10 Things You Need To Take On A Motorcycle Trip

How To -



A few weeks back, I wrote an article discussing my method for planning a motorcycle trip. Assuming you now have your trip planned, here are some things we think are necessary/important/useful to take with you on your journey.

Photo: Sherman Thomas

1. Bluetooth Headset
Adding a bluetooth headset to your helmet is both easy and fairly cheap. Adding the ability to have turn by turn navigation or to talk with your buddies when your gas light comes on or when you’re looking for a bite to eat when you pull into town is well worth it. On this last trip to Big Sur, a few of us were riding with the Sena SMH 10′s. They came in handy when we pulled into San Luis Obispo and we were trying to find our motel and when we passed a nice outlook and one of the guys wanted to turn back and take some photos. We recommend the Sena or Cardo as our favorite brands.

2. Ear Plugs
I never like riding without ear plugs, but they are ESPECIALLY nice for road trips. It’s amazing how loud the inside of a helmet can be, and subjecting your ears to that for hours on end can lead to a greater level of fatigue much faster than when wearing ear plugs. Plus, if you’re using a bluetooth headset as mentioned above, it helps to diminsh some of the tingy sound of the cheapish speakers. We, at RideApart, all wear Howard Leight Max Lite ear plugs and I actually just ordered another box of 200.

3. Second Pair of Gloves
There is NOTHING worse than soaking a pair of gloves and having a long day of riding ahead of you. Or taking a route back from Palm Springs through Idyllwild and having the temperatures drop from 90 degree to 60 degrees. Anytime I go on any kind of motorcycle trip, I always take a second pair of gloves (usually to fit some other kind of temperature range). Your hands and neck are two of the biggest places where you can control your body temperature and having the appropriate gear for both is very important.

4. A Physical Map
Yes, I know I said I use Google Maps. And it’s true, I use online maps whenever I’m planning a trip. That doesn’t mean that won’t leave me stranded when I make a wrong turn and don’t have service, which is why it’s important to always bring a physical map. A Thomas Guide is certainly too big and, while you might be fine with a Google printout of a map, we like the best and in this case, that’s Butler Maps. Their maps are designed for motorcyclists, by motorcyclists and are the best resource for the best roads for any kind of riding and they include some of the best places to stop along the way.

5. Tool Kit
Motorcycles break. It’s part of life and being a motorcyclist (even if you’re a journalist and spend most of your time on new bikes). Another part of motorcycling is riding for pleasure, which often includes remote and deserted roads. Combine the two and you have a wonderful recipe for sitting on the side of the road. We take a small toolkit anytime we venture away from our day to day riding, and we recommend you do the same. Ride something that isn’t new? That toolkit is as necessary as your helmet. We like the CruzTOOLS Roadtech Kit, but recommend finding one specific to your bike.

6. Fix-a-Flat
I rode to a wedding rehearsal dinner this past Saturday in Topanga Canyon and managed to pick up a decent size nail somewhere between the venue and rehearsal dinner. Guess how excited my roomate was at the idea of driving the hour up to get me? Luckily, someone had a can of fix-a-flat in their car and I was able to limp it to a gas station, fill it completely, and get it home. By the next day, the tire was flat again (it was a real big nail), but it I was able to then use a truck to get it to my local shop. Had my friend’s fiance’s grandma not had that can, it would have been a huge ordeal. Had it happened on any of our recent road trips, where I was much farther from home and cell services, it would have been a HUGE ordeal. You can find Fix-A-Flat at pretty much any major gas station.

7. Cash
Some places don’t accept credit. It’s just silly not to keep a decent amount of cash on you should you need gas in some remote area that doesn’t take card or need to bribe someone to open early, stay late, or help you out in whatever sticky situation you’ve gotten yourself into.

