Top 6 Essential Pieces of Gear
When embarking on a motorcycle trip your gear is your safe haven. While doing any touring or overlanding, it’s easy to bring too much or not enough. A personal balance must be struck to ensure you have what you need, but aren’t unnecessarily hauling what you don’t. Here is my list of the five most important things to bring on a multi day camping/overland motorcycle trip. I will exclude obvious inclusions like cloths, camping/cooking gear, and bike specific tool kits. You’re taking these items anyway.
1) Smart Phone – the smart phone combines just about everything you used to pack into one easy to use devise. In addition to actually being your phone that you can use to stay in touch or call for help, the smart phone is also an internet browser to trouble shoot and problem solve, get up to date weather, find/book campsites or hotels, GPS, Camera, compass, music playing device, ETC. If you lose your wallet, you can even use Paypal to buy things. For a single item, nothing does more for you. I like the iPhone but any modern smart phone with a decent amount of storage will do fine.
2) Multi-tool – The number of times having a multi-tool in my jacket pocket has simplified my life on an overland trip is uncountable. Unpacking and packing your bikes tool kit can be time consuming and if you have a simple problem to fix, it’s nice to have the basics at arms length. Stuff it in your motorcycle jackets inner pockets and you wont notice it until you need it. I like the Leatherman Juice 2 for its compact size and sturdy construction.
3) Zip ties – Zip ties are the motorcycle equivalent to duck tape. They can solve so many problems and cost you basically nothing. They are super easy to store and haul. I like to bring between 5-10 tip ties of various sizes with me on every trip. They can be used to secure a loose windshield or side panel or to secure something to your luggage if you tear a strap. Hell, they can be new luggage if you connect them properly. They are simple and effective fixes for many problems and work on any bike. So if your riding buddy has an issue and your tool kit doesn’t have the right bolt… it will work all around. What’s not to love?
*Side note here: A spoil of light gauge wire is also super useful and much more useful when having to attach to hot metal parts.
4) Water – This may seem obvious, but always having a spare water supply is a must. Most people think to bring water for camping and to stay hydrated while riding. I am talking about a spare water bottle that you save for emergencies. Tuck it in your side bag and forget about it. Don’t use it to brush your teeth or clean your windshield, just leave it there till you get home from your trip safely. You never know how important water is until you NEED some.
5) Keys – More specifically, spare keys. Hide one on your bike. Hide it well. Maybe give one to a travelling partner. There is nothing worse than having a perfectly working bike that wont go anywhere because you misplaced your key.
6) Helmet – It keeps you safe and dry. Get a good one. It’s the mot important piece of gear you can get as a motorcyclist. I recommend either of these for dual sport riding. The Arai XD4 or the Shoei Hornet 2. Safe riding is the best riding.