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Monday, October 22, 2012

Packing Tips for your Motorcycle Trip

Unlike a backpacking trip or a family holiday, luggage planning for a motorcycle holiday follows a different set of rules. To cite an example, one doesn’t carry a backpack or a suitcase on a motorcycle trip, but a saddle bag, a magnetic tank bag or other small accessories that are mounted onto the two wheeler. This post aims to list out packing instructions, benefits of such packing, tools,clothes and other accessories that need to be carried, gear that will protect your luggage from the elements and provide all the tips that will ensure that you have a comfortable motorcycling vacation. All these tips are based on my personal experiences.

Luggage Planning for your Motorcycle Vacation
LUGGAGE PLANNING

Saddle Bag

This bag comes in many shapes, sizes and textures. For motorcycles with a flat exhaust, there are rectangular bags, while for ones with elevated exhausts, there are trapezoidal bags. Depending on your budget and need, you can either invest in a leather one or a standard cloth fiber material.

Advantages of a saddle bag:
1) Prevents back pain as it rests on the rear seat of the motorcycle
2) Provides an additional layer of cushion for the pillion rider
3) Has pockets to hold ready-to-use items like water bottle, fuel can and oil container
4) Can handle quite a bit of weight without affecting the balance of the vehicle
5) Is built to face the rigors of a motorcycle ride
6) Can be easily fastened to the motorcycle and can handle very rough rides

Magnetic Tank bag
This is a bag that attaches itself to the fuel tank of your motorcycle using magnets.

Advantages of a tank bag:
1) Allows you to carry additional stuff without obstructing either the rider or pillion positions
2) Comes in handy to refer to a pullout map, guide book or access small tools
3) Doesn’t compromise on riding safety
4) Also doubles up as a easy to carry shoulder sling bag, though it can become inconvenient if you pack it with a lot of stuff

Apart from the above two, you can carry a small day back, sleeping bag or other small accessories.

PACKING TIPS
1) Pack all your clothes, gear, tools and accessories in trash bags and then pack them into your main luggage. This will ensure your gear stays dry even in heavy rains.
2) For additional cover, use rain proof covers for saddle and tank bags. It is very easy to design one.
3) Ensure that you distribute the weight equally one both sides of the saddle bag. This will ensure that your vehicle doesn’t sway to one side.
4) Make sure that you keep your first aid kit, cash and frequent use tools in a place where it is easy to access. This would ideally be on top of the saddle bag.
5) Stitch an extra protection layer to the underside of the saddle bag to prevent wear and tear with use.
6) Tie the magnetic tank bag to below the handle bar to ensure magnets don’t slip down on rough roads.
7) To carry the saddle bag easily in spite of its heavy weight, let the center of the saddle bag to rest on your shoulder (one bag rests on your chest, while the other side rests on your back)

GEAR PLANNING


Clothes (Considering a 2 week trip for one person)
1) Waterproof Armored Motorcycling Jacket (contains thermal layer for cold weather)
2) Armored gloves (material can vary depending on riding conditions)
3) Knee safety guards
4) Boots or good pair of rugged shoes
5) Bathroom slippers
6) Sunglasses – 1 pair
7) Full sleeve cotton shirts – 2 nos
8) T shirt – 3 nos
9) Track pants/Jeans or Motorcycling Pants – 2 nos
10) Night Shorts: 2 nos
11) Inner wear – 5 pairs
12) Socks – 5 pairs

Tools
(Ideally for a Royal Enfield Motorcycle, but can be used for other motorbikes too)
1) Foot pump
2) One tube each for both your front and rear tires (not applicable for tubeless tires)
3) Tubeless repair kit (not applicable for tires with tubes)
4) Rod to separate tire from rim (helps while fixing punctures/flats)
5) Clutch cable: 1 piece
6) Accelerator cable: 1 piece
7) Spare Headlight Bulb: 1 piece
8) Spare bulb for rear brake light: 1 piece
9) Battery fuse: 6 pieces
10) Chain link locks: 2 pieces
11) Tube Adhesive and tube stickers (for fixing flats)
12) Standard tool kit of vehicle plus spanners to remove rear and front wheels
13) Medium size scissors and pocket knife
14) Strong duct tape
15) Fuel cans: As required
16) Oil cans: As required
17) Brake shoe: 1 piece (if using a rear brake)
18) Brake pad: 1 set (if using a disc brake)
19) Brake shoe springs: 2 pieces
20) Multi-function screw driver and plier
21) Helmet
22) Balaclava or bandana to be worn inside the helmet: 1 to 5 pieces depending on washability
23) GPS Device, if you don’t like referring to a map (not necessary)
24) Short distance radio to stay in touch with fellow riders (not necessary)
25) Waste rags to clean vehicle of oil spills

Documents and Important Accessories
1) Motorcycle Papers along with insurance documents
2) Valid Driving License
3) Cash. credit and debit cards as required
4) Road Atlas book with detailed maps
5) Contact details of service stations on your route
6) First aid kit
7) Toiletries kit with two rolls of toilet paper
8) 8 Passport size photographs
9) Electronics and chargers as required

I hope this post helps you in packing properly for your upcoming motorcycle tips. Do drop in a comment if you have any questions. Happy travels and ride safe!



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