What to Bring

How much you can bring depends, in part, on how much room you have. Since I don't ride regular touring bikes and I'm somewhat of a minimalist by nature I don't take a lot of stuff on tour. That being said, you can still take quite a lot of gear by selecting the right things and careful packing.

  1. Riding Clothing
  2. Non-riding clothes
  3. Other things for myself.
  4. Tools and Parts for the bike
  5. Other things for the bike and general use
  6. Camping Gear (if you camp)

Perhaps even more important than bringing the right stuff is packing it so that everything is cleanly and securely attached to the bike. It's important that you can find what you need when you need it. There is a lot more on this in the How To Pack section.

So, on to the list of possible stuff to bring. The following tables were compiled from many sources and include things that I don't take but you may want to consider. I take those things labeled with a *. You'll see a few links to additional information on certain items.


Riding Clothing

This list of riding clothing has evolved over the years and will probably continue to evolve. I try to bring a minimum amount of clothes that will offer maximum crash protection and still protect me form the elements. As I've said elsewhere, I bring gear to cover temperatures from below freezing to over 100° F (38° C), rain or shine. I bring the same gear on every trip, no matter the time of year or where I'm going. If I need ot attend a meeting or for some reason I will need be presentable at sometime during the trip I will also bring additional clothing.

Riding Clothing

Item

  Qty

Description

Basic General Clothing For Reasonable Conditions

helmet *

1

I always wear a full face helmet.
Fog City face shield liner *

1

I always have one installed in my helmet. Some people don't like them but I think that they're great. They completely eliminate face shield fogging. See section on Helmet Face shields
spare helmet face shield     I don't take one. They are fairly fragile and hard to pack, especially if you only have soft-sided luggage. Unless you're crossing the Sahara or have a one-of-a-kind helmet you can buy new one along the way if you need it.
glasses *

1

This hardly needs to be on this list but is here for completeness. I always wear my glasses.
spare glasses *

1

Without my glasses I can barely walk let alone ride a motorcycle. If I loose my glasses the trip is over so I have to have a spare. I take the old ones I used prior to my present prescription.
sunglasses *

1

I prefer polarized lenses with a dark brown tint. The brown enhances color contrast (particularly reds and greens). There's more on sunglasses in the Tips section.
sunglasses (spare)  

1

If you have room. I wear prescription glasses and therefore also have prescription sunglasses. They are very expensive and I only have one pair. I gamble that I won't loose my sunglasses. So far I haven't lost them.
goggles     Some people prefer goggles. I've never used them except on a dirt bike with a helmet designed to be used with goggles.
helmet skullcap *

1

This is a thin cotton or silk skullcap worn under the helmet.
earplugs *

n

I Always wear earplugs if I'm riding at highway speeds for more than 30 minutes. Earplugs are cheap if you buy them in bulk (200 pair in a box). I bring one pair for each day and throw away the used pair at the end of the day's ride.
riding suit     The Aerostich Roadcrafter is the premier suit of this type. In recent years many other manufacturers have jumped into the market. The quality varies but they seem to work well if you buy a good suit. I guess I don't use them on tour because what I have seems to work well enough. There's a lot more on this subject in the section on gear.
leather jacket *

1

One with large vents that can be closed.
thermal liner for jacket *

1

You do have a jacket with a removable liner, don't you? 
jacket liner stuff sack *

1

This isn't riding clothes but is a place to put the jacket liner when you're not wearing it. I put the electric vest in the bottom, then the jacket liner, and the neck warmer on top. That's the order you'll probably need them and they're all in one place and easy to find.
leather riding pants *

1

I always ride in leather pants on tour. Mine don't have armor and I'd rather have the additional protection of armor but new leather pants are very expensive and having just plain leather is still a LOT better than Levi's. Besides, I've had these pants for fifteen years and I'm used to how they fit.
leather chaps     Not enough protection and they're really uncomfortable in hot weather. Besides, they look silly. Chaps are for cowboys on horses. So is fringem fe it on chaps, a jacket, or on gloves.
jeans *

1

I don't ride in jeans on tour but do wear them on short trips around town after I've stopped for the day. Jeans protect better than shorts but not much better.
cotton bandana *

2

For wearing around my neck. It prevents the leather jacket from sticking to my neck when it's hot out. I bring two, one for wearing, and one as a spare. Even bandanas can cause problems.
gauntlet type leather gloves *

 1

These are your regular riding gloves that you wear most of the time. I like Z Custom Deer Traks. The deerskin seems work over a wider range of temperatures than leather. I also prefer to not have rivets on the palm.
long sleeved cotton T-shirt *

