The topic motorcycle luggage has been covered by many bloggers, motorcycle travelers and YouTubers so I was never interested in publishing my version.
But lately I noticed it has become a keyword based traffic puller article, and anyone who has little to no experience of motorcycle travel is putting a post on it. (Pretty sure most are copied/generic.)
So in reality no good intel is passing on, just a rip off and rewrites of each others content.
In short, all are posting only one thing — Carry everything. Carry all.
That’s not how it works if you want to make a sensible, efficient and hassle free motorcycle trip.
Let’s divide motorcycle luggage objectively.
What’s the first thing you need to determine? Space on the Bike.
We now have variety of motorcycles for touring. It’s important to identity what/where are the spaces on your motorcycle to put luggage on. Most common approach is the tank bag – saddle bag dual. So that’s two places.
Some even go for tank, saddle and a tail bag combo. So that’s more liters of carrying capacity. Ideally two is enough to suffice most requirements — One is your regular luggage, all that you need on your trip. And the other only for your gadgets.
I’ve also seen people mount some luggage on the front fender of a dirt bike; and on the leg guards too. So you see identifying the luggage space on your motorcycle is an important step.
(I had once mounted a small bag on the saree guard of my old Pulsar 220.)
Next objective — deciding what you are gonna carry?
The first thing you need to check is the weather condition you are heading into and the wear & tear that’s gonna happen of your bike. (Number of days I don’t consider; as my pack once done is suitable for 3 days trip as well as 30.)
I’m gonna give my own packing approach here to give you an idea of what’s in my luggage. You can use it as reference to customize your pack accordingly.
So I start with the following classifications first.
The first four all go in my one pack; and the fifth in my tank bag.
The most overestimated, overvalued part of motorcycle luggage packing. You don’t need many clothes on your trip. That’s the difference between a tourist and a traveler.
I pack only —
- 3 T-shirts — 1 on me and 2 in the bag
- 3 Pair of boxers
- 2 Pair of socks
- 1 Towel
- 1 Thermal for cold season
- 1 Foldable raincoat for wet/windy season
- 1 Shorts (A trekking pant which also converts into shorts)
- 1 Jeans (riding jeans always on me)
- 1 Trekking hat
Kind of self explanatory. Although most travelers insist on carrying just a toothbrush and paste, I like maintaining thorough hygiene on all trips. So I carry a little more.
Make your own list; This is generally what’s in my pouch —
- Shampoo small bottle
- Liquid soap small bottle
- Face wash
- Hair nourishment cream
- Perfume & deodorant
- Talcum powder
- Mosquito repellent
A variety of items and all will change rider to rider; individual need to need. And this is where luggage overflows. So you need to pack it only if you really gonna use it.
Mentioning some accessories that I always carry. List goes up if the trip requires some more necessary items. The below list will give you a general idea.
- A multi tool
- Yoga mat
- Gas & Stove
- Ground mat
- Slippers (rubber)
- French press
- Water filter (Lifestraw)
Again kind of self explanatory. I divide this section in two kinds. Man and the Machine. While for man I’m referring to the Medical kit — First Aid. Hundreds of articles are there on what to put in a first aid kit, you can refer them or make as per your own befit.
I usually keep it light. Something for headache and diarrhea, bandages for flesh wound, antiseptic cream and something for rash. Stuff like that.
For machine, carrying the right tools in an art. You need to really be thorough with your bike to know what fits here correctly. If you depend on the Internet, they’ll suggest you to carry the whole bike in single parts as a spare!
I currently ride a FZ25 so for this bike, here’s the approach I’ll take —
Before the long trip (30 days type) I’ll get my clutch and accelerator cable replaced along with brake pads and spark plug. Check battery, carry some spare fuse, puncture repair kit and chain lube. That’s it.
Earlier on older gen motorcycles a whole lot of items were required; even on bikes recent till 2010. But now with this setup, the bike is fine for 6000kms without any major issue.
A big debatable pack. Literally, rider to rider this is gonna change. And new learning will influence this pack a lot. For example, a very old article about gears and accessories that I carry I had put down here on this blog. But today if you ask me, the whole pack has changed. So its right to say this will be the most dynamic pack for everyone.
For reference, here’s what you’ll spot in my tank bag as per today (2017).
- DJI Osmos
- DSLR with 70-300mm
- Spare batteries
- Memory cards
- 1 Chocolate & 1 Fruit (Odd items, I know 😀 )
Trust me when I say everything what you read above (except for gadgets) goes in my 65litre backpack. And fits fine on my bike’s rear seat. Requires just 1 bungee rope of good quality to fasten it on the motorcycle. (I carry a spare bungee rope just in case.)
And the gadgets like I mentioned above, all in my small tank bag for quick access and instant carry.
Trade secret: My backpack has multiple loops on its back; so once mounted on the bike, the loops become horizontal in position. Gives me an advantage to hang anything off it if I pick something enroute.
So here’s my take on correct motorcycle luggage packing.
If you would like to suggest anything or have a question in mind, shoot over the comments section. This post will always require improvisation with changing times. 👍🏼