If you’re planning a multi-day, or even multi-week trek, there are some essentials you should take along.
Here are eight of them and they won’t take up more than a small corner of a saddlebag. There’s also one tip concerning what NOT to bring. After all, packing light is a virtue. The bike will handle better and you’ll be more likely to find what you’re looking for among your packed possessions.
1. Tire repair kit and the ability to use it. Sooner or later, you’ll have a flat. A compact tire repair kit takes up little space and could let you limp to a shop for permanent repairs, rather than calling a tow truck. Practice on an old tire before you get stuck alongside the road.
2. Earplugs. You’ll ride longer with less fatigue if you block out loud wind noise. As a bonus, you’ll actually hear cars around you better. And you’ll increase the odds of being able to hear your grandchildren in your old age. Buy in bulk at safety-supply stores (they’re much cheaper that way) and keep a pair, or several, in the pocket of every jacket and tankbag you own.
3. Dealer phone numbers (or manufacturer’s toll-free number to get you in touch with dealers). In case you need professional assistance.
4. Expandable luggage and a bungee net. Despite your best intentions to travel light, you know you’re going to buy that dealer T-shirt, or that chrome goodie on sale at the rally. Expand ability makes room for souvenirs. A bungee net is cheap insurance in case you buy even more. Got too much? Next stop, a pack-and-ship store.
5. Multipurpose clothing you can layer. Carry lighter items, not bulky clothing, and add or subtract layers as conditions change.
6. Other stuff that might keep you from being stranded. In addition to your bike’s tool kit, carry a multi-tool, duct tape, spare fuses, zip-ties, safety wire, tubing for siphoning gas, disposable latex gloves, a tire pressure gauge and a spare key.
7. AMA Roadside Assistance Plus. When all else fails, AMA Roadside Assistance Plus can come to your rescue with roadside assistance. In fact, the AMA Roadside Assistance Plus program covers all of the motorcycles, cars, trucks and RVs in each member's household. It’s part of AMA Life Member Plus, which costs just $29 a year. Get it by calling Member Services at (800) AMA-JOIN (262-5646).
8. The stuff you can’t (comfortably) live without. Prescription medications, eyeglasses, bandages and disinfectant for first aid.
9. What not to pack. When you get home from a trip, make a list of everything you took that you didn’t use. If it wasn’t there in case of emergency, leave it home the next time.