2

I always wear a long sleeve cotton T-shirt under my jacket, no matter how hot. Yeah, you'll sweat but at you won't be sticking to the jacket. It's very uncomfortable when your skin is sticking to the jacket.
Spandex exercise tights *

1

You wear these under your pants instead of underwear. I use full length (waist to ankle) spandex because my leather pants are not lined past the knee. Some people prefer bicycling shorts. This is the best thing you can to prevent but burn. They work great, even under Levis. There are no seams across your butt that feel like stones after about 600 miles and you don't stick to your pants. Spandex is more comfortable when it's really hot and warmer in the cold.
sox *

3

White cotton athletic sox.
socks (wool)     I usually don't wear wool sox but they are warmer than cotton. Wool also retains most of its insulating ability when it's wet. Wet cotton has essentially zero insulating value. If you're going someplace where it's going to be cold you might want to consider replacing one or more pair of the cotton sox with wool.
boots *

1

I presently wear Aerostich Combat Touring Boots. They are big and clunky but offer about the best protection you can get short of dirt bike boots. When properly treated they are 100% waterproof (at least mine have never leaked). For more information see the boots.

For the Rain

rain suit *

1

I prefer a two-piece - they're easier to get on and off, there is a way to route the power cord for the electric vest, and you can wear just the pants when the road is wet but it's not raining. There's more information in the section on rain gear.
rubber gloves     These can serve as glove rain covers. I've never found a pair that isn't so stiff that they interfere with operation of the controls. Still, I keep looking.
nylon rain mittens *

1

Rain covers for your leather gloves. These are mittens made from coated nylon. They suck, but they suck less than the other things I've tried. Mine are made by Motoport. Aerostich just introduced some three-finger waterproof glove covers that look interesting. I bought some but haven't used them yet so I can't say how well they work.
overboots (boot covers)     These are waterproof cloth covers for your boots. Some people call then Gaiters. I don't need these as my boots are waterproof but they work real well if you wear waterproof hiking boots or something too big to fit into Totes. Get overboots made for motorcycling, not the ones for skiing or hiking. MC overboots cover the whole boot except the sole -- they are open at the bottom but have a pocket for the toe so they won't ride up your leg. They will keep your feet dry unless you have a hole in the sole of your boot. They are available from Motoport and perhaps other manufacturers.
Totes rubber boot covers & stuff sack     My boots are waterproof so I don't need a cover but Totes work well for smaller boots. Most places that sell motorcycle clothing sell Totes too.
sock liners     I don't use these but recently several manufacturers have come out with gortex sox that they claim will keep your feet dry. I haven't tried them as my boots are waterproof but they might be worth a look if you have leaky boots and totes won't fit.

For Heat

hot weather gloves     I don't think that this type of glove offers enough crash protection. My hands just sweat when it's hot out.
       

For the Cold

electric vest *

1

I have the Widder Traveler model with the fake fur collar. With the collar up you also keep your neck warm. If you want to wear the vest with the collar down it's a bit bulky under your jacket. For me this is fine. If it's cold enough to need the vest, it's cold enough to have the collar up. The Widder is available with and without the collar. An electric vest cuts WAY down on the cold weather clothing you need to bring. The only down side is that if it breaks you're screwed. Mine has never broken and I've rolled and stuffed it into every space possible over the years. There is a lot more information on cold weather gear in the section on dealing with extreme weather.
electric gloves *

1

Widder electric gloves. With duct tape wrapped around the right index finger covering the hole I melted in it on the exhaust pipe up in Alberta. The gloves failed once. I sent it into Widder and they fixed it for free in just a couple days.
electric pants  

1

I haven't ever used electric pants liners so I can't say how well they work. I've ridden in well below freezing temperatures with just long underwear and leather pants with no discomfort.
thermostat (for electric vest and gloves) *

1

I use the old Widder bi-metallic strip kind. There are also electronic ones available. The thermostat is better than a simple on-off switch as it gives a constant even heat -- well worth the extra money.
power switch for vest and gloves *

1

In case the thermostat (above) breaks.
neck cover / warmer *

1

I use an Aerostich wind triangle. Since I have a collar on the electric vest you could argue that I don't need any other neck protection. Perhaps, but the wind triangle doesn't take much space and is nice to have around when it's not really cold enough for the electric vest but it's cold enough that you want to seal the neck opening.
cold weather gloves     You can use any decent leather cold weather glove although a tall gauntlet will be warmer. Nylon or other synthetics may be warm but without at least a leather palm they probably don't have the abrasion resistance you need. Still, sometimes your choices are limited. Since I have electric gloves I don't bring these.
silk or poly glove liners *

1

I prefer silk but it's harder to find and not as durable as polypropylene. There is more on glove liners in the gloves section.
flannel shirt or sweatshirt *

1

For when it's cold.
insulated long johns     As with electric pants, I haven't really needed these on tour. I occasionally use them on day trips from home in November and December.
scarf     A scarf works OK for sealing the neck opening of the jacket but it won't stop the wind from chilling your neck as well a something covered in a wind-proof material like nylon or Gortex. Scarves also take up a lot more space when packed.


