Storage space is always at a premium when you are on the run. This is more apparent when your means of travel are largely exposed to the environment, such as when traveling with a motorcycle. Not only do you need to pack some gear, but you also need to make sure all of it is safely placed. You have to pack everything into your bags, even if you are on a short weekend getaway. Managing your luggage is even more complicated when going on extensive trips, especially without a proper packing system. Obviously, there are quite a few different choices when it comes to packing for motorcycles, but there are a few ways to ensure you can get the most out of your available space and options.
This is the ultimate advice for minimalist travelers. You pack your belongings at least several days ahead of the trip. The next day you go through everything you packed and you eliminate half of it. You probably don’t need all of your boots for the trip ahead. You can fare with only one pair of versatile boots. The same goes for toiletries, clothes and other accessories. To counter the apparent lack of spare clothes and gear you can take more cash. It’s useful for laundromats, or even buying a few pieces while you are on the road if you need it so badly.
The amount of luggage a motorcycle can carry depends on the style and make of your bike bags. The most popular options are travel bags and pouches made specifically for bike use. Regardless of whether you need to store your tools, carry groceries, or pack for a road trip, a bike bag is a must.
There is no lack of options even within these two types of bike luggage solutions. You can go for hard bike luggage, PVC pouch, or soft textile bags. In terms of placing the luggage motorcycle storage options offer unique solutions, such as saddle, tank and tailer bags. Each of them, including the iconic top latch secure box is designed to fit the profile of a typical bike. Some of them are made for the exact make and model of motorbike, but most of them can be attached to a large number of similar bike types.
What should you look for in a motorbike bag? For me, ease of mounting and dismounting are very important, because you don’t want a bike that is always loaded. Then, you have to take a close look at the measurements and total capacity. Usually, everyone is after the biggest bag they can get away with. And finally, pay attention to durability. The materials motorcycle luggage is made of can vary (sturdy ABS plastic, textile blends, nylon, etc.) and you have to make sure the luggage motorcycle storage solution you choose has a good track record against wear and the elements.
Luggage placement on a motorcycle has to be done in a manner that keeps the balance and suits the aerodynamic profile of your bike. Needless to say, weight distribution has to be equal on both sides. This applies to saddlebags in particular, but also every other bag on the bike. The heaviest items should be placed close to the middle of your bike. If these loads are too close to the rear or to the handles, they will inevitably affect handling.
There are rules for arranging the weight within the bag itself as well. Often, bikers go for their own system of compartmentalisation whereby the contents are categorized into dedicated internal bags. For example, you want your raincoat close to the top of the bag. And you want your toiletries pouch up there as well.
If you are experiencing issues with fitting all of your stuff in the bags you have at your disposal, you might want to consider changing your approach. Light packers advocate rolling instead of folding your clothes. Some suck the air out of plastic bags, while others use dry bags. To each their own.
This aspect of road trip planning is often ignored. Before committing to a long-haul trip, do a weekend trip(s) to put the concept to practice. That way, you will be able to adapt and adjust your packing system to cover the shortcomings. You may explore travel styles employed by others. While this can serve as a source of inspiration it doesn’t necessarily mean that their system will work for you. For example, you may prefer sleeping in a tent, but the time and energy required to set a shelter up might be too taxing. There is no way to figure this out from the comfort of your home. You need to get out there and try it out.
Deploying your foul weather gear needs to be tested as well. You are totally exposed when you ride a motorcycle, so if you need a lot of time to cover your body it might be too late to do it anyway. And this doesn’t only apply to instances when you are soaking wet. It goes the other way around, such as when you need to lose articles of clothing as the sun hones in on you. Not only do you have to wear layers, but you should be able to lose them or add them up on short notice.