There’s nothing like hitting the road for an unknown destination or a long, windy journey you’ve been planning for a long time. From the promise of smooth pavement to the warmth of the sun, it can feel like nothing can go wrong and the world is yours to explore.
But, as much as it might seem like a drawback, the perfect road trip – even in the short term – still requires a little bit of planning! It’s easy enough to romanticize leaving everything behind and going wherever the road takes you, but for a trip worth having you’ll need to be prepared, and you’ll want to pack up those tanks bags to brimming!
While the open road may be the most important part of any true motorcycling adventure, it’s important to make a list for any journey, no matter how brief or lengthy.
Luggage racks, bike accessories and top boxes are an important part of any motorcycling adventure, but using your tank bag is key to making sure you’re maximizing space and will have everything you need if the situation requires it.
Whether it’s the convenience of having a snack on the road or the security a first aid kit can provide, there are a few incidentals you’ll want to plan for before you decide to head off into the sunset.
A Trusty Tool Kit
Whether you’re heading out for a short-term adventure or a long haul road trip to parts that are unknown, being prepared for the unexpected is key to keeping your motorcycle trip one for the playbooks. Tank bags are good for a lot of things, but highest on the list should be a trusted tool kit that is full of many of the items you’ll need if worse comes to worse.
In addition to basics like a hex key, a screwdriver, and an adjustable wrench, you may also want to bring along an air pump. And, if you happen to have one, you may even want to pack a multi-tool option that has items like a knife, pliers and a wire cutter for any sticky situations.
Multiple tools in one can go a long way towards saving you added space and lending to peace of mind when the road gets a little rough. In addition, if you happen to have a bit of extra space to spare, you may event want to add in a tire pressure gauge, a tread wear gage and a funnel for daily tune-ups.
Fixes for a Flat
It’s all well and good if you’ve got your tool kit and you prepped for your journey on the road, but it’s not going to help you if your bike incurs a flat tire! And unfortunately, this can put an otherwise great road trip to an unpleasant and abrupt halt.
A tool kit is great, but it can also be a good idea – particularly if you’re going for the long haul – to pack a flat fix kit away in your tank bag. Not only will you be able to travel a little lighter knowing that this is stored away if the occasion requires it, it’s another chance to fix the problem yourself instead of having to wait for the repair shop to do it.
But, just one very big but, ensure you check on it from time to time because if it sits in your tank bag long enough, it’s possible the fix kit will no longer be able to fix anything.
Phone & Phone Charger
Even when it comes to the kind of road adventure where you really want to go off the grid, it’s important to have a phone available in the event that something goes wrong. Instead of having to wait on the road for someone to come along, you’ll be able to make the call that will get you back into the groove of your trip.
While not knowing where you’re going and having no lifeline to technology can be liberating, a phone can also be a great navigational tool if you don’t know where you are. If you decide to change it up along the way or are looking for something specific, a phone may just offer up an opportunity you’re looking for.
It’s important to remember that a phone doesn’t have to be a drain on your sense of freedom, so instead of forgetting about it all together make sure you turn it off to get away from it all and save on batteries. But, make sure that you pack a charger, as you won’t want to run the battery down to empty for the time you might need it most.
Bring on the Rain
Most dream trips involve a lot of sun and the open road, but few people look forward to torrential rainstorms and all of the difficulty that can come along with them. Unfortunately, weather patterns can shift pretty quickly, especially if you’re travelling at high speeds, so it’s important to have all the riding gear and not just the stuff you really want to wear.
Expect the best, but ensure you plan for the worst by bringing a full rain suit. In addition, you may also want to bring along a heated jacket so that you can stay warm even if the road is cold. If a rocky patch of weather hits, you’ll still have the option of riding it out if you need to and won’t have to worry about pulling over to wait for the storm to pass.
Fortunately, rain gear is still functional even if it’s lightweight so it doesn’t have to take up a lot of extra space in your tank bag.
Slay the Sun
Most people’s ideal road trip takes place in the kind of climate where the weather is warm and there’s never any sign of a storm cloud in the sky. But, while you’re certainly in luck if you manage to travel at a time with perfect summer weather, when it comes to hauling on a motorcycle you’ll want to be cautious about your exposure.