Non-riding Clothes

I'm not particularly fashion conscious and have a fairly lose definition of what constitutes presentable dress. I figure that as long as no one screams and runs or laughs and points I'm doing OK. Still, even I realize that my riding gear makes me look like someone who has escaped from the set of a Mad Max movie and is not really appropriate for wearing to dinner, shopping, or wandering around town. So, I bring along some normal clothes. How much and what I bring depends on where I'm going and what I'm doing when not on the bike.

Non-Riding Clothes

Item

  Qty

Description

hat *

1

In general, I dislike hats but there are times a hat is useful. I bring a baseball cap. When it's raining it keeps the rain off my glasses and my head dry. A ball cap packs small as long as you don't worry about wrinkles.
jacket or windbreaker  

1

The only jackets I bring are my leather riding jacket and my rain jacket. I usually don't take a windbreaker and, without fail, at least once during the trip I wish I'd brought one. I have a real nice light nylon wind breaker that packs quite small into its own stuff-sack and I easily have room for it. I can't explain why I don't bring it -- probably some anal-retentive tendency to absolutely minimize the amount of stuff I take. Maybe it's a guy thing.

The liners on some motorcycle jackets are designed to double as a windbreaker (the Aerostich Darien for one). If you have this type of jacket, you've solved the problem. Unfortunately, the liner for my leather jacket is completely useless as a stand-alone jacket. I usually wear my rain jacket when I need a windbreaker. It looks a bit strange but it does the job.
down vest     Down is nice and warm under windbreaker and could also be worn under your riding jacket if it fits. I don't have room under my jacket or in my luggage for a down vest.
sweater     Great if you have room but it takes too much space on my bike. Wool is better than cotton as it will still insulate some when wet.
T-shirts (short sleeves) *

2

For wearing in the evening after the day's ride.
swim suit *

1

Actually a boxer style swimsuit. These can be used as shorts or a swim suit
Underwear *

3

Nothing to say here.
thongs (a.k.a. flip-flops) *

1 pr

These are nice around the pool and in the bathroom. They don't take much space.
tennis shoes  

1 pr

I used to take tennis shoes to wear when I was done riding at the end of the day. They are quite comfortable for walking and pack reasonably small (at least as small as shoes can pack which still isn't very small). This caused problems when I wanted to ride somewhere to eat after I'd changed out of my normal riding clothes. I will not ride a motorcycle wearing tennis shoes so I was forced to wear my regular riding boots whenever I rode the bike. Since my riding boots really suck for walking (as do most purpose built riding boots) it was really uncomfortable. A couple years ago I started bringing my hiking boots instead of tennis shoes and it works a lot better.
hiking boots *

1 pr

These are the over the ankle style hiking boots with a stiff lug sole. I am happy to ride the bike while wearing these boots. In fact, I wear these boots for commuting and trips around town when I'm at home. They would make adequate riding boots but my regular riding boots offer more protection.

Hiking boots are also extremely comfortable while walking. My hiking boots are gortex lined and are completely waterproof. They are quite large and don't pack well. You can compensate some for this by stuffing things inside the boots. Still, depending on your luggage, you may not be able to find room for hiking boots.


Other things for myself.

If you haven't yet decided that the lists you've read so far show that I'm just an anal retentive freak obsessed with trifles this next list will push you over the edge. The excruciating detail probably means something about my personality but mostly it just means that I'm a detail person. It's been my experience that the missing the details can make or break an activity --any activity, not just motorcycling. I'm sure that sime of the items on this list simply reflect the foibles of an aging mind but please bear with me. There is nothing on this or any of these lists that I don't use on every trip except some of the tools and spare parts.