8. Battery Pack
If you’re reading this and under 30, you probably feel the need to Instagram/Tweet/Facebook every single part of your trip. If you’re over 30….I don’t know, we’re all too immature to act like real adults but I’m sure you have to check in with someone to let them know you’re ok or heading home or something. Either way, having your cell phone or bluetooth headset die mid trip is a bummer when you get into a new town and want to yelp the best place for a bite to eat or when you get a flat and didn’t take my advice about carrying Fix-A-Flat. Last year, I bought a Mophie Powerstation which, for $100, will recharge my phone 6 times when the battery pack is fully charged. I can go bike camping for a whole weekend and take a zillion photos (number may actually not have been tested) and still have a full battery. I love this thing so much that, when they recently went on sale, I bought the outdoor version. It’s one of the first things I recommend to people to buy.

9. Headlamp
Remember those reasons I gave for carrying a toolkit and Fix-A-Flat? Well sometimes those things happen at night. I bought the Princeton Tec Headlamp because it was cheap and has multiple brightness settings that are easy to use and I highly recommend it. Make sure you have some spare batteries as well.

10. From you, the Readers
I tweeted asking for your suggestions and here is how you responded: A towel, bandana, good book, sense of adventure, rain gear, fishing pole, visor cleaner, a support truck with a spare bike, a hat to hide your helmet hair, a fake mustache, and whiskey (for after you’ve finished the day’s ride obviously).

We miss anything? Share your ideas in the comment section below.

  • motoguru.

    The rain gear in #10 is a must.

    • akvamme

      i want to keep upvoting this one. every time i try and risk not carrying the rain gear, that’s when i get soaked. and miserable.

      • motoguru.

        Same here. :-/

        • Justin Henry

          ride long enough and you’ll dry off.

          • Timothy Gray

            Tried that, 4 hours later it was still raining hard and I was more wet than before.

    • Piglet2010

      I have a Roadcrafter Light, so my only rain gear is boot covers (if riding in warmer weather with vented boots) and water-resistant gloves.

      • Andrew Karmy


  • Clint Keener

    Isn’t a tire plug kit smaller than a can of fix a flat?

    • EchoZero

      Don’t cans of fix-a-flat also inflate your tire? I have a plug kit but I’d still need to carry a separate inflator.

      • C.Stevens

        You can use a bike pump. Fix-a-flat is nasty to clean up when you change the tire yourself. As a backup, I always put Stans No-tube juice in my tires which will seal any punctures I get. It’s huge in the mountain biking community– I wonder why it hasn’t hit the moto crowd yet.

        • Davidabl2

          With both Tubeless and tube MTB wheels?

        • runrunny

          i’ve been tempted to try stan’s also, as it’s great in my mtn bike tires. have you actually had a puncture while using stan’s?

  • http://metabomber.com/ Jesse

    A spare headlight bulb.
    I carry a tire plug kit and a CO2 kit.
    I have a small battery pack with a solar charger, and I wired up a USB plug to charge devices from the bike, because my phone devours the battery while doubling as a GPS.

    All things considered, my scrappy old Honda F3 is a pretty capable tourer with a tank bag and a GIVI top case.

    • motoguru.

      I just started doing the spare bulb thing a few weeks ago…

      • http://metabomber.com/ Jesse

        Only need to get caught (or have a buddy caught) once having a bulb blow on a dark night. Blind and invisible is a terrible place to find oneself at speed.

        • Piglet2010

          Assuming you can get to the bulb to replace it – not something easily done on a dark roadside with a Honda Dullsville. :(

          • http://www.racetrackstyle.com/ Racetrack Style

            Dark roadside? Reason for headlamp

        • Khali

          When it happened to me, I used the right blinker to spot the white line on the roadside and not ride out of the road. It was really scary.

  • KevinB
  • Blixa

    These are good suggestions. On a recent trip, I also found the following useful (and conveniently sized for a tank bag): wet-naps/anti-bacterial wipes, small tube of sunblock, bag of salted almonds, extra water, kleenex/spare toilet paper, Swiss Army Knife/Leatherman, advil, a pen, some gallon-sized ziploc bags (just in case it rains to keep my phone or camera dry), and bourbon (very space efficient – for after the ride).

