Aerostich Riding Suit - One outer riding suit for rain or shine, hot or cold. Keep the bugs off your clothes so there's no clean-up needed when you take your suit off and sit down to lunch. I prefer to take the suit off outside before entering the restaurant and then just carry it in under my arm.
Motorcycle Boots - Laced boot with a good thick tread suitable for hiking when off the bike. A waterproof lined boot is ideal. 8 inch high top adds protection to your shins from stones and bugs, and looks a lot better than showing off your white socks.
Motorcycle Helmet - Wear it almost all the time. Keeps the bugs off your face. A high-priced item so take care of it. Don't scratch the face shield by dropping it or bumping into stuff. Don't bring it into the restaurant with you--Leave it attached to one of the bungee cords on your bike, but be careful not to scratch the face shield. Got it?
Fleece Jacket - For hanging around the campfire or riding down the street from your motel or campsite for dinner. Lightweight. Rolls up easily into a small white garbage bag and takes up little space.
Rubbers - Totes or similar brand, best with a zipper down the side. Buy them large enough to go over your boots. A real pain to get on and off but worth the struggle if you find yourself in an all day rain. You really do need dry boots at all times. Keep them folded-up in your gear with a rubber band.
Rain Hat - Very useful when you're setting up or breaking down camp in the rain. Hands-free rain protection for your head. Fold-up and store with a rubber band.
Rain Gloves - You really do need dry hands at all times. There are so many different types of rubber gloves available at the hardware store, that you should be able to find some that are comfortable and fit your needs. Keep them folded-up in your gear with a rubber band.
Gaiters - When it rains and you're on the road, they cover the laces of your boots and extend all the way up your shins. Sort of like military leggings. There's a leather strap that goes around the bottom of your boot. Fits inside your riding suit pant leg. Combined with rubbers, you can ride all day in the rain with your legs and feet dry as a bone. I'm surprised I don't see these in use more often for motorcycling. They really work. They're available at camping stores because I think they use them for hiking or something. Keep them folded-up in your gear with a rubber band.
Bath Shoes - Okay, look. You're at the campground shower. You're really not going to walk around barefoot, are you? Or, it's the middle of the night and you have to leave the tent for a short hike. Why bother lacing up your boots? These things really come in handy.
Baseball Hat - Keeps the sun out of your eyes and off your face when walking around. Makes you look more presentable after riding with a helmet all day. But please, remove your hat when sitting down to a meal or touring a venerable historic home.
Loafers or 2nd pair of shoes - Those big clunky motorcycle boots must come off your feet when the sun goes down, if for no other reason than to let them breathe and dry out. Enjoy your comfort time with your comfortable shoes. In a pinch, your 2nd pair of shoes can be used inside your rubbers for riding in the rain while temporarily replacing your totally soaked boots.
Pants (x2) w/belt - Some times you just need to put on a clean pair of pants.
Towel - Bring one that's just large enough for drying-off and doesn't take up too much room. 26 x 42 inches works. Like all clothing, it gets rolled-up and stored in one of those small white garbage bags, maybe with your second pair of pants and bathing suit.
Thermal Top - Thermal underware protects your core temperature and defends against the freezing cold. You could bring thermal underwear for your legs, but I'm wearing my pants inside the riding suit when on the road and that's usually sufficient.
Wool Sweater - That added layer of dependable warmth is priceless in all cold weather conditions.
Socks (3) - Thick white cotton does the trick. Exchange one for all wool if climate dictates.
Boxer Shorts (3) - Lots of room to move.
T-shirts (3) - The basic upper body staple. A conversation starter, not that you'd need one.
Turtleneck Jersey - It's that 100% cotton turtleneck that gives you the perfect combination of layered warmth and itch-free neck protection while on the road or at the campsite at night.
Bathing Suit - You've been riding all day in the desert and a pool of water appears on the horizon. Doubles as a pair of hiking shorts as long as you've got pockets or a backpack.
Bandanna - Lots of uses from wiping your brow to soaking in cold water and wrapping around your neck--instant air conditioning!
Neck Warmer - It must be really cold out there and you've got another few hundred miles to go. Even covers the lower half of your face.
Wool Glove Liners - Keeping your hands at the right temperature is paramount. These work great inside your riding gloves when the temperature drops. They also work perfectly inside your rubber gloves during cold rain riding.
Electric Gloves w/wires - Like the neck warmer, when the temperature plummets, there's really no other choice. Fail-safe. Your last option. Tingling frost-bitten fingers are a no-no. Wires run up your arms and eventually make their way to your battery.