Other Things for Myself

Item

  Qty

Description

lip balm *

1

Lip Balm will keep your lips from drying and cracking. This is especially important in the western USA where it is extremely dry. There are many choices here; Chap Stik and Blistex are two popular brands. At home I use Blistex because it seems to work better. Most lip balms are sold as a semi-solid in a tube like lipstick. The problem with this package is that they will melt when it gets hot out. This can create a big mess. On a motorcycle I use Carmex. It doesn't work as well as Blistex but it works well enough and it comes in a toothpaste-like tube so it won't melt all over your bag when it gets hot.
money belt *

1

I always wear a money belt when on the road. I wear this belt at all times except when sleeping or taking a shower. It contains a spare key for every key I use on the road (bike ignition, disk lock, saddle bags if you have them) and $200 in cash. I use a belt made to hold a passport. I bought it years ago at Eddie Bauer's but you can get something similar at almost any luggage store.
alarm clock *

1

A small battery powered travel alarm.
hand cream *

1

My hands get dry and will crack and bleed if they get dry enough. This may just be an old-guy thing so you may not need hand cream. I think that the Curel brand works best.
suntan lotion *

1

Why would you need this? If you're covering all your body with protective gear as I suggest there is no need for suntan lotion. Wrong, there is one area that is not covered -- the back of your neck.
cleaning cloth for glasses *

1

This is one of those fine woven non-scratch cloths made for plastic lenses. If you don't wear glasses you may not need this.
anti-fog cloth for glasses *

1

I use the Scotts anti-fog cloth. This is available in ski shops. One application will last all day, the cloth won't scratch plastic lenses, and the anti-fog chemicals will not harm the lens or lens coatings.

Toilet Kit

toilet kit bag *

1

Toilet kit bags small nylon bags specifically made to be used as a toilet kit. They are available at any camping supply store. The one I use for motorcycle trips is the same one I use for all my other non-otorcycle travel.
disposable razor *

2

This is a blade razor. I seldom use these at home but they are small and pack well. My face does not deal well with blade razors so I only shave every four days or so. By the fourth day I look a bit ragged but it's not too bad. It fits well with the Mad Max look of the rest of my riding ensemble.
electric razor     I prefer an electric razor but it just takes to much space.
shaving cream     Shaving cream also takes too much space. I shave in the shower using regular soap. It works well enough.
tooth brush *

1

 
tooth paste *

1

I use the small travel or sample tubes. You can find them in the most drug stores and places like Target and Wall Mart.
shampoo     Shampoo also takes too much space. I use regular soap. It works well enough. If you do take shampoo, put it inside its own zip-lock bag and then stuff it inside a shoe to protect it from getting squished. If you don't do this and it does leak you will have a serious mess on your hands.
soap     I don't take soap if I unless I'm camping. In motels I use their soap. If I were to start camping again I'd probably take softsoap rather than bar soap.
hair brush *

1

 
deodorant *

1

As with the lip balm I recommend against stick type deodorant. When it gets hot out stick deodorant will melt all over your luggage. I use a roll-on deodorant on bike trips.
Band-Aids *

4

I always end up needing one or two at some time during a trip. Of course, I'm a klutz and am prone to doing things to myself that require a Band-Aid. You may not need such protection.
eye drops *

1

My eyes dry out and I need artificial lubricants for my eyes.
       
       
       
       


Tools and Parts for the Bike.

If the bike doesn't break, you won't have to fix it or get someone else to fix it. I know that this is obvious but some people forget this point. There is a whole section on bike preparation where I talk about things you can do to prevent problems. It's always easier to work on your bike at home than it is on the side of the road.

Tools aren't just another item to check off on your packing list. Tools are insurance, a sense of security, and, as much as your helmet and leathers, what makes a motorcyclist different from the cage drivers around you. Okay, that last bit is probably going too far, but there is something about motorcycles and tools that just makes it seem like they belong together.

I think that the relationship between tools and motorcycles is rooted in the history of motorcycles. Up until the mid-1970's most motorcycles were pretty unreliable and broke fairly often. As a result, almost all motorcyclists carried tools with them. You had to be able to do field repairs if you wanted to ride.

However, we are living in the world of today, not yesterday. Things have changed and before you spend too much time gathering your tools and finding an appropriate pouch or roll to prevent them from evaporating, as tools tend to do when left to their own devices, you need to think about what you're going to do with these tools.

Today's motorcycles are very reliable, almost as reliable as modern automobiles. Like modern automobiles, motorcycles are also much more complicated and difficult repair when they do break. It's been my [recent] experience that most motorcyclists do not even change their own oil let alone fix things when they are broken. Many motorcyclists have no idea how to do even the simplest repairs. If your bike breaks and you intend to fix it, good intentions are not enough. You must have the experience and knowledge to diagnose and repair the problem. Having the proper tools will do you no good if you don't know what to do with them. If you don't do most or all of the maintenance on your motorcycle it probably doesn't make a lot of sense to bring anywhere close to the number of tools I have listed in the Tools table below. Tools are fairly heavy -- my tool pouch is, by far, the heaviest item I take with me. If there's no possibility that you will use the tools, don't waste the space and poundage they take. Bring something that you'll use. Sign up for one of the motorcycle roadside assistance programs like Motorcycle Towing Services.

