“…Two roads diverged in a wood, and I—
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.” -Robert Frost
What a wonderful sentiment. We find it quite fitting, in a very literal sense, for adventure motorcyclists. But, while taking the road less traveled will undoubtedly make all the difference, you won’t like the difference it makes if you’re not adequately prepared. It’s the difference between smooth sailing, and walking back out the road you came in on. It’s the difference between soaking in the sights, and eating bugs because you saw Bear Grylls do it once on TV. When you plan on riding down the road less traveled, careful planning and clean execution are crucial to having a successful trip. That’s why we have made this packing list; you might not be on the road yet, but your journey starts now.
Storage space is the name of the game when it comes to ADV trips. Just about every single one of you will likely need to compromise somewhere on this list. Your bike will be serving as your beast of burden, and just because it can’t bray in your face or kick you in the shin, doesn’t mean that you can’t overload it. Too much gear will leave your bike somewhere between uncomfortable to ride and impossible to ride. Moral of the story? Pack light.
Planning your shelter for your trip is a great place to start. If you plan on staying in fancy five star hotels, then consider your shelter taken care of. If your planning a weekend off the grid, then listen up: this list is for you.
- Sleeping Bag
- Bed Roll
- Camp Chair
Want to save room? Skip the bed roll, sleep on the ground. Skip the tent, sleep under the stars. Skip the pillow, and use the seat from your motorcycle or your bag of clothes. Saving room here means more room for something else.
This clothing list will look more or less identical to what you would pack for any other type of camping. The only difference is that you’ll likely want to bring less of it! We hope that you know how to fold your clothing up tight.
- Rain Gear
- Shorts/swim trunks
- Flip Flops
Worried about room? Skip the sweatshirt and wear your motorcycle jacket instead. Having extra clothing along is definitely nice, but not necessarily essential, and if you’re not picky it’s another place you can save room.
(Some you hope to use, and some you hope you don’t.)
It’s important to have a wide array of tools with you, some that are meant to be used on your bike, and some that are not. You never know what kind of troubles you might get into.
- Motorcycle Lock
- Flat tire kit
- Spare Bungee or strap
- Extra Gas
- Tool kit
Worried that you’re forgetting a tool or two? Walk yourself through your entire trip. Picture each step of the journey and what you’ll need to achieve it. It might help you remember something important!
How do you plan on feeding yourself on your trip? If you plan on surviving off gas station sandwiches and cozy diners you see along the way, then you should be just fine. It’s a great way to save on space, albeit a little more expensive. If you plan on cooking for yourself at your campsite, you’ll want to make sure you have enough room to pack the necessary supplies.
- Water Supply (IMPORTANT) Water Jug, water filters, water bottle. Don’t get skimpy with the water.
- Camp stove
If you plan on cooking on the road, that’s all fine and dandy, but we recommend packing some food that doesn’t need to be cooked as well. Things like granola bars, almonds, and beef jerky are a great option if, for some reason, you find yourself unable to cook one night. It’s better than eating uncooked ramen!
The miscellaneous items that you pack will be entirely dependent on where you are travelling and who you travel with! Whatever you do, don’t forget the toilet paper.
- Phone Charger
- Ear plugs
- A deck of cards
- Toilet paper
- Garbage bags
The most underrated item on this list is the garbage bags. They can be used to haul out your garbage, sure, but they are good for so much more. Is it raining? Make that garbage bag into a poncho. Is your gear getting wet? Cover it all in a garbage bag. Scared of bears smelling your food? Hang it high in a tree in a garbage bag. The possibilities are endless.
Toiletries are easily forgotten, and sorely missed. Think long and hard about whether or not you’re willing to forgo any of these little luxuries.
- Hand sanitizer
- Bug spray
Camping helps you appreciate the little things. Forgetting something as simple as a toothbrush can help you realize just how much you appreciate the feeling of clean teeth.
Did we miss something? If you said no, then think again. There is almost no chance that we managed to think of every little thing you’ll need for your specific trip. We’d be willing to bet you’re missing something. If you can think of something we missed, then good. That means you’re one step closer to being fully prepared. Use the comments below to list anything we forgot, and any questions that you might have. Good luck in your journey off the grid!
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