Motorcycle Touring Tips and Suggestions

Motorcycle Touring TipsWHAT ARE YOUR MOTORCYCLE TOURING SUGGESTIONS?

A friend of mine just bought a new motorcycle (he’s been riding off and on for many years) and will be taking a trip with his wife and asked my advice regarding motorcycle security on the road; best gear for touring through mountains with variable temperatures and unpredictable rain; tips on gear storage while traveling; and “anything else” I might want to suggest as touring advice.

Below are my responses, and you probably have some thoughtful suggestions for such questions, so please add them below!

1) MOTORCYCLE SECURITY ON THE ROAD: A motorcycle cover, a lock (that attaches to a sign or pole), an alarm, and Lojack are the best security options available that I’m aware of. However, I don’t use any of them. I just park right outside the motel/hotel lobby entrance and ask the night clerk to keep an eye on my bike. (I have a bike cover and big lock, but I don’t like to carry them because mine take up too much storage space. However, there are much lighter-weight covers specifically for touring and lighter locks, too). Of course, when I’m camping, the motorcycle is right outside my tent.

2) TOURING GEAR: I utilize a variety of different options as I’m not aware of any one perfect solution. I have a heavy, one-piece, thermal-lined, waterproof motorcycle suit that I wear with an electric vest, along with waterproof boots and gloves, as my ultimate protection against everything. But I rarely use the big suit in the summer because it’s too warm to wear and too bulky to carry. Hence, I have lighter, waterproof jackets that I use for summer trips and I only use my non-waterproof leather for local travel. I also have lightweight, waterproof overpants that I carry when I’m not bringing the suit. In fact, I also have waterproof overboots, that I’ll wear when I’m riding for extended periods in the rain, since my leather, waterproof boots will get saturated. In other words, I have a variety of different types of gear. Oh, And I have more gloves than I can count. Currently I have three different motorcycle jackets and one motorcycle suit.

However, based upon my experience, if I was doing a summer trip though the Rocky Mountains that you will be doing, I’d wear a comfortable, waterproof, summer-weight jacket with armor, and carry an electric vest (in case it gets too chilly at higher altitudes), as well as rain pants, all in addition to waterproof gloves and waterproof boots.

The following link offers a more complete overview of rain gear:
http://motorcycle-intelligence.com/motorbike-rain-riding/330/

Here’s more info on motorcycle boots:
http://motorcycle-intelligence.com/tips-best-motorcycle-boots/913/

There’s more to know about motorcycle gloves, if you’re interested:
http://motorcycle-intelligence.com/motorcycle-riding-gloves/181/

Finally, if you are inclined towards heated motorcycle gear, you might find this of interest:
http://motorcycle-intelligence.com/motorcycle-heated-clothing/32/

3) TOURING STORAGE AND WHAT TO TAKE: Many years ago I would probably have just presented my list of what to carry, but I seem to like to change it routinely. However, what I can offer is my viewpoint: Bring as little as possible in order to be comfortable.

A more general touring adage is “Carry less stuff, but more money and credit cards.”

With my current, purpose-built, sport-touring bike, I have the capacity to carry more than I need. In fact, it has served me well for carrying two persons cross-country with motorcycle camping gear. Hence, because of the load capacity, I’ve found more times than not, that I’ve brought more stuff than I really needed for any give trip, and I continue to refine how “little” to carry.

Having said that, what any two different riders consider to be necessary accouterments for a week on the road can vary. My main criteria is simply to stay warm and dry. From my perspective, anything else is a personal consideration.

Oh! I also like to bring tools as a sort of assurance that nothing mechanical will go wrong. But “which” tools is a subject of lengthier discussion, especially since, in my experience, any kind of mechanical problem is such a rarity.