I ride fairly modern motorcycles (at least on tour) and do nearly all the maintenance on my bikes. I haven't had a major mechanical or electrical problem, other than flat tires, on tour for 20 years. I still bring a bunch of tools and a few spare parts on every trip that lasts longer than a day. Why do I do this? It makes me feel better. I know that if the fuel injection on my VFR800 fails, and the problem is not a loose connection, I'll have to call MTS just like a rider who has no tools or knowledge. If you want to bring tools because it makes you feel better, I won't say you're wrong. Just be aware that they may not help.

Tools and Parts for the bike

Item

 

Qty

Description

bike's OEM tool kit

*

1

These are pretty useless on most Japanese bikes but it's still a good idea to take it with you. The bike's tool kit is usually stored in a special place that you won't be able to use for another purpose so you might as well take it. Sometimes the OEM kit includes some special wrenches that allow you to omit some of the tools listed below or that simply aren't available on the open market (like the spanner for adjusting drive chain tension on my VFR800).
bike's owner's manual

*

1

Again, pretty useless but I still bring it, just in case.
electrical system wiring diagram

*

1

Make copies from the factory service manual. Troubleshooting electrical system problems without a wiring diagram is nearly impossible. If you don't have a factory service manual then you probably don't work on your bike enough to be able to fix it if you do have a breakdown. The electrical system schematic and bike's owner's manual go in a Zip Lock Freezer Bag to keep them dry.
cloth rags *

3

These are just rags taken from an old shirt. It's always nece to have a rag around. I keep them in a Zip Lock Freezer Bag to keep them dry.

My Tool Bag

tool bag *

1

My tool bagTo the right is a picture of my tool bag. Don't ask me where you can get one. This one was scrounged from work and is a custom made carrying case for one of our products. There are numerous tool rolls available in shops. Also, Sears sells a variety of small plastic cases that you can use to hold tools and other parts and such.
tie wraps

*

10

Tie-wraps (a.k.a. zip-ties)These are also called zip-ties or cable-ties. Buy in any electronics supply store. You'll seldom need them but when you do they are great and they take almost zero space.
duct tape

*

1

Buy a small spool at the hardware store and flatten the spool. Replace every year. Duct tape doesn't work very well when it gets old. If you bring no other tools other than the OEM tool kit, bring duct tape and tie wraps.
electrical tape

*

Buy the good stuff like 3M. The cheap kind won't stick very well. Replace every year.
       
multimeter

*

My DVMI use a compact DVM. I bought this DVM at Radio Shack manu years ago but they are sold at just about any electronics supply store. Mine isn't much bigger than a half a pack of cigarettes. The quarter in the picture gives you an idea of the relative sizes. Some nice, but not manditory, features are an audible beep in the continuity measurement and auto-ranging.
12 V troubleshooting light

*

12 V trouble lightThis looks like an awl with a light bulb in the transparent handle and about 24" of wire coming out of the handle with an alligator clip on the end of the wire. It is very useful for troubleshooting relay's, switches, and other simple parts of 12 V electrical systems.
(Note: Do not use this tool around any electronic components like the ignition module, voltage regulator, or similar things unless you are sure that you know what you're doing. A trouble light can destroy and/or degrade electronic components like transistors, diodes, integrated circuits etc. If you're not absolutely positive that it's OK to use a trouble light, do not use this tool.)
pliers, 6" slip-joint

*

1

 
pliers, 8" channel lock

*

1

 
pliers, 6" needle nose

*

1

pliers, 6" diagonal cutter    
screwdrivers (for your bike)

*

1

Usually a #1 and #2 Phillips. Some Kawasaki's use a #0 Philips for the body panels.
ratchet (3/8 inch drive)

*

1

 
pipe

*

1

Use this as a ratchet handle extender when working on the rear axle nut. A normal 3/8" drive ratchet will not give you enough leverage to handle the 60 ft-lbs of torque needed for the rear axle nut.
3/8 drive sockets
12 point shallow

*

1ea

shallow sockets on a holderFor most Japanese bikes you'll need 8, 10, 12, 14, 17, and 24 mm. I prefer to use 6-point sockets because they grip the flats better. I use 6 point sockets at home but sometimes you need a 12 point socket and on the road and I like to have the most generic tools.
3/8 drive sockets
6 point deep

