How to Pack for a Motorcycle Trip - Motorcycle Trip Packing List for Touring

Mar 3, 2024

Tags:guiderentersownersgeneral

picture of motorcyclist on the edge of overlook with travel gear trip packing list

Packing for a motorcycle trip or a long motorcycle touring journey has a lot of considerations. You’re limited on space and lack the convenience of the trunk of a car for luggage. You have to fit everything you need within 85 to 170 liters, or maybe a little more if you have a saddle or roll bag. 

In this article, you’ll find a comprehensive motorcycle touring packing list and 14 tips on how to pack for a motorcycle trip. Depending on how long you’ll be traveling, more or less may be necessary. Stick to the things you’ll need or need in the event of the unexpected.

Must-Have Motorcycle Trip Packing List 

Motorcycle Gear 

  • Helmet
  • Versatile riding jacket
  • Riding pants
  • Motorcycle boots
  • Gloves
  • Rain gear
  • Heated gear (for cold weather)

Essential Clothing

  • Base layers
  • Casual shirts
  • Jeans/pants
  • Underwear
  • Socks
  • Sleepwear
  • Swimsuit (depending on where you’re going)
  • Hat/cap

Toiletries

  • Toothbrush and toothpaste
  • Shampoo and conditioner
  • Soap/body wash
  • Deodorant
  • Sunscreen
  • Lip balm with SPF
  • Personal hygiene items
  • Towel
  • Pain Relievers for those long days 

Tools

  • Tire repair kit
  • Multi-tool
  • Chain lube
  • Spare key for motorcycle
  • Duct tape
  • Zip ties
  • Portable jump starter (If you have room)

Electronics

  • Phone and charger
  • GPS or paper maps
  • Camera
  • Power bank
  • Headphones or earbuds

Miscellaneous

  • Water bottle
  • Snacks/energy bars
  • First aid kit
  • Flashlight or headlamp
  • Pocket knife
  • Matches or lighter
  • Book or e-reader
  • Notepad and pen

Luggage and Comfort

  • Backpack or tank bag
  • Saddlebags or panniers
  • Dry bags or compression sacks
  • Bungee cords or cargo net

Documents (Keep ON You)

  • License and registration
  • Insurance information
  • Roadside assistance details
  • Medical information card
  • Cash and credit cards

1. Less is More

The cornerstone of motorcycle packing is minimalism. Space on a bike is, well, limited, to say the least. Make sure to stop and think about how necessary each item is. Will it serve multiple purposes? Is it essential for safety, comfort, or legal requirements? This mindset helps identify what's truly needed for the trip.

CHECKLIST TIP: Lay out the items you think you want to pack. Go through each one and ask yourself if it's something you need for protection, safety, or comfort. Separate the items into piles of YES, MAYBE, and NO. You can revisit the “maybe” items later on, but make sure you have enough space for the “yes” items. You might be able to nicely pack things prior to the start of your trip, but you don’t want to have to spend 1-2 hours each morning repacking.

2. Prioritize Heavy Items

Pack with weight distribution in mind. Place heavier items at the bottom of your luggage and closer to the bike's center. Packing this way helps maintain balance and prevents the bike from becoming top-heavy, which could affect handling. Proper weight distribution is important for a smooth and safe ride.

3. Roll Your Clothes

To maximize space, roll your clothes instead of folding them. This not only saves room but also makes packing and unpacking easier. It allows for more efficient use of space, letting you fit more into your bags without adding bulk. You might think, “Well, the clothes will be in there regardless; does it really affect space?” Yes, yes, it does. 

4. Choose Versatile Gear

Select gear that's adaptable to various conditions. A multipurpose motorcycle jacket with a removable liner, for example, can save space that might otherwise be taken up by additional outerwear. Similarly, durable, waterproof boots are essential for comfort and protection against the elements. Try to build your packing list based on items that can be easily and conveniently used more than once. 

5. Allow for Extras

While packing, leave some room for items you may get along the journey. Completely filling every pocket and pouch from the start can make it difficult to accommodate souvenirs or other purchases made during your trip. It also makes it extremely difficult to repack whenever you need to take an item out. 

6. Utilize Shoe Space

Shoes offer valuable storage space. Use them to stow smaller items like socks or electronics, utilizing every inch of your luggage. 

7. Consider Entertainment

Long rides require some form of entertainment. Bluetooth helmet speakers can be invaluable for enjoying music or podcasts on the go. However, choose lightweight entertainment options that don't require constant connectivity.

8. Don’t Overfill Your Backpack

Though a backpack can be handy, overloading it can lead to discomfort and wasted time. Invest in a motorcycle-specific backpack designed for ergonomics and rider comfort, and pack it lightly.

9. Organize Wisely

Keep your belongings organized. Use separate bags or compartments for different categories of items. This makes finding things easier and helps maintain order in your luggage. Finding motorcycle luggage with different compartments will be ideal, but if your current luggage is just one big black hole, try using smaller, lightweight, and thin-compartment bags. 

10. Share the Load

If traveling in a group, coordinate to share common items. This can significantly reduce duplication and save space, making the trip more efficient for everyone involved. 

11. Try a Waterproof Compression Sack 

Compression sacks are a motorcyclist's friend, enabling you to pack more efficiently and protect your gear from the elements. These are especially useful for clothing and other compressible items that may not be able to get wet. 

12. Secure Your Gear

Consider the security of your luggage. Use built-in locks or portable padlocks for valuable items, and always keep essential documents and electronics on you when away from your bike.

13. Don't Forget Chargers

In today's connected world, keeping your devices powered is essential. Designate a specific place in your luggage for chargers and cables, ensuring they're easily accessible and accounted for daily.

14. Prepare for the Unexpected

Always pack a few zip ties and bungee cords. These items occupy minimal space but can be versatile and useful in unexpected situations.

Rent Your Dream Touring Motorcycle with Riders Share

From Harley-Davidsons to BMWs or Hondas and everything in between, Riders Share is the largest motorcycle rental platform in the world, offering thousands of bike rentals across the United States. Rent a touring motorcycle that fits your trip's needs for as low as $25/day. Need some gear or luggage, too? Filter your search to include motorcycle owners on Riders Share who offer gear rentals. 

Packing for a Long Motorcycle Trip: Bottom Line

Preparing for a motorcycle trip involves more than just packing your gear; it's about ensuring you're ready for the adventure. With the comprehensive motorcycle touring packing list and tips in this guide, you're well on your way to mastering the art of motorcycle trip packing. Whether you're embarking on a short weekend getaway or a long-distance journey, the key is to pack smart—prioritizing essentials, optimizing space, and preparing for the unexpected.

Remember, the goal is to balance being well-prepared and traveling light. By following the strategies outlined—such as embracing minimalism, organizing your luggage wisely, and selecting versatile gear—you ensure that every item in your pack serves a purpose. With the option to rent your dream touring motorcycle through Riders Share, your trip planning becomes even more flexible and tailored to your needs.

As you finalize your preparations, revisit your packing list, reassess each item's necessity, and consider the journey ahead. Every mile traveled on your motorcycle is not just about the destination but the experiences and memories you'll create. So, pack with intention, ride passionately, and embrace the freedom of being well-prepared for your motorcycle trip. Safe travels, and may your journey be as rewarding as the destinations you explore.

two motorcycles on side of road with packs full guide for packing on trips