Essential Motorcycle Trip Packing List

A Complete Ride Anywhere Motorbike Packing List

In this new blog post, I share the essential motorcycle trip packing list I have used to traverse India for the last five years. I include top tips for motorbike trips on the sub-continent and a world tour motorcycle packing list for folks planning a longer adventure.

Essential Kit For a Great Indian Motorbike Journey

As we have described, the essential kit for a great Indian motorbike journey is the bike. Once purchased or rented, beyond the bike, there are a few things that you may wish to consider.

Read my guide to buying a second hand bullet in Delhi if you plan to make a motorbike trip in India.

JT on a fully packed royal enfield in Dharamshala
JT on a fully packed royal enfield in Dharamshala

Motorcycles are inherently ‘unsafe’ from a design perspective – there are no inbuilt safety features such as ABS or seatbelts that you would find on a car.

Personal safety on a motorcycle is a question of preference.

Better ride in a way that keeps you upright and on the bike. You will see the vast majority of motorcyclists in India ride without helmets, gloves, or appropriate footwear.

For these bikers on short journeys, flips flops are just fine. A few miles on a local commute is low risk. Hundreds of miles per day at speed across varied terrain is another matter entirely.

always pack a helmet for your motorbike trip
always pack a helmet for your motorbike trip

Buffalo Soldier

I borrowed a biker’s jacket from my mate John. A buffalo motorcycle jacket has all the padding and material to make extreme temperatures comfortable. It has loads of useful pockets that can be zipped or buttoned closed. It’s breathable and also waterproof.

I dug out a pair of my old man’s leather biker gloves. They’re thick enough to insulate hands in the colder climes and to reduce windchill. The padding and material protection in the event of a fall. Road rash is no picnic.

Boots are recommended, though I made my trips in Converse high tops. Jeans are good enough for most of the journey, though occasionally hot. Decent sunglasses will be of great use. A couple of snoods are essential items on any self-respecting motorcycle trip packing list.

a motorbike trip packing list can include a bit of foliage
a motorbike trip packing list can include a bit of foliage

Smartphone GPS

For navigation, we used a smartphone with a local Airtel SIM for navigation and route planning. The device could be charged in the holster cradle via USB. I opted for an older device since the current from the bike tends to surge and can run down the battery.

A waterproof cover (thanks Fabian) for rucksacks is a handy thing to have, puddles of dirty water and general diesel fumes will cover your luggage in a matter of hours. A cover protects against this and means that the bag can be handled cleanly in your room each day.

We carried a couple of litres of oil. It’s reassuring to have on hand at all times. We topped up every 500 miles. There’s no dipstick, but a decent glug tends to be sufficient. Maybe 500 ml per 1000km.

frogs optional: motorbike trip packing list
frogs optional: motorbike trip packing list

Motorcycle Trip Packing List For An All India Itinerary

India being well-travelled and populous means that guest houses are frequent and welcome after a long day in the saddle. I’ve carried full camping equipment on previous bicycle journeys – I used it but a handful of times. My cycle touring kit list included everything for self-sufficient two-wheeled travel.

There’s plenty of scope for wild camping, but the chance of being seen, found and watched is higher than most places.

Its not particularly relaxing to spend the evening being the village entertainment.

A travel hammock for rest days can be useful on a longer trip. A few survival basics are also recommended: a Sawyer water filter means you can have clean, safe water straight from the tap or a river rather than buy loads of plastic bottles. A multi-tool for general outdoor usage and to accompany your bike tool kit, I used this one.

Packing List for a Motorbike Trip in India:

Essential Documents:

  • International driving license
  • Bike’s registration and insurance papers
  • Personal ID (passport for foreigners)
  • Road maps or GPS device

Riding Gear:

  • Helmet with clear and tinted visors
  • Riding jacket and pants with armour
  • Gloves (consider both warm weather and rainproof options)
  • Waterproof riding boots
how to pack a motorbike trip with a sidecar
how to pack a motorbike trip with a sidecar

Clothing:

  • Light, breathable layers for hot days
  • Warm layers for chilly mornings and evenings
  • Rain gear: waterproof jacket and pants
  • Comfortable shoes for off-bike exploring

Bike Essentials:

  • Basic tool kit for minor repairs
  • Spare key for the bike
  • Chain lube and cleaning supplies
  • Spare tubes or puncture repair kit
  • Portable air pump or CO2 inflator