Since your bike has two saddlebags and a luggage rack, the primary storage option I would offer for consideration is the notion of a tankbag. Personally, I have always used them, but there are reasons not to, which I note in this article on tankbags:

http://motorcycle-intelligence.com/tankbags/43/

4) OTHER: As a point of general advice, I would attach all your touring gear and ride around for a week or two prior to the actual trip. In fact, as a point of additional safety, I would suggest packing and storing your full complement of touring gear to ride around fully loaded for a week before you go, so that you are fully adjusted to the handling characteristics.

Additionally, here are three articles that might be of interest:

Rookie Mistakes for Touring Riders:
http://motorcycle-intelligence.com/rookie-mistakes/573/

I’ve become a fan of earplugs in the past several years:
http://motorcycle-intelligence.com/ear-plugs-motorcycle/30/

And I consider a kidney belt to be an indispensable touring item:
http://motorcycle-intelligence.com/kidney-belt/27/

So, that was my advice. What would be yous?

Add your thoughts and experience below!

MCg

MCg

"Wandering Around" is my motto: Up and down the California Coastal Ranges; the Rockies; the Appalachians; the beaches of both North American coasts; and everywhere in between. Any two wheels with a motor and a full gas tank will make me happy.
MCg

36 thoughts on “Motorcycle Touring Tips and Suggestions

  • I carry a small wet soft towel in a ziplock bag to clean my windshield and visor. I agree with Graham above, always dress like you are preparing to hit the pavement!! At every intersection look left last, or it may be your last look !!!!

  • Really? Security on the road? From what? The usual crime that happens all around us all of the time. If you do not know how to protect yourself at this point in your life, I then suggest that you either stay home under your bed or purchase an armor truck to park your bike in when it is not being ridden.
    What a naive and suspicious web traffic driver of a question this one was.
    Good riddance!

  • I carry a 55 gallon black plastic garbage bag in my Givi top box. I bought a box of them at Sam’s Club. When at a motel in the early morning the dew forms on the top of the bike and the seat is usually soaking wet. It’s nice to start the day with a dry seat.

  • Something I learned while motorcycle marshaling a recent 3 day charity bicycle-ride: pack minimal amounts of clothes and take along a small bottle of concentrated detergent. You can then manually wash your clothes in the hotel sink or campsite water spigot and hang them out to dry for the next day. Saves a lot of room in your bags for more important things!

  • Have travelled much. LESS is BETTER. There are stores to buy whatever odd item you left behind, about everywhere, IF you really need it. Do carry some cash, as well as several kinds of credit cards and your insurance cards. Have a copy of all cards in a separate place, like in the tool kit under the saddle. Keep an eye on anything left on the bike/ stuff tends to ‘walk away.’ One extra service I subscribe to: Medjet; will get you back to home hospital from anywhere.
    About guns: carry laws not only vary greatly state to state, but so do cross-acceptance of your carry permit. After lots of consideration, I do not travel with what I carry in home area.
    Best advice is already above: relax, enjoy the ride.

  • A Biker Poem:

    Riding along beneath the Kansas skies,

    I felt something hit me right between the eyes.

    ‘Twas cool and wet. “I hope that’s rain” I heard myself say.

    But alas and alack, ’twas not my lucky day.

    I wish that I could aim a six-shooter from a rolling bike

    As accurately as a bird can aim it’s poop-shooter while in flight.

    Though I am not to concerned about an avian geyser,

    I do think it’s good to wear a visor.

    J.R. Kidd

  • Gotta say, it’s pretty disturbing to read about murdering someone and tossing your gun away under essential packing equipment for a trip. Tell us where you ride, so we can be somewhere else.