 

1 ea

8,10,12,17,24 mm. It would be really nice to have these but I just don't have room.
spark plug socket  

1

I use the crappy socket in the bike's took kit. At home I use a real spark plug socket but on the road I can't justify the extra space. You seldom need to pull the plugs on modern bikes.
6" extension for 3/8 drive ratchet

*

1

 
3" inch extension for 3/8 drive ratchet

*

1

 
ratchet drive adapter

*

1

3/8 to 1/2. For the big sockets (22, 24 mm). I should really use a proper half-inch drive ratchet but I don't have room.
air pressure gauge

*

1

I use a dial gauge. A good one is more accurate than the best pencil type gauge.
combination wrenches

*

1ea

Combination Wrenches8,10,12,14,17 mm or whatever is used on your bike. These sizes are used on almost all Japanese bikes.
crescent wrench, 4"

 

1

Generally, you should never use a crescent wrench if correct wrench is available. That being said, crescent wrenches can come in handy sometimes.
crescent wrench, 10"  

1

 
vice grips  

1

Sometimes this is the only tool that will do the job. The only use I've seen is a replacement for a broken clutch lever. A replacement lever works much better and takes up less space.
metric Allen wrenches

*

1ea

I use a small set which comes in it's own plastic pouch. Be sure to include any larger ones that are specific to your bike. My old Kawasaki Concours needed two 12 mm Allen wrenches for the front wheel axle.
tape measure (small)

*

1

small tape measureGet the smallest one you can find -- usually a 10' tape. They are very small, about 1.2" on a side and 1/4" thick. These are available in any hardware store. I use this to measure drive chain slack when I'm adjusting the chain's tension.
tire patch/plug kit *

1

tire plug insertion toolsYou can either buy a prepackaged kit from Progressive Suspensions, BMW, or several other vendors or you can make your own. There is a lot of information on fixing flats in the Maintenance section.
air pump

*

1

compact hand pump for bicycles.
CO2 cartridges  

6

 These can replace a hand pump. I don't like them because it takes too many to inflate a tire. It takes 6 cartridges to inflate a 130/80-17 rear tire to 38 psi. That's still less than the recommended inflation pressure. There is a lot of information on fixing flats in the Maintenance section.
Leatherman tool *

1

 

Spare Parts

headlight bulb *

1

Only if your bike uses a modern H4 or similar bulb. If you have an older seal beam type headlight you probably don't have room.
tail light bulb *

1

The proper bulb type is listed in the owner s manual.
turn signal bulb  

1

I don't bother with this. Turn signals are not safety critical. If a signal bulb fails you can buy one the next time you pass an auto parts store.
fuses

*

n

spare fuses and a film can2 of each size used in the bike. Keep them in a 35mm film can. Always bring spare fuses. Know where all the fuses are located on the bike. Remember, the main fuse and starter fuse are usually not in the main fuse panel. Find out where they are located before you go on a trip.
spare clutch lever *

1

This is for a replacement if you have a minor crash. Often the only damage in a minor fall is a broken clutch lever and a broken mirror. It is very difficult (but not impossible) to ride a motorcycle if you can't use the clutch. A spare lever doesn't take very much space.
engine oil  

1qt

I don't bring oil. It takes space and if I need oil I can buy it along the way. I use plain automotive engine oil (Mobil1 15W50) and it's readily available in any auto parts store. One exception to this may be Harley Davidson's. I have heard convincing arguments as to why HD's require special oil which is only available at HD dealers and some independent bike shops. Still, if your engine uses enough oil that you need to bring some you probably shouldn't take that bike on a long trip. There's more information on engine oil in the Engine Maintenance section.
spare brake lever *

1

You can ride without a front brake but it's pretty dangerous. There are other ways to deal with broken levers in the Maintenance section.
spare gear shift lever  

1

Usually, the gear shift and brake levers do not break off on a minor dump. They are often bent but can be forced back into a usable position. If the crash was severe enough that one or both of these levers is broken the bike is usually damaged severely enough that it's not rideable for other reasons. That's why I don't bring either of these.
spare brake pedal  

1


Other Things For The Bike and general use.

This is a general catchall category for things that aren't tools or parts but they're still important.