Navigation and Communication:

  • Smartphone with offline maps
  • Portable power bank and charging cables
  • Waterproof phone mount for the bike

Camping and Overnight Gear (if applicable):

  • Lightweight tent and sleeping bag
  • Inflatable mattress or sleeping pad
  • Headlamp or flashlight with extra batteries

Health and Hygiene:

  • First-aid kit with essential medicines
  • Sunscreen and lip balm with SPF
  • Insect repellent
  • Hand sanitizer and wet wipes
  • Toiletry kit with biodegradable soap

Miscellaneous:

  • Sunglasses and a wide-brimmed hat
  • Reusable water bottle and hydration packs
  • Snacks and energy bars
  • Small notebook and pen
  • Camera or action cam with accessories

Remember, every trip and rider is unique, so tailor this list to fit your specific needs and the duration of your journey. Safe travels and enjoy the ride!

pack gas for camping on your motorbike trip
pack gas for camping on your motorbike trip

The Art of Packing for a Motorcycle Trip: A Rider’s Guide

Hitting the open road on two wheels is an unparalleled adventure. But before the rubber meets the road, packing smart can make all the difference. Whether you’re a seasoned rider or gearing up for your first journey, here’s how to pack efficiently for your motorcycle trip.

Packing Essentials for Every Rider

Packing for a motorcycle trip is like solving a puzzle; every piece must fit perfectly. Start with the essentials: a repair kit, a first-aid kit, and your personal documents (license, registration, insurance, and emergency contacts). Waterproof luggage is a must, and a tank bag can keep essentials within easy reach.

For the Female Rider: Packing with Precision

Women riders face unique challenges and opportunities when packing. Prioritize comfort and safety with well-fitted gear. Consider multi-functional clothing that can layer up for changing weather. Don’t forget personal hygiene items compactly stored in waterproof pouches. And remember, a little goes a long way; choose items that serve dual purposes to save space.

pack water on your motorbike trip
pack water on your motorbike trip

Folding Clothes: The Roll and Tuck Method

Maximize space and minimize wrinkles with the roll and tuck method. Lay clothes flat, fold arms and legs inward, and roll tightly from bottom to top. Tucking socks or underwear inside the roll can help maintain its shape and save even more space. This method is particularly effective for packing into saddlebags or panniers.

Adventure Motorcycle Packing: Balancing the Load

Packing an adventure motorcycle requires a focus on balance and accessibility. Heavy items should be placed low and toward the center of the bike to maintain stability. Use external pouches for items you’ll need on the go, like water, snacks, or a camera. For off-road segments, ensure everything is tightly secured to withstand the bumps and jumps.

Learning from the Pros: Insights from Popular Motorbike Blogs

Mad or Nomad

Offers a comprehensive packing list tailored to long-distance motorcycle trips, emphasizing the importance of lightweight and multi-use items. Read more about the possibilities with Mad or Nomad.

Ride Adventures

Shares practical tips on packing for different climates and terrains, highlighting the significance of waterproof gear and hydration systems. Explore here the subtleties of hiring a motorbike for a two-wheeled adventure.

pack light for a day ride on your motorcycle tour
pack light for a day ride on your motorcycle tour

Law Tigers

Focuses on safety and legal essentials, reminding riders not to overlook important documents and emergency contact information. Learn more about the legalities and paperwork for a long-distance motorcycle trip.

TRO

Discusses the art of packing efficiently, emphasising the folding techniques that save space and keep clothes wrinkle-free. It mainly focuses on motorcycle tours in North America. Check it out

Each blog offers unique perspectives and tips to enhance your packing strategy, whether you’re planning a weekend getaway or a cross-country odyssey.

Final Thoughts

Packing for a motorcycle trip shouldn’t be a rushed afterthought. It’s an integral part of the journey, setting the tone for the adventure ahead. By packing smart, you ensure that the ride is comfortable, safe, and enjoyable. Remember, every trip is a learning experience. Take note of what works and what doesn’t, and refine your packing list for the next adventure.

As you gear up for your next ride, keep these motorcycle trip packing list tips in mind, and embrace the freedom and thrill that only a well-packed motorcycle trip can offer. Safe travels, and enjoy the ride!

 

Do you have a top tip for a motorcycle trip packing list to share? Hit the comments with the community to discuss the essentials:

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