Exploring the world on a motorcycle is, to our minds, one of the best ways to spend your time. Combining your love of riding bikes with experiencing new countries and meeting people from all corners of the globe means that adventure travel knocks a boring beach holiday into a cocked hat as far as we’re concerned. And we are pretty confident that you feel the same – why else would you be on our site?
A MOTORCYCLE AND A BIG SKY, THAT’S ALL WE NEED
But adventure riding can be tough at times. OK so long days in the saddle and sleeping in a different bed every night might be first world problems, but it’s still a degree more challenging than staying in a plush hotel by the seaside. So things that make life instantly and immeasurably better are important adventure essentials. But we’re not talking the big stuff here – things like proper waterproofs of a decent helmet – no that’s taken as read that if you are going for two weeks riding across entire countries you will have those locked down and already packed.
What we are looking at here are the things you don’t realise you’ll need until you notice you don’t have them ….
#1 POWDER PUFF
For those that haven’t experienced the joys of talc since nappy change time as a baby, man – have you been missing out. And even we can’t persuade you to embrace Baby powder as part of your bath time routine at home, taking a pot of the soft stuff on an adventure trip is a bit of luxury that you’ll soon get to love.
From dusting below the waterline after a shower to sprinkling your feet before slipping them into your socks, talc will make life softer and nicer straight away. Riding all day can make things pretty damp and uncomfortable, but talc will keep the dreaded monkey-butt well away – and that’s something you will definitely appreciate ….
#2 FOOT FETISH
So we’re taking a leaf out of the Scout handbook here. After a hard day walking over hills and dales, those woggle-loving chaps lose their sturdy walking boots the moment they hit camp, thus allowing both the boots and their feet to dry out and get a bit of air.
And it’s no different on a bike – keeping your pinkies cooped up is not good news, so reaching for the flip flops or thongs is a smart move, and as they are small to pack, they won’t fill your kit bag as much as a set of brogues.
CRACK OUT THE HAVIANAS
The other use is that you can wear them in the shower, thus avoiding slipping and more importantly, contact with dubious tiling in the seedier hotels you might encounter.
Now some places do provide flip flops in the bathrooms already, but these have been worn by everyone else too. Next stop Verruca Town?
#3 BEDTIME BUDDIES
YOUR BUDGET HOTEL PILLOW MAY NOT LOOK LIKE THIS …..
So while we are on the subject of budget accommodation, then we need to talk about bedding. Once you head off the beaten track, the standard and indeed cleanliness of what’s on the bed can vary enormously from the freshly laundered hand woven Egyptian cotton that you are used to at home.
LIVING LIFE AND LOVING A LINER
So when you are packing for your trip, grabbing yourself a nice clean cotton pillow case and slipping it on the pillow every night ensures that it’s only your face and your drool that’s been there.
For added comfort and peace of mind, a visit to a camping shop to buy a cotton sleeping bag liner does the same for your entire body. OK so you might not be in a sleeping bag, but a cotton liner is always a nicer place to be than ageing sheets. And with both the pillow case and liner being cotton, they are quick and easy to wash and dry – perfect!
#4 LOVE THE LAUNDRY
Having touched on the whole laundry issue, then we best continue. If you’ve packed sensibly, you won’t have bought too many clothes with you. So that means after a while some of it is going to need washing and drying. Washing powder is fairly widely available in most places you may visit, but if travelling to really remote areas you might need to bag up some hand wash powder, just be aware that going through airports with unmarked bags of white powder brings its own risks ….
CUSTOMS OFFICERS LOVE A BAG OF WHITE POWDER
Next up is a washing line so you can dry what you’ve just washed, and if you want to avoid it ending up on the floor within seconds, a handful of pegs will do the trick. Camping shops usually sell travel either pegless lines or washing lines which have the two combined – genius
CLEAN PANTS AHOY
Although you might think that you can just rely on the torch on your phone, on an adventure motorcycle trip, you will soon find the immediate shortcomings of this plan. Not only will you be constantly worrying about how much precious charge the torch is using, you’ll soon find that trying to do anything while holding a phone is pretty impossible.
CAVING AND CLIMBING KIT IS A PRETTY BOMB-PROOF
Some might swear by the trusty Maglite, but in reality it has the same handling issue as the phone, meaning you end up with the thing in your mouth, dribbling slightly as you go.
The answer is of course a head torch, widely available from just a few pounds up to the mid-fifties for a high-end caving and climbing affair. As they all do much the same job, it’s hard to see how you need to spend much more than a twenty for one suitable for a motorcycle adventure.
Armed with a head torch, you can do everything from locating the stubbies in the tent, going to the toilet in the night, mending the bike in failing light – hell you can even use it as an emergency headlight on the bike.
