Top 7 Must-Have Accessories when Adventure Motorcycle Touring

Cerro Schoo (1 of 1)
Photo by Ely Woody (Above)

By Ron Lieback

For some, heading out aboard their adventure motorcycle means disconnecting from the rest of the modern world and, well, roughing it. Forget the cell phones, gizmos, gadgets, and anything that isn’t the bare essentials. Fair enough.

But some of us like to tour in comfort and style, often times taking advantage of the best the market has to offer. We prefer being warm and dry rather than cold and wet, and be confident in our directions instead of just winging it.

For those of you who think as we do, go ahead and check out the list below for must-have accessories before you head out on your next adventure. And for the other group? It’s worth you taking notes here too; some might just be lifesavers.






1. A GPS Unit

Like it or not, gone are the days of traveling by the star constellations. The 21stcentury has delivered a wide range of GPS units that are designed specifically for ADV riding and easily mountable to your motorcycle.

Do your research before purchasing a GPS unit, however. No two GPS units are created equally, and the correct choice likely depends on your riding needs. Just looking for an all-asphalt trek across the country? Chances are a smartphone will get the job done just right. But if you’re looking for a seriously technical backwoods adventure, a dedicated GPS unit is the choice for you. These will point out different trail options, fuel stops, and scenic destinations to make your ride that much more enjoyable.

Oh, and regardless of your decision, always bring a paper map. Batteries die and technology gets broken. Having a map can get you home when all else fails.






2. Earplugs

 It sounds silly (pun totally intended), but a simple set of earplugs can make your ride tens of times more enjoyable. Especially on the open road, engine and wind noise can be deafening and even leave you with long-term effects.

Grab a set of earplugs from the convenience store or look into getting a set custom molded specifically for you. Either is better than skipping on any protection.

Skip on using earbuds or custom earplugs with built-in earbuds. Why? The added noise of music is distracting and dangerous, especially when you find yourself in heavy traffic or technical trail and need every bit of focus.




3. Hydration Pouch

 It’s easy to forget to drink enough fluids on the road. Your either so focused on what’s next, don’t want to lose time stopping to hydrate or have simply forgotten to that you skip drinking entirely. Bad call. This can lead to severe dehydration and exhaustion as your ride goes on.

Throw a hydration pouchon your back that is easily accessible while you’re riding. Fill it with water for a diluted sports drink to quench your thirst while riding, and do your best to remember to drink.






4. Rain Gear

 Mother Nature has a way of making some rides absolutely miserable, and most of the time that comes with rain. Regardless of what the forecast says, always pack a set of rain gear when heading out for a multi-day adventure. The extra pound of gear and lost space in your panniers is completely worth remaining dry as you get trapped in a rainstorm. Trust us, we’ve learned the hard way.





Screen Shot 2019-02-15 at 11.29.00 AM

5. Bluetooth Communicators

Bluetooth communicators are arguably the greatest technology delivered to ADV riding in the 21stcentury. Why? With a comm system, you’re able to have a real-time conversation with your riding mates or backseat passenger, sharing the experiences with each other, pointing out road hazards, or simply passing time on the long highway miles.

Besides, most systems have the capability to connect to your smartphone and receive phone calls in case you’re playing hooky from work or need to answer an emergency call.






6. Satellite Messengers

Satellite messengers are lifesavers, period. Regardless of where you’re at in the world, these simple devices have enough signal to complete simple communication, unlike cell phones. These simple devices allow for two-way communication, the ability to send SOS signals to authorities, and provide your friends and family with your geographical location at all times.

Considering most of these retail for less than $500, they are a must-have if you plan on venturing off the grid. If you won’t buy one, chances are your significant other will.






7. Portable Charger or Power Outlet Adapter

 A lot of the gadgets above require a battery charge, and without it, they’re drop dead useless. Thankfully, most modern ADV bikes come equipped with a DC 12 volt outlet. By plugging in an adaptor to these, you can then plug in any device that is connected through a USB cord or various other plugs.

Your bike doesn’t come with an outlet? There’s various sockets that can be wired into a switched power source, like a headlight, taillight or relay. Never be left without charge.