Now that you have arranged to have sufficient cash, time off and permission from your parents (GF if you are lucky) and are now planning to go on a multiple day motorcycle trip.
- But you have never done such a long ride and don’t want to be in trouble because you didn’t carry something with you.
- But what you can carry on a motorcycle is limited.
Don’t worry, we have a handy guide of what all to carry for your multi-day bike ride.
Here is a quick access index if you don’t want to read all the article. Click on the topic you want to read.
- 10 Things you must take on every ride
- Brief explanation about motorcycle luggage
- What do I pack for a multi-day Motorcycle Ride?
- Can I use a backpack to keep my stuff while riding a bike?
- Items required for cold weather motorcycle riding
- Motorcycle Spares and tools to carry
- Miscellaneous Items
- Must have Accessories
10 Things you must take on a Motorcycle Trip
- Valid Driving Licence
- Govt. Issued Identity Proof (PAN / Adhar card)
- Motorcycle Registration Certificate (original)
- Valid Motorcycle Insurance
- Riding Gloves
- Riding jacket
- Riding Pants if possible/available (Otherwise jeans). If you don’t have riding pants, you will need Knee Guards.
- Riding shoes
Even if you are going for just a breakfast ride, you shouldn’t leave home without these 10 items. Period. Forget any of these and you would be in big trouble. Here are a few of the top quality riding gear that we offer -
Brief explanation about motorcycle luggage-
Now let us consider what other items you need to carry while going on long ride. Motorcycles are designed for riding and not for their carrying capacity. But there are quite a few dedicated luggage solutions for motorcycles.
Let’s have a look at all the types of motorcycle luggage -
Saddlebags have their lineage when riders used to ride on horses and had to carry luggage with them. These bags typically fit on pillion seat of a motorcycle. The luggage compartments are on both sides of the bikes. The top portion (that is above pillion seat) is usually a flap / strap so that pillion can also sit. These bags come in different capacity. Typically saddle bags for sports oriented bikes have lesser luggage carrying capacity than bags designed for Royal Enfield. Most of the saddlebags are sufficient for rider+pillion luggage if you don’t intend to carry whole world with you.
Here are some Saddle Bags for you:
Tank bags are bags designed to be fixed on top of fuel tank. There are two types of bags. Bags with magnet that can fit only on bikes with metal fuel tanks and bags with straps that can be fitted on any bike. Tank bags, being on fuel tank, are extremely easy to access and are usually used to carry your camera, napkin, mobile etc. Small items that you need quick access to. You don’t always want to stop, get down from bike, open up saddlebag for small items that you may need frequently in a day.
Many companies have launched tank bags that can also be used as tail bags.
Here are some Tank Bags for you:
Tail bags, as the name says are to be mounted behind a rider; on top of pillion seat. If you fit a tail bag to your bike, you can’t carry a pillion. But if you are riding without a pillion and don’t want to carry too much luggage, tail bag is the correct solution. Typically tail bags are bit bigger in size than tank bags and can accommodate laptop (upto 15 inch). So a tail bag can be your daily office bag also.
Here are some Tail Bags for you:
Hard panniers are suitable if you intend to go on a long ride. Unfortunately, you can’t just plonk on the panniers. You need to mount its hardware on the bike and then attach panniers. It is not really suitable if you don’t go on multiple day rides every month. And did we say, they are very very expensive as compared to other luggage options.
Choose from these options:
What do I Pack for a long Motorcycle trip
If you are going for a multiple day ride, in addition to the 10 Things you need to take on a Motorcycle Trip mentioned above, you should carry –
- Phone Charger
- ICE list (A sheet of paper / card that you should always have in your pocket that mentions phone numbers that others can contact in case of emergency)
- Spare key of motorcycle
- 4 T-Shirts (preferably dri-fit)
- Jeans / trousers
- Quick Dry Towel and Napkin
- One track pant / shorts (for sleeping in)
- 3 Undergarments
- 2 handkerchiefs
- A pair of shoes/sandals to roam around
- Ear Plugs (they block out air noise and reduce fatigue)
- Tooth Brush and Paste
- Medicine Pouch (band aids, Savlon/ Dettol, cough syrup, pain-relief spray, medicines for fever/cold/bad stomach/allergic reaction)
- Mosquito repellent spray or cream
- Nutrition Bars, Chikki, GluconD/Glucose powder, Electrol, Chocolates
- Camera and Charger (+ Memory Cards)
- Hand sanitizer
- Tissue Papers
- Chain lube/clean
That’s it. You don’t need anything more. Riders always, yes always, over pack. They carry so much unnecessary stuff with them that it borders on ridiculous. Try to travel as light as possible. Let us give you a brief explanation why you don’t need more stuff.