  • In a few weeks I am doing a 6000Km trip through South Africa, I always pack light one set clothing on my back and one in the bag, Tyre plugs and repair kit, debit card and some cash just as a back up. Everybody is contacted at each fuel stop so they know my progress and time between stops, just case something happens. Lots of stops and refreshments along the way. A good light weight bike cover and riding clothes this will differ between leather or material. I prefer Leather more protection and weather proof for my riding conditions also I might have to sleep on cement next to bike at a fuel stop if accommodation cant be found. I never drive at night or very early in morning too many wild animals on roads at that time, including tired or drunk cagers. Pack Light, Enjoy the ride, take time and dont speed, rather get there a day later and safe

  • I quite agree with the criteria to keep warm and dry.But how to…that’s really a big headache for me…..One friend I met on my-travel-mate.com told me some good tips about it…Hope we can have a good communication on it~

  • i go with charly.. no less then a 38 spl or a .380.. but a rev. will not kick out shells to i.d. later, get a good gun that works but one that you can throw off a bridge into deep water if you need to. do not get attached to it..plenty of wipes to clean your hands ,face,arms.of powder. stop and shower as soon as possible,a change of clothes so that you can burn the other, dna trace is a no,no these days… the cops call it a throw gun so when they shoot unarmed people they can leave it by there side… if you use it at 2 am on the side of the road just ride away.. they might be the local inbreds with the law… travel daytime.. stay in good motels.. the ” bates motel” is not the place to stop.. never run out of gas..banjo music is another clue to avoid the area. some cash so credit cards will not put you within 300 miles of the hot spot….try to travel with 1-2 others..have aaa motorcycle pick up service…know where your dealers are or other bike service on the way, have their phone # handy…

  • I always travel strapped. Having worked in a prison, I know that the nightmare scenario does happen and very bad things can happen to good people. So, buy large calibre, know how to use it, keep it handy, keep shooting ’til he falls down. Know the carry laws in the states you’re traveling through. Stay out of areas where you fear trouble, mind your own business and pray to your God that trouble doesn’t find you. After all that, have a great trip!

  • 76 Y.O. rider with a Suzuki Intruder 1500 LC w/hard bags, vertical soft trunk and Mustang seats. Ok, now what I carry: Spare Gas, JIC, I use a 1 qt bottle for short trips and a 1 gallon can for longer, again, JIC. Nothing like going on reserve and finding the next station has just lost their power. Cel Phone with charger wired on bike, water bottles, snacks, money in several locations, registration, insurance card, credit cards, etc. I have a permit so I always pack a revolver in my jeans…I don’t travel to any place that won’t allow it -their scenery is not worth my safety. Park in front of your motel room and have a motion alarm installed. Extra Glasses & extra meds. Eat light and don’t drink any alcohol during the day. Maps are a lot more fun than GPS and don’t require batteries. Stay out of cities…boring plus dangerous riding. Try to have riding companions for safety. Turn off your bike entertainment – you need all the awareness you can have. Stay on backroads – Xways are meant for cages only.

    Clothing? Thermal Underwear a must, then two pairs of gloves, light and heavier, boots comfortable enough for riding and walking, jacket and removable liner, jeans with strap under the arch to keep pants down around the ankle, chaps, underclothes as preferred & extra T’s & jeans.

    Sunscreen, basic tools, Fix-A-Flat, qt of oil – JIC, StarTron or Stabil for every fill-up of the lousy gas we now are forced to buy, quick wax and rag to clean windshield (never window cleaner) and the final absolute required item….A BIG SMILE SO THE BUGS ON YOUR TEETH WILL SHOW HOW HAPPY YOU ARE TO BE ON THE ROAD. :)>

  • Having completed a Euro trip of 5 countries in 9 days this year I would recommend the following. If you are camping, allow extra time for erecting and packing your tent especially if it is wet, pitching a tent in the rain is no fun and packing it is worse. Pack minimal tee shirts are so cheap just throw them away and buy new ones same with underwear. Unless you plan to camp out in remote areas then why carry all that extra stove, plates, sourcepans etc., just find a cafe in the moring for breakfast. This reduces your weight and storeage problems and no washing up dirty dishes. Try to plan your route well in advance with a back up plan, GPS are a real help and you can ride more safeley than looking down at maps in tank bags.
    Buy the best riding gear that you can afford, what type is a personnal issue so try all types until you get one that fits well and provide maximium protection and comfort, include at least 3 types of gloves and one piece rain suit for best water protection.
    Never go on a trip with something new and untested, allways go on trial runs to see how it works and is it really required to avoid carrying too much.
    Lastly never over extend yourself on a long run plan your route with frequent stops for fuel, food, drink and a rest better still have short walks to get the blood flowing in your butt. If possible allways try to ride with a friend or pillion just in case of an accident or breakdown, falling off your bike in the middle of no where with no one help could be fatal.
    To plan is a plan to succeed, not to plan is a plan to fail.
    Have a great ride

