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The 15 Best Motorcycle Road Trip Essentials For Two-Wheeled Touring

Best Motorcycle Road Trip Essentials 0 Hero

Although trips on two wheels are much more taxing on your body and your mind than those taken in a car, the payoff makes the hardship more than worth it. Because if there’s one thing you’ll come to appreciate after your first journey, it’s that only through exposing your vulnerabilities can you truly experience the transcendental effects of a motorcycle. Robert Pirsig said it best in his cult classic Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance —
“On a cycle, the frame is gone. You’re completely in contact with it all. You’re in the scene, not just watching it anymore, and the sense of presence is overwhelming.”

But with more time on the bike comes more potential for things to go wrong. As such, it’s worth going into your packing with a plan of attack. Otherwise, you’re liable to forget small but necessary items such as that spark plug wrench or a tire patch kit. At best, you’ll be in for a minor inconvenience; at worst, you’ll have to call off the entire trip. Rather than going it alone and hoping you’ve thought of every possibility, have a look at our list of the best motorcycle road trip essentials and arm yourself with knowledge.

The Best Motorcycle Road Trip Essentials

Roadside Ready

Essential Skills To Keep You Riding

It helps to be armed with a few basic skillsets before embarking on a long-range two-wheeled journey. Below are a few of the more crucial abilities we recommend developing before setting off. 

Maintenance: If you’re setting off on a trip of any considerable distance, it’s advisable to know some basic motorcycle maintenance. These days, services like oil changes and brake pad swaps are often left up to shops, but there’s no telling if someone will know how to work on your bike while on the road. Better to familiarize yourself with the ins and outs of your bike so that you have some kind of understanding should something go wrong.

Navigation: While GPS systems have quickly outpaced the road map, you should still be comfortable going it analog. For no matter how reliable your electronics claim to be, at some point, they will fail. Keep your optimism in check and practice navigating your route via a map before you find yourself lost on the side of the road.

Emergency Skills: It almost goes without saying, but if you’re bringing emergency essentials like a first aid kit and a portable flat pump, you should know how to use them before you depart. Otherwise, they’ll do nothing but take up valuable space in your bags and weigh down your bike. Even having an elementary understanding of in-the-field survival skills will serve you well when it comes time to make critical decisions.

Bits & Pieces

Moto-Specific Contingency Carry

There’s absolutely no shortage of items that one can argue deserve a place in your luggage when moto touring, however, there are several key product genres that are even more essential — the most important of which we’ll be highlighting below. 

Cables: When embarking on any trip that takes you away from the familiar, it’s a good idea to pack some spare brake and clutch cables. That way, should you experience a failure, you can make the swap and be back on the road in no time. You might never need to use your spares, but without them, it’ll be a long walk to the nearest mechanic.

Tools: Although we provide a recommendation for a tool kit below, it’s not an end-all, be-all solution to roadside repairs. When building out an emergency kit, we suggest going over your owner’s manual with a fine-tooth comb to make sure there are no special tools needed for your particular ride. Additionally, seasoned tourers offer a wealth of experiential knowledge earned the hard way — they’ll be able to share any trip-saving secrets learned on the road.

Miscellanea: Ultimately, only you can determine what you need to keep you on the road. From everyday do-it-all items like duct tape to ride-specific sparkplugs and spare parts, be sure to fill out your tool kit expecting the worst. When packing these items, consider space-efficient solutions to minimize bulk. For instance, rather than bringing an entire roll of duct tape, wrap some around a battery for a more compact carry item.

Reflection On Selection

The Criteria For Making Our Picks

From purpose-built moto touring and moto camping gear to regular pieces of outdoor kit that just happen to lend themselves to motorcycle travel use, there’s absolutely no shortage of available options when buying gear for your two-wheeled travels. With that said, if you were to poll a sample population of riders that routinely take on long-distance trips, you’ll find the same items will come up over and over again — albeit sometimes with some variation or style on a particular piece of gear. In order to compile our picks for this list, we first started by making a shortlist of the genres of gear that we wanted to include — items that would generally be useful across the board, whether you’re moto camping or crashing in motels, and whether you’re riding in the spring, autumn, summer, or winter.