  • Jeremy Alvarado

    Never leave home without a Knife

    • RT Moto


    • http://www.twitter.com/seanmacdonald sean macdonald

      Fair. But that’s more just a man rule than a bike trip rule. I almost included it, but thought it would seem like a fluff entry and like I was having a hard time hitting 10 things :)

  • Jason Evariste Cormier

    I would add – toolkit that is actually adequate for fixing your bike on the side of the road, which is not the allen key and single open-end wrench they toss into a vinyl sleeve under your seat.

    That means basic combo wrenches in common sizes, needle-nose pliers, all the allen key sizes your bike uses, chain adjusting tools, and a crescent wrench for everything else (big enough to double as an impromptu hammer). Always have a handful of zip ties handy, and carry a full compliment of fuses and a length of electrical wire. Finally, if your bike has quick-disconnect fuel lines, carry spare viton o-rings if you need to pull the tank. Sounds like a lot but all of that should fit into a small bag that you can shove under your seat.

  • Toby Stevens

    Most important in riding outside walking distance to a store … toilet paper and duct tape.
    We jsut finished 1300 miles touring Alaska on small dual sports. At 150 miles, we stopped to fix our seats. Somewhere along the way they became 2x4s. Our fix became the most ingenious thing ever …

    The Frugal Badass Seat Mod: Take 2 bottles of water. PLace each bottle on each side of the seat (like panniers riding on the seat). Tape the bottles together in that position, but not taped to the seat. They should just rest on the seat like pannier straps. You now have a Frugal Badass Seat. It adds about 6-8 inches to the width of the seat … and you can drink from it, or carry extra gas.

    The toilet paper is simply for wiping with something other than a sock.

    • NSD2327

      In my opinion, baby wipes will do you more good than toilet paper. Trick I learned in the army. Also great for a quick “shower”/full body cleaning if you’re out camping with no access to shower facilities.

  • therubbersidedown

    I’ll second the earplugs but add that custom earplugs are the best. I got a set of custom molded ones at Laguna’s MotoGP last year for $60. Took 5 minutes for them to mold them and another hour or so to finish them. Much more comfortable then normal foam earplugs (at least for me) and seem to allow me to hear more detail as well.

    • http://www.twitter.com/seanmacdonald sean macdonald

      name of the company?

      • therubbersidedown

        The case I have for them says “Fit-Ear” but I can’t remember if that was the company name or not. I’ll try to find my receipt since they came with a 5 year warranty. They have been at Laguna on the island near the inside of turn 3 the last two years running.

  • mrtasty

    A lot of good comments here already.

    Not absolutely critical, but I love having a smartphone loaded with classic reads. I like this android app, because it lets you download books to the phone for offline use: http://www.aldiko.com/ You can get it and download all the free public domain books you want. You can also purchase or pirate epub formatted books.

    You could take a Kindle, but I really like having the phone since it’s backlit, small, and has a lot of other potential uses too. It’s perfect for reading in the dark without disturbing anyone else (if you’re sharing a tent, let’s say).

    • Davidabl2

      I’d guess that two very classic reads might be the owner’s manual and shop manual (with advisory bulletins) for the bike(s) you ride.

  • Larry

    Umbrella. If you need to work on the bike or just waiting for help it will keep you dry or in the shade. Compact one will fit in most luggage.

  • JC Maldonado

    Rain gear, knife, comfy backpack, good socks, good boots…

  • Ray

    Water. Camelback, water bottle, whatever. One gets dehydrated quick with all that sweat evaporating at speed. Hot, dry climates exacerbate it severalfold. A lot of times one feels tired due to dehydration too.

    • http://www.salescopywriter.net/ Alan

      Actually, hot and humid will dehydrate you fast too, because you sweat a lot. Source – I dirtbike in Borneo..

  • Will Mederski

    I always carry a tire pressure gauge with about half an inch of Duct tape (or Gaffers tape) wrapped around one end and electrical tape on the other.
    That and a couple rolled up trash bags are small enough to just always carry in your jacket and will come in handy.

