Motorcycle Forums » Off Topic

Gear for a long distance road trip

    • 904 posts
    March 11, 2009 6:09 AM PDT


    I'm preparing for my first (mostly solo) long distance road trip. I'm stopping to see friends and family in many different states so I will be navigating into unfamiliar territory on a daily basis for approximately four weeks. I wonder if any one can give me advice on essential gear that you've road tested and found worth having. 


    At the moment I'm looking for a quality but reasonably priced GPS with blue tooth capability and a mounting system for a sport bike (2003 Suzuki SV 650)  Do any of you have any "insider" tips to impart that will help me narrow down my search?


    Thanks so much!


    • 5417 posts
    March 11, 2009 6:36 AM PDT

    This is an excellent GPS for a motorcycle at a reasonable price.  Things is they discontinued it (not sure why, probably to sell a more expensive model).  Has Blue Tooth for phone and if you have a blue tooth helmet you get voice nav in you helmet.


    Here are the specs:


    Here is a link to where you can still get it at for $299.00: Garmin StreetPilot 2820


    Like I said it is discountinued, but I know Overstock really well and if you buy it from them you will get full warrantee and you can return it to them if you don't like it.

    • 5417 posts
    March 11, 2009 6:37 AM PDT
    As far as other stuff you should much carrying space do you have?
    • 904 posts
    March 11, 2009 6:43 AM PDT
    I'm on a sport bike so not too much. I just ordered sport size saddle bags and I will also have with me a backpack and a tank bag... so I will need to travel light. I've done much hiking and camping so I have practice with that. But if you can think of any bike/touring related gear that can be mounted or is small and easy to carry I'd much appreaciate it.
    • 5417 posts
    March 11, 2009 7:01 AM PDT

    The essentials should be...


    Warm Clothing (even in the summer)

    Rain Gear - get the thinest one you can find.  Any rain gear will keep out water and since its water proof it is also air tight which means you are going to get hot in there.


    Water & Snacks - Don't plan on just enough to make it between stops.  Plan on enough to keep you going if you need to sit on the side of an empty road hours waiting for help if you have mechanical problems.


    Basic Tool Kit - Whether or not you think can fix your own bike or not.  You would be amazed at the things you can do when you have to.  Plus if someone stops to help they won't be able to if you don't have any tools.  There are some cool compact tool kits available for every type bike (if you bike didn't come equiped with one).




    Maps - At least down to state level for all the states you will be traveling in.  Just in case the GPS fails.


    With that you can get anywhere, anything else is for comfort.  Remember to keep it light.  You can always stop at the local laundry mat and wash your clothes.


    Hope that help you out some.


    Have a great trip and don't forget to tell us about it when you get back.

    • 904 posts
    March 11, 2009 7:12 AM PDT
    Thanks Lucky, some of those things I wouldn't have thought to include but it makes total sense to do so now that you pointed it out.
  • March 11, 2009 8:32 AM PDT
    I would have a first aid kit.

    When we went to the Keys, we took old clothes that we could throw away. We also mailed some back home. lol

    I'm in Northeast Alabama, if you need anything near this area I'll be glad to help.

    • 904 posts
    March 11, 2009 8:52 AM PDT
    Thanks Johnny! I'm adding a first aid kit to my list. Your offer to help is very generous too! My original route had me going through Alabama but that changed. I will however be in neighboring states from June through August so I will keep your offer in mind. :)
  • March 12, 2009 4:50 AM PDT
    When my wife and I went to the Keys, we looked for the out-of-the-way places to eat. A couple times we went past dark trying to find a place to stay. It would have been nice just to have someone to call and get advice.

    While we were very lucky to have great weather and no problems, I had several friends that I could've called if needed along the route. We met up with a friend we never met face to face, just on the net. He rode 30 miles with us when we left his town and showed a shortcut back to the road we wanted to be on.

    Have a good trip and ride safe.
  • March 12, 2009 5:57 AM PDT

    If I could make a recommendation since you are traveling alone....


    Call someone prior to each leg of the trip and let them know what your route is for that leg.  Also let them know what your approximate time of completing that route is and that you will call them around that time.  If you don't call they should make several attempts to contact you (in case you forgot to call) and if they cannot reach you they should contact the athorities in the area you were to be in.