Other Things for the Bike

Item

  Qty

Description

Bike Rain Cover *

1

EZ Tour. A cover will protect your bike from the elements and it can provide some security.
Disk Lock *

1

A disk lock only provides a bit more security than locking the steering neck. A U-lock or, even better, a good chain lock provides better security. I use a disk lock because it's what I have room for. I don't have room for, or at least choose not to make room for a U-lock or a chain.
U-Lock  

 

See section on security.
Chain Lock  

 

See section onsecurity.
chain lubricant *

1

I use 90W gear oil at home but on tour I use Honda spray chain lube. There's a lot more information on chain maintenance on the Chain Maintenace section.
camping gas bottle *

1

This is a 1 qt (~1 liter) bottle manufactured to hold cooking stove gas. You can buy these at any camping supply store. Mine is made by MSR (Mountain Safety Research). I take this even if I'm not camping. This bottle is not intended to hold spare emergency gas. I travel with the bottle empty. The purpose of the bottle is to help siphon gas if needed for myself or to help another rider..
fuel line *

4 ft

This is the other half of the gas siphon rig. I actually use Capton tubing. It's smaller than fuel line and impervious to almost all chemicals. Capton tubing is very expensive. The only reason I use it is because I happen already have a spool for other purposes. Regular fuel line works just fine, it just takes a bit more space. I use the fuel line to siphon fuel from whatever source I'm using (my fuel tank or someone else s tank) into the gas bottle. Then I can safely dump the gas into the target tank. If you're camping it's also useful for filling the gas bottle to operate the cook stove. See Camping.
Rain-X *

1

Rain-X is a brand name for a product that prevents water from sheeting. I put Rain-X on my helmet face-shield and the bike's mirrors. If you put it on yout helemt face-shield it will be much easier to see in the rain, especially when its not really raining but there is still a fine mist in the air. The same is also true for the bike's rear view mirrors.
kayak bags  

N

These are very rugged; completely waterproof bags for storing things. There's more information in Packing the Bike.
tank bag *

1

I like tank bags. Cruisers, most dual sports, and large touring bikes cannot usually fit a tank bag. There's more information in Packing the Bike.
map case  

1

If a tank bag won't fit on your bike it's nice to have a map case. This is a cloth map holder with a transparent plastic cover. It attaches to your tank with straps.
maps (road) *

n

I prefer AAA (CAA in Canada) maps. I bring one for each state. A big road atlas would be ok but a road atlas is quite large, doesn't have the detail of individual state maps, and doesn't work well with a map case or tank bag. Any maps not being used go in a Zip Loc bag.
maps (topographical)  

n

Topo maps are good for finding interesting roads when you're planning a trip. Unfortunately, they make lousy road maps. Depending on the scale you choose, they are either too big for use while riding or cover too small an area. If you have room a topo may be useful for reference while planing the next day's ride.
tail pack *

1

These sit on the passenger section of the seat. They can hold a lot of stuff and are relatively inexpensive. There's more information in Packing the Bike.
saddle bags  

1 pr

There are a lot of choices here. There's more information in Packing the Bike.
flashlight *

I use a Magnilight Mini-Mag. It uses two AA batteries and they last quite a long time. If I am not camping one set of batteries lasts all summer. All Magnilight flashlights are completely waterproof and almost indestructible.
Swiss army knife *

I use the same one I carry every day. It's a small one (the Executive model I think) with me every day.  
calculator      
pen & pencil  

 

 
spiral notebook  

 

 
   

 

 

Camping Gear

Most of the gear listed here is very familiar to anyone who does any backpacking. You can buy these things in any camping supply store. I use REI and Campmor. While weight isn't as important in motorcycle camping as in backpacking, small size and ruggedness are still important. I am not an expert in camping or camping gear. It's been several years since I've done any motorcycle camping so the available gear may have changed. The following list is gear that I've used and found useful.


Camping Gear

Item

 

Qty

Description

tent

*

1

Pick a tent that has a capacity of one more than the number of people that it needs to hold (e.g. If you're sleeping solo, you need at least a two person tent). The extra space will be needed to hold all the stuff you take off your bike (luggage, bags, etc.). Dome tents with external poles seem to be the easiest to set up and also have the best combination of headroom and floor space. Aluminum poles are stronger and more durable than fiberglass but they also cost a lot more. Make sure that the tent has decent ventilation. This means that there are windows or doors (with mosquito netting) at both ends. A rain fly with a vestibule is very useful. The vestibule can be used as an additional rain sheltered storage place and you can also cook there when it's raining.
rain fly

*

1

Most modern tents are not waterproof. They have waterproof floors but the body of the tent is not waterproof so they need additional rain protection. All decent tents come with a rain fly.
tent pegs *

1 set

You can choose between plastic and metal. Metal is stronger and more expensive. Depending on the design of your tent you may not need pegs unless it gets real windy. However, in heavy winds tent pegs are manditory.
tent patch kit *