We then narrowed this list down to what we considered to be the must-have essentials. With this list in hand, we then looked to our own garages and gear lockers, spoke with several experts, and poked around online, reading blogs and forums and watching tests and reviews. Drawing from this collective wealth of both firsthand knowledge and secondhand intel, we then made our picks for what we considered to be the best three items from each category before finally landing on our final choice, based on a combination of performance, durability, overall quality, and value, price, and bang for your buck. 

Butler Motorcycle Maps

Photo: Butler Maps
Why It Made The Cut
  • A region-specific paper map made specifically for motorcycle travel.

Best Paper Maps: While GPS units and smartphones have made the road map all but obsolete, there’s still good cause to own one. For instance, should your electronic navigation system of choice fail on you — whether through a dead battery or a technological glitch — an analog alternative will keep you en route. Created by motorcyclists for motorcyclists, Butler Maps makes a variety of maps suitable for any type of rider. They’re region-specific, so you can get an intimate understanding of where you’ll be traveling. And with the road- and backcountry-oriented options, you can pick your flavor of adventure accordingly. The California-South Backcountry Discovery Route map featured here covers 820 miles of single and doubletrack dirt roads, leading riders through ghost towns, past ancient petroglyphs, and amid Joshua trees. Waterproof and tear-resistant, it’ll last the length of your trip and many to come.

Country: America
Available Moto Maps: 12

MSR 20oz Liquid Fuel Bottle

MSR 20oz Liquid Fuel Bottle
Photo: Amazon
Why It Made The Cut
  • A tried and true vessel for transporting additional fuel while on two wheels.

Best Fuel Can: A motorcycle road trip of any length will put your familiarity with your bike’s range to the test. With luck, you’ll time fuel stops perfectly, breezing through towns on the way to your destination. But the reality is not everything goes as planned, and not every town has a gas station. What’s more, a fully-loaded bike coupled with uncertain terrain can do a number on your consumption. Should you overestimate your bike’s efficiency and come short of a stop for fuel, an emergency supply could mean the difference between a sleepless night on the side of the road and a comfy bed in a warm hotel room. Made from a single piece of aluminum, this bottle from MSR is leak-free, fuel-preserving, and pressure-resistant. It can hold white gas, kerosene, automobile gas, mineral spirits, and even jet fuel, so it’ll work for our purposes just fine. Available in 11oz, 20oz, and 30oz sizes, you can fit it according to your needs.

Construction: Aluminum
Weight: 0.25LBs
Size: 20oz (or 11oz or 30oz)

Adventure Medical Kits Ultralight/Watertight .7 Medical Kit

Photo: REI
Why It Made The Cut
  • A compact yet robust first aid kit popular amongst motorcyclists.

Best FAK: Incredibly popular amongst motorcyclists, the Adventure Medical Kits Ultralight/Watertight .7 Medical Kit is a compact yet robust first aid kit that comes loaded with a host of essentials for addressing everything from minor cuts and scrapes to major trauma. Weighing only 8oz, this entire first aid kit’s contents come housed inside of two inner DryFlex watertight pouches that are stored in a zipper-secured ripstop silnylon outer bag. Made in America, the FAK is comprised of a plethora of different medications, bandages, adhesives and tapes, and a selection of other essential wound-care items — enough supplies for one-to-four people on trips up to four days.

Size: 8.5” x 6.5” x 2.0”
Weight: 8oz
Packed Volume: 2.5L

Moose Racing Tire Repair Kit

Moose Racing Tire Repair Kit
Photo: Revzilla
Why It Made The Cut
  • An all-in-one tire repair kit that includes everything needed to patch or plug a flat.

