Sitting around camp one evening on a recent moto-camping trip,we took the opportunity to survey and inventory everything that we brought. While you could certainly make the case for bringing more or less stuff (and others have), we find that this list provides a good basis for a successful trip. All of these items fit comfortably on an Africa Twin with Tusk size Medium Panniers and a Bestem top box and a Versys-X 300 with Mosko Moto Reckless 40 and OEM top box.
For the purposes of organization, the list has been broken up into different logical categories. But note that on the bikes – things tend to get broken down into their lowest possible denominator and sometimes stored separately, so they can be packed more efficiently. (for example – tent doesn’t always go with poles)
- First aid kit
- Multi-tool (pliers, knife, etc.)
- Matches and lighters
- Map, Compass, GaiaGPS downloads
- Cell Phone
- Water bottles, water bladder. We typically carry a 10L MSR dromedary for bulk storage and smaller sport bottles for day drinking (not that kind)
- Water treatment system. We use a SteriPen Classic for most situations but also have PotableAqua tablets as a backup.
- Medications / Epi-Pen
- Wallet (credit cards, drivers license, insurance cards, etc). Passport (if applicable)
- Tool Kit (I’ll save the details for another post, but a few highlights below)
- Box/open end wrenches (8, 10, 12, 14 mm), hex/allen wrenches
- Front/rear axle wrench (this 14, 22, 27mm combo wrench from Cruz Tools has served me well)
- Screw drivers, pliers, etc.
- zip ties
- Tire levers / bead breaker. I’ve found this combo set from Motion Pro to be fantastic.
- Tire pressure gauge
- Duct tape
- JB Weld
- Specialty bike tools (spark plug tool, etc)
- Spare tubes for front wheel/tire size. Yes, you can make them work in the back when needed) and a back up patch kit
- Tow strap. For when you can’t fix it in the field
- Spare fuses
- Jumper cables (optional in my opinion, but certainly handy when you need them and don’t have a hill to bump start)
- Bungee chords and straps. For strapping extra stuff onto the bike in a pinch
- Tent, Tent Poles, Ground cloth
- Stove, fuel, lighter
- Pot, lid, handle
- Cup, bowl, spoon (we rarely have a real need for a fork)
- Soap, sponge (in a small ziploc bag)
- Toilet paper, mini shovel (we like this one)
- Sleeping bag, sleeping pad, inflatable pillow. yes, at some point we got old and decided an inflatable pillow was critical.
- Toothbrush, toothpaste, deodorant
- Bug Spray
- Wet wipes. Optional – but so nice after a long day of dusty riding.
- Camp towel
- Misc small garbage bags, ziploc bags
- Clothes drying line
In the Tank Bag
- Lighter. Years of mountain guiding taught me to always have a lighter in every pocket.
- Cell phone
- Spare ear plugs
- Visor cleaning solution. This is just a very weak mixture of baby shampoo in water, in a mini spray bottle.
- Pen and paper
- Face mask and hand sanitizer (for COVID-19 times)
- Cash in small denominations for camp site fees (depending on where you stay)
- 2′ long combination cable lock. I keep this in my tank bag to lock my helmet and/or jacket to my bike (run it through the jacket sleeve) when parked in a city. It provides some semblance of (illusion of) security, as in someone can’t just grab my stuff and go.
- RIDING GEAR
- Armored jacket and pants
- Thermal and rain inserts for jacket and pants
- Gloves – Warm and Cold weather. BTW, I have still yet to find the perfect cold weather gloves, if someone has a line on an armored knuckle full guantlet glove I would be very interested. Right now, I run the Black Diamond Enforcer ice climbing gloves.
- Neck gaiter
- Base Layers
- Socks, Underwear
- Long underwear. Top and bottom, depending on expected temps.
- Synthetic t-shirts
- shorts or 3/4 length pants (short pants). I am a big fan of short pants while riding, keeps you warm when its cold without interfering with your boots (I don’t like tucking pants into boots) and when if it gets warm, you just roll them up and they become shorts!
- In Camp Clothes
- A dry set of clothes to change into (synthetic t-shirt, lightweight pants, etc). There’s nothing better when you’re getting soaked in a rainstorm than knowing that you have a nice set of dry clothes to change into.
- Camp shoes. Crocs or flip-flops – something very light and packable.
- Warm jacket. This is kinda extra, but often nice. I’ve lived in my moto jacket for days – it works, but its nice to get out of it once in a while.
- Swim trunks / bathing suit.
- Pack towel
- Baseball hat
- Warm/wool hat
- Bug head-net
We are pretty into technology here at Points Unknown – so the below list of electronics is likely overkill for some/most.
- Camera. We are currently running the Brave 4 and V50 from Akaso.
- Mini-tripod. This one has been pretty handy and action cam helmet mount.
- Charging cables. USB-C and Micro-USB.
- Portable Battery / Power Pack. I typically charge this battery from the bike while riding during the day, then charge electronics with it at night.
- Folding solar charger. Optional, not always a lot of daylight left when we get to camp, but packs small and its fun to get free energy when possible.
- Small wrist watch. Mostly just for morning wake-up alarms.
- Drone. The Mavic Air shoots incredible video and packs up very small.
- Moto-to-Moto Communication. We used the Sena SMH-10, but will probably upgrade in due time.
Food & Drink
- Light and packable foods. Something I should write about, for another post.
- Hot drinks and cold drink mix (coffee packets, tea, cocoa, lemonade mix, electrolyte, etc.)
- Snacks, energy bars, trail mix ,etc.
- Honestly, we aren’t that creative on food at Points Unknown. There are lots of better resources for information on camp food. In fact, we should probably read those and report back.
- Compact Umbrella. I don’t mind riding in the rain, but sometimes in big rainstorm its worth waiting it out. But it always feels pretty… worthless to just sit on your motorcycle in the pouring rain. A compact umbrella keeps the rain off your head/helmet while you wait out the storm.
- Baja no pinch tool.I’ve changed quite a few motorcycle tires, but I still get nervous about pinching the tube. To me, the Baja no-pinch tool is worth the weight and minor bulk to bring with on a big adventure – nothing else makes getting the tire back on so easy.
- Stuff sacks and packing cubes. Gear organization is pretty critical. On the moto, I tend to prefer packing cubes over stuff sacks. Stuff sacks are great for backpacking, but a few extra ounces aren’t going to hurt much on the moto.
And that’s it. That’s our packing list. Did we miss anything? Let us know in the comments and we’ll update the list.