Packing for a Motorcycle Trip

Preparing for a motorcycle trip correctly is paramount to the success of the trip. If you do it right, you’ll be safer on the trail, prepared for unforeseen situations, more comfortable and have more fun.

In this presentation (given at Touratech Rally East in 2016), Backcountry Discovery Routes rider and Touratech-USA CEO, Paul Guillien gives some great tips on packing for your adventure.

Below are the highlights!


Think about the weight of things. Put heavy things low and light things high


  • Tools should be packed low (tag your tools and other shared belongings with labels or paint or sharpie so you always know what is yours)


  • Pack everything the same way every trip


  • Never put liquid in your pannier (nothing worse than wet gear)


  • Everything for your “house” (Tent, sleeping bag, roll pad etc.) in a dry bag. Compresses, is light, packs on top of your seat and/or panniers and your stuff is ready to set up camp.


  • Make a checklist (available on website) and lay everything out on the floor or table to inventory before you pack


  • Riding with others is good and recommended


  • If you ride with a team, split and share items to carry. That way everyone doesn’t have to carry tools, stoves etc.


  • Put your head lamp in the same place every trip


  • Use liner bags in hard panniers. It makes it quick and easy to get your stuff on and off of the bike.


  • Use small bags or “sub cubes” to organize gear, kitchen stuff, electronics, toiletries, etc.


  • Compression sacks work great for packing


  • Don’t bring a lot of clothing. 3 sets of underwear and t-shirts. Wash/dry your stuff “on the fly” – Have one set of clothes on, one dry and ready and one in the wash/dry cycle.


  • Roll wet items in a towel to increase drying speed


  • Bring a bag to keep your dirty socks in.


  • Bring a book to read in case there is a time when you need to wait for help/repair or start a fire in a pinch.


  • Hard luggage is good for security and is nice because you can sit on them and use as a table. The lids work for a tray for tools, nuts bolts etc.


  • Make sure you can get to a first aid kit quickly.


  • Increase the preload on your suspension to neutral after you load it.


Have a great ride!