    There are a lot of places out there you could run off the road out of the sight of passing traffinc.  And if you are injured or pinned under you bike with no cel service, you are gonna be the next meal for the local wildlife.


    • 904 posts
    March 12, 2009 9:10 AM PDT
    Hey Johnny, Your experience is very heart warming. Thank you for sharing that! It reaffirms why I love riding, and why I have an immediate bond with the other riders I meet.
    • 904 posts
    March 12, 2009 9:14 AM PDT
    Hi Dan, That is very sound advice. I've already informed my brother that he will be provided with my entire itinerary including the names, addresses and phone numbers for the friends I am stopping to see along my route (and dates I plan to be there). I also let him know that I will check in with him as I arrive at each scheduled destination and again when I leave on the next leg so if (we will hope not) I happen to fall off the radar and he can't reach me, he will know who to call (if he can't get through to me) if he needs to track down where I fell off the grid (and again I stress... I will *hope* not). :-)
  • March 17, 2009 2:29 AM PDT
    While your travelling down those highways. Stop and smell the roses in those little towns USA and alway try the local mom & pop restaurants.Theirs some great eateries out there. Thats what makes up Americana. .
    Life is a journey so enjoy the ride! We only get to do this once! Enjoy!
    • 904 posts
    March 17, 2009 2:52 AM PDT
    Thanks Coley.. I actually plan to stop smell the roses, visit friends, enjoy some local culture, camp in biker freindly campgrounds, grab a nice cold beer when opportunity presents itself, and much more. It's really quite exciting planning it all out.
  • March 17, 2009 5:41 AM PDT
    When we rode to The Keys, I had 3 rules. 1. No interstate,(spent 40 miles on interstate) 2. No fast food or restaurant that we have in Huntsville. (No fast food but we ate at 3 chains we have in Huntsville) 3. There's no rules (the most important since the trip was all about me and what I wanted)
    We never had a reservation or a set destination. Some days we only traveled 100 miles. The most miles in a day was around 300.
    I posted my route on a couple sites and got a list pf places to eat at and see. After planning for a couple weeks, I left my list at home and had to "wing it" lol I think it turned out better that way.

    Ride safe,
    • 904 posts
    March 17, 2009 6:24 AM PDT
    Johnny your rules are great ones to live by. I wholeheartedly believe in winging it whenever possible.My trip will have some interstate travel but whenever I can choose to follow the road less travelled I will (as much as possible).
  • March 18, 2009 5:42 AM PDT
    I would suggest to remember to dress in layers, bring extra gloves, and remember the charges for your gps/phone/ipod/bluetooth headset. You might even look into a iCharger that has the various ends to charge up all the items so you only have to bring one charger. I've also noticed that many of the tool kits don't have some other items like e-tape, cable ties, and don't forget a few turnings of duct tape!
    • 39 posts
    March 18, 2009 6:02 AM PDT

    Check this out, you might be able to use some of this stuff.  Make sure to look at the Trip Checklist link, there might be some things you could use.



    • 904 posts
    March 18, 2009 1:24 PM PDT
    Thanks Elcid I added those items to my list. Cycle Ridge I'm checking out your link now.
    • 5417 posts
    March 18, 2009 5:37 PM PDT

    Yeah, don't forget the duct tape & wire ties...they can be very helpful if you meet a guy who doesn't want to stay around quite as long as you would like him too. 



    • 39 posts
    March 18, 2009 7:03 PM PDT

    Who knows, you could meet a guy who's into that kinda stuff.

    • 39 posts
    March 18, 2009 7:06 PM PDT

    Or, You could be into that kinda stuff.

    • 5417 posts
    March 19, 2009 3:38 AM PDT
    Now that we have given all the advice we have...we begin to quickly digress!
    • 904 posts
    March 19, 2009 5:41 AM PDT

    OMG!! You two are hysterical... and you do know I'm making a mental note of all this. *winks*

    • 904 posts
    March 19, 2009 5:54 AM PDT
    ok, so yesterday I found myself in Brookstone and stumbled upon a gem of a gadget for my trip. It's a Flashlight radio with Weatherband. It weighs 8oz. is 5"1 x 1.75"w x 2.5" d and is powered by a hand crank &/or solar power so no need for batteries and it includes a USB port to charge cells.... I just love gadgets. ;-)