Heading on a Long ADV Motorcycle Trip? Here's your Checklist
In these really strange times, we’re living in, stress is coming at us from multiple different directions.
The challenges of everyday life can be especially taxing right now, and there’s seemingly no end in sight.
Maybe now more than ever a chance to get away and clear the mind is exactly what’s needed. What better way of doing that than with a long-distance motorcycle ride?
Since you’re on this page, you already know an adventure motorcycle is tailor-made for long-distance travel, and while it’s tempting to want to jump on it right now and head to destinations unknown, take this moment now to think about what you’ll need for a long journey.
To help you out, we’ve put together this checklist of essentials we think you should pack before your long trip.
Before we get started, we have to remind you to make sure your motorcycle is in good condition before you head out. Give it a thorough inspection to make sure the consumables (tires, brake pads, etc.) are within spec and there are no leaks, weeps, cracks, dents, or bends that shouldn’t be there.
Check your lights and your fluids, and if anything needs fixing or adjusting, it’s much better to take care of that now, from the comfort of your home, than when you’re stranded in the middle of nowhere.
Also, while getting lost is part of the adventure, it’s a good idea to have in mind an approximate area or direction you plan on going. This way you can check the weather forecast for your route and plan accordingly (more on that below), and your friends and family can (loosely) keep tabs on you should an emergency arise.
The length of your route will also help decide what to bring or leave behind, since a month-long excursion dictates a different set of essentials than a weekend getaway.
Now, with that out of the way, here are the things we think you can’t leave home without.
This one might seem so obvious, but we say it again because we can never say it enough. Wear a helmet. A proper-fitting helmet, in good condition, maybe with a communicator inside, if that’s your thing.
Beyond a helmet, though, your gear choice may depend on the weather and length of your trip. If you’re only going for a short trip and the weather will remain consistent the whole time, then that reduces the amount of gear to bring. Hot weather dictates well-ventilated gear, while cold weather dictates the opposite.
If you’re going to be out for a while, chances are you’ll experience a wide range of weather conditions. This makes gear choice a little more difficult, but fortunately, there are plenty of options with multiple layers to add or subtract to fit the conditions.
No matter the weather, it’s a good idea to wear base layers under your gear. In hot weather, proper base layers will help your body evaporate sweat to cool you off, and in cold weather they’ll help trap your body heat and keep you warm.
We prefer base layers made from synthetic materials, typically, because they simply work better. They also have the added benefit of being able to dry quickly if you decide to wash them in a sink (or river). This is more important for longer rides.
If rain is in the forecast, planning appropriately means either bringing waterproof rain gear or a rain suit to wear over your existing gear. Don’t forget waterproof gloves and boots, too–riding with soggy hands and feet can be awful.
Other essential items include:
- Earplugs. Because persistent wind noise can harm your eardrums. And no, earplugs don’t prevent you from hearing your motorcycle or those around you.
- Eye protection. Goggles, a faceshield, even glasses. Just protect those eyes from the wind, sun, dirt, and debris.
- Neck covering. Whatever it is–scarf, bandana, balaclava–protecting your neck will help prevent burns and help regulate your body temperature.
What you wear on a motorcycle ride is one thing, but what you use on your ride is another subject entirely. These are just good things to have no matter how long your road trip is.
- Tool kit. Should be self-explanatory, but a basic set of tools could be the difference between limping into town for help or being stranded.
- Tire patch/plug kit. See above. Another self-explanatory item. These are very easy to use and can also be the difference between a successful journey and having to call for a ride home.
- First aid kit. Being motorcyclists, and adventure ones at that, putting a first aid kit below tools and tire patches tells you which we prioritize more between ourselves and our motorcycles. But, jokes aside, don’t neglect a simple first aid kit. It could be the difference between a minor cut turning into a major infection.
- Medications. Some of you use prescriptions. Take those. Having some ibuprofen isn’t a bad idea, either.
- Toiletries. Bring a toothbrush and toothpaste. You don’t want to have a funky mouth. That’s just gross. If space permits, add deodorant, a razor, a comb/brush, or other niceties you use at home to stay and look fresh.
- Cell phone. You never know if or when you might need it, and at the very least you can use it to communicate to loved ones that you’re okay–or not.
- GPS and/or maps. It’s said all the time that getting lost is part of the adventure, but truly getting lost isn’t very fun. And, depending on where you are, it could even be dangerous.
- Bungee straps. One of the most versatile pieces of equipment, you never know when you’re going to need them, and they are oh so useful when you do.
- Identification. Bring your driver’s license. Having a proper ID will make things a lot easier if you do end up dealing with authorities. And while we hate to think about such things, if you do end up incapacitated for whatever reason, it’ll help response teams identify you and reach out to kin to inform them and ask if they need more information.
- Money. In the form of cash and credit cards. Because you never know when you’re going to need it.
Getting out for a long motorcycle trip is meant to be exciting. Enjoy it. Just remember to bring along the items above you think are important, relevant, or necessary for your trip.
Proper planning now will lead to a much more enjoyable experience later. Is there anything we forgot? What are some of your road trip essentials? Be sure to let us know!