Travel essential right there.
#6 BAG FOR LIFE
SO MANY USES, SO LITTLE TIME
OK so a real low-key option here, but having plastic in your kit bag makes things so much easier. From keeping your IPhone Dry in your jacket pocket, stopping the shower gel from leaking into your clothes or just over your to keeping the dirty socks away from the clean ones, a selection of placcy bags will prove invaluable.
On the bike side, you can use then for waterproofing electrics, transporting water to top up radiators, you can even put them on your feet to keep out the water, the list goes on.
Just be careful how you dispose of them – many remote areas have banned plastic bags because of their threat to the environment, so be a bit responsible out there!
#7 FRESH & FRAGRANT
DUSTY FACE TO TRAMPS BATH – JOB DONE
Keeping things clean and fresh when out in the wilds of the world can be problematic. The toilet facilities can leave much to be desired, often looking vastly dirtier than anything that might be on your hands, so a pack of wet wipes and a pot of alcogel can keep things hygienic when your environment may be far from that.
A staple of festival going hippies, the humble wet wipes can be also used for the ‘tramp’s bath’ if you happen to find yourself miles away from running water.
And as for the alcogel – it makes a passable fire starter as well as a hygienic hand sanitizer. Double bubble then.
USE SPARINGLY – DON’T GET PARANOID ABOUT GERMS
#8 PLUG IN BABY
Motorcyclists have been using ear plugs while on the bike for years. As a way of protecting your hearing from a droning exhaust and wind noise, it’s a sensible move.
However, ear plugs have a much more handy use off the bike. It’s an unfortunate fact that if you are travelling in a group, a good proportion of them will snore when they sleep. It’s not something they will be able to stop, but if you are sharing with them it can be beyond annoying, rendering your attempts at sleep largely ineffective.
BUY THE ONES ON A CORD AND YOU WON’T LOSE THEM AT NIGHT
So slipping a few sets of industrial strength ear plugs into your bag before you leave for foreign shores can be a lesson in protecting your sanity, your sleep and in extreme cases, the life of the unfortunate snorer that you are bedded down next to …
#9 DRY HUMP
We’re back to the bedroom again, and this time it’s all about the towels. If the places you are staying are on the budget side, then chances are that the baby-soft towels you are used to may not be provided. Some don’t provide anything at all, and in that case showering can prove an issue.
Again we head for advice from the Scouts and this time it’s a travel towel
FANCY A GOOD RUB DOWN?
OK they feel a bit like your using a chamois on a car but it will dry you quickly and effectively and then usually dry out completely in your room overnight.
And don’t think you have to spend a lot on them – under a tenner, it rolls up small in your bag and your good to go.
#10 CRACK ADDICT
Now this might be a bit prosaic, but travelling vast distances over difficult terrain on a motorcycle can lead to a build-up of heat, sweat and dirt in the pant region. In that situation, getting a bad case of sweat rash or ‘Monkey Butt’ can result.
In this unfortunate, you will be beyond pleased that you packed some Vaseline to take the sting out of the situation. That’s all we need to say, except keep it away from your mates, especially the one who has bought Tabasco Sauce as his travel essential ….
CURE THE FLAMING CREASE
#11 HOTTIE PATOTTIE
A HOTTIE YOU CAN SLEEP WITH WITHOUT GUILT
This one is reserved for those going to cold areas, but having just returned from the Upper Mustang Valley and having had to resort to a Coke bottle filled with hot water, we can firmly get behind this one.
Keeping warm at night can be difficult enough in cold weather, and sometimes just wearing all available clothes is not enough. In that instance, a nice old-fashioned hot water bottle in a cover can be a better bed fellow than anything else in the world. It will raise your core temperature almost instantly to get you to sleep in comfort, and what’s more, it will stay hot most of the night.
You can even ride with it down your jacket the next day if it’s still cold!
#12 MACK THE KNIFE
IT’S MORE USE THAN A CUCKOO CLOCK
Clearly you are going to have to put this in your hold luggage to avoid confiscation at the first airport, but travelling with the best hardware from the Geneva Light Infantry will have a multitude of uses. Some may say that a good Leatherman will do the same, but does a Leatherman have a corkscrew for a cheeky bottle of red? Does it have a tiny pair of scissors to trim back that ridiculously painful ingrowing toenail? Does it have a tiny pair of tweezers to take that thorn out of your pinkie?
We think not – Go Switzerland!
RIDING INTO THE DISTANCE IN COMFORT
That’s all we’ve got for the moment. None of these take up much space, but all of them will make your time away from home so much better – we guarantee.
But did we miss anything? Let us know