In our many years of motorcycle travels all over South Africa and to countries such as Lesotho, Namibia and Botswana we’ve learned through trial and error which equipment is essential for most bike trips. Here is a list of some basics you can look at when saddling up your bike for that dream holiday with you motorcycle as your only companion to explore the freedom of the open road and unbeaten tracks with
- Well ventilated helmet with a high safety rating. Arai, Schubert, Shoei and AGV are some of the helmets you can look at.
- Well ventilated gloves for summer riding or properly insulated waterproof glove for winter riding. Some of the companies manufacturing good gloves are, but not limited to BMW, Triumph, Richa, AlpineStar and IXS
- Comfortable all-round motorcycle specific boot with decent ankle, shin and toe protection. Most all-round boots are usually waterproof as well. Some of the companies manufacturing good riding boots are, but not limited to BMW, Richa, Forma, SIDI, Dianese and Xpd
- A good all-weather motorcycle jacket with good ventilation, enough pockets and long enough to cover your entire lower back. It is essential that the jacket not only have foam padding but decent…..padding on the back, shoulders and forearms. Some of the companies manufacturing good motorcycle jackets are, but not limited to BMW, Triumph, Richa and IXS
- The same goes for riding pants with good hip, knee and shin protection. Companies manufacturing good riding pants are, but not limited to BMW, Triumph, Richa and IXS
- Thermal underwear as base layer for cooler conditions. Something with a climate controlling membrane such as First Ascent, CapeStorm and K-Way
- Thermal gloves to provide that extra layer of warmth
- Buff to keep your throat warm and protected from bugs
- At least two pairs of comfortable riding socks
- Rain jacket and pants if your motorcycle jacket & pants are not waterproof. Look at something that can easily be slipped over your gear within minutes.
- Ear plugs to subdue the buffeting of the wind against your helmet
- Photochromatic sunglasses with lenses that change colour depending on the light conditions. Also look at glasses with interchangeable lenses for the different light conditions. Look at brands such as Oakley, RUDY PROJECT and BMW.
- GPS that you can operate with your bike gloves. Look at GARMIN & TOMTOM
- A quick drying, super absorbent shower towel that when folded up is no larger than 30cm in length.
- Wet wipes that can get the hands and strategic parts of the body squeaky clean if there’s no water.
- At least one roll of toilet paper
- Headlamp – to pitch camp or fix your bike in the dark. LED Lenser makes some of the best headlamps you can get. Also have a look at Zartek and TrailBoss
- A hat to protect your face and neck from the sun when your helmet is off.
- A thin mattress or compact stretcher that will give you a good night’s rest without taking up too much space. Look at brands such as First Ascent, K-Way and ATG.
- Sleeping bag – make sure the temperature grading is sufficient for where you are going. Most modern sleeping bags are also waterproof and keep in mind that you need something that can roll/fold up as small as possible to compensate for the limited space on a bike. Look at K-Way, First Ascent, Deuter and 360°
- Tent – Look at a compact, lightweight and well ventilated tent of about 1.7-2kg. Most decent tents are double-walled and can stand in water of 10-20cm deep. Look at brands such as E3 Gear, First Ascent, MSR and K-Way.
- Lightweight compact kettle, cooking set and gas stove
- Tarpaulin – this is something to consider if you have some space to spare on your bike. This slightly bulky item will provide extra shade, cover for your bike or serve as groundsheet.
- Emergency Kit
- Basic tool kit that will include the following; tow rope, Pratley putty, puncture repair kit, air compressor, multi tool and a CRUZ tool kit with all the essential for your bike.
- Solar battery pack that can charge your phone and other essentials
- Enough cargo straps to securely tie down all your kit
Depending on your destination and distance to travel your list might be longer or shorter. Also note that the brands referred to is not necessarily the best or only brands on the market but rather the brands the Jamiesons have used over the years and found to work best for their specific needs.
As a final thought, it is advisable that you always inform family and/or friends of the route you are traveling and estimated times of arrival. This is specifically important when traveling alone and will enable rescue parties to find you quickly should anything go wrong and quite frankly this might save your life.
By: Hector Jamieson