How to Pack for a Long Distance Motorcycle Road Trip

For the majority of people, the idea of travel means packing a couple of cases and jetting off on an airplane to somewhere sunny and exotic. However, for the serious biker, travel is a little bit different – long distance endurance motorcycling often involves being on the road for more than a week, and staying in different locations every night. Whether you’re planning on taking a long distance motorcycle trip on your own or with friends, it’s important to know what to pack – after all you can’t get that much baggage on a motorcycle, so it’s good to know what’s essential and what to leave behind.

Figure Out Your Luggage Space

Before you decide what you’re taking, you’ll need to work out how much space you’ve got for your stuff. Depending on the type of bike that you own, you can get side panniers ranging in a number of different sizes, from one day trip capacity fabric bags to the larger, metallic boxes designed for large touring bikes. Bags which double up as rucksacks are great for when you get off the bike to explore, and it’s always the best idea to buy bags and cases that are lockable ad secure – you don’t want anybody getting to your stuff when you’re not with the bike, and if you’re taking a lot it can be a bit of a task to haul it all with you on foot.


The golden rule of packing for a long distance motorcycle trip is not to take anything that you don’t absolutely need. It’s a good idea to make two lists of essentials – one for yourself, and one for the bike. When making your list, you might also want to consider which things you can easily obtain along the way and which would be more difficult to get hold of such as a bike repair kit or a spare petrol bottle. If you’re going as a group, you might find it helpful to determine which items you’ll only need one of between you, as taking one each of everything may take up unnecessary storage space. It’s also a good idea to pack high-energy food snacks for along the way – mixed nuts and sweets are great, plus bottled water is a must if you want to stay hydrated especially in warm weather.

Everything Else

Although you’ll be wearing your bike safety clothing – check out if you’d like to purchase more for the trip – you’ll also need to consider your leisure clothing as well. Underwear, a spare pair of jeans, and a couple of t-shirts will normally suffice, along with nightwear for those overnight stays. Many hotels and hostels will offer a launderette facility, so if you’re worried about not taking enough items of clothing, find places that will let you wash them if needed in order to re-wear them so you can free up more space for biking essentials.

What are your must-haves for a long distance motorcycle trip? We’d love to hear from you in the comments.


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