ROAD TRIP TIPS
Sometimes it's more about what you leave behind than what you take.
WHAT TO BRING
- Pack items that have more than one use. A multi-tool is handier than a basic pocket knife.
Pack all your cold weather and raingear no matter what time of year it is.
- Lightweight synthetic clothing – such as T-shirts and underwear – can be washed in a hotel sink and dried overnight (cotton fabrics take too long to dry in this manner).
- On long trips, consider bringing your rattiest underwear (or other clothing), then just throw it away when you're done with it!
- Plastic bags make great boot liners if you forgot your gaiters. If you forgot your rain gloves, rubber dishwashing gloves make great, inexpensive substitutes.
- A small towel can be wrapped around your neck during a rainstorm to keep water from running down your back – and doubles as a shop rag.
HOW TO PACK
- Don't fold your clothes – roll them. They take up less space that way.
- Zipper-lock plastic bags of various sizes can be extremely useful for organizing items in saddlebags and duffle bags. They can make it easier to find and retrieve particular items without unpacking your entire motorcycle. Use the one-gallon size to pack one day's worth of clothes – jeans, undergarments, and shirt. This makes it easier to unpack just what you need.
- When traveling with other riders, conserve space by comparing packing lists and eliminating duplicate items.
- When traveling (two-up) with a partner, ask yourself questions such as: "Can we share a tube of toothpaste?" or "Can I get by using her shampoo for a week?"
- Few things are as easy to pack as money or credit cards. If you're struggling with whether or not to bring a particular item, consider simply buying it on the road if you need it.
GETTING YOUR BIKE READY
- If you watch the ounces, the pounds will take care of themselves. When possible, lighter is better.
- Check the cargo weight limits of your bike - as well as the bags and racks - and adjust tire pressure and suspension accordingly.
- When loading your bike, keep as much weight as possible close to the bike's center of gravity. That means low and toward the tank, distributed evenly from side to side.
BEFORE YOU LEAVE
- Before you begin your trip, make sure to review all local motorcycle laws for the countries you'll be travelling in.
- A day or two before you leave, do a dry run. Pack the bike and go for a short ride, then adjust the load as needed.
- If you're camping, set up your tent once or twice before you leave (and don't forget to waterproof it). Practice setting it up in the dark.
- With your bike loaded for your road trip, check your headlamp to make sure it’s properly aimed.
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