2011
    I only have one on my list...

    1. Learn by doing.
  4. RAGBrian

    RAGBrian jonesing for a ride

    Mar 22, 2008
    Wildwood, MO
    I'm still learning what that list should be. All great ideas so far. I think it all depends on the specific trip (location, length, temperatures).

    Looking forward to seeing more ideas here.

    phat fingered on my smarty pants phone with Tapatalk
  5. Contevita

    Contevita Cigar Adventurer

    Oct 25, 2011
    Gulfport, MS, USA
    This is rather good advice when travelling the less than nice countries. I found this out when I was stationed near Adana, Turkey at Incirlik AB. Back in the 80's you didn't see a lot of "performance" motorcycles there, especially in the mountains and high deserts. Often we would get stopped by the Jandarma with machine guns slung on their shoulders ready for action. Anyhow, after showing them our papers, the "blue book", sometimes they'd ask if we had any cigarettes. You'd offer them a smoke to each of the cops and all of the sudden they're your friend. Make sure it's Marlboro Reds and pack a decent lighter not a pack of matches; they love seeing that red and white hard pack of smokes. You'd be surprised how far you can get by sharing a smoke of American cigs even if you don't smoke.
  6. E.O.T.D.

    E.O.T.D. Adventurer

    Jan 24, 2013
    North Georgia
    I like the idea of small vise grips. I will definitely start carrying some when far from home. The fix for the broken throttle cable is a great idea. Too bad mines drive by un-fixable computer wire now.

    there's really only a few things I ALWAYS carry that haven't been mentioned.

    1. Duct tape or electrical tape (camping supply stores have rolls that don't have the round cardboard in the center, they're rolled flat and pack nice.
    2. Been mentioned but ....ZIP TIES!!
    3. Extra wire (a small loom of around 16 or 18 gauge) --- if you ever have to zip tie something that gets hot... Wire won't melt and can keep you from being stranded because of a simple problem. Also if you have a connector go bad or need to bypass and straight wire a failed component. I've held half an exhaust system on with cheap insulated wire.
    4. Camelback or some type hydration pack. You will drink when you need it, not just when you stop and it's convenient.

    If in the U.S. and not leaving. ALWAYS a gun. Just know the laws where your going and have any necessary permit if it's stays loaded. (there's no other way)

    Contrary to unfortunate popular belief, a gun actually can make you LESS scared or nervous and I know it's crazy but it doesn't take any of the fun away. I've had people ask me what it is I'm so afraid of and I have to always respond with honesty... Not. a. damn. thing. I would be very uneasy slipping one across a border. I have been in a cell for 8+ hrs after crossing through Mexican customs and can only imagine how much worse it would have been if I had been hiding a weapon!

    Everything else was pretty much covered. Good stuff
  7. tundradirtbiker

    tundradirtbiker Been here awhile

    Aug 5, 2009
    Oregon City
    Africa travel, no one mentioned stomach meds specifically. Been there 5 times and we always carried Pepto for first line defense, Immodium for a stronger dose and finally bomb the system to kill all bacteria with Cipro.
    If you aren't used to the water in an area it can cause GI misery and riding won't be any fun with a case of "Whoa Mule!!"
  8. Tengai In Toronto

    Tengai In Toronto Been here awhile

    Apr 26, 2011
    VERY good point.

    I have a tendency to eat pretty much anything resembling food, often aged beyond perfection, in parts of the world where the food quality never really reaches "perfection".

    This has led to a few of those situations where all your priorities fly out the window, and you dont care if you live or die, as long as you dont shit your pants.

    Dukoral, immodium, cipro etc. for the win.
  9. wibble

    wibble Been here awhile

    Jan 19, 2006
    Paris, Fr
    Me and my oppo had a week in india.

    our selection of tools ( personal faves, not bike specific.)
    mp3 player
    sun cream

    That was all we took for our health, morale and the bikes ( rented locally)
    Felt so freeeeeeee:evil we found alcohol locally.
    The only thing I really needed but did not have was proper boots....kicking a cats eye at 50 km in converse boots did spoil my day as i was hanging my feet down....even then nothing was broken and alcohol saved the day..... I will learn from these episodes and now will only take MX boots in future..
  10. rifflebox

    rifflebox Yee Haw!

    Dec 11, 2007
    Gold Country, CA
    On a cross-country trip in the US I thought I lost my wallet in Alabama (I live in California). I had about $300 in cash.... that's it. Fortunately, the wallet had slipped between my riding pants and rain-pants and was held in place by the elastic band. Greatly relieved to have found it, I made copies of my driver's license, insurance cards, etc. and put them in the top case (locking). I split my money and left some in the wallet and the rest in the top case. I had two credit cards so one went into the top case as well. Now if I lost my wallet I still had ID, cash, and a credit card.

