So you’re ready for your next moto adventure? Amazing – we bet you’ll have a fantastic time riding and exploring. But if this is your first trip abroad or a destination you haven’t visited before, what do you need to pack for a motorcycle tour?
In this post, we’ll cover packing essentials for an adventure motorcycle tour, a dirt bike tour, and a training boot camp – and share some of our favorite must-haves when traveling by motorcycle.
Essential Packing List for a Motorcycle Tour
Whether you’re going for a short motorcycle holiday or a long trip, your packing list will likely be the same. As a rule of thumb, what you need for a week is typically what you’ll need for three weeks or a month, too.
If you’ve booked a long-ish adventure motorcycle tour, here’s what to pack and bring with you:
- Your riding gear. Unless you can rent gear locally, don’t forget to pack your helmet, boots, body armor or armored pants and jacket, rain cover, and your gloves.
- Your documents. Sounds silly, but people do forget passports, insurance docs, and driver’s licenses on a constant basis!
- Your phone, your camera if you have one, a charger for each of your devices, a powerbank, and a socket adapter if you’re going somewhere where electric sockets are different (you can look them up here).
- Your toiletries, a small travel first aid kit (think painkillers, stomach pills, cold medicine), any medications or supplements you may be taking, and sunscreen and bug spray if you’re headed somewhere tropical.
- Your undies, socks (2-3 pairs are enough), and base layers (best to use thin, moisture-wicking layers for riding).
- A change of clothes: for a 12-day motorcycle tour, you’ll probably need a couple of T-Shirts, a pair of pants, a warm layer (hoodie, fleece jumper, or something similar), and a pair of sneakers. If you’re traveling somewhere hot and sunny, pack a swimsuit, a lightweight sundress or shorts and top combo, and flip-flops.
- If motorcycle luggage isn’t provided on the tour, pack a waterproof duffel bag and some rok straps or bungee cords.
- Don’t forget your personal favorites (make your own list of what you usually can’t live without): Chapstick, sunglasses, a water bottle, a Kindle, earbuds… This one’s up to you!
That’s about it – and remember, the lighter you pack, the easier it is to travel. Even if you’re headed to an exotic destination like Belize or Colombia, remember you can always buy things locally if you forget them (phone chargers, a toothbrush, or flip-flops are easy to find anywhere).
Packing for Motorcycle Tours in Cold vs Hot Climates
Depending on your destination, you may need to pack a few additional items for a comfortable touring experience. Mostly, it depends on the weather conditions: if you’re going somewhere colder, with a higher likelihood of rain, or high altitude (even in hot countries, the weather is typically cooler at altitudes over 8,000 feet above sea level), you’ll probably need:
- Rain gear
- Several base and warm layers
- A neck buff/balaclava
- Warmer gloves
- Warm/waterproof socks
On the other hand, if your motorcycle tour is somewhere hot, humid, and tropical, you won’t need all the warm gear. Instead, pack things like:
- Lightweight jerseys and pants that go over body armor and protectives (we highly recommend Leatt Protectives – the safest option)
- Thin, moisture-wicking base layers (we love Under Armor base layers, but you can pick any brand you like)
- Summer gloves
- A camelback with a water bladder so you stay hydrated while riding (Kriega has a great selection of camelbacks)
What to Pack for an Adventure Motorcycle Tour
Now, are you going for an adventure or a dirt bike tour? If it’s an adventure motorcycle trip, use the essential packing list. However, you may want to bring your adventure or touring gear rather than pure motocross or dirt gear. On an adventure motorcycle tour, you’ll be riding both dirt and tarmac, doing longer distances and, likely, riding at different altitudes and different weather conditions. Because of this, four-season adventure or touring gear is your best bet to stay safe and comfortable.
The same goes for your helmet: adventure or touring helmets are great for adventure motorcycle tours as they offer several functions (a peak to shield your eyes from the sun, an additional sun visor, and an anti-fog insert). You can use a dirt bike helmet with goggles if that’s what you prefer, but adventure helmets tend to be more comfortable, especially if you hit fog or rain.
What to Pack for a Dirt Bike Tour
If you’re going on a dirt bike tour or an enduro training event, aim for a different gear setup. We usually pack body armor, knee pads, a neck brace, lightweight motocross-type jerseys and pants over the protectives, and motocross-style boots. Why? This setup offers more protection in case you crash, you have more freedom of movement on the bike, and you won’t get as hot in lightweight gear as you would in your adventure riding suit.
When it comes to helmets, a standard dirt bike helmet and goggles work best, but an adventure helmet will do, too.
Packing Hacks and Tips
Fun fact: most riders, male or female, tend to overpack when going on motorcycle tours. That’s OK – in most cases, you can leave some of your stuff at the basecamp or hotel – but do try to pack as light as you can. You’ll save energy, luggage weight, and checked baggage costs!
On the other hand, there’s always a way to pack smarter. Here’s how you can pack better, save space, and avoid ridiculous airport luggage fees:
- Use vacuum bags, compression bags, or packing cubes to keep your stuff organized and save space.
- Label each bag or pack with a small checklist: that way, you can always double-check if you’ve packed everything while packing. For example, add the label “toothbrush, deodorant, moisturizer, hygiene products, chapstick” to your toiletries bag, “phone, charger, phone mount, Kindle” to your electronics bag, and so on.
- Pack lighter clothing: think jeggings vs denim, fleece jumpers vs chunky hoodies, running shoes vs hiking boots, flipflops vs sandals, etc
- Bringing your adventure gear, but don’t want to check it in? Wear it on the plane and carry your helmet with you. It’s not the most comfortable way to fly, but if the flight is short, it’ll save you on checked baggage.
Finally, don’t forget to pack your must-haves. This will be different for everyone: for Egle, it’s a French filter coffee mug and a camera; for Jurga, it’s a power bank and a lightweight jumpsuit. The “must-have” list is all about comfort items or items that you just can’t do without, but don’t go overboard, either – pack just one or two items and leave the rest.
How to Pack for a Motorcycle Tour
Now that you know what to pack for a motorcycle tour, plan your packing and luggage. First, make a list of everything you’ll need using the tips above and your own personal preferences. If you’re not sure, reach out to the tour organizer and ask them if there’s anything specific you should bring.
Next, go over your list and see which items aren’t 100% necessary, and which ones could be replaced by lighter or smaller alternatives.
Then, see how you’re packing. We usually travel with a small carry-on backpack and a 10kg checked-in waterproof duffel bag: the carry-on backpack serves as a hydration pack during the tour, and the duffel works as a motorcycle pack. See if you can use a similar system or come up with your own, but the idea is to have two pieces of luggage that you can use both for flying and riding the bike.
Now, lay out all your stuff from the list and see how well it packs. Use vacuum or compression bags for clothing, and put your toiletries in sturdy Ziploc bags – there’s nothing more annoying than a body lotion bottle spilling its contents all over your clothes!
Finally, see if it all fits into your luggage. If it doesn’t, unpack (ugh, we know), see what you can leave behind, and if you can’t, just get a bigger duffel bag – we won’t judge.
If it does, hurray – you’re ready for your motorcycle tour!
More: Women’s Motorcycle Tours