  • Best advice for any kind of touring I ever had was “all you really need is money, tickets and passport”. For summer touring, light but armoured leathers with that natty undershirt which wicks away the sweat. I always wear leathers for touring – much safer feeling. All in one raingear, the type that folds up into itself and turns into a bumbag. Goretex gloves and boots will let in the air but not the rain. And essential for my leaky Norge 1200 panniers, waterproof inner bags to carry minimum shorts (1 pair), t-shirts (2) and underpants (3).

  • I don’t camp. I prefer air conditioning, clean sheets, a hot shower, and continental breakfast. I pretty much know what I need after many years of travelling. It just becomes second nature. For someone starting out I would suggest what I did. Lay everything you plan on taking on the living room floor. Leathers, rain gear, jeans, skivies, etc., etc. Everyday look at your stash and decide what you really don’t need. You will be surprised at how much you put back in the closet. I’ve worn the same clothes for two days until I found a laundromat. No big deal.
    And I agree with the comment by tucuma. Get out of bed and ride. Leave the latte lappers to sleep in while you’re seeing God’s country.

  • Most of my touring trips in the past few years have been related to working away from home. Not only did I carry for the trip I had to carry for where I worked as well. But usually under normal circumstances I take the bike (of course) and trailer (needed if you camp out).
    My bike is a 99 Honda ST1100A and comes standard with side cases. In the five years that I’ve had it I’ve added an aftermarket top case but sourced original rack from England. Why? The cost including postage is round 50 percent cheaper than the same product at my local Honda dealer in Australia. I now source all my non urgent parts from England. I’ve also added a new 10cm higher than standard screen to relieve the wind pressure on my helmet. A gel seat replaced the standard seat when the upholstery cracked up too much do to heat. When funds allow I will have cruise control fitted.

    What to take:-

    Depends on the trip and where you live.
    For us, the basics come first. Tent, cooking gear, plates etc, small single burner butane stove, two sleeping bags, air bed, light for tent, torch, esky with drinks, perishables and a couple of fold up chairs. All that goes in trailer plus clothing for two. The trailer also doubles as a table top should we camp where there isn’t one.
    The bike will have at least one 10 litre fuel container in reserve in one side case. Sometimes I will add another 10 litres in to the other side case. That gives me a range of around 800kms before I need to worry about fuel travelling two up, trailer and averaging 90kph.
    Top case on the bike has all the stuff we might need during the day. Phones, Camera, shower gear/towels ( we shower at garages) money etc is locked in top case while we ride as well and wet weather gear.
    Planning the trip is important. Generally I stop every hour, rest for 10-15 minutes. More often if it’s hot. Need to keep fluids up. Two hours before sunset I start looking for a place to camp away from the road and out of sight. Rarely do I stay in paid accommodation. Midday meal we will buy take away and visit the supermarket for the evening meal which is cooked at camp.
    With all the drink/rest stops etc it takes a little longer by bike than it does by car. But who cares, your touring, not racing, you travel at a speed that is comfortable for you and if you see something, stop, have a look, take a picture, that’s what it’s about.

    Not sure what it’s like outside of the land of OZ but with all my trips here I have never had a problem with 18 wheelers. And over here that can mean anything from 18 wheels to a road train with three or four trailers in some states. Unlike some car drivers (especially 4wd) who see the speed limit as a minimum and not a maximum who pass you with inches to spare between you and them.

