It’s impossible to list everything that you’re going to need when going on tour, largely because all tours are different. However, we’ve compiled a rough guide of what you’re going to want; both the must-haves and also some suggestions of what you might want to take.
Obviously you’re limited to your luggage space – and we certainly would advise that you don’t take a huge amount of luggage stacked up on the back as this will affect the stability of the bike – so if you’re not able to fit all of this in, pack the absolute necessities and you can always pick additional bits up along the way.
Paperwork and documentation
As with any travel, make sure that you’ve got all your paperwork and documentation on you, so that you don’t encounter any issues along the way. Whilst your passport and driving license are obvious, you’ll want to take copies too as backup, as well as a copy of your V5 (you are meant to carry your original but, if you do, make sure you carry it on your person rather than on the bike in case the bike gets stolen), travel insurance documents, any maps you may require and an ICE card, which gives contact details In Case of Emergency.
Clothing and kit
Without a doubt, you’re going to want your helmet, your boots, a protective jacket and some waterproof gear. If you’re travelling into France, you will also need a hi-vis vest to abide by their laws. You are required to wear gloves with a CE Kite marking in. Kevlar jeans or other riding trousers are also wise. Depending on the climates of where you’re going, heated gloves and jackets might be on your list, as well as sunglasses – and night riding glasses can reduce the glare from oncoming vehicles.
Tools and spares
At the very least, you’re going to want to have some sort of basic tool bag with you, containing screwdrivers, spanners, Allen keys and more – some of you might even be happy to take along a multitool that combines a lot of the basic tools in one. But for those who want to be a little more prepared and who are a little better with their hands when it comes to fixing up their bikes, you also want to consider packing cable ties, a puncture plug set, spare bulbs and even a battery booster pack.
The more mechanic-savvy motorcycle riders might consider taking along engine oil, spare fuses and even a circuit tester, but these are all things that you’re able to pick up along the way, and you don’t want to be weighed down by all of this, especially with your limited luggage space.
Bits for your bike
Before heading off on your tour, you want to ensure you’ve got the relevant luggage compartments and bags for storing everything you’re taking with you, along with locks and keys to keep your belongings safe. You’ll also need a GB sticker on the rear of your bike, if there isn’t one on your number plate already, and some headlight deflectors, but you could also take along a torch (unless you just want to use the one on your phone), waterproof covers and bungees and bungee nets.
We’d obviously recommend taking some cleaning gear with you to keep your bike shiny – it’s going to get dirty, that’s a given, but this way you can maintain your bike and prevent any damage from the dirt sitting on your bike. Our WMB Pride Wash and Shine are perfect for this. You can also go all out and get the whole premium range of motorcycle cleaning products, including the Lube that will protect and prolong the life of your chain and Revive to keep the insides of your kit fresh (especially as you’re going to be wearing the items for prolonged periods of time).
Gadgets and gizmos
When you’re off touring, there’s nothing better than having some gadgets and gizmos along for the ride to document your trip and make it as smooth as possible. First off, you may want to take some sort of Sat Nav or GPS device with you, to prevent you wandering off-course. If photography is something you’re keen on, a camera, tripod and charger would be handy too – although you can get some fantastic apps and gadgets for your smartphone, negating the need for an additional camera. Likewise, a GoPro or similar is great for action footage of your ride, just ensure you take all of the relevant bits and pieces, such as chargers, spare memory cards and such like. Also, if you’re travelling outside of the UK, don’t forget the relevant travel adaptors so that you’re able to charge your tech in whatever country you’re in.
Toiletry and medicine bag
Your toiletry bag is going to contain all of the obvious bits and bobs; shampoo, razor, toothbrush and toothpaste and so on, but you’re also going to want to carry around a medicine bag should you run into anything along the way. This should contain things such as Imodium, mosquito spray, any prescription drugs you need to take (along with a prescription should you need to get any more along the way), and other items you might find in a general medical kit.
If you’ve got it with you, it’s one less thing to have to worry about finding whilst on the road – you’ll have it there to hand ready to use from the moment you need it. Which is even more key when you’re travelling through countries where English might not be their first language.
If you’re planning to go all out and sleep under the stars each night, instead of forking out for motels or hotels, then consider camping. You can get really lightweight sleeping bags that fold up into nothing but are still really cosy and also pop up tents that are also really compact when travelling. Inflatable camping pillows rather than anything bulkier are also advisable.
Alongside all of this, you’re going to want to ensure you have a few different changes of clothing, something for all weather types. Lightweight is the better choice, but you’ll also want something a little smarter should you plan to go out and about or attend any events along the way. You can always pick up swimming gear along the way should you come across a nice beach, river or lake, so don’t pack this if you’re running low on space.
Do a last-minute check before you leave for all of your essentials, like your wallet with cash and cards, house key for when you return home, glasses or contacts (if you wear them) and anything else that you can’t be without.
This is just a guide and there will be many items here you might not want or need, and likewise there may be additional items that you think you need to take. There is no right or wrong answer, as long as you’ve got the basics. Pack the essentials before anything else and then you’ll know how much luggage space you have to play with, not forgetting to leave yourself a small amount of space for any souvenirs you might pick up along the way.
We’d like to thank our friends over at Tour1 for collaborating with us on this blog post. We’d recommend giving them a follow over on Facebook if you’re interested in all things Touring. You can find them at @tour1mcrides.