Best Tire Repair Kit: Made in America, the Moose Racing Tire Repair Kit is a compact, all-in-one kit containing everything need to patch or plug a flat tire. This includes five 4” rubber plugs, an insertion tool, a screwdriver-handled reamer and rasp tool, half a dozen patches of varying sizes, a 0.5oz tube of rubber cement, and a thumb buffer. Whether you’re patching or plugging a tire, this kit also features a trio of 16 gram 0.375 threaded C02 cartridges and an accompanying 4” CO2 inflator hose to refill a tire ounce it’s been repaired. Each cartridge also produces 8-9 PSI — making them the perfect size for moto tire-filling applications. 

Included Plugs: 5
Included Patches: 6
Included C02 Cartridges: 3

CruzTools Speedkit Tool Kits

CruzTools Speedkit Tool Kits
Photo: Revzilla
Why It Made The Cut
  • A dependable roadside tool kit available in a variety of different specs.

Best Tool Kit: Although we suggest outfitting your emergency kit with tools tailored to your bike, it helps to have a solid starting point. At the very least, this little tool kit will provide you with an ultraright contingency plan in the event things go awry. Stocked with a spark plug socket and tire gauge, as well as wrenches, hex keys, and pliers, the Cruztools Speedkit Tool is a must-have for any time you’re on a ride. It comes in four different varieties, with standard, metric, euro, and off-road sets suitable for every kind of bike. Housed in a durable zip-up pouch, it’ll last you for many a road trip.

Versions: Euro, Metric, Standard, & Off-Road
Included Items: 8

SYKIK Rider SRTP300 Wireless Tire Pressure Monitoring System

Photo: Amazon
Why It Made The Cut
  • A live tire pressure and temperature monitoring system with an included handlebar-mounted LCD display.

Best TPMS Unit: For pretty much all of motorbiking history, motorcyclists have begun each ride by first checking their tires’ air pressure. Offering an easier alternative to this vital safety check, the SYKIK Rider SRTP300 is comprised of a pair of motorcycle-specific tire pressure sensor monitors that screw onto the bike’s tires’ valve stem in order to relay real-time metrics on said tires’ air pressure and temperature. This real-time data is transmitted to an included water-resistant 1.5” LCD display that shows tire pressure, temp, and battery life. Speaking of this item’s battery, the SRTP300 features a rechargeable cell that typically affords anywhere from 9 to 12 months of use before needing to be recharged — an element that makes it even more conducive to motorcycle touring and road trip use. SYKIK Rider also offers a slightly more expensive inner-tire TPMS unit known as the SRTP400. 

Included Units: 2
Display Size: 1.5”

Fenix HM50R V2.0

Fenix HM50R V2
Photo: REI
Why It Made The Cut
  • A potent 700-lumen headlamp with a more than 370’ throw in a rugged aircraft-grade aluminum housing.

Best Headlamp: Whether you’re camping out or you’re riding overnight, roadside repairs in the dark are made all the easier with a headlamp. Because although your phone may have a flashlight, you’ll have half as many hands free to work on the fix. A second-generation followup to what was already one of our absolute favorite headlamps, the Fenix HM50R V2.0 now puts out 700 lumens on its highest setting, plus features a throw of over 375’. Tipping the scales at just 2.75oz, the headlamp is constructed around a rugged aircraft-grade and crushproof aluminum body. What’s more, the HM50R V2.0 also includes a 700mAh rechargeable battery that works with a disposable CR123A battery, so you’ll never be without light. And with IP68 water resistance, it’s protected against dirt, dust, and water. But the best part is that it includes a lifetime guarantee against defects as well as a 5-year repair guarantee.

Max Lumens: 700
Water Resistance: IP68
Weight: 2.75oz

CamelBak Classic Hydration Pack

Photo: Amazon
Why It Made The Cut
  • A classic lightweight hydration pack developed specifically for cyclists — and motorcyclists.

Best Hydration Pack: After hours on the bike, dehydration will sneak up on you. If you’re not looking to stop every time you have to grab a drink, it’s in your best interest to wear a hydration pack for easy on-road sipping. As the inventor of the hands-free hydration category, CamelBak knows how to make a quality water bladder. The Classic Hydration Pack comes with a breathable air mesh back panel for a comfortable fit, as well as a secure zippered pocket to hold your carry. The included Crux reservoir features an ergonomic handle and a two-position lever, making refills a cinch and leaks a thing of the past.