    That’s enough or I’ll end up writing a book…………lol

  • I take along a brake rotor lock to help prevent roll off thieft. It makes stealing an 800 lb. bike harder. Park in good lighting if you can or park in front of your hotel room. My bike has an alam system with a VERY loud siren that activates automatically. Also carry a bottle of water and a bright orange bandana to tie to your handle bar in the event you break down on the road. Think safety first from start to finish.

  • A friend of mine just bought a new motorcycle (he’s been riding off and on for many years) and will be taking a trip with his wife and asked my advice

    First bit of advice I’d offer… based on your note, is for him to take the MSF-ERC class with the new bike.
    On the road, with the wife on the back seat ain’t the time to learn how a bike handles.

    Everything else is a matter of personal taste…

  • Alot of great pointers in the article & comments too. I have done Denver to L.A. in 1 day & Utah to L.A. in 1 day via the Escalante Step. I honed down to what I truly needed. I would recommend a very detailed packing list. I have several columns, a master column of everything, then sub columns for what goes in the tankbag, the saddlebags, & on the rider. It gives you a very organized way to look at what you are hauling. Ponder over it every few days & you’ll remember more things & realize some things are just impractical (speakers for my Ipod?) Here’s some additional items I found very useful;

    1. Camelbak (refilled w/Powerade/Gatorade & ice at a gas station) is immensely important to stay cool (desert crossing in the 100’s were no issue) & hydrated. You can sip while you ride. A huge advantage not only to save time but to keep drinking BEFORE you feel thirsty, amazing how much fluid you lose.

    2. CallPod – a little device that allows you to hook up several devices off of ONE 12volt socket. So my phone, Ipod, Flip video etc stay charged. If you are not a techy – one less issue!

    3. UnderArmor Wicking clothing – That wicking stuff really works! Denver cold to Arizona heat, I kept my underarmor longsleeve shirt on, with changing to a mesh jacket, I was never too hot or too cold. Socks that keep your feet dry also very important.

    4. Spandex Bicycle Shorts – Yes, the black shorts that Lance Armstrong wears, Very important for long rides to reduce fatigue and pain (P.I.T.A.) Wear them OVER your undies and I wear thermals over the bike shorts then my textile motorcycle pants. Layers help keep you cool and dry even in the scorching heat.

    5. Drugs – Two Motrin (ibuprofen) at morning, afternoon & at bedtime help with aches/inflammation, so joints feel better & you can rest better. Do not use Tylenol – use ibuprofen & as directed.

    6. Earplugs & Good Lotion – Earplugs for obvious reasons. Before heading out, I apply a good high protection cream on my face and any exposed areas. Reduces dehydration and gives your skin protection from the elements. Even with my full face helmet, with the dry desert heat – you lose precious moisture. I use Kamille, a German protectant that awesome.

    These 6 items are either worn or take very little space on the bike. For me they definitely provide comfort in ways you wouldn’t expect. Happy Long Distance Riding!

  • This all is good but also bring a clear face sheld you may have to ride at night. A shamwow wet down makes a good cooler under your jacket when it is real hot and when dry works great as a towel.

