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|Packing For Your
Motorcycle Road Trip
When you pack for a motorcycle road trip it is necessary to be a minimalist. You
want to add the least amount of weight and bulk possible. Remember you may be
purchasing souvenirs at your destination. Allow room for items to bring home with
you. T-shirts that may be purchased on the trip can be worn during the trip. We
leave our saddlebags empty while en-route to our destination, with the exception of
our tool bag, this ensures we have ample space for anything we purchase at the
rally. Do not pack rain gear or maps in the saddlebags. You do not want to unpack
all your gear while on the road if you encounter rain or need to check your route.
You will want to pack your shower supplies in the detachable roll bag for easy on
and off access. Rain gear should also be packed in this top piece. If you have the
room in the roll bag, the clothing you will need while traveling to your destination can
also be packed in the roll bag.
Check weather forecast for the days you will be traveling and at your destination.
When traveling on your motorcycle you do not have the luxury of packing for all
kinds of weather. If you are going to the Sturgis Motorcycle Rally, any weather is
possible. In 2006 the temperatures were in the high 90’s and even hit 100. Fleece
and sweatshirts were not necessary, not even at night. In 2004 fleece and leathers
were the norm and nights were very cold. If the current weather pattern is any
indication, cold weather clothing will not be necessary. However, I will be watching
the weather forecast for any changes. You will probably be bringing a fleece or
sweatshirt for the early morning travels, which may be sufficient for the entire trip.
To save room in the luggage, any traveling attire you do not need for the entire day,
can be folded or rolled and tucked under the bungee cords you are using to secure
your gear on the motorcycle.
UPDATE: The weather did not stay hot for that week, we were in our leathers
almost every day! I did not pack a fleece to wear so my new Sturgis t-shirt was a
WHAT TO PACK:
Clothing – Plan on wearing a pair of jeans more than once or twice. You probably
will not have room to pack a fresh pair of jeans for everyday. We wear the same
pair of jeans during the travel to and from the rally. You will most likely be wearing
chaps to protect yourself from road debris & weather, so they really don’t get too
Toiletries – A waterproof bag of some kind for all your shower supplies is best.
Campgrounds have shower houses and usually have long lines waiting every
morning for the shower. You want to be able to hold all your supplies while waiting
in line. Most shower houses require you to bring everything into the stall with you,
find a bag large enough to hold all these items; one with a hook to hang on the
shower head or a provided hook work well. Pack shammies or travel towels for
Campground attire – Bring a pair of shorts, yoga pants, sweatpants; whatever
your lounging pants of choice may be, to wear to the shower. The shower houses
almost always have wet floors and jeans are not always ‘shower house friendly’. Flip
flops are always nice to have while showering.
Leathers – Road trips usually involve highways and highway speeds. For your
safety and protection you should be wearing your leather gear. Leathers do not
only protect you in case of an accident but also protect you from stones, etc. that
get thrown from other vehicles. Check out our Essential Gear page for more
information on riding gear you need. If you do not normally wear a helmet, check
our helmet law map, you may be traveling through a helmet law state and you WILL
be required to wear a helmet.
Rain Gear – If you own rain gear pack it in an easy access location on your bike. If
you do not own rain gear, leathers are adequate protection provided you are not in
excellent selections of rain gear.
Sunscreen – Lotions – Chapstick – Riding on a motorcycle depletes your body of
fluids; add to that the very dry and arid air in South Dakota and your skin and lips
dry out rapidly. Bring lotion and chapstick. Don’t forget you will be outside nearly
the entire time, bring sunscreen.
Knife - A belt loop knife or pocket knife is an essential while camping or traveling on
Tent - Choose a tent that has enough space to store your gear, such as the T-Bag.
Sleeping bags – Fleece sleeping bags will provide adequate warmth if the
temperatures are reasonable. They roll up much tighter than standard sleeping
bags, taking up much less room on your motorcycle.
Sleeping mats – Self inflating mats are a great option for motorcycle traveling.
They roll and pack very nice and provide cushion between you and the ground.
UPDATE: For our 2016 trip to the Grand Canyons we decided to ditch the sleeping
Flashlight - Useful for inside your tent at night and any night time repairs to your
Disposable Hand Wipes - These became the most popular feature at camp!
Camera – Don’t forget your camera!!
Tools – If you do not have a standard set of tools for your motorcycle, click here for
a recommended set.
Sheepskin – Don’t pack this, place it on your seat. Works great as a pillow at night!
Genuine wool sheepskins provide the protection you need for the long ride. I have
partnered with one of the top manufacturers of Merino wool skins in the USA. Be
sure you check out the sheepskins here.
Cell Phone Charger (12v power adapter)- A must have for anyone with a cell
phone. MOST camping sites do not provide electricity. Snaggin a few minutes while
eating out is fine for regular cell phones (provided you only have it available for
emergencies). The SMART phones that many of us use today go through battery
power much quicker.
USB direct to battery tender pigtail chargers are also available. I have not tried this
kind, so I cannot speak of it's quality or functionality. This one will also require you
to have an pigtail that is hard wired to your battery. See link to the left.
Check our Road Trip Gear page for more tricks and tips for your motorcycle road
trip and great links to some of the gear listed here.
Nervous about making the trip? Read our First Time To Sturgis? story for a few
tips on making the journey.
Have a great trip and RIDE SAFE!!
Printable CHECK LIST
What to pack for your
motorcycle road trip
Countdown to Sturgis
|Anatomy of a packed
for your road trip.
|DON'T LOSE YOUR
MOTORCYCLE KEY WHILE
YOU ARE AT THE RALLY!!
KEEP IT SECURE!
CHECK OUT THIS
The PERFECT motorcycle
keychain! An exclusive
Plugs into battery
I own this, VERY nice!
|Battery Tender Pigtail
for 12V Power Adapter
and/or Battery Tenders
Fox Creek Leather Ladies
Summer Riding Jacket
Motorcycle Riding Glasses
Lindby® LINBAR Highway Bar
Fox Creek Ladies Leather Belt Purse
How To Tips
Why your IAC is cycling when your
motorcycle is off & causing your
battery to drain.
Installing a Lindby crash bar?
How to chop your windshield.
Changing your handlebars
Preparing for a road trip
on your motorcycle.
Gear you need for your
motorcycle Road Trip
New Riders/Ride Safe
Do you SEE while riding
Riding With A Passenger
Motorcycle Group Riding
& Hand Signals
10 things all car and truck drivers
should know about motorcycles
Countdown to Sturgis
The Road To Sturgis
Campground Guide in Sturgis
(includes distances from downtown
First time going to Sturgis? Feeling
a little overwhelmed and nervous?
Get your motorcycle ready for
What to pack for the
Sturgis Motorcycle Rally
Our Journey to the 2011
Sturgis Motorcycle Rally
Names & Designations