    • Speedtrippn

      A friend showed me the same trick only with a bic lighter instead of air gauge. I definitely like the idea having a small lighter in case of being stranded for a night.

  • Larry

    Oh…and zip ties. Zip ties zip ties zip ties. and +1 on duct tape. I used half a roll to patch up a tail pack after an aerosol can explosion (long story) in Maine, and it worked great for the rest of my trip, even through heavy rains.

    • Kevin

      Yep, and throw some Blue Loctite in your toolkit for when you need to replace fasteners.

      • PracticalBatman

        especially if you have a KLR :P

    • Glenn

      Should be Zip ties in your tool kit

    • ben

      zip ties zip ties zip ties… and not just the plastic ones… those stainless steel ones are invaluable… just got back from a long trip and broke my clutch lever along the way… stainless steel zip ties kept my rig together where plastic ones just couldn’t cut it.

  • Joe Venters

    Has anyone suggested spare spark plugs? A must in my book.

    • Piglet2010

      Are you riding in a place with potentially crappy gas that would foul the plugs?

      • Davidabl2

        Or an antique motocycle…

  • rob hough

    A packet of three. You can carry a gallon of gas in a condom.

    • Bill Brown

      Holy crap! Now I have a GREAT REASON for explanations….

    • Piglet2010

      For how long? (Petroleum solvents attack latex rubber.)

      • rob hough

        Well erm…I’m English, so on average about nine inches

        • Piglet2010

          Thought you guys used centimeters now? ;)

          • rob hough

            Only if you’re south of Stoke-on-Trent in the back seat of a Citroen

        • http://ericrshelton.com/ Eric R. Shelton

          I lived in England for three years and tried to use a British condom. I call bullshit. ;)

  • Dave Brittelli

    You could also do as the Dakkar guys do. Zip tie each tool to the frame.

    • rob hough


    • Davidabl2

      I have to do that with my 11″ tire irons–and the only place that they fit is my crash bars.

  • Piglet2010

    11. Aerostich Mr. Happy hand puppet. Duh! ;)

  • Piglet2010

    #8 is not necessary if your bike has a 12-V power port.

    • http://www.twitter.com/seanmacdonald sean macdonald

      A) most bikes don’t
      B) it’s nice to be able to charge off the bike. We rode to big sur and hung out for four days, I didn’t want to turn the bike on and leave my phone on it every night at the camp site.

      • Davidabl2

        A) Adding one is the answer to that– and with a usb adapter it’ll let you recharge whatever you use for B)

        • http://www.twitter.com/seanmacdonald sean macdonald

          the mophie powerstation’s just have a usb out, so you can charge pretty much anything.

          adding one to your bike is such a hassle. I use the powerstation everywhere ranging from when im out camping and nowhere near a bike or car to when i get home from work and am lounging on the couch.

          it’s honestly my best purchase in years.

          • Piglet2010

            I guess it depends on the bike – if the manufacturer has a 12-V power port as an accessory, then adding one is easy.

  • Jim Brunson

    Guess non of you prefer roughing it.
    Backpack with 1 change of clothes and rain gear
    $500 cash
    Credit card
    AAA card
    Cell phone

  • rob hough

    Supermarket plastic bags for everything. Put them on over your REAL WOOL socks before boots. Feet stay warm.

    • Campisi

      Used to do this whilst bicycle-couriering. It works a treat keeping your feet dry and warm, but don’t bother if you wear non-lacing footwear; the smooth plastic keeps the boot from gripping your feet as they normally would.

  • rob hough

    Blistex for the beak

  • rob hough

    Dishwashing gloves. Barry Sheene used to race with them. Wear them over your regular gloves. No loss of sensitivity. Just buy them big enough.

  • Seb

    Bluetooth headset???! WTF?!

    You’d better get some condoms for all the chicas you’ll get on the road.