  • I always have one or two things too many and always need something I didn’t bring.(Rule of thumb – don’t pack it full, ’cause you’ll want to pick up something on the way and you’ll need space – love my expandable saddle bags.) Most importantly – pack the important things in dry bags.
    Jacket – 3 in one that I can remove layers depending on the temperature plus rain jacket and pants (I’ve purchased sailing gear – dryest so far, and really attractive ha, ha., but doesn’t breath if it’s really hot.) An extra fleece that doubles as a pillow when camping and adds warmth when needed for riding (would love heated gear). I include Helly long tights in case it’s really cold, they fit comfortably under riding pants and don’t take up much space when packed.
    Pack light hikers for walking ’cause the riding boots, though water resistant and perfect for riding are not great for walking and a pair of cheap flip flop sandals. Two pair of gloves – one water resistant and warm and one light but armored for hot days.
    My tank bag is laughably small and magnetic, which makes it perfect – when paying for gas or making a pit stop, it comes with me (no muss, no fuss, I just pick it up and go). It can hold all my ID, valuables,GPS etc.
    Electronics – I can’t live without them. Bike has a 12 volt outlet for charging camera, net book, IPod, and cell (one day I’ll have an apple phone to combine last two).
    One change of clothes plus jammies (extra socks and unders) and everything else is gravy. There’s always a laundry whenever and wherever you stop.
    I pack my camping gear and I highly agree – take a trial run with all the gear loaded, just to get a feel for it and a sense of how to pack it. I carry a leatherman (multipurpose knife tool – it’s come in handy more than once) plus basic tools – most importantly a tire pressure guage (and a CAA card for real mechanical difficulties).

  • For security, consider taking along a personal GPS Tracker that uses satellites, so will work where cell phones will not… Units such as SPOT will even allow you to send an “I’m OK” message to family as well as an emergency signal virually anywhere in the world…http://www.findmespot.com/en/index.php?cid=101

    Also…take a deactivated cell phone as backup…at least here in Canada, even deactivated phones can still call 911…

    Don’t bother with wheel locks for your ride. Most thieves just throw the motorcycle into the back of a truck and drive off with it… Consider a motion alarm that will page you when the alarm is activated. Riding with a few buddies? A chain or heavy cable run through all the bikes with a heavy-duty lock will give some peace of mind, as it acts a deterent for any opportunistic thief.

    Wear clothing with lots of pockets to keep cash/credit cards; camera etc. on your person. Many a rider has returned from paying for fuel only to find his tank bag or other luggage gone, along with their valuables.

    Find a creative hiding spot for a spare key…some place not obvious to a thief and where some work may be required to access it, such as the inside of a saddle.

    Unless you are doing an Iron butt ride, chances are that you will not be changing out a tire or replacing a final drive on your motorcycle. Carry basic tools that can multi-function (Leatherman for example) and join a good auto club that will tow you to the nearest dealership. A tire repair kit and knowledge of how to use it can be beneficial if way off the beaten path

    Going on a long tour is not the time to test out new equipment. Make your ride as comfortable as possible by changing out the saddle or having it modified to your comfort; adding handle bar extenders or changing out the handlebars; installing highway pegs that are adjusted for your comfort etc.

    Make sure your ride is road-ready with lots of tread on the tires; fog lights; a good horn; fresh oil and all fluid levels, brake pads etc. checked. If you do your own wrenching, do a thorough circle check…check all the bolts and fasteners for tightness and carry some blue loctite…just in case you need it…

    Where wearing a helmet is the law, consider taking a spare. While they take up room, (the helmet can be stuffed with gloves, etc) it is not quite as easy to replace, if lost/stolen as one’s under wear 🙂

  • I live in the south, so find keeping cool is as much a challenge as staying warm. Invest in cooling vests as well as heated clothing. Pack what you think you’ll need, then leave half at home. Carry a copy of your license, insurance, debit and\or credit cards and emergency contact seperate from your wallet. Same for passport if going abroad. If you take medication, carry printout from drug store listing your meds and keep all meds, prescription or not, in original containers. Take a extra bike key. Carry a cell phone and let people know where you are. Always carry water. Rest and take frequent breaks in any extreme weather. Have fun and ride smart!

  • For touring in the western U.S. and Canada I think you can count on hitting almost all conditions during any extended trip. I hit about 70 miles of freezing rain and sleet going to Aspen last summer and was back into 100+ temperatures in Utah and Arizona. Same thing with the Canadian Rockies–hot to freezing rain for a couple of days. I take layers and pack them in color coded cubes so I can get them fast. I use nylon pants and jacket with removable waterproof liners. This works adequately for touring but not so well as real rain suits. Some days you just have to limit how far you go if the conditions are poor. A rest day never hurts. The main thing is to just go–there’s nothing like a long motorcycle tour to set your perspectives straight–unless it’s a long sail in the Caribbean.

