ULTIMATE MOTORCYCLE ROAD TRIP CHECKLIST
Maybe you've been planning this all winter, or maybe it's a spur-of-the-moment thing. You're headed for somewhere you've always wanted to see, and you're going there on your Harley®.
You already know all the best parts of traveling on a bike. There's nothing between you and the scenery. You're connected to the landscape and the road in an almost visceral way. Every minute is part meditation, part prayer, part in-your-face exuberance.
Your space is limited, but that's a small price to pay for getting to travel this way. In this article, we'll give you the long form of your motorcycle road trip checklist for Spring 2019. Then at the bottom, we've included a PDF you can download and print. We encourage you to do so. Actually check off each item as you stow it in your backpack or saddlebags. What you don't check off, you'll know to pick up next time you stop by a store. Plus, if you don't remember what you brought, you can refer to your list. Let's get to it.
For Your Bike
- Tool kit - Get one of the kinds that folds up in a nylon pouch for compact storage. You need things like cable ties, screwdrivers, locking and needle nose pliers, Torx and allen wrenches, closed/open end wrenches that fit your bike, extra spark plugs and wires, light bulbs, fuses etc.
- Bike jumper cables
- Tire gauge and tire repair kit - just in case
- Bungee cords
- Extra bike key
- Paper funnel
- Tail bags or saddlebags if your Harley® didn't already come equipped
- Waterproof covers for any external storage that needs protection
Some of these seem obvious, but we're listing them anyway, because they're some of the items you least want to do without.
- Toothbrush/toothpaste/floss - Buy the travel size. If you run out, another one is cheap.
- Shampoo, conditioner and soap - This is the time to use the hotel toiletries you've been hoarding.
- Nail clippers
- Contact lens solution and case
- Baby wipes and antibacterial wipes
- Chap stick
- Mosquito repellent
- Towel/washcloth - roll these up super tightly and secure with rubber bands. Take small, thin ones, they'll take less space and dry out faster.
Clothes take up a lot of room, and that's one thing you don't have. You're going to be outdoors most of the day, not crammed next to co-workers in an elevator. You can get away with one or two changes of clothing.
That being said, think ahead about temperature changes. This time of year, even if you're staying in Texas you're still going to need some layers.
To save space, lay clothing flat and roll it tightly. Then put as many clothing items as you can fit in a big Ziploc. Grab another big Ziploc and cram it full of socks and underwear. Take plenty of those, it will help keep you feeling fresh when you can't get to a laundromat.
In spring, the weather and temps are unpredictable. You might be riding through states that still have snow on the ground and nights well below freezing. Make sure you take these clothing items.
- Rain gear, waterproof jacket, waterproof motorcycle pants and/or poncho. Plan to protect your body, but also your face, hands and boots.
- Windbreaker or light jacket
- A hat for when you have crazy helmet hair
- Warm jacket, vest liner, jacket liner or insulating layers.
- Something to keep your head warm. That might be a fleece head wrap, skullcap, balaclava etc.
- Goggles or other night time eye protection
- Comfortable walking shoes
- Driver's license and proof of motorcycle insurance
- Your passport if you might be crossing into Mexico or Canada
- Cash - Even if you mostly plan to use plastic, tuck away some bills in a safe place. You also might need coins handy for tolls.
- Information on your motorcycle warranty
- Butler map or GPS
- Flashlight or ball cap with lights on it
- Tylenol, Advil, Motrin or other painkiller
- Small first aid kit
- Laundry detergent - put some pods in another Ziploc
- Duct tape
- Pocket knife or multi-tool
- Chargers for your phone, camera, iPad, laptop, Bluetooth headset and anything else you're taking
- Backpack for extra storage
- Water and power snacks for you and your passenger in case you get stranded somewhere
- Small notebook and paper in case you need to write down directions or want to chronicle your journey.
We carry most of what you need at American Harley-Davidson® North Tonawanda, NY. Stop by and talk to a staff member, most of them have motorcycle road trip experience they'll be happy to share. They'll help you find accessories and supplies that make the trip easier so you can relax and enjoy the ride.
Here's the paper checklist you can download and print. Let us know if there's anything we've missed! Roadtripchecklist.pdf