    • http://www.twitter.com/seanmacdonald sean macdonald

      If you’re blaming your lack of success with the ladies on a bluetooth device stuck to your motorcycle helmet, you may want to evaluate a few things…

      • Seb

        You misread my post dude! ;-)

  • Eric

    First aid kit is something I like to have, either it be riding alone, with friends or a fallen stranger. Compound fracture, abrasion, slice a knuckle to the bone mending something. It happens. There’s some gauze out there impregnated with a coagulate called ‘Quik Clot’, advertised to stop bleeding 3x’s faster than blood on it’s own. You can die from bleeding out just as easily as you can from internal injuries, but one you can do something bout, the other is out of your hands.

    • Davidabl2

      I will be looking for that quick clot gauze ASAP

    • Bruce Laidlaw

      Be careful with using Quik-Clot…without proper research and preparedness it can do more harm than good.
      Rescue tape, duct tape, super glue do have first aid applications in a pinch (that’s why super glue was invented in the first place).

    • Michael Weinberg

      on that note, a tourniquet would be pretty useful in emergency situations

  • Austin

    Here’s another great battery pack, with double capacity and currently almost half the price for those in the US


  • RT Moto

    550/para cord comes in pretty handy sometimes. It’s very strong, light, and doesn’t take up much space to carry.

    • NSD2327

      That stuff is really, really useful in a wide variety of situations.

  • DaveDawsonAlaska

    Rain gear should be on the list well before a bluetooth headset is even thought about. And its not just good for rain: if the temperatures drop where you’re riding a rain suit makes a fantastic windproof outer layer that’ll keep you comfortable for 10-15 degrees below your standard riding gear setup.

    Warm n’ Safe makes a USB power adapter for their co-ax plugs. Plug in your phone/ipod/whatever while you’re riding. http://www.warmnsafe.com/usb-3with-pouch/ Use the Y-cable to run your heated jacket at the same time. Speaking of Warm n’ Safe, I never ever ever leave home for a longer trip where the temps are sure to get below 50 degrees without my heated jacket.

    Also the photo on this article reminds me… don’t use bungee cords or nets for anything you actually want to have with you at the end of your riding day. Straps should fasten and tighten securely and not let your luggage move around once its strapped down. ROK straps, nylon straps with buckles, D-rings, etc are all cheap and much less prone to breaking and doing nasty things like wrapping around your chain or bouncing loose leaving your gloves, kindle, iPad, sleeping bag etc behind you like a trail of bread crumbs.

    • Piglet2010

      I use bungee cords for bringing home 25-pound bags of cat litter, but then I am only going 10 miles or so, and 3 cords for redundancy.

  • Davidabl2

    I can hit and go past 10 items just for fixin’ flats and/or changing the tubes on my tires : Mpro beadpro combi levers and breaker(a neat new item rideapart should review) set of 2.. 11″ tire irons..(2) aerostitch electric tire inflator… 1-2 oz of tire mounting paste in a chewing tobacco container ..a travel shampoo bottle of tire changing solution, a plug kit for damage to the tire ..patch kit for tubes ..tire crayon.. spare tube. ..some sealant for the spare tube. That’s a dozen items and I’m forgetting to list something.. The kit plus a stool is what I use to mount new tires at home..along with a spray bottle of soapy water to detect leaks. The at home jar of paste is about 10 oz, the tire changing solution comes in a gallon jug. It’s at least $200 worth of stuff all together..which will pay for itself fairly quickly. Either at home or on the road…

  • Nemo Danneskjold

    MAGIC TARPIT FROM POLER STUFF!!! This is certainly saved my butt on road trips and just getting locked outta my house on rainy days. It serves as a poncho, tarp and emergency blanket. It’s even got a hood and hand pockets so you can wrap yourself up like a little burrito…best $25 I’ve spent.

  • Porter

    How about a helmet that will spare you the embarrassment of no longer having a lower jaw in the event of a crash. Full face, I think is what they call it nowadays. I’ll bet they even make them in sparkly orange hipster flake.