Gauntlet Type Riding Gloves - Deerskin. Mandatory for touring. Dries quickly. Keeps the cold wind from billowing your sleeves. Equally mandatory must be the fringe that hangs down at all stop lights.
Summer Riding Gloves or 2nd pair of gloves - Out in the desert you still need riding gloves. These are them. You need riding gloves at all times.
Campground Gloves - I use them to chop wood with my hatchet and re-arrange logs in a burning campfire or swat away killer insects poised to attack. Save your riding gloves for the handgrips. Use the camp gloves to haul firewood, change your rear tire, or other similar jobs. In a pinch, you can use them as riding gloves, too.
Ear Plugs (10) - Disposable and inexpensive. Each pair lasts about 500 miles. I swear by the yellow EAR Classics with a 29 db noise reduction. It's the wind noise you want to block. I even use them at rock concerts to cut back the high end shrieking.
Tank Bag w/cover - Yes, it may cover up part of your dashboard and move around in strong crosswinds, and your handlebars may make contact with it near the stops, but it's still worth it. That empty space on top of your gas tank just sits there waiting to help. They're generally not waterproof, hence the rain cover, and the rain cover wants to blow off going down the road. Try to find a bag that perfectly fits your tank and needs. I vote for tall and narrow with 3-4 strap-down points. You use it to store mostly soft things and frequently used small items. My favorite brand and model is the vertically adjustable Eclipse Sportpack Tankbag--that's what you want. Very easy to partly detach from the front and lift up and back onto the seat when gassing up. Mapcase on top makes for iconic touring bike.
Sunglasses - Keep them in a case and relatively clean.
Wallet - All your ID and money and charge cards.
Useful Addresses and Phone Numbers - "Hi, it's me. I just happen to be in your town and, uh (click)." Don't forget to send postcards to your friends back home.
Hair Brush - Or comb. Choose your favorite and use it often. The handlebar mirrors are just sitting there waiting for you. Massage your scalp.
Tent w/poles and stakes - I keep the tent and rain fly by themselves in stuff sack #1, the poles and stakes in stuff sack #2 along with the tarps and air mattress. There are many 1-2 person tents perfect for solo motorcycle travel. You want a size sufficient enough to house you for a few hours waiting out a rain storm. I'm a fan of those free standing 3-season tents.
Sleeping Bag - One bag should do it for all seasons in stuff sack #3. Goose down or synthetic, it's up to you.
Air Mattress - A brilliant invention. Therm-a-Rest. Only way to sleep. Don't try roughing it on a foam pad. Rolls-up tight and thin, and secures with a nylon strap and buckle.
Tarps (3) - Your tent requires two and and a third covers your bike at night. You could get by without a footprint tarp inside your tent, but why bother. Helps keep the inside of your tent clean from campsite to campsite. I also keep the third tarp, made of rip-stop nylon, handy to cover my bike when I'm having lunch inside a restaurant, waiting out a horrific downpour. Use bungees or rope to secure but keep off hot engine and pipes.
Compass - Helps you not get lost. Helps you figure out which way to go. Helps you position your tent for sunrise. Tells you where sunset is.
Maps and Guidebooks - Yes, you still need a map. Keep them secure in a plastic Ziplock bag. The one you're using folds into the mapcase on top of the tankbag. Guidebooks offer helpful information and you can discard them when no longer needed.
Pocket Calculator - For figuring out mileage and your remaining limits on daily spending.
Highlighter - Highlight your planned route on your paper map to save time. Highlight stuff in your guidebooks.
Flash Light - Thin with four AA batteries works best. A bright focused beam of light.
Tent Light - A small dome light that will illuminate the inside of your tent.
Key Chain Thermometer - Helps to know how cold it actually is.
Magnifying Glass - For reading maps and pulling splinters out of your finger. Get a pocket magnifyer. Perfect.
Swiss Army Knife - Lots of useful knives, screwdrivers, utensils, and don't forget the tweezers. The Climber model looks about right. Make sure it's got scissors.
Camera w/film - Take plenty of pictures any way you can. And buy lots of postcards whose pictures are better than yours.
Kleenex Pocket Packs (4) - Nice and soft. Why suffer with paper products not designed for the job?
Small White Garbage Bags w/ties (several) - The key to packing your clothes. Good as gold. Don't trust the water tightness of anything else. Keeps all your clothes clean, too. Remember, you roll-up all your clothes and place them into several easily packable bags. Squeeze the air out and close with a tie. Resembles a beef brisket. Take as many extras as possible for uses much more important than trash hauling. Don't forget the ties, take extras. Got wet gloves? Put them in a bag for now. Sweater too warm? Put it in a bag.
