Beantown Baggers


Gear for a Motorcycle Trip
Friends always ask me how to pack for a long motorcycle trip or a fly and ride. The only thing worse than being cold or wet is being dry and having your friends bitching because they are cold or wet. You can ride in just about any weather as long as you’ve packed right. Below is the list of items that are worth consideration when you pack for a trip. Keep in mind, taking too much will weigh down your bike and prove to be a pain. I limit my packing to a single bag no matter how much space I have.
This list isn’t for the out and back rider – it’s for somebody who will put serious miles on over the course of a weekend or longer.
I like to think about this from ground up and will leave out the obvious essentials – if you can’t remember your own underwear, I don’t want you on my roads.
1. Hiking Socks – or something that deals with moisture.
2. Boots – something with a Vibram sole or oil resistant sole is preferable
3. Long Johns – depending on the climate. Under Armor is a good option.
4. Cover alls (if it’s really damned cold). Carhartt makes a great pair
5. Jeans
6. Dry Fit shirt (something that wicks away moisture)
7. Shirts and top layers – Follow the layer guide below. Leather jacket is always a safe bet
8. Gloves (I only bring gauntlet gloves because if it’s not cold enough for serious gloves, I’m not wearing them)
9. Hat – Beanie and/or Bandanna

1. Bag – I like either the military backpack or a sissy bar bag.
2. Tie Downs – always helpful if you need to strap something to the back seat
3. Helmet – depends on where you’re riding. Check the local helmet laws before going
4. Glasses – 7 eye makes transitional day to night glasses that avoid bringing two separate pairs
5. Multi-tool – usually much harder for traveling unless you check the bag. If you’re renting a bike, ask if one comes with a tool kit.
6. Rain Gear (having been stuck without it, I can say this sucks!).
7. Cell Phone (clearly you’re not going to forget this)
Optional gear
1. Transparent Map tank bag (two options – these can fit a map+phone, some are larger to fit more)
2. Bottle of Water (I normally go with Aqufina as the opening is wide enough to put a gas pump nozzle in without splashing or a metal container – either can be used as a gas can should I run out).
3. Coffee thermos (cold happens and a warm cup is usually the cure, not to mention the road takes it’s toll and a caffeine kick can get you back on your way).
4. Flashlight – Usually you can take a mag-lite on a flight (check carrier and TSA before you trust me)
5. Headphones or ear-plugs (blocks some wind and don’t have to hear your buddies complain that they’re hungry, tired, weak).
6. Map (with a few gas stations circled)
7. Trail mix or granola
8. Compass – definitely comes in handy. Compass Watches allow you to course correct without looking like you missed a turn.
9. Face mask or extra bandanna can serve the same purpose.
10. Sunblock

Gear if you aren’t doing a fly and ride:
1. Knife (again, don’t bring if you’re doing a fly and ride. I am a fan of Benchmade.
2. Lighter or matches
3. Cigars and cigar cutter (maybe that’s just me). Hard case for storage as well.

Top layers:
Whenever I go on a trip I think about the climate that where I’m starting and add a layer for the mere fact I’m going to be at 60+ MPH and it gets a little chilly with that sort of wind. If I’m comfortable standing around in a t-shirt, I’ll put on a flannel to start the ride. If I’m going to be out after dark, I bring the extra layer for that (maybe a leather). If I’m going above 2,000 ft (a mountain ride always has decreased temperatures), I’ll add another layer. Basically on a 70 degree day where I know I’ll be out all day and will carve through some mountains I’ll have a total of four layers with me. Riding cold sucks and it’s actually a risk when your circulation decreases and reflexes slow. – you’re not soft because you bring an extra shirt.

Disclaimer: I take no responsibility if you freeze or are otherwise injured by your gear or lack thereof.


  1. Pingback: Packing the necessities | Beantown Baggers

  2. Pingback: Need versus Want | Beantown Baggers

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