    • Davidabl2

      Good advice for the guy in the pic..But FF is even better for trips around the block, because apparently most people crash close to home. However, crashing in the middle of nowhere I suppose a guy COULD bleed out & die from a totally unnecessary lower jaw injury…

      As motorcyclists we take the expression “fashion victim” to whole new heights.

  • Number Three

    Awesome! I’ve seen a few people comment AAA. Please note that their motorcycle support in each state is different. In Colorado, you need to get the AAA RV Plus if you want them to tow a motorcycle. My Geico motorcycle insurance comes WITH 75 miles of towing.

    Also, check with your insurance company. I switched from State Farm just cause they didn’t offer any towing on my bike.

    Great read guys! Keep em coming!

  • Andy Poole-taberner

    Most important of all. Your sense of humor.

    • Piglet2010

      Hence the Mr. Happy puppet.

    • rob hough

      Agreed. Every tripkit needs to include a scapegoat. “Yeah! It’s all YOUR fault!”

  • BMW_Goon

    WetWipes are invaluable for a multitude of things; wiping off road grime, looking half way presentable to cleaning your hands.

    • rob hough

      Huggies baby wipes come in re-sealable travel packs (’bout fifty wipes). Great around the ears and neck road-dust. Most soothing after spicy road food.

  • Michael Howard

    A 2nd pair of gloves is certainly a good idea but if you think there’s “…NOTHING worse than…” not having a comfortable pair of gloves to wear, you’re seriously lacking in imagination. ;)

  • Cory McNair

    Some bike mods that make touring a bit easier, and can be added to most models.
    Heated grips
    12v accessory charger (cig lighter style).
    spare fuses (I use an old 35mm film roll canister to hold a variety)
    (make sure your bike’s charging system is up to the task on those two).
    Windshield/taller windshield—yeah they look horrible, but the ride will be more comfortable, plus you can take it off after the trip.
    I would use a patch kit with CO2 cartridges before I would use Fix a Flat, unless you like cleaning that mess up and/or you really hate your mechanic.
    I agree with the map suggestion, but add a real compass (and learn how to use it) if you are going into remote areas.
    Thumb squeegee (or gloves with a built-in squeegee).

  • Jack Satta

    Hey, it seems to me that $300 for a set of Sena BT intercoms would be better served for booze money?

    Has anyone used any iOS PTT Bluetooth apps?

  • FreeFrog

    Ziplock baggies. They keep small electronics and snacks dry, let you pack away the stinky socks, and all that other stuff. Zipties and DEI Quick Fix Tape are kinda handy too.

    • http://metabomber.com/ Jesse

      A ziplock in my jacket pocket is also where I keep my bike registration. Officers are less than amused when your paperwork is a soggy mess.

  • Khali

    A spare bungee net or bungee cords. When preparing your luggage at home, everything will pack tighter, but when coming back, you may have problems loading everything in the same space as you did at home…also you may have to carry some extra luggage… I usually have rear seat empty so I’ve used my net to carry everyones rain gear, one of my buddies backpack, a plastic bag full of groceries, a pack of 4 2L bottles of coke… I even used it once to carry all the broken pieces of my fairing after I crashed the bike.

  • HoldenL

    I got a Sena SMH10 for a recent trip down the Skyline Drive and Blue Ridge Parkway, and then 700 miles of interstate to home. The headset isn’t loud enough on the interstate. It’s useless there, and I’m disappointed.

    Bluetooth headsets are nice in theory, but the Sena units need lots of improvement.

  • disqus_KEPxG3lAkw

    I am taking my first trip by motorcycle from fl to tx and would like to know the essentials to take for safety. I am a woman and am traveling alone and plan to stop mid way at a hotel and continue my trip the next day. I have been riding since late 80′s but my first long distance trip.

    • dinoSnake

      Try out my reply above for my recommendations A few extra thoughts:
      - Take mostly underwear and then a few extra shirts, one pair of pants / shorts, etc. Think “layers” – if the weather changes you want to be able to layer up one or two layers.


