Guest Post: 6 Items Every Rider Should Have In Their Saddle Bag
My first guest post on this blog comes from fellow female rider Ania Todua, and contains good advice on things you really should be carrying when you head out on a motorcycle trip. You can find her on Twitter, @ania_todua. The pictures and links contained in the article are hers.
When you decide to take a trip on your motorcycle, you don’t exactly have a huge trunk where you can just stuff everything you need and then strap some more stuff to the roof. A motorcycle ride is definitely much more exciting and fun than driving in a station wagon, but you have to be smart about it and focus on packing the essentials, since you have limited space. We’re not talking about traveling for months across a continent here though – there are plenty of times when you need to hop on your bike and ride for several days, and it helps if you are prepared. A good saddle bag on each side is more than enough to keep you covered for up to a week on the road, as long as you remember to bring these six essential items.
- First aid kit and small toiletries
You shouldn’t plan any sort of ride without including a decent first aid kit in your luggage. There are plenty of pre-packaged kits available for $20-$50, but it’s not a bad idea to throw together your own. The potential injuries you will be dealing with are mostly bumps, burns, scrapes and cuts, but you also need to protect against sun exposure, insects and common illnesses like the cold, headaches and diarrhea. Some gauze, wound pads, burn creams, an antiseptic, latex gloves, scissors and assorted drugs will cover most frequent injuries. Additionally, you’ll need some wet wipes, antiperspirant, small bottles of shampoo and hand sanitizer.
- Small supply of food and water
It is always good to have some food and water with packed and ready to go just in case. It is important to stay hydrated and keep your energy levels up on road trips – some canned food, protein bars and a few bottles of water are enough to keep you going until you are able to get to a store or fast-food joint somewhere along the way.
- Safety Vest
A high-visibility or safety vest is something everyone should have with them. It makes you easier to see at night when you are driving or doing repairs on the side of the road. Always keep in mind that car drivers have a hard time spotting bikers on the road and that even a small bump can send you sliding across the pavement, so do anything you can to make yourself more visible.
- Tool kit
There is always a chance that something can go wrong with a bike on the road, even with regular maintenance. A small set of handy tools can mean the difference between continuing your journey after a minor annoyance and waiting for hours for someone to come along and help you out. A few wrenches and screwdrivers, a pair of pliers, a flashlight, a small knife, tire repair kit and a few extra parts (light bulbs, connectors, etc.) will be enough for most small repairs. Unless you like being stranded, be sure to pack all the essential tools you’ll need for small repairs.
- Rain suit
While we are on the subject of unexpected problems popping up to ruin your day, let’s take a moment to address rain. Rain is fairly unpredictable, and the chances of getting caught in the rain increase drastically along with the length of your journey. This is why you should have a decent rain suit tucked away in your saddle bag.
- Extra clothes and a pair of shoes
It’s easy to get sweaty and dirty when riding and if you find yourself on the road for several days, it’s good to have something you can slip into to feel fresh. Several pairs of socks and underwear and a couple of t-shirts or some compression clothing won’t take up much space, but can really make a difference if you find yourself away from home for a day or two. On longer journeys, pack a few extra t-shirts and an extra pair of pants or two. A pair of sneakers or just any old comfortable shoes is also a good idea, as your riding boots may not be too comfortable or appropriate in certain situations.
Keep these few items in your saddle bags and you will be prepared to face the most common problems and ride safely and comfortably. It’s better to have these items handy and not need them, than to be caught without them in a crisis. To get comprehensive advice on how to choose motorcycle saddlebags, click here.
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