I am a lucky man, I really am. I have just been informed that in a few weeks time my wife and kids are going to go and visit the in-laws for a few days and I don’t have to go with them. Even better than that is my beloved even suggested that I call a few of the guys and arrange to disappear off for a few days on the bikes. Now don’t get me wrong, I know why she is saying this, it is because I will have to spend nearly a month with them in a few more weeks time and so I need to be put into a positive frame of mind.
So how best to take advantage of this lucky turn of events?
Well for me motorcycling is one of the great expressions of freedom. It is meant to portray that free and easy mindset, the one that says, today we are here tomorrow..maybe here, maybe there or maybe somewhere else. It is a great way to see the world and can only be truly accomplished if you are not beholding to the timings of hotels and guest houses. In my opinion, the only way to truly enjoy that freedom is to sling your tent and a sleeping bag on your bike and head off to wherever the road takes you.
You can tour on any bike; in the past I have been all over England and Europe on a GPz600r and last year I did 3000 miles on a tour round Europe on my Speed Triple. The art of it is to not pack too much and to pack sensibly. It is ok fitting as much stuff aas you possibly can on your bike when you are at your place but imagine having to repack all that stuff every day before heading off. Luggage has a tendency to expand and spread, I don’t know why but take it from me it does and so a sensible packing plan is a good idea.
I would suggest that sleeping equipment is kept separate from all the other stuff. It is not only the thing you will need every night, it is also the first thing you will need every night. If it is to hand and easy to unpack then there is a good chance that pitching the tent will be a quick and painless joy rather than a bind.
Next up is the bags with the less essential things in them, things such as clothes. Think about what you are going to need every night, washing stuff is obvious, hip flask , of course, and maybe those snacks, just in case you didn’t find somewhere to eat, or forgot to eat because, well the bar was open. If you are riding in full leathers then an easy to get to change of clothing might be a good idea, and for the civilized amongst us clean underwear.
Basically, think about what you are going to use most often and have that closest to the top of your bags. That way there is less to put pack in the morning. Oh and remember, if you live anywhere like I do, to put things in plastic bags, even if your luggage says it is waterproof still put every item in plastic bags....oh and make sure you attach it all properly to the bike, nothing so embarrassing as having to go back to pick up a tent...and nothing worse than putting it up to find a hole caused by it sliding down the road.
Of course a lot of this hassle can be avoided by living somewhere hot, with a predictable climate. That way you can forget all the camping kit and head off with a toothbrush, a credit card, some cash and the hip flask...now that is the best way to travel!