Posted On 03 May 2024
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This entry is part 14 of 30 in the series AusMotorcyclist Issue#29


Everything laid out. The cat is an optional extra.

I’ve been re-re-re-reading your Australia Motorcycle Atlas (the one with the 50 top rides*), Bear, and I was interested to read what you and other riders do when they plan a trip. To add to that discussion, here’s my method of rigging up.

I’ve written up an itemised list of everything I could possibly want or need for a trip, from which I pick and choose what I need (not want) for a particular ride.

Compared to some other riders, I’ve done a relatively small amount of distance travelling, but have found that this works well for me, so maybe it’s worth sharing for others to try.

I have Givi panniers and top box set up on my Yamaha Diversion, giving me a nominal luggage capacity of 112 litres (yeah, right!). I devote one of the panniers to my tool kit, a substantial first aid kit, emergency road light (orange flasher on tripod), a piece of old army blanket big enough to wrap over the shoulders and around the chest, a lightweight jacket, a water bottle and some garbage bags. Then I squeeze in anything else that’s not needed often (towels, etc). For longer trips I’d consider dropping the water bottle for a small fuel container (for that longer leg that takes the last drop in the tank). All of this weighs in at less than 8kg.

The garbage bags not only come in handy for rubbish (obviously), but also for dirty clothing or shoes that can be cleaned up when you stop at the end of the days’ ride. I try to get as much of the non-clothing items into this pannier so that they are separated and don’t get mixed up (along with me).

Top box. The cat would fit in here

I’ve not mentioned my riding clothing, because I’m usually wearing it regardless of climate… DriRider pants,and either summer or winter weight jacket, gloves with or without inners, Buff head-scarf and helmet (naturally); mine is the Nolan Classic N-Com 102 flip face.

In the other pannier I have whatever clothing I might need to take along: socks and jocks, shirts (‘T’ and polo style), spare jeans, a pullover or jumper, shoes and thongs (not for riding), a towel, a good book, and whatever charging gear I might need for telephones, camera batteries, etc. All of the clothing is packed into a bag bought for this purpose which fits inside the pannier. This gives the clothing an extra layer of protection from whatever comes your way. The rest of the gear is packed around it to stop it moving around too much. This makes it not only easier to get clothing out of the pannier, but also means that I don’t have to lug the pannier around with me when I stop. And for those who don’t know it, here’s a packing tip… roll your clothes up, don’t fold them.

Not only will they be less likely to crease, but you’ll get more into the bag! I’ve also tried vacuum bags for clothes, but I seem to always over-fill them and so avoid using them now.

Travel bag.

In the top box I carry my “manbag”, which houses ID, credit cards, mobile phone, a torch (I always carry two!), more pens and a notebook, a PDA, small change and as you mentioned, munchies. Additionally I have a “bike bag”, which is always kept packed, and has those bits and pieces that are always necessary when you don’t have them (like a firm sidestand block for those soft parking areas). It also has sunscreen, insect repellent, deodorant, notepad and pen, a torch (the other of the two already mentioned), a set of wet weather pants, a Swiss Army knife, a hand towel, and last but not least, a pair of clear safety glasses. Why safety glasses? Have you ever ridden at night with a tinted visor? You can ride with the visor up, and the glasses provide valuable protection for the looking gear.

The topbox also houses either a thermos or a cold bag depending on the season. I’ll also throw in a hat, sunglasses, binoculars, and anything else which I’d consider necessary to take along. Otherwise it’s relatively empty. This helps to keep the centre of balance lower down too.

Clothing pannier.

All up weight for all of this gear is just under 16kg.

This would obviously change depending on what you choose to take along, where you’re headed, how long you’re gone, etc.

I have a Dri-Rider tank bag, but as you mentioned in your article, it did scratch the tank, so I don’t use it unless there’s no other way out.

The photos above show all of the gear laid out, and in each receptacle, packed and ready to go. It is surprising just how much you can fit into these Givis!

And before you ask…yes, I have done the “halve and halve again” routine, but I found that a written list of items, followed and stuck to, is (for me anyway), a better option.

Utilities pannier.

*There’s a new Atlas out with 227 rides, Hagar. When’s your birthday? Time to drop a hint…

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