How To Pack For Motorcycle Touring

Packing for a motorcycle tour is both an art and a science! It’s not as if you can just stuff another suitcase into your trunk. Every square inch of cargo space on a motorcycle is precious. The more efficiently you pack, the more you can take with you.

The goal is to travel as light as possible, while making sure that you have everything you need for an enjoyable trip. Below are tips for how to pack efficiently for motorcycle touring.

Add Cargo Space To Your Motorcycle
Before you can start to pack for motorcycle touring, you need to know how much cargo space you have. Today’s storage options for motorcycles include:

  • panniers (side cases that are mounted on either side of the bike)
  • top boxes (boxes that are mounted at the rear of the bike)
  • tank bags (bags that strap on or are magnetically attached to the fuel tank)
  • saddlebags (bags that hang over the rear wheel, behind the rider)
  • tail bags (bags that sit on the rear seat or luggage rack)
  • roll bags: (bags that strap to the rear of the bike)

Balance Weight On The Motorcycle
You’ll want to distribute weight evenly on both sides of the motorcycle, to ensure balanced handling of the bike. Heavier items should be packed at the bottom and towards the center of the bike to keep the center of gravity low.

Once you’re completely packed, go on a test ride, to check how the bike’s handling. If it seems unbalanced or is handling poorly, adjust the weight distribution and/or remove some items.

Secure Your Load
Ensure all that all your bags are securely fastened and won’t shift while you’re riding. And be sure to periodically check the tightness of straps and mounts during your ride. Use bungee cords or nets for added security.

Suck It Up Or Roll With It
Use vacuum bags or compression bags to really compress your clothes and soft items. Rolling clothes (instead of folding them) can also help save space and reduce wrinkles. And don’t forget, you can always do laundry when you’re on the road.

Layer Up
Layering up is one of the keys to successful motorcycle touring. Instead of packing a bulky coat, pack multiple thinner layers. They’ll take up less space and be more adaptable.

Use packing cubes and/or Ziplock storage bags to organize and separate your items, to prevent them from scattering, and to make it easier to find and retrieve what you need. For better access and organization, use different compartments on your bike for different categories of items.

Prioritize Needs Vs Wants
Every item should have to earn its way onto the bike. Do you really need it? Can it be purchased on the road? Can something else that’s lighter or smaller serve the same purpose?

Pack Smart
Once you’ve chosen all of the items that you’re taking with you on the tour, pack smart. Put spare clothes and gears deeper inside your storage spaces (always being mindful of the amount of weight you’ve added to the bike and the specific weight distribution).

Leave Some Empty Space
You never know what you’ll find along the way, so leave some extra space for souvenirs and one-of-a-kind finds.

Review And Revise Your Packing List
With every motorcycle trip, you’ll become a better packer. Create a packing list, and review and revise it after each tour – deleting any items you didn’t need and adding the things that you wish you’d had!

See Related Topics:
Tips For Motorcycle Touring
How To Prepare For Motorcycle Touring
What To Pack For Motorcycle Touring
Motorcycle Tour Companies
Types Of Motorcycle Touring