Motorcycle Packing for a Short Trip

SHORT TRIPS (Day trips, weekends, long weekends). For things like this, you can get away with very little equipment and you can avoid tasks, like washing your clothes.

The first thing is a light raincoat. You can buy this from bicycle shops everywhere, and almost every importer and distributor offers one. They cost $ 100 or more, although the price of a lightweight suit is worth having. You want to enjoy your trip and feel comfortable is part of that pleasure. Who wants to ride and get wet? A pair of waterproof boots that provide protection is the next. You can get nice and comfortable waterproof boots, and no more heat than ordinary boots and these shoes keep your feet dry in the rain. Waterproof gloves are also an option, but these gloves are hotter and therefore often less comfortable than lighter road gloves. It would be nice if your body stays dry in the unexpected rain.

In your tank bag carry your Mobile phone; road atlas; a small notebook with a pen; some postcards; a Swiss Army knife; a paperback book; and don’t forget your musician’s earplugs.

Some riders set up their phone so they can answer calls while they’re riding others prefer to peace and quite of their ride.

The road map means that you are never quite as lost as you thought. If you are visiting a particular area, you will probably carry a detailed map of that location as well. These will normally be available from the local Tourist Visitor Centre.

The notebook is pretty self-explanatory. It is amazing just how often you see something and try to remember it. This way you can make notes as you go. Keep the book and pen as handy as possible; say in an outside pocket of the tank bag, unless it looks like rain. Take a spare pen as well, because they always run out at the wrong time.

The postcards might seem a bit weird, but it’s nice to be able to drop the kids or other family members a line from the road. Carry them with stamps already on them, and write them while you’re waiting for your coffee or lunch. This gives you something to do and it’s a nice touch for the loved ones. If you don’t have any loves ones you can always write to your enemies and make them madly jealous.

The Swiss Army knife is one of the middle-sized ones, with the tine tweezers (very useful), a couple of screwdrivers (good for getting at the fuses without unpacking the tool kit) and, of course, the most vital tool of all – the corkscrew!

Why a book? Well, there are inevitably times that drag when you’re travelling. An evening alone in a motel room or beside the road depending on where you have stopped for the night; guard duty at the Laundromat while your clothes dry; the wait for the tow truck to pick up your bike with its imploded gearbox… Trust me, you’ll find time to read.

Now on the subject of earplugs – if you don’t have any, get some. Musician’s earplugs are moulded to the shape of your ears, and can be fitted with filters to cut out varying amounts of noise. If you have spent many years riding without them, you will be paying for it now. What? What did you say? I’m a bit def, you see … and you will not be the only one. If you are new to bike riding, there is no reason for you to suffer the same thing. Go see an audiologist and get a par made. They’ll cost $150 or so but they will work beautifully, and fit even better.

Another item you might like to consider for your tank bag is a disposable camera. It is cheap and easy, instantly replaceable, and yet with the potential to capture some wonderful moments and sights. Get one with a built-in flash and the light, or lack thereof, will not matter. If you are into photography you will obviously want your own “good” camera, but a disposable will do the job in most instances.

Carry a bag or stick of barley sugar in your tank bag. It really doesn’t matter what type of candy you carry, but bring some – it is an excellent source for instant energy attacks, very valuable when you fall asleep in the afternoon on a long journey or if you skip meals. Also loose is a sunscreen roll-on container. And while we are on the subject of the sun, bring sunglasses. In an external pocket, if any. I brought a little change. It’s useful for a replacement package for barley sugar, cold drinks, ice cream or whatever. This can be very useful if you are wearing your raincoat! If there is no outer bag inside the tank bag, put the change in another small Ziploc bag.