Even if the skies are slightly overcast, it’s important to remember that protecting your skin is paramount to enjoying your time on the road. Not only can the sun’s rays be damaging, getting too much vitamin D on the road can lead to issues like sunstroke or peeling skin that can seriously mess with an otherwise ideal vacation.
Instead of foregoing this protection, pack some SPF 30 in your tank bag along with a chap stick that contains sunscreen. These items may be small, but they can make a big difference in how you’ll feel at the end of each day.
Gloves, Gloves, Gloves
Sure, gloves are one of those things that can take up a lot of much-needed space if they’re not the thin, plastic nitrile kind. However, having the right gloves while you’re riding your motorcycle is key to making sure that you can stay comfortable no matter the weather or the road conditions.
It’s easy enough to stash a pair of latex gloves in your tank bag, but they can also be used for adding an extra layer under your thicker gloves when the temperature takes a turn. Instead of having to worry about your hands being too warm or too cold, pack a nitrile pair in addition to some warm ones. If you can spare the room, you may even want to throw in some automotive gloves in case any bike repair might be required on the road.
There are times on the road that you’ll only have the darkness as your guide, and if something goes wrong it can leave you in a possibly unpleasant situation. Fortunately, a flashlight is one of those items that can really make the difference if you have to pull your bike over in the middle of the night and do a bit of a check-up.
As well, given the smaller, more economical LED options available, you may not even notice the space it takes up. It’s just important to ensure you’ve brought along a few extra batteries to avoid having the right tools without the parts that will sustain them. There are a variety of situations a person might find themselves in while travelling the road at night, and a flashlight can be a great security just in case they happen to appear.
First Aid Kit
If you’re an experienced motorcycle traveller, there’s a pretty good chance that you’re well aware of all the daily checks you should do on your bike to ensure your safety. But, in all the focus on your bike it can be easy to forget that you too may find yourself in a situation where you need a bit of a tune up.
Instead of having to rely on pit stops along the way, make sure that you pack a lightweight first aid kit with a few things you might need in a pinch. If you’re wondering what to pack, consider including a variety of bandages, some safety pins, some gauze and even some pills for headaches or nausea that you can use in a pinch.
While these items may merely take up space if it turns out you don’t need them, if you happen to be in a bind they can end up being a lifesaver that will make a difficult day manageable.
Lens Cleaner & Towel
When it comes to being adept with your two-wheeler while you’re on the road, few things are more important than having a clean visor from which to watch the world fly by. But, when it comes to taking a long-term trip, it can be easy to forget how dust, dirt and bugs can start to accumulate.
To be prepared for everything that the road might throw your way, ensure you pack a micro-fibre towel and some lens cleaner to help you clean your motorcycle instead of having to go for a pit stop or pull over to rest up. While it might seem like a relatively minor thing, being able to see properly adds a lot to how much you’ll enjoy the road and your trip.
And, in all likelihood, you’ll be able to find another use for your cleaning towel, whether it’s drying off your seat or cleaning off your licence plate after a bit of time in the dirt.
Something to Snack On
A vacation can be a time for letting loose from any dietary restrictions and eating merely to enjoy it, but if you’re on the bike you’ll need to stay healthy so you can manage your bike with dexterity and skill. As a result, it’s a great idea to pack some foods for those long hauls when you don’t know where your next meal will be coming from.
It’s important to have snack items at the ready when hunger hits, but you’ll also want to ensure that you’re not relying on foods that are high in calories and sugar that will give you a burst of energy and then leave you tired.
To stave off hunger healthily, throw a few smaller items like granola bars, nuts and even fruit into your tank bag so that you’ll have them at the ready. They may not be the ideal foods you’ll want for your vacation, but they will keep you road hopping and ensure you enjoy the journey.
When it comes to road tripping, there are an awful lot of things you can pack up on your luggage racks and in your Givi bags that might be needed along the way. However, by ensuring that you’ve got a few snacks, a first aid kit, some trusty tools and the gear for when it decides to downpour, you should be well on your way to a trip that you’ll want to remember.
Whatever you decide, there are plenty of motorcycle accessories in Australia that will make for a trip you’ll want to take again and again.