September 23

What to Take on a Motorcycle Road Trip

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There is nothing quite like hitting the open road and putting some miles on the clocks. For a lot of people, the time spent cruising on a motorcycle are some of the best memories they have.

Whether you’re riding solo as an escape from the humdrum of daily life, or with some friends on a blacktop adventure, there are a few things that you will need to take on your motorcycle trip.

When considering what to take on a motorcycle road trip, there a few questions you will need to ask yourself. Where are you going and for how long? Will you be staying in hotels or roughing in the outdoors? What kind of bike do you have, and what is the weather like?

In this article, we will take a look at some of the essentials that you should take on every long ride as well as some other items that are appropriate for more specific situations. If you love to ride and have ever wondered what you should take on a motorcycle road trip, read on.

Road Trip Essentials

There are some things that you should never get caught without when you are going on a road trip. Hell, these are things that you should probably take if you are going further than a few blocks from your house.

Motorcycle on the road to the mountains

Riding Gear

Even in warm weather, spending hours on your bike can get chilly. So proper gear is essential when you head out on your road trip.

  • Gloves – A good pair of riding gloves will keep your hands from getting dry and cracked from the hours of wind whipping across your handlebars.
  • Sunglasses – Even if you have a full-face helmet with a visor, having an extra pair of shades is a good idea.
  • Riding Jacket – If you are cruising through mountain passes, the need for layers is obvious. But a good jacket is necessary for warm weather rides as well. Along with the added safety it provides (dress for the slide, not the ride!), long sleeves will keep you from getting cooked alive. It’s easy not to notice you are getting sunburnt when riding, so you’ll be glad you covered up when you get to your destination.
  • Earplugs – Long hours of cruising at speed can be like spending the day in a wind tunnel, and the constant drone can take a toll on your eardrums. Many people like the added ear protection of a set of earplugs, and if you are comfortable cruising with them, it is a good idea to bring a pair or two.
  • Maps – Unless you are completely familiar with the route you are taking and any potential detours you may meet along the way, bringing a map along is a good idea. 
  • Charger – Speaking of charger, in the digital world we live in, running out of juice (especially out in the middle of nowhere on a deserted highway) can spell disaster. So always make sure you have a phone charger with you when traveling.
  • Motorcycle Lock – Keeping your motorcycle secure is essential, so don’t forget to pack a lock.

Cold Weather

Motorcycle and tent on mountain with snow

If you are planning on cruising at high altitudes or in inclement weather, it is even more important to pack appropriately and be prepared.

  • Extra Coat – You may not need to pack a down parka, but if you have space, it could be a good idea to chuck in an extra coat just in case you get stuck out in the cold.
  • Blanket – Once again, this is a preparation for unforeseen circumstances, but having a blanket could be the difference between life and death if you’re caught out in a mountain pass, especially if you’re riding solo. A space blanket takes up practically zero space, so keeping one in a riding bag or pannier is just a good idea.
  • Hand Warmers – If you live in Alaska or North Dakota, you should probably invest in some heated handgrips. But if you’re just out for a winter holiday ride, packing a pair of single-use hand warmers will keep your grip solid and you’re hands comfortable.

Hot Weather 

If you’re cruising out to Joshua Tree or heading to Vegas, you won’t have to worry about frostbite, but there are a couple of other items you should pack instead of a fur coat.

  • Water – This is essential. Cruising on the highway in the hot sun will suck the fluids right out of your body, so be sure to carry a couple of liters in your riding bag.
  • Sunblock – A little sunblock never hurt anyone, so make sure to pack a bottle of SPF 50 and use it.

Tools

Motorcycle bag for tools and other road trip equipment

It usually won’t be necessary to bring all your wrenches and sockets on every road trip you take, but having a basic tool kit is essential when hitting the road.

  • Multi-Tool – These handy, go-anywhere tools fit in your pocket and can get you out of many a jam on a motorcycle road trip.
  • Patch Kit – Blowing a tire on the highway can be a harrowing experience, but getting back on the road is important, especially if you’re in the middle of nowhere. Pack a patch kit and know how to use it.
  • Duct Tape & Zip Ties – These simple bits can be a lifesaver, and personally I keep them on my bike at all times.
  • Flashlight/Headlamp – You don’t always break down in the daytime, and if you’ve ever had to change attire in the dark, you already know the importance of a good flashlight. 

This list could go on and on, and if you have space, a decent set of portable sockets and wrenches is a great thing to have, but these few bits are small enough to pack in just about any riding bag. 

Final Thoughts

Motorcycle rider holding a helmet

This is by no means an exhaustive list, and coming up with your own kit is an important part of going on a long ride. Remember, proper planning prevents piss poor performance, so take the time and get your gear together before you head out on your next motorcycle road trip. 

Frequently Asked Questions

How many miles can you ride in a day?

Most riders can handle around 250-300 miles a day in good weather, although there are endless factors to take into consideration. Don’t push yourself beyond your limits, and if your tired pullover.

How often should I fill up my gas tank?

Planning your trip is important and this includes knowing how far away the next gas station is. When in doubt, fill ‘er up. It’s better to be safe than sorry.

Jay Miller

Tags

road trip


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