How To Pack For A Motorcycle Road Trip The Easy Way

Packing for a motorcycle road trip

Well, it’s almost here! Our big, fabulous, Harley-Davidson themed wedding is only 2 weeks away! To say Roy, my fiance, and I are excited is an understatement for sure. We are also going to the Sturgis Motorcycle Rally for our Honeymoon. Which brings me to this post. We’ve been planning this trip for a year now, and the one thing I’ve worried over more than anything is packing our motorcycles for the trip. We will each be riding our own bikes. I have my Harley-Davidson 1200 Sportster Custom and he has his Harley-Davidson Crossbones Softtail. How do you pack for a motorcycle road trip when you want to bring everything but the kitchen sink? Well, of course, space on our bikes is limited, so we will need to travel light. But, we can easily pack our motorcycles and still bring everything we need.

2 Harley-Davidson Motorcycles

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Getting The Right Luggage

We are going to be staying in a cabin, so we won’t have to worry about bringing any camping gear with us. That will help to save a lot of space for other gear and items on my “must bring” list. We plan to be there the entire week, 7 days total. To get started, I researched the best luggage, bugged people on Facebook, and asked friends for their advice. I purchased new saddlebags and we got this motorcycle tail bag for Roy’s bike.  It has a ton of room in it, is water-resistant, and I love all the pockets. It also has a small detachable bag on top for even more storage, and it sits perfectly on his back fender.

The Trial Run

I gathered up everything I wanted to bring with us, my saddlebags, and his tail bag to do a trial run. I will also have The Lauren Sport Bag as I am part of The Sisterhood of the Traveling Bag promotion by Motochicgear. (You can read about that here.)

Lauren Sport Bag

I found that rolling our clothes up tight and then putting them in zipper storage bags saved a bunch of room. I can fit 3 to 4 t-shirts in a gallon size Ziplock bag. This will also help keep everything dry in case of rain. The other thing I did was get rid of all the packaging for our toiletries. This saved a ton of space in my bags. Just throw all those boxes away and stick everything in storage bags. I packed enough clothes and toiletries for 3 days. We will have access to washers and dryers while we are in Sturgis. Besides, unless something major happens, we can re-wear our jeans and t-shirts the next day. Also, I took into consideration that we will be wearing our gear (chaps, jackets, boots, headgear, etc.) on the trip down. Everything fit with room to spare! Sweet! So, with the trial run a success, here is my final list for what to pack for a motorcycle trip.

For The Tail Bag

Clothes And Shoes

Both of us will bring 3 days worth of clothes:

  1. 3 pairs of underwear and socks
  2. 3 t-shirts
  3. 1 long-sleeved shirt
  4. 3 tank tops for me (Roy will just have t-shirts)
  5. 1 pair of jeans (We will be wearing the second pair)
  6. Bathing suit/ swim trunks
  7. 1 pair of sleep pants
  8. Flip Flops for the pool and showers
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Toiletries And Other Misc Items

We are going light here, as we can always buy more travel size stuff when we get there.

  1. My makeup bag – just my favorite everyday stuff, not the whole mess
  2. Small Wet brush (Get my favorite here)
  3. Extra hair ties (I plan to do braids and ponytails for the trip)Feminine products (again get rid of the box and put in a bag)
  4. Contact solution and drops
  5. Razors and shaving cream (travel size)
  6. Sunscreen
  7. Travel size laundry detergent pouches
  8. Toothbrushes
  9. Deodorant
  10. Travel size shampoo/conditioner/body wash (You can get the packets, which will save even more room, here)
  11. Pocket size antibacterial hand cleaner
  12. Medications/Tylenol, Ibuprofen/Hangover Prevention

  1. Phone chargers
  2. Extra Ziplock bags
  3. A couple empty grocery bags for dirty laundry/wet clothes

In My Saddle Bags

Like the majority of other riders what is in our saddle bags pretty much stays there all the time.

In my Sissybar Bag

  1. Extra glasses, for rain, dusk, night-time
  2. Do rag, head wraps, gloves
  3. Extra cargo net
  4. My GoGirl (A life saver when there isn’t a bathroom for miles. I don’t leave home with it, seriously)

Right Side Saddle Bag

  1. Registration & Insurance (inside a Ziploc bag)
  2. Rain Gear
  3. Micro Fiber Rags for washing or checking oil
  4. Tire pressure gauge, Bungee cords & straps
  5. First aid kit, tool kit, Map, Duct tape

Left Side Saddle Bag

I will carry the camera and bag, GoPro bag with extra batteries, chargers and memory cards.

The Lauren Sport Bag

The bag is a backpack as well as a tote. I will wear it down on the ride to Sturgis. I plan to have my Kindle, snacks, bottles of water, wet wipes and my wallet inside. Basically, it will be my “purse” during our trip.

Having to pack for a motorcycle road trip isn’t hard. You just have to plan, adjust, and get a little creative. If you can’t fit everything you want on the bike, buy it when you get there. Pack light. Also, I plan to do a bunch of shopping while we are at the Rally. I know I won’t be able to fit it all back on my bike, so I plan to ship it back home. I hope you enjoyed this post. If you have any other tips and tricks, please share in the comments below! I’d love to hear your strategies for packing your motorcycles.

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How To Pack For A Motorcycle Road Trip The Easy Way

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10 responses to “How To Pack For A Motorcycle Road Trip The Easy Way

  1. Capn Kimbo

    Instead of grocery bags, I use Envirosax. The are water resistant, hold 44lbs & roll up tiny. They never rip, become a laundry bag or swim bag, or an extra tote for shopping, even can hold extra items with your cargo net on the bike!

  2. ladyleadfoot

    i, too, use ziplocs for everything, and i do mean *everything*! with the exception of my walking cane, nothing goes in the rollbag, the backpack, or the saddlebags without first going in a ziploc.

    i do have one suggestion, though. instead of putting all your t-shirts in one bag, all your underwear in another, etc., do this: put one day’s worth of clothing in one ziploc. once you wear it, turn the clothes inside out, then repack it. that way: 1. you don’t have to pull out more than one bag at a time, and 2. you will know what is clean and what is dirty.

    also, when you close up the ziplocs, zip them most of the way closed, then either lean on them with your body weight on your forearms, then squeeze the rest of the air out, or sit on the bag, on a hard chair, then squeeze.

    use ziplocs that don’t have the zipper tab, too. the tab allows air to seep back into the bag; a straight, full-length zipper (no tab) keeps both air and water out. this allows more stuff in more space, and, since the bags are slithery (slippery), they will pack easier.

    i have been packing like this for years; it works.

    have fun on your trip, and may you and your husband to be have a long, happy, healthy life together!

    • That’s great advice! Thank you so much! I love the idea of putting a days worth of clothes in each bag. I will definitely be doing this. 🙂

  3. Great tips, I also use a lot of Ziplocs and appreciate Ladyleadfoot’s tip about putting a day’s worth of clothes in the same bag. My packing tips are centered more around how to load the motorcycle rather than what to actually pack. I’ll try to include the link with my name. 🙂

    • Thanks so much, Janet! I love your site. There will definitely be a bunch of posts about the wedding and the trip. We will also be doing some GoPro videos of our rides. 🙂

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