Guest Author - Nancy Brotherton
If you can pack light and buy items along the way, that keeps it simple, but how many of us can afford to do that each time we hit the road? By using the proper packing techniques and taking advantage of storage options, you can take all you need with you.
Most important for packing is a list of items you are taking and where you are storing them. The packing list provides a detailed list of items that you should bring when touring with the location of the item's storage. Column headings such as item, left bag, right bag, jacket pocket, backpack, tourpak, tailpak, and other storage compartments you have should go across the page. The first column on the left will list the items to be packed, such as personal hygiene, first aid kit, and tool kit. Then place a check or "x" under the correct column heading.
The way you pack is also important. You will want wrinkle free clothing, as well as even balance on the motorcycle. When packing, make sure you put heavier items on the bottom and sides of the bags. To keep clothes wrinkle free and use less space, roll your clothes tightly and fit them into your bags. For jeans, lay them out lengthwise and fold with one leg over the other, roll from the end. For t-shirts, fold the arms back so you are looking at a rectangle, then fold in half and roll.
Plastic zip lock type bags are an essential item when packing because plastic causes less friction between clothing and also comes in handy when you have dirty or wet clothing to pack. You can't have too many plastic zip lock bags with you. They are also good to put items that may leak on clothing, such as shampoo.
To provide an extra waterproof measure to your storage compartments, buy the thick garbage bags, contractor grade, and line your compartments with these and tie them off after packing. Even though travel bags claim to be waterproof, that isn't always the case. Always place your rain suit on top of any other items and in a convenient spot. This goes for any other items you will be using frequently.
Insurance cards, emergency information, and trip information should be placed in an envelope in a plastic zip lock and kept in an easy to get to area such as a jacket pocket or at the top of the saddlebag. I keep mine in my leather pouch that I keep clipped to my belt loops. I also keep my cell phone, cash, and credit cards in my pouch.
If you have saddlebags and have a removable liner, fill it up with the items you will be taking to your hotel. That way you just have to lift it out and not sift through everything you have packed. If you are going to be gone over a week, plan on doing laundry while you are at a hotel. Extra bungee cords are essential for bringing home purchases made on the road, or stop at the local post office and mail your purchases home.
Until next week, pack light and ride long.