Reservoir Volume: 85oz
Weight: 0.37LBs

Dowco Guardian Ultralight Bike Cover

Photo: Revzilla
Why It Made The Cut
  • An all-weather layer to keep your two-wheeled pride and joy covered and protected no matter where your travels take you.

Best Motorcycle Cover: Even if you have the luxury of covered parking, a quality cover will prevent condensation from soaking your bike overnight. And should you experience an added cold snap, it’ll keep frost clear of your electronics. But most important is that covering your bike dissuades prying eyes. Because while it may only be a softcover, it sends a clear message. The Dowco Guardian Ultralight motorcycle cover packs down tightly in a stuff sack, making it an ideal choice when packing space comes at a premium. And with a 75D rip-stop polyester construction as well as a UV and water repellent coating, it’s protective against dirt, pollution, sunlight, and rain. A premium-material cover that packs down this small should be a part of any packing list.

Primary Construction: 75D Rip-Stop Polyester
Sizes: M, L, XL, & ADV Touring

NOCO Boost Sport GB20

Photo: NOCO
Why It Made The Cut
  • An IP65-rated jump starter with 500 peak amps and enough juice for 20 jumpstarts.

Best Jump-Starter: It’s a terrible feeling (not to mention an inconvenience) expecting to set off on the next leg of your trip only to find that your bike won’t start. When you’re doing any kind of significant mileage, you should carry a portable jump starter with you. These NOCO Boost models are great for motorcycles because of their small form factor and relatively little weight. As denoted in its name, the GB20 is good for 20 jumpstarts on a single charge. And in addition to being a car jump starter, it’s also a portable power bank and a 7-mode LED flashlight. Housed in a rugged and IP65 water-resistant enclosure, it’s a choice to well-suited to life on the road.

Weight: 2.45LBs
Weather Resistance: IP65
Peak Amps: 500
Average Jumps Per Charge: 20

Spot Gen4 Satellite GPS Messenger

Photo: Spot
Why It Made The Cut
  • A global GPS messenger with up to 10 preloaded contacts and a built-in SOS beacon.

Best Satellite Messenger: A satellite communicator may seem like overkill, but if you’re taking off on your own, it’s better to be safe than sorry. For if you go down and you can’t access your phone, a communicator can be a truly life-saving device. Or, should you take a wrong turn and find yourself without cell reception, having one of these devices on hand will give you a far better chance of getting back on track. Now in its fourth iteration, Spot’s Sattelite GPS Messenger is one of the best in the biz. It comes with built-in S.O.S. functionality, relaying your exact coordinates to the GEOS International Emergency Response Coordination Center at the push of a button. What’s more is that with customized tracking, you can set up your SPOT to send updates when you’re moving and to stop whenever you do. Thanks to its pre-programmed text message and email updates, you can send your location information to up to 10 contacts.

Maximum Preloaded Contacts: 10
Service Plan Required: Yes
SOS Beacon: Yes

Kriega Overlander-S OS-32 Drypack

Photo: Revzilla
Why It Made The Cut
  • Ultra-rugged fully waterproof soft panniers crafted from insanely-rugged Hypalon and mil-spec CORDURA.

Best Panniers: It goes without saying that you’ll need a set of saddlebags to haul all of your gear on a motorcycle road trip. Because unlike a car, wherein you’ll have a trunk and ample extra seating, your carry on a bike is limited by the bags you bring. While you may not need waterproofing on every adventure, it’s a worthwhile feature to consider, especially if you can only have a single set of saddlebags. Specializing in motorcycle luggage, Kriega makes everything from commuter backpacks to ADV dry packs. Their Overlander-S series is made from durable Hypalon and 1,000D Cordura nylon, ensuring long-lasting, abrasion-resistant performance. And with a roll-top closure and semi-rigid walls, these particular bags retain their shape for easy loading and convenient gear access.

