There are few things in life that can beat the thrill and freedom of riding a bike into the horizon. The last thing you want is to be bogged down by heavy luggage or having to worry about parking your bike on a flat surface for the fear of it tipping over because you packed too much! You miss the beautiful moments of being on a motorcycle when you are too busy taking care of mundane things.
Don’t worry we have the remedy. Let’s see how you can cut down on the clutter, reduce your curb weight, boost mileage and most importantly enjoy the ride!
But before we get in to the practical tips and techniques, we want to get two major deciding factors out of the way first.
DECIDING FACTOR # 1: Packing For Two Vs. For One!
One crucial thing that completely changes how you end up packing your luggage actually depends on how many you are packing for. If you are riding alone, you gave all the luggage bags, cargo nets and bungee cords to yourself! Otherwise, you’ve got to share.
If you are alone, then there is less things to worry about, but if t have two pack for then you must decide how much stuff each person gets to carry because backpacks are out of the question on long rides and you’ve got limited space, and with two-up you need to mindful of how much load your bike can carry.
DECIDING FACTOR # 2: How Long Will Your Trip Be?
If you are going on an overnight road trip and plan to be back home by the next morning then everything you need can be packed in a small bag pack that you can slung over your back and be on your merry way! But on the other hand, if you have a long plan that will keep you away from home for 5-7 days then its a whole different ball game. Even if you are a minimalist, you will at least need a pair or luggage bags on either side of your motorcycle. For additional load carrying capacity you might need to invest in top boxes and tank bags too. However, before doing any of that find out how much additional load your motorcycle is rated to carry. It is usually known as the Gross Axle Weight (GAW) and you can find it either on the manufacturer’s website or in the manual.
With that out of the way, let’s get started with the tips.
Leave What You Don’t Need
We have ‘requirements’ that make our life better and ‘necessities’ which we can’t live without: such as food, water, medicines, you get the drift! When you are on a road trip, don’t even think of your requirements, focus only on what your absolutely need. We often make the mistake of carrying redundancies and backups which just adds on to the clutter. Minimalism is the idea here. When you carry the clutter with you, you are simply setting yourself up for more worries, not escaping from it!
While we are on the topic of necessities, you will also need the tools for your motorcycle just in case you get stuck with a flat tire!
Think What ‘Different’ You Want To Do
A good way to reduce the clutter of unnecessary things is task yourself this: what do you want to do different on your trip that you aren’t doing every day. Would you want to be stuck to your laptop? Do you want to be on the phone all day long calling people about your day job? Perhaps not! Instead you may want to explore a little bit of real photography, not the mobile phone stuff for Instagram. You may want to read a nice book by the campfire light before hitting the sack. Now with that in mind, throw out everything that isn’t serving a purpose. Your laptop, cables and chargers can go. You don’t need to carry your work phone. Pack your books and camera instead. Don’t burden yourself with things that ‘might’ need.
Depend On Malls And Local Shops
There may not be a Walmart or a giant mall on the way to where you are heading, but there sure will be local shops. Everybody needs comforts of life and commerce has provided for it. So instead of packing everything, you can depend on the local stores for supplies that you know will be available everywhere. For instance, paper towels, plastic garbage bags to responsibly dispose off your wastes, batteries and medicines (unless they are specialty meds) will all be available at any mall by the highway. The only exception to this rule is when you are completing going out of civilization into last mile settlements. In that case, the local population will not be of much use other than food and water.
Stay At A Hotel Instead Of Camping
Camping in the wild is a great experience that pulls people into motorcycling trips. If that’s the main reason you are into motorcycling in the first place, skip right to the next point, but if you are more about experiencing the road and seeing new places than it’s a good idea to stay at BnB establishments, small hotels or dormitories. That way you don’t need to carry camping equipment or worry about setting up camp, which means you can ride a little longer which is a good thing! Camping also comes with the additional overhead of cooking your own food, and like we said, if that is what you are in for do your thing, otherwise you can make things easy for yourselves and spend the night at a hotel and eat an affordable meal.
Invest In Luggage Bags, Top Bags And Tank Bags
It is not humanly possible to carry huge loads on your back on long road trips. The best alternative is to put your luggage in side luggage bags, top boxes and tank bags. These are all very useful luggage carrying accessories help you segregate and prioritize things that you need on your trip and plan accordingly. The tank bags are where you put papers, passes, medicines and a little cash along with your mobile phone and essentials that you want instant access to. Clothes can go in the side luggage bags and finally the heavy equipment such as camera gear, tripods, boots, night slippers, water cans can go into the top box which is structurally more suited to carry heavy loads.
If you are riding alone then you can also make use of the pillion seating area to carry additional luggage. For that you will need cargo nets and bungee cords, both of which you can find at any motorcycle accessory shop near you. With the bungee cords you can quite easily tie down camping gear on the pillion seat and cargo nets are very handy for carrying knick-knacks such as soaps, hand sanitizers and masks.
Author – Aryan Khanna is an avid rider proud of the miles on his odometer! When he is not hitting the highways, Aryan loves sharing his experiences and opinions on motorcycle riding safety and scenic routes across South-East Asia. Over the last 8 years, Aryan has written on motorcycle safety topics such as motorcycle helmets and riding gloves, as well on other aspects of road safety.