Liz’s Packing List for Solo Motorcycle Travel

by Liz Jansen

Packing Philosophy:

Whether I’m preparing to be away for a week or two years, the packing list is pretty much the same, other than allowances for weather or camping. I live and work from the road so although I strive to be a minimalist, I want things as comfortable and convenient as possible. I also try to consume as little as possible and spend extra up front on clothing and gear, knowing it will last for years, opting not to purchase inexpensive throw-away pieces.

My motorcycle is a Triumph Tiger XRx and it easily handles what I pile on. And the bike is so well designed and well balanced, it’s also easy for me to handle the load. (In addition to making the bike harder to handle, a poorly thought out or overweight load will increase rider fatigue.)

Individual travel needs will vary according to how long you plan to be on the road, where you’re going, where you’re staying, and the activities you expect to partake in. Question everything you take and whether you can reasonably do without it, what the odds are you’ll need it, potential consequences if you don’t take it and need it, and if you can use something else you’re already carrying for the same purpose. Take what’s right for you.

This list is constantly evolving.

Packing approach:

  • Everything is organized in logical packages. (The exact configuration can change depending on the purpose of my trip.) Nothing goes in loose. Nothing.
  • Each pannier has a removable zippered liner. Within the liner, things are packed in fabric clothes boxes, approx. 9”X12”X3” or individual packs suitable for contents.
  • All luggage, including tank bag, is waterproof so I don’t have to worry about things getting wet, or wrapping things in plastic bags. Having said that, when I keep my phone in my tank bag, it’s in its own little dry bag. Just to be sure.
  • Tops, leggings, socks are high-quality (Icebreaker) merino wool—good for longevity, cooling, warming, and washing and drying. quickly. They take up very little space, don’t wrinkle, and wear well. Underwear is Exofficio.
  • Load is secured with 2 ROK straps, NOT bungee cords or cargo nets. You can cinch ROK straps up very lightly and keep your load much more secure, even in the bounces.
  • Load is balanced on the bike, with heavier items as close to midline and center of gravity as possible.

Packing list


Packing List and Configuration:

Right pannier:

  • Box 1: 3-4 T-shirts, 2 long-sleeved T-shirts
  • Box 2: 2 prs microfibre convertible pants, 1 PR yoga pants; 1 pr. leggings
  • Box 3: 4-5 pr underwear, 2 bras, bathing suit, ultralight towel, 2 scarves
  • Box 4: Vitamins, supplements, meds
  • Box 5: Toiletries
  • Extra water bottles and my handbag

Right Pannier:

  • Also arranged in logical smaller packs, although these are less uniform in size than the clothing packs.
  • Cold weather gear: cold-weather gloves, heated glove liners, heated jacket, jacket liner.
  • Spare tie-downs, locking cables.
  • Maintenance items: Chain lube, tools I’ll need that aren’t in the bike’s toolkit.
  • Footwear: Hiking boots, shower flip-flops, sandals, casual shoes.
  • Extra dry bags (in case I have to store things wet).
  • Fuel for camp stove.
  • Tire repair kit (for long trips).
  • Small compressor (for long trips).

Under the seat:

  • Tool kit, universal screwdriver, electrical tape, owner’s manual.

Large Dry Bag (Yellow):

Large waterproof duffle(Yellow):

  • Cot, sleeping pad, chair, small table, food, laptop, camp stove, plastic dishes (2 of everything so I’m prepared for company), stackable pots, utensils, clothes line, extension cord.
  • Cot review

Small waterproof duffle (Yellow; replaced blue dry bag in photo):

  • Camera, notebooks, maps, small tripod, small pouch with electronics (USB’s, batteries, cables), flashlight, things I may need for the day, including food.

Tank Bag:

  • 2 liter camelback of water which I drink while riding.
  • Sunglasses.
  • Small pack 1: Tire pressure gauge, compass, duct tape, electrical tape, zip ties, pocket wrench, whistle, carabineers, tiny tool kit, disc lock.
  • Small pack 2: Personal items, wipes, glasses cleaner, sunscreen, hand sanitizer.
  • Small pack 2: First aid supplies, gloves, tissues, phone charger, tobacco (for using as an offering/gift), earplugs, absorbent cloth for cleaning visor.

What I wear:

  • Jacket and pants that are waterproof, and abrasion resistant. Review 
  • Waterproof, breathable gloves. Review
  • Riding boots. Review
  • Schuberth modular helmet.
  • Long or short-sleeved t-shirt depending on weather.
  • Leggings, even in warm weather.
  • Reflective vest.