      - wear the right gear. Yes, it is better to be in a proper jacket when in hot weather than nothing; believe it or not, the sun on your skin is worse than any heat you feel in the jacket.

      - Don’t worry. Really. Take a breath and believe that you’ll make your trip without issue…because you almost certainly will. You have the experience and if you just realize that this trip is only a chain of several longer days than you’ve been experiencing while riding for years, then you’ll see you’ll be just fine :) Tell yourself “Day trip”, then multiply that thought times the number of days you’ll be out, to estimate what you think you’ll need.

    • Marc

      I am not a woman, but since no one else answered, maybe my best effort is better than nothing. Your list is the same as the lists for dudes above (including dinoSnake’s). You’ve been riding for 30 years so you should already have comfy, safe gear. Add a cheap oversuit for rain to your pack if you don’t have one. Cheaper and easier than buying new waterproof gear that may or may not fit as well as your old stuff. I’d pick up a pair of padded bike shorts too – that’s my preference for long days in the saddle. Two pairs of gloves, one insulated. A balaclava or a bandana + scarf. If you are riding at night it will get colder than you think.

      As far as feeling safe as a woman alone on the road, I’d say the same things you’d take to feel safe for a solo car trip. I’m sure some folks will suggest a firearm. I’d just say cash, a cellphone (see portable charger mentioned above), pepper spray, and common sense.

  • Sherrie

    Something for a bug bite or bee sting. I have been the victim by a few pissed of bees. Those little buggers get caught in the right spot like between a sleeve and a glove…Yowwww! There are over the counter medications for this. Cornstarch also works quick. I put a bit in a little spill proof salt shaker.

  • 250gpfan

    Another thing I carry for a worse case scenario is a few unlubed condoms. They hold about a liter of water or fuel. Not ideal but they take up virtually no room and weigh next to nothing.

  • dinoSnake

    I’d have to downvote this article. A Bluetooth headset – really??!

    Here’s the list:

    #1 – the thing that not a SINGLE person listed – AN EXTRA IGNITION KEY
    Because you never know if / when you just might misplace the one that you are using now.

    #2 – rain gear
    Because it WILL rain. And / or you WILL get cold. And rain gear solves both, depending upon your needs.

    #3 – CASH. Because most of the things on the RideApart list, like a replacement headlamp, a physical map and even a second pair of gloves (basic workman’s gloves, if necessary) can all be easy, and very quickly, acquired with CASH.

    #4 – tool kit. The number and types of tools in the kit depending upon the age and reliability of the bike in question – newer bikes need less than older bikes (I went cross country on the small factory kit on my new bike and only needed a screwdriver, once)

    #5 – ear plugs. Plural. 2 pair minimum.

    #6 – plastic bags. Because they can solve / add convenience to many situations: water protection for packables, separate nasty used clothing, etc.

    #7 – a rag or two. From keeping your visor clean to cleaning up spilled gas to wiping rain off your seat, they just come in handy.

    #8 – extra fuses. Because while replacement light bulbs seem to be available just about everywhere, blowing a fuse in the middle of nowhere really sucks. And somehow it always turns up that blowing a fuse happens more often than blowing an (important) light bulb.

    #9 – IF YOUR BIKE IS OLDER AND DOES NOT TAKE MODERN STANDARD STYLES – light bulbs. Most modern bikes use standard turn signal bulbs, for example, so if you blow one even the gas station convenience store will have a replacement. Modern halogen headlights last a damn long time but if you have an older bike keep bulbs handy.

    #10 – LAST BUT NOT LEAST – identification papers. Because, if the worst happens, you want someone you know to know what happened. If you are taking a long trip, some type of paper with an overview of your medical history is highly recommended (especially if you HAVE a medical history that needs communicating). Use an “ICE” – In Case of Emergency – entry in your phone to list contact names. Make sure you have your government issued photo ID. If you are insured, carry the insurance card.

    • http://www.twitter.com/seanmacdonald sean macdonald

      yes, a bluetooth headset.

