Is there anything better than a riding trip away with your mates? We don’t think so. And for riders in the Northern Hemisphere, we are moving into peak riding season. As the days get longer, the plans start being made for everything from mid-week evening rides after work to weekend ride-outs, and even weeks away on the trails and back roads.
But if you are anything like the guys we ride with, packing is a disorganised and haphazard time when things get thrown into kit bags and vans, filthy kit lies on top of clean, seeping oil cans ooze onto riding gear and it’s an all-out mess.
And what’s worse, when you get there, you’ve always forgotten the vital bits, so you are left with a gas cooker with no gas, a torch with no batteries and not a single toilet roll between ten of you.
Badly packed van – check
So in an effort to save our loyal readers from that pain, we thought we’d put together some handy lists to make sure when you arrive you can focus on the riding, not what you’ve left at home.
We’ve mainly listed kit for an off-road jaunt, so that’s the reason for the dirt-focus, but the things you need will off course vary depending on whether you are going on a trail riding trip, adventure bike caper or road bike road trip.
Either way, it’s better to have and not want, then want and not have …
So lets assume you are going with a bunch of mates. There’s no need for you all to take a toolbox, but be sure the one that does is the boy with all the tools and gizmos, rather than your dopey mate who’s got some gas station sockets and a wooden screwdriver. You need a comprehensive set of tools in case it all goes wrong, and if they do then you’ve got the chance of mending things and riding the next day. This blog list is not going to cover what’s in the toolbox, that’s for another day, nor is it going to cover your riding toolkit, which you can read about here.
Oh and while we have your attention, makes sure your bike is up to the trip. Don’t take a bike with known faults and hope it will be OK – if it goes wrong you are wrecking your day and your mates’ too. If it’s a long trip you are going on, you might want to think about fresh tyres – or at least a new rear, and maybe look at the condition of the chain and sprockets. Make your bike the best it can be so that way you are not the one at the side of the trail while everybody else is waiting for you to clean a year’s mud out of your carb ….
A good working toolkit is essential
As for the things that you need for your bike, do make sure you take the essentials, rather than relying on pinching everyone else’s.
Here’s the basics, you can supplement as appropriate for your scoot. We’ve shown large cans here, but you can scale down the sizes to cover an oil change if required, enough premix oil to cover the distances plus a bit more, and a full coolant replacement.
Take what you need, don’t borrow!
Spare Air filter & oil Engine oil
Two-stroke oil Coolant
Chain lube Fuel – if riding in remote areas
Chain and lock Exhaust bung – if bike left outside overnight
Fork seal cleaner Brake fluid
WD40 Clean Rags
Nitrile / latex gloves Hand cleaner
We’ve all got a garage full of kit in various states of repair, but if you are going on an trip away, try to choose the kit that is in good condition and you’ve worn at least once before. Old manky kit is just nasty to wear for long periods of time and with box fresh stuff, you’ve no idea if it’s going to rub in places you never expected. Choose the favourite kit that you’ve had for a while but still washes up nice.
Take tried and trusted kit
Oh and while we are on the subject of washing up nice, always make sure you take clean kit, not stuff still caked in mud from the last time you rode – it’s not big, it’s not clever and your mates don’t want a bag of kit smelling like a damp flannel next to them in the van – do they Dave? Wise up and learn how to use the washing machine fella..
Get busy with the Hotpoint chaps – Image: Irish Examiner
So let’s list the essentials. We’re going to include body armour because we think it is a must on all rides, and if you’ve booked a week off work, then picking up an injury on day one because you are too cool to protect yourself is not smart. Again – wise up and wrap up. We’re reckoning on two sets of kit as a minimum to allow one to dry out while you are wearing the other.
Riding shirts x 2 Riding trousers x 2 Boots
Leggings x 2 Under shirt x 2 Body armour
Knee pads / braces Under-armour Riding jacket
Gloves x 2 pairs Neck tube – if cold Helmet liner – if hot
Waterproof trousers Waterproof jacket Waterproof socks
Helmet Goggles x 2 Kidney belt
Safety glasses Camelback Isotonic drink mix
Neck brace – if high-speed or desert riding
And while you are at it, invest in a decent kit bag to keep it all together, rather than using three ripped bin liners …
When you’ve finished riding, you are going to want to get out of that kit. Don’t think you want to remain in something you’ve sweated in for eight hours, and even if you do, your mates wont be so impressed. What you need to take will depend on where you are staying, so let’s do the basics first as if you’ve got a ‘Bed and Breakfast’ booked, then a separate camping list.
Jeans / joggers Boxers / Kecks – at least 1 pair per day
Socks – 1 pair per day T Shirts
Warm jumper Wash bag with toothpaste / razor etc.
Beanie hat /gloves – if cold Sun cream / sunnies – if hot
Painkillers Antiseptic cream
Shoes – lightweight Shorts
Flip flops / thongs – ideal after showers and after removing riding boots
CAMPING IT UP
OK so for the camping kit, a lot will depend on where you are camping and in what. Wild camping miles from anywhere will need different kit compared to sleeping in your van on a proper campsite. But here’s a start of things you may need. Let’s assume if you are camping under canvas, you’ve remembered the tent..
Head torch Leatherman / utility knife Lamp
Air bed & pump Sleeping bag Pillow
Blanket Wet wipes Anti bacterial hand gel
Toilet roll Camping stove Mug
Bin bags Small washing line to dry kit Small umbrella
Water bottle Toilet rolls Lighter
Rubber mallet for pegs Gaffer tape & cable ties – essential for all life
Why do we trail ride? This is why
So there’s a bit of a starter for you if you intend to extend your riding beyond your doorstep and take on the great outdoors. Go on – plan a trip right now
We’ve also listed some of the things you need if you are going on a proper adventure into unknown territory, so have a read here
Of course if you come on one of our tours, you just need to look pack pretty much what you need to ride in and what you need in the bar afterwards – we sort everything else.
So what do you always take? Did we miss something vital? Get in touch and join the discussion.
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