Still not a backrest Jayne on Emily's bike Jayne shall eat now in Alwinton, EnglandGlacier National Park 2010 Jayne is not quite ATGATT

Advice for Women Motorcycle Travelers
(especially those who camp):

Packing

 

My current motorcycle:
A 2008 KLR 650 (Kawasaki)

My former motorcycle:
A 1982 Honda Nighthawk 650

Number of US & Canadian states I've been to on a motorcycle of my own:
7

Number of countries I've toured on a motorcycle of my own:
2

Number of countries I've toured on the back of a motorcycle:
17

Trips riding my own motorcycle
California ("Lost Coast" and gold country), Idaho, Montana (Glacier NP), Nevada, Oregon, Washington (state), Wyoming (Yellowstone), Canada (Alberta and British Columbia, Jasper, Banff & Kootenay).

International trips by motorcycle
Albania, Austria, Belgium, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Canada, Croatia, Northern England & Scotland, France, Hungary, Italy, Luxembourg, Macedonia (the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia), Montenegro, Norway, Poland, Romania, Serbia, Slovakia, Slovenia, Sweden

 
Photos of me traveling by motorcycle
 
See the TravelAdvisor map of where I've been (not just by motorcycle).

 
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My tweets here are about travel, motorcycling, tent camping, bicycling (mostly as a commuter), and things I find amusing. I tweet maybe up to half a dozen times a day, on a really good day - usually much less.

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My tweets here are about volunteers / volunteering, nonprofit / NGO matters, humanitarian / development / aid issues, communications, NPtech, & women's empowerment. This is my "grown up" Twitter account and I tweet anywhere from half a dozen to dozens of times a day.

 
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  Whether you are packing for a one week trip or for a six month trip, you pretty much pack the same things on a motorcycle! 

What you pack has a lot to do with whether or not you will be camping in a tent (as opposed to staying in motels and hotels), as well as how often you will be eating food someone else prepares (eating in restaurants and roadside stands) versus what you are going to prepare yourself.

Every person packs differently, both in what they bring and how they pack it, and you will discover what's best for you through trial and error.

You are going to forget something you need -- that's just how it is. Remember that, in the vast majority of places you go, even most developing countries, you can buy what you absolutely need.

For clothes, go for durability and practicality. I think loose-fitting clothes are best as well.

 
Some general packing tips:

  • Budget space in your luggage for things you want to buy and either use on the road (wine, beer, food) or have for after the trip (jewelry, a shirt, etc.).

  • Put identification in every bag or pannier on your bike, and every satchel or purse within such. Include your name, email address, phone number and physical address, both where you are coming from and where you are going to.

  • Don't take electronics, jewelry or other valuables that you would be heartbroken to lose, or that are easily broken.

  • Regarding medicine: some things are easy to get anywhere, including other countries, like aspirin or antacids, but other things aren't, like prescription treatments for a yeast infection or any asthma medications/inhalers. Take a doctor's note affirming you have a prescription for such medication if you are going to have such while traveling - especially in other countries.

  • I have a reason for every item I've listed below. When I try to do without one of these items on a trip, I end up regretting it. I reconsider this list only immediately after a trip, NEVER while packing.

  • My list is my list. It will be different than yours.

 
Luggage / Where things will go

You will pack things in the panniers or saddle bags on your bike. You may also have a bag that lays on the back of your back seat (where a passenger could sit on other occasions), you may also have a top box, and you may want a backpack.

You need to also think about what you are going to pack in your jacket, on your motorcycle pants, or anywhere else on your person.

Budget space and plan for where you will put every item, as all space in your luggage and on your person is at a premium when it comes to motorcycle travel.

How we do it when we are two-up on one motorcycle: one pannier on my husband's bike is filled with all of my personal items (clothes, toiletries), as well as our medicines. The other is for all of his clothes and personal items. All food related items go on one long bag strapped to the back of a bike, all sleeping items and the tent (and the stools, if we bring them) go in the other long bag. His top box for bike maintenance tools and our rain gear. Water bottles are on his bike, on either side of the tank, for easy access. I also wear a back pack, and have items in there we need easy access too (snacks, drinks, field glasses, etc.). We both carry quite a bit in the pockets on our motorcycle jacks and pants as well.

Here is what it all looks like packed when we are two-up on his bike, and unpacked:

 
   
My husband designs and sells aluminum top boxes and side panniers. They are tough, light-weight, and affordable. They are German-designed and made in the USA!

Motorrad Aluminium Topcase

Motorrad Aluminium Topcase

Motorrad Aluminium Topcase

The small top box is 20 liter (5.3 gallon)

400 x 250 x 200 mm
(15 34" x 9 34" x 7 34")

1.6 mm (116") thick aluminum

Motorrad Aluminium Topcase

Motorrad Aluminium Topcase

  • completely welded, not glued or riveted
  • lid with four loops to fasten additional luggage
  • lid completely removable, makes loading & unloading easier
  • two tie down hooks, which can be locked with a small padlock each
  • gasket in the lid makes the aluminum box completely waterproof
  • all attachment parts (loops, tie down hooks & screws) made of stainless steel
  • all corners and bends are rounded
  • spare parts available
Available in custom sizes.

End of Northern France tour by motorcycle Camping Smok in Krakow, Poland

Now that we both ride our own motorcycles, we can take more stuff - but not MUCH more. Mostly, he now gets to take much less weight on his motorcycle during trips, which makes the travel SO much safer.

The list below is based on what I pack for a two-motorcycle trip. Below are photos of what my bikes have looked like packed:
 Jayne enters Idaho 2012 KLR & Jayne at John Day Jayne & Mt. Adams

What I pack or wear on a motorcycle trip:

Motorcycle gear

 
Clothes and cloth for personal use (as opposed to use by anyone else traveling with me) I don't take a rain jacket; I just wear my motorcycle rain jacket if it rains while I'm camping or hiking.

Optional:

 
Sleeping:

Toiletries

Other essential items

Practical items I will share with those I'm traveling with
(meaning these are taken, but may be on someone else's bike)

Items for cooking, meal time, cleanup: You can buy fresh produce, eggs and bread on the road, but note that you may need to transport it from a few feet to a several miles. I take an empty margarine tub or two for transporting fragile food items, then throw those tubs away during the trip when I know they aren't needed anymore.

You want very tough containers for these items - things that will close, absolutely, and remain water-tight.

Packets of salt, pepper, sugar, coffee and creamer from hotels and airports are awesome to save up for motorcycle trips, but be sure you pack them in a zip-lock baggie

Those disposable handy wipes you get on international flights are also great to save up for motorcycle trips.

Remember that raw eggs stay fresher longer than boiled eggs, but the latter is less fragile, and either should never get hot between meals.

What we eat while camping

Optional And, of course, for the motorcycle itself: See my husband's pack list and gear review.

 
Disclaimer
Any activity incurs risk. The author assumes no responsibility for the use of information contained within this document.

 
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