    I also had a second set of keys made and put all but a top case key in the top case. I then taped a top case key to an inconspicuous part of the bike.

    On my last stop of the trip, I snapped the ignition key off in the fuel filler cap (stupid ST1300 problem). I made it home anyway but I now carry needle nosed pliers and some picks.

    After I got home I scanned my DL and other ID items and put the pix into my iPhone. I also keep them in dropbox and/or on a small thumb drive. Be sure to engage password control on your phone if you have sensitive ID information in it.

    Of course, most of this is predicated on some sort lockable device on the bike, but I think there are plenty of options depending on what you are riding.

    PS, I also carry bear spray.
  11. jalapenopete

    jalapenopete Adventurer

    Jun 20, 2012
    north georgia
    I just glanced thru the responses, so it may have been mentioned earlier, but a quick thread search didn't return anything. I have little device called a SPOT satellite GPS messenger that I carry on trips. it has a couple of different buttons you can program. It sends canned emails with a link to google maps for your current location to your chosen recipients. I have programmed one button to send my wife's email/cell phone my location that i hit when i stop for gas, there's another for when i need help but not emergency services, a third that i use to tell her I've stopped for the night, and a 4th that (hopefully) brings out the helicopters and rescue squad if I've really balled it up but can still push a button. It's relatively cheap and very handy when out of cell phone coverage.
  12. Two Wheeled 'Tard

    Two Wheeled 'Tard Banned

    Jul 2, 2011
    Chicago (sort of)
    I'm surprised its not in the very first post, but for the love of god never be without condoms. Nothing sucks more than needing one and not having it.
  13. Tengai In Toronto

    Tengai In Toronto Been here awhile

    Apr 26, 2011

    I'd rather not have condoms when i need one than have condoms but never need one....

    Just saying
  14. Wanted

    Wanted Dead or Alive

    Jun 14, 2013
    RTW - Everywhere
    As for guns, I came across a guy who had been riding for 5 years around the world and was now in Argentina. He said he carries a flare gun (bright orange) for rescue, but for the main reason being protection. He said don't be fooled, it may be a flare gun but is still a deadly weapon that will kill somebody.

    As far as I know he hadn't had any issues in transit with it
  15. Trail bandit

    Trail bandit Random adventurer

    May 31, 2012
    Flatistan Nebraska and Melbourne, Australia
    Surprised this isn't the first item.

    7" Or 10" apple or android can give you

    Phone via Skype and WiFi. Cellular more of a problem but doable.
    GPS maps
    Mp3 player via Bluetooth or plug in. (Just got MP3 amplifier for android, can blast
    Your ears off if you forget to put ear plugs in)
    Movies and TV shows.
    Books and your bike manual.
    Daily newspapers from home if you want
    Picture gallery of what you miss from home
    Google for problem solving (again related to WiFi or cellular)
    Alarm clock
    Currency calculator
    ....list could keep going.

    Note... I just brought android for the volume amplifier app. Should have got the
    7" I went in for at 200 but got sucked in by the nexus 10". Barely fits in tank bag.not the smartest decision
  16. Abraham II

    Abraham II n00b

    Jul 15, 2013
    It depends on your own taste but any how the essentials are :

    Little petrol tank
    Polarized sun glasses
    Shorts and a T shirt along with a Jacket
    I pod
    I pad with web connection availability


    Jun 5, 2010
    Santa Clara
    I recently added these small flares to my long-ride toolkit as well. Purchased at Wal-Mart in the hunting/camping section. Burns 2000F for 5 minutes and could be used for signal, fire or as weapon to fend off animals. I also carry Counter Assault spray when in bear country.

  18. Tropic-Of-Canada

    Tropic-Of-Canada Guru of Shoe Goo

    Mar 21, 2011
    Vancouver Island
    I'm curious if anyone who goes way out there brings something to deal with water in carb or bad gas issues. On a recent trip, I accidentally let my tank run dry on reserve, filled from a jerry can, and it wouldn't start. I had spark, fuel down the plug hole would ignite, but I was getting no gas through the carb.

    I ended up getting towed to a mechanic in a town of 300, and he figured I sucked up some water into the carb. He ended up getting it going after a good 10 minutes of cranking while on a charger, and a spray of ether into the air filter.

    So are there any long haul riders who bring gas antifreeze and ether with them??

    Maybe it would have saved me $140, maybe I would have blown up my bike!
  19. Grinnin

    Grinnin Forever N00b

    Dec 10, 2005
    Yes I always take something.

    It's either the hex wrench for the carb bowl drain or the screwdriver for the carb bowl drain. Different bikes different drains. Last time I needed to empty a carb bowl was mid-June. I have tools to take the bowls off entirely too.
  20. Tropic-Of-Canada

    Tropic-Of-Canada Guru of Shoe Goo

    Mar 21, 2011
    Vancouver Island
    Yep, did that to no avail. I guess the water was in the jets.