Before we get into this post let’s get one thing straight – I am not a hardcore biker. (Shocking, I know.) If you can survive an entire weekend with the clothes on your back, a bottle of whiskey, and a full tank of gas, this post isn’t for you. If you’ll actually be driving the motorcycle, this post might not be for you either. I’m a motorcycle rider. My husband handles driving and packing any necessary equipment. But if you’re a slightly high maintenance woman who often rides with her man, like myself, requiring certain things like beauty products and clean undergarments, then stick around.
This will mark the fourth year that Adam and I have made our annual Memorial Weekend trip to the Gulf Coast. We look forward to this trip every year. (You can read about our trip last year here.) Each trip we cover about 1,200 miles on the motorcycle. This means everything we need for four days has to fit comfortably on the bike. Packing for any trip is a chore but packing for a motorcycle trip is even more challenging. Here are some tips to make packing a little easier.
Work with the space you’re given.
Aside from the first year where we borrowed a larger motorcycle, we have taken Adam’s Street Glide every trip which means our total amount of packing space is one saddlebag (the other houses tools, rain gear, and other emergency equipment) and a sissy bar bag.
We purchased the large Tourmaster Cruiser III sissy bar bag before our second trip since Adam’s bike doesn’t have a tour pack. The Tourmaster Cruiser III offers spacious compartments, a removable toiletries bag, and an integrated rain/dust cover. The upside to having this bag over a tour pack is that it can easily be removed and carried into your hotel room. For the most part, I pack all of my belongings in this bag and Adam’s packs his in the saddlebag.
Try not to pack everything to the brim. Not only does added weight on a motorcycle make it harder to maneuver, but items never go back in as nicely as when you originally packed them. This also leaves you with a little bit of room to bring home new things like souvenirs and keepsakes. We always come home with at least a couple of new t-shirts.
Miniaturize your beauty products.
I have high maintenance hair and I like to be clean and smell good. In order to make sure I can pack all the beauty products that I need and want, I buy miniatures of everything. I even went so far as to buy a miniature hair dryer because the hotel we typically stay in doesn’t offer one. (I already confessed to being high maintenance!) If products you use don’t come in a smaller size make them with travel bottles that you can easily pick up at your local pharmacy or Target. This 13-piece set should cover everything you need.
And here’s a tip for you curly-haired girls. If you’re like me and have a special towel for your hair (I’m obsessed with my Hair RePear towel), pick up a jersey or t-shirt pillow case. A pillow case packs easily and also doubles as a bag for your toiletries.
Empty out your makeup bag and only pack the essentials. Nothing feels better than washing your face after a long day on the road. Your pores will already be clogged with sweat and street grime. Don’t waste your time wearing a ton of makeup on a motorcycle trip. Throw on some SPF moisturizer, waterproof mascara, and lip balm and ride.
Function over fashion.
I can’t believe those words just came out of my mouth but your clothing should be more functional than fashionable. You’re riding a motorcycle, for crying out loud! Safety and comfort should be your priorities.
Wear your heaviest clothing so you don’t have to pack it. I always start the trip off wearing boots, jeans, layered shirts, and my leather vest. This seems like a lot of clothing in the Florida heat, but when you’re going 70+ miles per hour down the Interstate, you’re not as warm as you might think. Plus, being fair-skinned, I like to prevent as much long-term sun exposure as possible.
Pick a color scheme so every item of clothing you pack matches. Our Memorial weekend trip is all about red and black, which I just so happen to have an abundance of in my wardrobe. Having everything in the same color scheme means I can mix and match outfits and re-wear items if necessary.
I usually pack a couple of pairs of jeans, multiple tops that are easy to pack, undergarments, socks, and pajamas, and an extra pair of shoes, usually my Chucks since they don’t take up a lot of space. I also make sure I have multiple pairs of sunglasses (eye protection is a must!), a bandana or headband, hair ties and bobby pins, and a small crossbody purse.
Chances are that you will not wear every article of clothing you pack. No matter how light I feel like I packed, I tend to wear items multiple times and still come home with clean clothes.
Entertainment in your ears.
Admittedly, I read an entire book on the bike the first year we made the trip to Pensacola. The bike we borrowed had a wrap around backrest that allowed me to ride hands free and, being one of those lucky people who doesn’t get motion sick, I filled the time with the pages of good book.
Unfortunately I cannot do that on Adam’s bike and I can only stand to listen to my husband’s
questionable taste in music for so long. Before we leave, I make sure my earbuds are packed and that my iPhone is filled with music, podcasts, and a good audiobook. (I’m still looking for suggestions for this trip if anyone has any.) I might scroll through my social media feeds a little bit as we ride but I really try to pay attention to the road and serve as a second set of eyes for Adam.
Despite the leg cramps and monotony of driving for hours at a time, there’s really something freeing about hitting the open road on the back of a motorcycle. Other than remembering to apply sunscreen and drinking lots of water to stay hydrated, you should be all set for a safe and fun motorcycle trip.