  • Rain gear, of course. I carry a small bottle of RAIN-X and some kitchen paper towels to coat my face shield, inside and out. It really does prevent streaking and definitely improves visibility in the rain. Cruz Tools has a complete set of tools which are very portable.

    I pack my old T shirts and underwear. Discard them along the way and replace with new stuff if your trip is really long.

    Travel light, bring credit cards, have fun

  • Simon

    Wear the gear you will want to be wearing if you come off the bike. Too hot for that gear? Too hot to ride. Open the vents, wet down your shirt and head gear at the fuel stops, you’ll be fine. Resist the urge to unzip the front of that jacket…

  • Im planing on going on a trip at the end off july to south off italy on my zx-10r,the weather will probable be hot around 100f,do you think i can stand my full leathers?the jacket has air vents.i had a 5 day trip last year in italy and used them but it was in may so wasent as hot.
    Iv been on 3 trips so far and usually we used to ride with just a t shirt,jeans and trainers before but this was not safe riding.

  • get up early

    If you roll out and get on the highway by 0600, you can be more than a hundred miles down the road before breakfast. After your second cup of coffee, another two hours of riding gets you another hundred miles, and it isn’t even lunch time yet. The guy with the really cool Beemer who slept until 1000 and then had breakfast is only just pulling out of the parking lot.

  • I find the best thing to pack is slutty lingerie when you meet up with other riders And hang them out to dry Wink Wink it ensures you get more of the fire and you sometimes meet folks with perversion like your own and occasionaly a newer and sicker habit that repulses you and at the same time excites you.

  • I’ve only been riding four years, and only made 2 riding trips where I spent the night away from home. On one, my group left early in the morning with air temps around 34 F. I found that fleece gloves over my “winter” gloves were a necessity. I had many layers, top & bottom, and a face balaclava under my full helmet. My other trip was a week-long trip with my family, in the blazing heat of a TX summer. This summer we had 68 days of 100+ degrees, and it started in June, when we planned our trip so we could “beat the heat.” We rode early every day, wore long white sleeves to reflect the heat, and had on water evaporation vests under our armored jackets. These vests soak in water for 10 minutes and you put them on over a shirt. As you ride, the wind evaporates the water & cools you. They work! Whatever you do take, wrap in compactor bags to protect against rain damage. Even if your bags are waterproof, high winds may allow some water to seep in, and no one wants to put on wet jammies when stopped for the night.

  • Nobody has all the answer to such a personal question. As for me, I’ve been around the world a few times and motorcycled on three continents. I’ve concluded that you need very little for long trips … if you take your debit card, cash and travel very light with an attitude for safety first.

    I expect my second R/T from Surprise, AZ to Santa Fe, NM of 1,200 miles in two weeks. I’ll take my tent, two days clothes (from hot to cold weather in layers), rain jacket, toiletries, first aid kit, snacks & water. Having the AAA RV coverage (towing within 100 miles) and a CCW permit and common sense covers security. I’m a Suzuki Burgman 650 rider and made three trips to San Diego, Irvine and home. Piece of cake! If you enjoy motorcycling, do not fear long trips. Stop often, rest, eat, refresh, refuel and get back on. Don’t drink and ride! Expect the other guy to turn in your path! If you do these things, you’ll be fine.

  • I think your advice is good. As far as “what to wear”, the industry as a whole has really stepped up with many textile offerings that liter the market today. My suggestion would be to go with a brand that offers armor, plenty of vents, waterproofness and a thermal liner. Heated liners are of course fantastic, but unless folks plan to ride in the 50F’s and below, heated gear is not as much use IMO. Having said that, my heated gear lives on my bike as I frequent thoughs low temps.

    To echo your point…less is better when packing.

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