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ADV Travel List and Tips

Posted by Josh Shorley on

Everyone feels that they need different gear on an adventure ride. Maybe your headed off the grid or maybe you're planning to chew up your tires on the highway.  I don't get much pleasure out of highway rides so I'll touch on off grid dual sport travel.  I'll leave the highway rides list to the Harley guys ;). Here is a list of gear that I've kept going over the years.  If you have any additions or suggestions let us know!  
  • Pack light.
    • Try to stick to gear that can be washed on the go and hung to dry.  Wool clothing keeps your body temp regulate, doesn't soak up your sweat, and doesn't quickly stink.
    • 2 quick dry shirts. Antimicrobial/wool shirts help with the stink.
    • 1 pair of off bike pants
    • Comfortable riding boots that can also be worn off the bike.
    • Tennis shoes (optional for shorter 3-4 day rides if you don’t want to wear your riding boots off bike. I wear waterproof tennis shoes to keep my feet dry at camp.)
    • Shower shoes (optional if you want to protect your feat in the shower. I usually don’t shower on the 4-5 day trips as a wash rag and Dr. Bronners does the trick.  Or if I wait for a hotel then I don’t need them.)
    • 2 pair of wool boot socks. These dry quick and don’t stink as fast.  You can bring another pair of wool socks for camp and to wear in your sleeping bag if you want.
    • 3 pairs of quick dry underwear. I prefer Under Armour Original 6" Boxerjock®.
    • 1 pair of wool long underwear.
    • Insulation top of your choice. I always have my heated gear so I can stick to 1 high quality long sleeve shirt.
    • A quick dry towel and wash cloth are nice to have and don’t take up much space.
    • Wear good gear
      • Waterproof
      • Certified protection pads
      • In good condition
      • Adjustable to accept more or less layers
      • Heated gear can be a life saver
      • Test it in the rain before you head out for multiple days
      • Pinlock® visors can be a life saver if you have long rain days
      • A good pair of goggle are a must have for dusty rides.  Also pack the clear and dark lens.
    • Treat your gear with water repellent. Your gear should be waterproof but it helps the water shed quickly and away from your gear.  I usually treat mine after every long wet adventure because it does wash off after some time.  Treat these items…
      • Tent
      • Rain fly
      • Riding jacket
      • Riding pants
      • Boots and other shoes
      • Gloves
      • Tank bag
    • Practice packing. Ride around.  Repeat until you feel comfortable with your gear placement.  Make sure that you stand and sit during your test.  Some packing tips...
      • Keep your tent, tent rain fly, tent poles, and ground tarp easily accessible and in the same bag/side pannier. I use my exhaust side bag for all of my base camp necessities.  This helps if it’s raining when you roll into camp as you don’t have to dig it all out and get everything wet.  When I have room I bring a Kelty shelter to hang over my tent spot so that I can stay dry while setting everything up.
      • Keep your tent and rain fly in separate waterproof compressions sacks. Your fly might be dewy or wet in the mornings when you leave and you don’t want it to get your gear wet.  Also the bottom of your tent may be wet so it’s nice to have it separate as well.  I pay very close attention to the dryness of my tent and sleeping bag since these are crucial for a good night’s sleep and overall comfort.
      • Keep the heavy stuff low in your bags. Keeping your bikes center of gravity low makes a big difference when you’re riding around in dual sport mode.
      • If possible keep heavy items like tools centered and behind you in the passenger location and as in line with the axle as possible.
      • Less stuff equals less weight and in turn makes the bike easier to ride.
  • Ditch the metal bags for soft bags.  This isn’t a deal breaker but it does help.
    • Metal bags don’t always survive a crash or sometimes even a very low speed tip over.
    • Soft bags are much lighter. My metal bags are around 14 pounds empty per bag.
    • Soft bags can be patched on the go. I carry silicone and pieces of a cheap dry bag from Walmart.  Basically buy a cheap plastic dry bag and cut it into squares for patches.
    • Soft bags are usually smaller and force you to pack smarter.
  • Buy good gear
    • It’s easy to get shell shocked by gear prices… But the fact is good gear works better and lasts longer, or could even last for your entire lifetime if you take care of it. Also for the most part if you try it out and it doesn’t meet expectations, you can take it back and try something else.
    • Buy light weight gear when possible. A pound here and a pound there make a huge difference.
    • Single pole tents are so much easier to set up than multiple pole tents.
    • Test, test, test.
    • I’m a Gore-Tex® fan because it’s guaranteed for life. Gore-Tex® boots are great because from time to time you need to wade through water to test the depth or if it’s a wet day your boots get pounded with water all day long.  Wet feet equal a miserable adventure.
    • I’m a Big Agnes fan because I’ve been using their stuff year after year and have only bought 1 tent, 2 sleeping bags (different bags for different temps), and 1 sleeping pad and it’s lasted year after year.
  • Take care of your bike!
    • Take care of warranty issues as quick as possible but not right before a ride (unless the warranty issue is a safety concern) I’ve had warranty issues performed the day before a ride and then something with the replacement goes wrong (clutch).  Then I’m scrambling around trying to get it fixed again.
    • If you’re close to an oil change, needing a new chain, brakes, needing new tires, needing final drive fluid change, etc. get it done well before your ride. Getting emergency parts on the go can be an adventure killer.
    • If you’re planning a long ride, bring your needed filters, washers, etc. that are hard to find on the move so you’re not scrambling or waiting to find them.
    • Plan your tire change spots to make sure they have what you need.
  • Pack a first aid kit 
    • Make sure you know how to use the items in your kit.
    • At the very least it's recommended to take some basic First Aid training before you head out.
    • Make your own kit and place in a small waterproof container so you have what you need and not what you don't.  
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