Tips Travel

Packing For a Motorcycle Trip

A Girl’s Guide . . .

packing motorcycle tripI’ve been on lots of trips before . . . but I have not ever been on an extended, overnight motorcycle trip. This is definitely something new for me . . . packing for a motorcycle trip!

I usually pack for a work trip or the beach (if I’m lucky). But planning what to take on a motorcycle trip is new territory. The first big consideration is space. There is only so much space in the luggage compartments of a motorcycle. And since I don’t actually drive a motorcycle and I’m merely going along as a passenger, there is one other person to share space with . . . my husband.

There have been quite a few of my friends who have commented to me that they have a hard time picturing me as a motorcycle rider. I see it as an adventure. It reminds me of snow skiing. Outdoors. Special equipment. At the mercy of the weather. Adventure. Exploring. I really enjoy it. But as I said, I have had to give a lot of thought to packing for it.

I had a lot less responsibilities as the passenger compared to being the driver for this trip. I wasn’t worried about weight distribution or having the right tools along. My biggest concern was how to pack everything I thought I needed into one side saddlebag.

I am a visual and an organized person . . . so the first thing I had to do was chart out the trip on paper.packing motorcycle trip It was a fairly long trip but we had the advantage of pulling the motorcycle on a trailer part of the trip and leaving our car behind when we got to the place we wanted to ride. That gave me the option to leave some clothes behind in the car for use later in the trip.

Anyone who rides a motorcycle knows to pack the obvious things . . . helmet, motorcycle boots, goggles and gloves. Then you need to pack those items you should have, but hope you never have to use . . . rain gear, tools and extra gas. I brought along some things for fun . . . my camera (with the charger and a tripod), CDs and headsets (if you have a sound system). There’s also practical things to pack . . . a GPS, maps, water bottles, sunscreen and a ball cap (for those really bad hair moments when you’ve been wearing a motorcycle helmet too long).

All this stuff took up a lot of space and I didn’t even have any clothes packed yet! At this point in the packing process one whole saddlebag was full as was the back trunk compartment. That left us with one side saddlebag and an outside bag that we could strap to the luggage rack on the trunk.

packing motorcycle tripI took the side saddlebag and managed to fit 4 days worth of clothes and essentials in it. I was definitely proud of myself! I packed what you would expect to take on a motorcycle trip . . . jeans, long and short-sleeve shirts, socks, etc. I also had a swimsuit, flip flops, makeup and hair stuff. I had to resist the urge to overpack . . . which ultimately isn’t an option since there is only so much room in a side saddlebag. All in all I was pretty pleased with my first attempt at packing for a motorcycle trip. And whatever you do . . . don’t forget your rain gear!


motorcycle trip

Under shelter from the rain

You can find a detailed packing list and more ideas for your trip at Motorcycle Travel America.

If you have any other ideas for me please leave me a comment. We are already planning for our next trip!


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  • Reply
    Susan Swink
    July 16, 2014 at

    The hubs and I pack a couple old tshirt to wear. Once we wear them we throw them away and replace them with the new ones we buy during the trip. Always come home with the same number of shirts and don’t have to worry about where to pack the extra “Harley” tshirts we always end up buying.

    • Reply
      Carla Wilson
      July 17, 2014 at

      I LIKE that idea! Some days all we do is get really sweaty…those shirts could be disposable. Thanks!!!

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