Large Garbage Bags (several) - At the campsite, this is your garbage can. May also be used to cover your firewood at night or when away from the campsite. Fill with ice--instant cooler.
Rope - String up a line for anything you want to keep off the ground. A handy clothes line.
Pen - For writing.
Razor Blade (2) - For shaving. Disposable kind works best as each is good for a dozen shaves.
Shaving Cream - For shaving. Small travel size is perfect.
Backpack for Day Hikes - For carrying food back from the market. Use as a backpack (purse) if you have no pockets or your pockets are full. Get a small one. Folds up easily with a rubber band.
Lighter - Light that campfire. Dependable butane flame. Disposable.
Combination Lock - You may need to lock a locker or lock something to your bike.
Rags - For cleaning dishes, washing bugs off your riding suit and helmet, or cleaning your bike at the end of the day. Cut up an old thick towel into about a dozen 4-inch squares ahead of time.
Paper Toweling - Use this instead of napkins when eating or preparing a meal. Use as a placemat on a picnic table. Its most important use though, is wiping the bugs off your face shield when you stop for gas or sooner. Never use the squeegee sponge at the gas station to clean your helmet's shield. Even the water in the bucket should be avoided. Use your own bottled water to do the job. Clean with confidence then wipe dry. Your vision will appreciate it. Take many flat sheets stored in a Ziplock bag, not the whole roll.
Safety Pins - For cloth that comes undone and needs to be reconnected. Handy for closing off a pocket to keep stuff from flying out of it.
Watch - You need to know what time it is at all times. You need to know how long you've been hiking so you can turn around and head back.
Bungie Cords (several) - There's no replacement for bungee cords. They come in various sizes and colors. It's the stretching that makes them so perfect. They secure just about anything anywhere. Their replacement by more modern straps is overhyped. Be careful though, as to not scratch any painted surfaces with the hooks. Aerostich Adjustable Bungees with 3 plastic hooks work remarkably well.
Toothbrush - Brush your teeth.
Note Pad - Write notes so you remember stuff, like campsite numbers.
Spare Keys - Your first set of keys may break or, impossible to imagine, get lost. Have a second set just in case.
Nail Clipper - Clip that hangnail. Keep your fingers nice and tidy.
Finger Nail Brush - An important item. A small stiff rectangular brush for cleaning potatoes, your finger nails, or your boots. Sometimes all it takes is a quick scrubbing of your boots and you're back in business.
Mirror - Small flat camping mirror. Tape it to the wall in the shower and shave there.
Binoculars - Look at stuff far away. Small binoculars are commonplace and can easily fit into your tank bag.
Dirty Laundry Bag - Store your dirty clothes and take them to the laundromat in something other than a plastic bag. This way you're absolutely certain which clothes are dirty.
Umbrella - You're standing there, it's raining and you have a free hand. Why get wet? 11 inches long. Fits in saddlebag.
Liquid Soap - Dr. Bronner's. Pick your flavor. Washes face, hair, dishes, hands, clothes, etc.
Water Sack w/cap - Collapsible nylon and plastic with a carrying handle and spout. Easily fills at the potable water tap. Mostly used for rinsing dishes, washing hands or putting out campfires. Folds-up with a rubber band and stores inside mug when travelling. I prefer to drink bottled water when available.
Hatchet - Estwing Sportman's Axe with sheath. You need this to chop firewood into kindling. Use as a hammer to drive in tent stakes. Could serve as protection if something bigger than you attacks. Store in the bottom of your saddlebag.
Fire Starter Sticks - Light and place beneath dry kindling. Dependable. Better than rolled-up newspaper. Store in plastic bag and secure with rubber band.
Tylenol (or similar headache relief) - Get rid of that headache.
Silverware - Stainless steel spoon and fork nestles into knife. Plastic (Lexan) utensils less sturdy, but lightweight.
Plate - Good deep metal plate sufficient for cutting a steak. Like in the cowboy movies. Polycarbonate (Lexan) is a lightweight alternative.
Mug - Stainless steel enamel mug. Like in the cowboy movies. Morning tea. Soup with dinner.
Small Pot - Aluminum. 6 inches diameter. 4 inches deep. With lid and handle or a half-circle handle that connects to both sides. Cooks vegetables, soup, hot water for tea, hot water with soap and rag for clean-up of dishes. Use campground gloves to lift pot off fire. I fill with hot water, take a rag, and clean bugs off of bike. To store, place mug and water sack inside, surround with rags, and secure lid with a rubber band.
