As summer kicks off and various trips loom on the horizon, I’ve pulled out the ol’ motorcycle packing list. Each year I adjust the “base” list on what I discovered the year before. Last year, for example, I significantly overpacked. In part it was by design, as I knew I’d be hitting a range of temperatures on my 8 week trip around the states (28 degrees in UT to 113 in TX, to be precise). But I also relied too heavily on the “just in case” model of packing, and the result was bringing along too much gear. For example, even though I camped almost everywhere I went (with the exception of staying at friends’ homes), I didn’t use the pots and pans at all. Not even once. Instead, I just used the JetBoil and freeze dried food. Guess what I won’t be taking along this summer?
Here’s how the list has shaped up. I won’t take all of them on every trip (for example the next trip is a 3 day camping trip over Memorial Day where I will only need 2 days of Riding Clothes and 2 days of off-bike clothes), but it’s where I start when it’s time to get organized.
- Passport – This goes with me whether or not I plan on leaving the country.
- First Aid Kit
- Keys (and spare keys for the bike!)
- Credit/Debit cards
- Maps (paper)
- Standard BMW Vario side/top cases – I try to keep heavier items in the side cases to keep the center of gravity as low as possible. The top case I am in the process of converting/modifying for padded electronic gear and document storage.
- Wolfman Luggage – I just picked this up a month ago. My hope is to store all the compressible items here in separate compression bags for easy compartmentalization.
- Sea-to-Summit Compression Dry Bags – Various sizes, to be stored within the Wolfman Luggage.
- Expandable BMW Tank Case: For daily riding necessities.
- Backpack: While I try to take this, it doesn’t always happen. I’d like to have it for days spent off the bike, but sometimes it just isn’t needed.
- RotoPax Water 1 gal. tank: 1 (for cooking/cleaning at the campsite)
- RotoPax Fuel 1 gal. tank: 1 – Going to be changing this to smaller MSR bottle storage mounted to the bike.
- Small Camera Bag
- iPad – This is a new addition and replaces the 13″ Macbook Pro. I think I’ve set it up with everything I need for writing while on the road. We’ll find out in a couple of weeks!
- Camera – Sony Cyber-shot DSC-HX100v + 2 memory cards
- Kensington Auto/Air Power Inverter with USB Ports – For charging electronics while on the road. It worked awesome last summer, charging the phone, laptop, and camera batteries.
- SPOT GPS Messenger
- Cell phone (Droid currently)
- Garmin Zumo 600
- *I may add a bluetooth keyboard into the mix if I decide to pick one up before I leave.
- 1 spare set of batteries for the SPOT
- iPad Connection Kit (for camera)
- Adapters for camera, iPad, cell phone
Generally, this varies with the duration and destination of the trip. As a rule of thumb, though, I bring:
- Jeans – 1 pair
- Khakis – 1 pair (only if I am staying with friends along the way)
- Shorts – 1 pair
- Short-sleeve collared shirts – 3 max
- Underwear – 3 pairs max
- Keen Sandals (eventually, I’ll likely replace these with a pair of short hiking boots)
- Fleece jacket – No matter the weather, I always take a fleece with me.
- Hat – 1 (usually a ball cap or crushable, lightweight canvas cap)
- Bandana – now that I have the Buff, I’m not sure I’m going to bring this along (but I probably will – old habits die hard)
- T-Shirts – 3
- Long sleeve t-shirt – 1
- Gatorskins Top – This is a new item, and I have yet to try it out. Probably not needed on summer rides, but I’ll still give it a go just to see.
- LD Comfort shorts – 2 (quick drying riding underwear that can be easily hand washed)
- LD Comfort longs – 1 (quick drying riding underwear that can be easily hand washed)
- Klim Riding Socks – 4
- Big-Ears Ear Plugs
- Riding Pants – Firstgear MeshTex
- Riding Jacket – Firstgear Ranier (+ Liner)
- Rain pants
- Riding boots
- Riding Gloves – 2-3 pairs, depending on destination – Held Air Stream, BMW All Around 2, Held Freezer Gloves
- Buff Headgear – I can’t say enough about the Buff.
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- Big Agnes Sleeping Bag
- Thermarest Sleeping Pad
- Eureka Apex 2-man tent + rain fly + ground cloth
- Head-mounted flashlight
- Small Tent lantern
- Spare rope
- Pillow Case (Stuff the fleece and hoodie inside for a pillow)
- Camp towel – small and quick-trying
- Biodegradeable toilet paper – the 1 “just in case” item I didn’t dare remove from the list
- JetBoil + fuel
- Freeze-dried camp food
- Instant Coffee
- Pita Bread
- Camp utensil
- Camp cup
- Kermit Chair
- Insect repellent
- Toothpaste (travel sized)
- Travel toothbrush
- Deodorant (travel sized)
- Razor – I’m going to toy with bringing the cordless razor since last summer I didn’t bring any at all and my TX friends made me shave before I entered their house (ok, not really, but I was going all Grizzly Adams by the time I hit TX)
- Nail Clippers/File
- Tiny Sewing Kit
- Moleskine notebook
- 1 pen
- 1 mechanical pencil
- 1 pack of playing cards – you’d be surprised how often I end up playing cards with strangers at a campsite. It’s awesome.
- Zip-ties of various sizes
- 3-4 draw-string garbage bags
- 3-4 zip-lock baggies
- Duct Tape – A whole role isn’t necessary. I usually wrap about 10 feet or so around a pencil and just tuck it in with the tools.
- Tool kit – only the barest of essentials are necessary, especially since I’m not nearly the wrench that I think I am
- Mini Air Compressor
- 1 qt Oil
Seems like a lot when written out item by item!