      • dinoSnake

        I’ve worn a Bluetooth headset for the past 4 years. I’m sorry, but it is not on my “urgent” list – when I forget the iPod to have music, or simply don’t bother to link it to the devices, it does not end my ride as an “OMG!” moment.

        • http://www.twitter.com/seanmacdonald sean macdonald

          A) the items were not listed in order of importance, no one is saying that a bluetooth headset is more important than anything, just that its nice to have

          B) the spirit of the article (also implied by calling the list of things necessary/important/useful) was to create a list of things people didn’t necessarily think about, otherwise i would have just listed helmet, jacket, gloves, etc. it was not meant to be conclusive, as the rest of the readers seemed to understand

          C) calm down.

          D) if it helps, my original title was more should than need, but those things tend to get changed before posting because we journalists like to create very important sounding titles

          E) if you ever find yourself really believing we think being able to listen to your ipod is as important s arriving somewhere safely, please stop reading our site. I wouldn’t listen to someone who felt that way either.

          • dinoSnake

            Oh, please. Don’t you notice that everyone else commenting here is suggesting functionally important / mechanical repair items to carry…while you write about Bluetooth headsets?

            YOU picked the title of this article, “10 Things You Need To Take On A Motorcycle Trip”. YOU used the word, “NEED”, and then the VERY FIRST ITEM on the list was/is not “needed” to complete any motorcycle journey ever started in history.

            Next time don’t use a headline with the word “Need” when the first item shown on your list is based upon a personal opinion rather than a proven, historical record of recommendations. Next time, AND THIS IS FOR YOUR EDITOR/PROOFREADERS AS WELL – use the word “Should”, that will make the story more believable.

            If you can’t see that all the replies on this board embarrassed the basic premise of this story, the articles “needed”, then I’m sorry, you really should get out more.

  • Thomas Whitener

    as for # 8, take a look at the monoprice options. They are cheap, well made, and the largest one ( http://goo.gl/6Fi3kK ) can hold enough charge for you and 9 other people to fully charge their phones.

  • Timothy Randall

    - A bungee net removes the need to load everything just so… after a while on the road you learn to get by with a basic, that’ll-do loading job (keep stuff you might need towards the top of the pack job, and you can reach through the net to access it)
    - A tire plug kit (available at most car part stores) to go with the Fix a Flat
    - A kickstand puck for those untrustworthy surfaces
    - I know its potentially dangerous and, in some locales, illegal, but a music player is a must for me
    - An Airhawk seat cushion: expensive, and takes a little gettting used to, but after 500 miles in a day even an aftermarke touring seat can become a torture device, so definitely worth it

  • Kelly Corey

    Rain gear and hat for the helmet hair, otherwise just do it!

  • Larry Reeves

    Have you ever had to use fixaflat? its a bitch to clean up the wheel ,and can make a huge mess when they go to replace the tire.

    My suggestion is a co2 inflator kit and a tire plug kit. They’ll take up less space too.

  • http://www.salescopywriter.net/ Alan

    A foldable hat and a lightweight pair of fake Crocs or similar. If you DO need to push your bike any distance you don’t want to do it while wearing heavy boots and a helmet.

  • Timothy Gray

    Disagree on the fix a flat. Get yourself 3 bottles of “ride on” tire goo and install it in your tires right now. It’s fix-a-flat that is always in the tires. Also grab a CO2 based tire inflator and 3-4 of the co2 cylinders. That way you can inflate your tires TWICE on the road in the middle of nowhere. The CO2 inflators take up almost no space at all.

    some say the ride on only protects a thin patch of the tire, that is where 90% of all punctures will occour. if you are really concerned about the rest of the tire, put in 25% more in each tire and that way you can get the nail hole towards the ground then top the bike towards it for 5 minutes. then air it up.

    Electrical tape for your helmet visor when you have to ride into the sunset. A strip across the top blocks the sun and let’s you actually see.

    Lastly rain gear is a must, even if your jacket claims it’s “waterproof” in reality it’s not. Always carry rain gear to make sure it never rains.