Primary Construction: 1,000D CORDURA
Capacity: 32 Liters
Waterproof: Yes

Sena 10C EVO

Sena 10C EVO
Photo: Revzilla
Why It Made The Cut
  • A state-of-the-art action camera and Bluetooth comm system in a single compact device.

Best Comm System: Coming on the heels of the brand’s already-stellar 10C Pro, the Sena 10C EVO is a state-of-the-art moto gadget that sees a cutting-edge action camera and a Bluetooth comm system shoehorned into a single, compact housing. Beginning with the comm unit, the 10C EVO boasts a four-way device with Bluetooth 4.1 connectivity, HD call clarity, a range of up to a mile, and Sena’s Advanced Noise Control feature which manages to massively mitigate unwanted wind and background noise. Moving on to the action camera component, Sena’s 10C EVO packs a 4K cam that’s capable of capturing 4K video at 30FPS. What’s more, this particular action cam and comm combo can also be controlled via voice prompts, or by using an optional handlebar-mounted remote. Rounding out the 10C EVO are other features and abilities including video tagging, audio integration for adding narration or music over video, dual mobile phone pairing, and a battery that affords up to 20 hours of talk time and 1.5 hours of video recording on a single charge. 

Video Quality: 4K, 2160p, 1440p, 1080p
Resistances: Waterproof
Recording Time: 1.5 Hours

Garmin zūmo XT2

Garmin zumo XT2
Photo: Garmin
Why It Made The Cut
  • The latest, greatest, and most cutting-edge motorcycle-specific GPS unit from the leader in the product space.

Best Moto GPS: Although smartphones have all but overtaken GPS units in their use within four-wheeled vehicles, they’re not advisable for navigating on a motorcycle. Even the most fleeting of glances at your phone is like asking for an accident. Optimized for use on the bike with features like waterproofing and glare-reducing screens, a moto-specific GPS is a worthwhile addition to any road trip. As the leaders in consumer GPS technology, Garmin is a need that needs no introduction. The brand’s latest and greatest moto-specific GPS unit, the Garmin zūmo XT2 shown here is a rugged, adventure-ready option, with IPX7 water resistance and glove-friendly operation. This modern moto gadget also comes with a host of helpful tech, including embedded rider alerts, Bluetooth connectivity, and Garmin Adventurous Routing. No matter if you’re playing it safe on the highway or taking the road less traveled, this GPS is sure to get you where you need to go.

Water Resistance: IPX7
Display: 6.0” TFT
Weight: 12oz

Aerostich R-3 One Piece Suit

Aerostitch R3 One Piece Suit
Photo: Aerostich
Why It Made The Cut
  • An absolutely legendary single-piece riding suit meticulously made by hand in America from top-shelf materials.

Best Riding Suit: Though it may not sport the sleekest or hippest appearance, those in the know are well-aware of the fact that, when it comes to one-piece riding suits, nobody does it better than Aerostich, full stop, period. Crafted by hand in America, the Aerostich R-3 One Piece Suit features a 500-denier seam-sealed CORDURA primary construction with a full underlying GORE-TEX membrane, 3M Scotchlite reflective patches, and even more hardwearing 1,000-denier overlays across all major slide-prone areas. On top of a wealth of adjustable points that practically guarantee a snug fit, the R-3 One Piece Suit — which is offered in a variety of different colors and model variants as well as in a two-piece-spec — also comes loaded with a handful of other genuinely useful and practical features such as a mini carabiner helmet holder, nine strategically-placed pockets, a fold-down dual-height Ultrasuede collar, and adjustable armor pockets throughout. 

Primary Construction: Seam-Sealed 500D Mil-Spec CORDURA
Membrane: GORE-TEX
Armor: Yes

The Best Tents for Motorcycle Camping

Best Tents for Motorcycle Camping 00 Hero
Photo: WOLF WALKER Motorcycle Tent

Planning a long-range trip on your bike? Then be sure to cruise on over to our guide to the best tents for motorcycle camping for a hand-picked list of easily-totable shelters for you and your two-wheeled pride and joy.