1

To patch the holes you will put in the tent.
ground sheet

*

1

Put this under the floor of the tent before setting up the tent. It will protect the floor of the tent from punctures (most tent floors are pretty fragile) and also provide an additional water barrier. Most tent floors will leak if there is water flowing under the tent unless you have a waterproof ground sheet. You don't really need to know how I know this.
sleeping bag

*

1

I use a down three-season bag. Down is warmer and compress to a smaller size than most synthetic bag materials. This may not be true with today's modern insulating materials. Check with your camping supply store. IMO, small size is more important than insulation ability. If it's so cold that you need a four-season bag, it's probably too cold to be riding a motorcycle.
poncho liner *

1

This is a thin insulated sheet of material intended to be worn inside a poncho in cold rainy weather. I use it as a blanket if it's too hot for my sleeping bag but I still need some sort of an insulating cover. You can get these in most army surplus stores and some camping supply stores. I only take one if I have room.
sleeping pad

*

1

This is more than a soft mattress. It also provides insulation between you and the ground. I like the Thermarest compact. It's self-inflating and rolls up to a quite small size.
sleeping pad patch kit *

1

If you use a Thermarest or other inflatable pad you might want to bring along a patch kit. These pads are pretty tough and I've never punctured mine but if you do puncture it doesn't work very well.
water bag (pillow) *

1

You need some sort of pillow. A regular pillow is just too big and most camping pillows are either too big or don't work very well. A 1 gallon water bag works great when partially inflated with air and stuffed inside a t-shirt. When deflated it takes almost zero space. You can also use it as a water bag if you need one -- cool!
candle lantern

*

1

You already have a flashlight and that can be used for spot lighting. However, unless you want to be replacing the batteries a couple times a day you need something for general lighting after sunset. A candle lantern works just great. You can just barely read by it but for everything else it works great. Most tents have loops inside on the top where you can hang a lantern. Just be aware that the top of these lanterns get VERY HOT and will burn you if you touch them at the top. If you do touch the hot top you will jump and hit the lantern. This will then spill the molten candle wax all over the lantern glass and quite possibly all over the inside of the tent. Be careful when blowing them out at night.
spare candle for candle lantern *

1

 
small spool of nylon cord. *

1

Parachute cord will work but it really bigger than you need for general utility purposes. Something smaller in diameter is just as useful and takes less space. Most camping supply stores have several choices to pick from.
small hatchet  

1

To cut firewood and pound in tent stakes. I don't build wood fires and use my pipe (ratchet handle extender -- see the tools section above) to pound in the tent stakes.
knife *

1

This is in addition to the Swiss Army knife in my pocket and the knife in the cook set. You can use a hunting knife. I prefer a folding Buck knife. It just needs to be fairly large and very sharpe. You use this for cooking, building fires, and all sorts of stuff you didn't think of until you find you didn't bring a knife.

For Cooking

cooking stove *

1

There are lots of choices here. I like the Wisper Lite International. It is small, light, and can put out a lot of heat. The most important feature is that it can use almost any fuel. I use gas from the bike. Unleaded pump gas works just fine in this stove. Butane stoves are too big and require special fuel that comes in special containers. These containers are only available in camping supply stores. White Gas (AKA Naptha) stoves work well but wnly burn white gas. That means that you need to bring white gas with you. Pump gas is available at any gas station.
gas bottle for stove *

1

I use an MSR 1 qt bottle. This is the same bottle I carry to siphon gas.
stove jet cleaning kit

*

1

Buy where you get the stove.
cooking pots

*

1

I use aluminum cooking sets. Stainless steel is prettier, stronger, and is easier to clean but it doesn't conduct heat as well as aluminum so it's harder to cook with Stainless.
waterproof matches *

1

I carry the waterproof matches in a waterproof container made to carry matches. You might think that if you have a waterproof container you don't need waterproof matches. This is true as long as you don't need to use the matches when it's raining. If you think that you'll just quickly light the stove in the rain with conventional matches or a cigarette lighter, think again. Get the waterproof matches.
waterproof match case *

1

 
plastic cup *

1

Most cooking sets come with plastic cups but a few come with metal cups. Get a plastic cup if your set doesn't have one. With a plastic cup you can drink hot coffee without having to be super careful to not burn your hand and or lips.
utensils *

1 set

You can get either plastic or metal. The plastic is cheaper and easier to find but I think that metal is more durable.

 Additional Toiletries

bath towel *

1

This towel is on the small side.
hand towel     I use the bath towel. Two towels take too much space
wash cloth *

1

 
       
       
       

nnn