Grill Tongs - For turning over steaks or chicken on the barbecue. For moving hot coals around (wear campground gloves). Spring loaded. Secure with rubber band and store in saddlebag.
Grill w/cover - Hibachi grate or similar. 15 inches by 10 inches should do the trick. Clean after each use with a soapy rag. Place directly beneath the bungees holding your stuff sacks in place on the back of your bike. When cars pull up behind you and see the grill, they'll know you mean business. A sheet of clear flexible plastic (heavy duty polyethylene) folded over the grill keeps it and adjacent gear clean.
Tea Bags for your spot of tea - Too easy not to take. Drink tea at the campsite. Coffee is a big production. Get coffee on the road.
Dental Floss - Doubles as a heavy duty string.
Hiker's Stove - The Optimus Hiker Stove is perfect for motorcycle camping. Measures 5 x 3 x 5 inches. A neat little self-contained metal box fits easily in your saddlebag. A bit pricey, but there are many other single burner alternatives.
Dry Matches - Strike anywhere wooden matches, inside a plastic waterproof vile. Use when the butane lighter is too cumbersome.
Insect Repellent - 100% DEET in a 2 ounce spray bottle should do it.
Tupperware Container - For storing food on the road. Measures 5 x 3 x 5 inches with lid. Fill with sandwich and Ziplock bags and your tea bags. Nuts are nice to have between meals. Fits in your saddlebag.
Sandwich Bags - For storing food inside your Tupperware Container or tankbag. Lots of non-food related uses like keeping your wallet dry.
Toothpaste - Can't think of any alternative.
Snake Bite Kit - You probably won't require this, but it's so small, and when suction is needed, this might work.
Sewing Kit - Small and useful needle and thread.
First Aid Kit - A hand size 100-piece kit for minor injuries should do it. I store it in the tankbag.
Isopropyl Alcohol - A few ounces in a small plastic vile with a rubber seal (plastic waterproof match box). Common disinfectant and sterilizing agent. I remember the time my neck ran into a bee stinger at 80 miles per hour. The isopropyl alcohol helped immensely.
Suntan Lotion - While everything else might be covered, your face and nose can be exposed to the sun all day long. And when it's 115 degrees and you're crossing the desert in a t-shirt...
Shampoo - As found in your motel room. Perfect size.
Tool Kit - The one that came with your bike and stores beneath your seat in a roll-up pouch. If you don't have it, create one. Utilize all under seat storage to the max.
Tire Patch Kit w/CO2 Cartridges - Small pouch. Too easy not to take. Plug that hole and fill tubeless tire with carbon dioxide. The cartridges will probably give you enough air to make it to place where you can fill the tire to 32 psi, and then get to a place where you can replace the tire. Make sure the adhesive can bond--if it's old and dried up, it's useless.
Tail Lamp Bulbs - Those behind you need to know you're there and that you're stopping. An easy fix to take care of immediately.
Turn Signal Bulb - Another simple fix, to let people know what you're doing.
Air Gauge - Your tires should retain their air. If your tire looks low, check it. Before travelling, make sure your valve stems can be filled at any gas station air pump.
Owner's Manual - Lots of useful information and things you probably didn't know.
Electrical Tape - Cover exposed wire wherever it appears.
Electrical Wire - Bypass a broken circuit.
Duct Tape - Millions of uses.
Rubber Bands - Used mostly for packing. To fold stuff up into the smallest space and keep it folded.
Pocket Volt Meter (multimeter) - At the very least, it allows you to check continuity of a circuit, like a light bulb, or the voltage of a battery. At the upper ends of academia, it allows you to measure resistance and current. You should have this with you just in case someone with an electrical engineering degree decides to assist.
Fuses - If one is blown, replace it. If it blows again, look for fault and bring out the pocket volt meter.
WD40 Spray Lubricant - Keeps stuff from binding. Small travel size is easy to carry. Works great on luggage clasps.
Fuel Line Plugs (2) - Like a golf tee plug for gas lines that keeps the gas in your tank if you have to remove the tank.
Front Tire Info - Make, model and size. - When tire is flat and sidewall is too difficult to read.
Rear Tire Info - Make, model and size. - Same as above.
Itinerary - You've spent a lot of time planning, so don't forget to take the route with you. Helps you stay on schedule.
This Page - Find stuff you packed, assuming you marked down where you stored everything next to each item.
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