10 essentials for a long motorcycle trip

The long motorcycle trip. A rite of passage for the seasoned rider. The pursuit of exploration on two wheels. These are various forms, from tourism to camping and travel. Either way, the journey comes to the fore in its purpose, and a lot of preparation before that. Here are the 10 things you should pack for your next motorcycle ride.


Army sports bag on a green chair outdoors

This is a must have for anyone looking to bring home the extra gem. The extra bag can meet any need, whether it’s a dirty clothes bag to get to the laundry, a storage space to keep your boots dry at night or your shopping bag in the blink of an eye. The long-range traveler always has one close at hand. The best options in this category are foldable and inexpensive (think a nylon duffle bag or duffel bag). Some companies have even incorporated these bags into a riding jacket. To accompany this bag, you must have the appropriate straps. Ratchet straps are best in a pinch, but Bungie lanyards do just fine. Find your nearest Walmart and grab some to go with your new excess baggage.

9/10 windbreaker

Yellow windbreaker black background for sale

The windbreaker is a great option to go with your favorite mesh riding jacket. The windbreaker has multiple uses, from helping out in the cold wind on a highway to protecting against the rain in a bad fight around town. I always keep one in a pannier or riding backpack. The best windbreakers pack into a small package and can even fit in an extra pocket. These are best for those looking for the long distance through the mountains or the Midwest, where weather forecasts are scarce and preparation is key.

Related: The Best Mesh Motorcycle Jackets For Summer

8/10 Protective glasses

Safety glasses white background with drill in reflection

Aren’t tinted visors nice? There’s nothing like a poignant helmet graphic and tinted visor to exude style and finesse. The only downside is the nightfall which blinds the pilot and prevents good reflexes in darker conditions. This is easily remedied by lifting the visor but leaves the rider’s eyes bare and exposed to mosquitoes, rocks or rain. The solution is simple, get some glasses from your local hardware store or Walmart. The more premium optional night goggles can also work well. The purpose of these goggles is a last ditch effort to protect the rider’s vision while riding at night. They fit easily in a pocket, bag or under the passenger seat of a sports bike. Don’t leave without them!

7/10 Bacon strips

Red motorcycle hand pressing flat back tire day parking

Long used in the cycling world, this wrap item is a valuable asset to the cyclist on uneven road surfaces and congested highways. Shards of car wrecks and random screws litter the streets of America, and the day will come when your tires will fall victim to them. This leads to needing a tow truck or a friend to help you get home. In a pinch, the best solution is the solution of a bacon strip tire patch. The rider just needs to add a little rubber cement to the compound, drill the tire at its new hole, and leave the bacon strip to plug the mess. Although not advised for long-range use (like your Civic’s donut tire), this will get you to the nearest tire shop for a quick change. This, along with a CO2 cartridge for inflation, is a godsend when you’re on the worst straights of your trip.

Related: Big tires, 2×2 system and the ability to go anywhere: Meet the Robo Systems Ultra all-electric bike.

Yellow rusty gasoline canister with vintage lettering

The modern motorcycle is much more MPG-focused than previous iterations. Regardless of this new industry advancement, the pilot dictates when the fuel is filled. Due to negligence or pure focus on the road, the gas runs out leaving the rider stuck on the shoulder. Some older bikes and some sport duals allow the rider to tank up and take them to the nearest gas station. For this example, let’s say you chose to ride the supersport instead of the KLR. Without a tank that you can enjoy, you need fuel to get to safety. Modern invention provides this very thing in your satchel. Many companies now offer this upgrade in different sizes and colors, allowing you to quench your engine’s thirst on demand and in all conditions. Make sure the canister is intended to contain fuel to avoid an explosive accident.

5/10 Change of socks

Green socks on wood during the day in hangers

As said before, the weather is unpredictable, especially on a long motorcycle trip. The most excellent afternoons quickly turn into thunderstorms in the blink of an eye. The rider is exposed to the elements and quickly becomes drenched by the falling precipitation. Worst of all are the new soaked socks that fill the rider’s boots. This problem causes discomfort and increases the risk of hypothermia or catching a cold. As a proud Eagle Scout, I advise all riders to pack an extra pair of socks in their bag (whether hiking or riding around the bends). All it takes is for the rider to stop at the nearest rest stop, wait out the rain, and put on new socks to maintain body heat on the way back. Soaked shoes? Wrap your feet in a newspaper or grocery bag to correct this problem until you get to a comfortable garage.

4/10 Energy shots

Nux Energy Shot Orange with Keys

A tired rider is just as dangerous as a drunk rider. While too much caffeine can have detrimental effects, a simple shot of energy in a saddlebag can come in handy during long drives in the middle of the night. I usually have two bottles of Five Hour Energy in mine for this reason. Remember to hydrate and get protein in your system first to avoid stomach issues or headaches, as shown below.

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3/10 Dried/protein bars

Red Beef Jerky Bag

Protein isn’t just for your neighborhood gym rats! All humans need to have a healthy amount of protein in their diet. Especially bikers. As mentioned earlier, protein and hydration are necessary before consuming caffeine on the road or in life. Get some raw protein bars to take you on your journey. Rather, it’s an easy way to stretch your mileage before pitting for a meal. While we don’t recommend replacing your staple meals with this option, it’s a quick fix for those who need it the most. Beef Jerky provides enough flavor for the rider to reach for in their bag, but Huel makes a decent meal replacement for those looking for a science-based solution to their hunger pains.

Ground Solar Cell Charger with Mobile Phone

With the modern cyclist cruising down the highway with a cell phone strapped to their handlebars, there’s the day-to-day longevity of the gadgets we rely on. If possible, the mobile phone should be stored in a bag to prevent it from being exposed to freezing or hot temperatures and sheltered from rain. Most new bikes come stock with a USB charging port, but many bikes don’t have this option, making it a necessary accessory. We recommend a battery that can charge your phone twice if you’re in a hurry and have to rely on directions to get home, but a single charge is a good place to start.

1/10 Water!

front view of a bottle of water pouring

You’d be surprised how quickly your body can lose moisture, even on the coldest days. Unbeknownst to most people, hydration is proactive, not reactive. For this reason, I always drink a bottle or two of water before taking a long drive to prepare for the dehydration process that is about to occur. Due to direct sunlight, heat and body fatigue, this process happens faster than you might think. If you can stop and grab a glass of water or two along the way, Thirsty Rock has you covered. The Tank Bag hydration pack gives the rider a quick fix without having to stop. It’s a godsend for those looking for long treks through the Arizona desert or the beautiful stretches of Utah. Pick one for the day you need to wet your whistle.

About Frances R. Smith

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