Why you don’t need to carry more on a motorcycle ride
Tshirts – you would be wearing riding jacket while riding so whatever you are wearing inside won’t get much dirty. You can allocate 2 t-shirts for riding duty and 2 others when you want to roam around in the evening. Dri-fit T-shirts occupy quite small space, you can wash them in the evening and they would dry out by the time you are ready to ride out next day morning. If you don’t want to wash clothes, you can always go out and buy a cheap t-shirt costing couple of hundred, use it and throw it away after couple of days.
Same logic applies to Jeans / trousers. If you are wearing riding pants, you actually need just one pair of jeans. You can wear it for any number of days without looking shabby. And you aren’t going to participate in some beauty contest. Right? All this luggage is quite small in size so you would be tempted to stuff it in a backpack. But it is a bad idea. Why? Read on -
Is it advisable to carry a backpack on your back during long bike rides?
No! It is not advisable to carry a backpack on short rides also.
- Heavy backpack will tire your shoulders and back. Tired shoulders will not be able to give correct inputs to the handle bars for steering.
- If you loosen the backpack to keep it rested on the pillion seat, while turning it might slip off the seat and that sharp tug will unsettle the bike.
- On highways, crosswinds will bother you much more.
If you are planning to ride your motorcycle in colder climate, here is a list of items that you need to add to the above list of items you should be carrying
Items you should carry if you are riding your motorcycle in Cold Weather:
- 2 sets of thermals
- Monkey Cap (preferably woolen)
- Sweater for using in evening
- 4 pairs of thick or woolen socks
- A Scarf / muffler for covering your neck
- Sunglasses with UV protection
- Sunscreen lotion
If you are planning to ride in the wilds where access to service centre / mechanic is extremely doubtful, please add following to your luggage.
Bike Spares and Tools to carry on a long bike ride:
- Tubes (1 rear and 1 front)
- Puncture repair kit
- Foot pump
- Allen key set
- Spanner Set
- Clutch & Pressure plates
- Spark plug & Plug cap
- Clutch & Brake lever, along with yoke
- Headlight Bulbs
- Chain link
- Clutch & Accelerator cable
- Screw driver set
This list is quite long and you can pick and choose any of those items that you feel would be needed. In case your motorcycle is in decent condition, not many would need any or all of these items.
Carrying puncture repair kit when you don’t how to repair a puncture is pointless.
Now here is a list of miscellaneous items that are completely optional. These depends on how and where you intend to ride.
Miscellaneous Items to carry on bike ride:
- Plastic bags good quality (they come in handy for storing wet clothes, or to protect your mobile from rain or carrying your trash)
- Bungee cords (At least 2)
- Bungee Net (At least 1)
- A cross bungee (Good Quality)
- A cotton rope (10 meters) for pulling stuck motorcycles
- Torch with Cells
- Lighter / Matchbox
If you intend to go out on a long ride again and again, you should consider investing in these must have accessories:
These seating solutions are aimed at providing comfort to riders on long rides. These seats have either memory foam or air cushion so your bum would be happy riding long distance.
Here are some Seating Solutions for you:
You see lots of amazing things while riding but can’t click photos. And how do you brag about your awesome ride? Simple solution is to get action camera. While action cameras like GoPro are expensive, you need not break the bank. There are several cheaper alternatives available. Have a look at Thieye i60+ Action camera or Yi lIte action camera. Thieye costs just Rs.7000 still you can shoot 4k high-resolution & beautiful slow motion videos with it.
Here are some Action Camera for you:
Answering phone calls / listening to navigation instructions on mobile headset are pain. And most of the stock headsets don’t fit properly inside a helmet. So companies have come up with these solutions.
Cheaper versions of Bluetooth headset enable you to listen to music, answer / make calls etc. Feature rich Bluetooth communicators like Sena permit you to talk with other riders in your group (who also have Bluetooth communicator) without making a call. This features is most helpful because you can alert other riders when there is obstruction on road ahead or you want to stop etc.
Here are some Bluetooth Headset for you:
We hope we have provided a complete list of all the items you should / can carry with you. We haven’t included items required for camping. That is a subject of another article. Remember the mantra of 5Ps. “Proper Planning Prevents Poor Performance”
Remember to carry sufficient cash. Your card may not work everywhere.
So choose wisely and ride happily.
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