Creating a list of items to pack for any trip helps ensure you bring all of the essentials, and this is just as important to do when preparing for a motorcycle road trip. If you have a bike with built-in bags, you have a bit more flexibility when loading up. Adding on luggage isn’t out of the question, but it’s vital to pick your luggage accordingly; you can’t just bring any type of luggage along.
Choosing Your Luggage
Going on a multi-day trip will require you to carry items with you somehow. For bikes that don’t already have built-in luggage, you can choose between hard cases and expandable soft luggage. Hard cases are beneficial because they are more durable than soft luggage and provide better weather protection. However, they are much heavier, larger, and can be costly. Expandable soft luggage, on the other hand, is lighter and less expensive but is much easier to unzip (or cut open), making it more susceptible to theft.
Packing for Two
If you have a partner along for the ride, you will need to make some compromises when packing. Bring only the essentials along with you, leaving heavy items like hair dryers and electric razors at home. A general rule of thumb when traveling in a pair is to bring twice the money you think you’ll spend and half the clothing. If you are planning on staying the night in a motel, you can get away with bringing two pairs of clothes each – one for the ride and one for activities while off the bike. You can take advantage of laundry rooms at the motel or hotel when the clothes become unbearable to wear.
When loading the luggage onto your bike, it is imperative that you keep everything balanced. Aim to position your heavy items low and towards the front of the bike. Try to keep the right and left stable as well. Luggage can easily pull your motorcycle in one direction if it is not packed correctly, and the last thing you want to do is become unbalanced while on the road.
Do a Test Run
If you are going on a multi-day road trip for the first time, pack all your luggage onto your motorcycle and go for a test drive, preferably for a few hours. This will allow you to make sure your bags stay in place and your straps remain tight before you set off on your trip. You also want to make sure you don’t have too much packed that it makes it difficult to get on and off your bike.