I confess, I thought I’d never write a RTW packing list. Why? Because it’s just…you know, stuff.
Surely, people can figure out what stuff they want to bring on a long overland journey by motorcycle, and surely they’re quite capable of housing their chosen stuff on their bikes. On top of that, I realized that the more I traveled, the less stuff I needed.
Stuff, quite frankly, just didn’t really matter all that much.
But all throughout this summer, I kept hearing the same cheerful “Hey, so you’re out for the weekend?” question whenever my partner Paul and I rolled into gas stations, parking lots, and campsites. “Well, kind of”, was our usual reply; but it made me wonder: our minimalistic approach to packing made people question our mileage, so perhaps there is something about it that’s worth to share?
And so, without further ado, here’s my stuff:
This is literally all that I own, including my riding gear, boots, and helmet. Paul has about the same amount of stuff, and when our stuff is packed, our bikes and us look like this:
Sure, we aren’t that special – there are serious die-hard minimalists out there who ride with nothing but thimble-sized saddlebags and good karma – but we feel that we’re doing quite well for serial nomads, and that our current set up is just right.
Naturally, everyone’s “just right” will differ. Some people will need more stuff, while others will be happy with less. Even between us, we have slight differences: Paul carries more tools, but I carry all of our food. Paul has more electronics because he has an eye for photos and videos, whereas I have more warm clothes because I’m constantly freezing. You get the picture. If you think you absolutely need a camping chair, a mini-hairdryer and an extra pair of running shoes, by all means pack them! Equally, if you think pop-out coffee cups, an extra layer of thermals and a moisturizer are too decadent to lug around the world, ditch them. A lot of people seem to forget that there are shops everywhere in the world and that if you absolutely need something, you’ll just, hmm, buy it.
Here’s a breakdown of what I carry in my panniers. This RTW packing list isn’t “the ultimate”, it’s just my version of what works, and I’m hoping you can get some new ideas off of it!
- Hydration pack. Water is life! In hot conditions, I’ll stuff my hydration pack full of ice and add a few drops of LyteShow electrolytes – it’s a life saver when riding in deserts.
- Clothes. This is my bag of “immediate” clothes – stuff that I take off the bike when we’re setting up camp or settling into a hotel room. This bag contains undies, two t-shirts, a pair of pants and a thermal – stuff for everyday use.
- Clothes! This contains the rest of my undies, a swimsuit, and three more t-shirts. This comes out to play in hot weather or when I run out of clean clothes from the Immediates bag.
- Clothes. That’s right, more clothes! Did I mention that I’m constantly freezing? This bag contains my long johns, a thick neck warmer, an LL Bean wool jacket ($6 at Goodwill-score!) and thick woolly socks.
- First aid kit (gauze, band aids, liquid skin, latex gloves, space blanket), tea tree, clover and peppermint essential oils, eye drops, extra lip balm (I keep losing chapsticks all over the planet so I have an emergency tub or lip balm)
- Toiletries: Clinique face cleanser, Vitamin C Face Serum, chapstick, Clinique Moisture Surge moisturizer
7.Scott Goggles. I wear glasses most days, and these googles fit over them perfectly.
- 10 liter water bladder. This is usually empty unless we’re traveling through remote regions where water is scarce, and/or know that we’ll be wild-camping and there are no rivers’streams/ponds/lakes nearby. This functions as a makeshift shower when needed.
- 2-liter bladder. This too is usually empty unless we know we’ll need extra water.
- Kitchen. Cooking stove, pot, camping gas, dish washing liquid, a can of chicken, a few sachets of instant mashed potatoes, a can of veggies, some spices, ground coffee and granola bites. I always try to have a t least one day’s ration for both of us ready just in case we have to emergency-camp somewhere where there’s no food.
- MSR helmet. Finding a helmet for me is an odyssey in itself, so this simple but functional MSR find that fit well was a very welcomed discovery.
- Klim gloves – summer motocross-style gloves for hot regions.
- Big Agnes sleeping pad. This one packs tiny!
- Bear safety alarm. This was gifted to us when we were riding Labrador, and although we never actually had to use it, I still carry it around. When the pin is pulled the thing produces and obnoxiously loud scream and we were told bears are instantly put off and just walk away!
- Lacrosse mining boots. Disappointed by “adventure boots” that started disintegrating at month 6 (read the whole story of TCX’s idea of ‘adventure’ here) and worried that most ‘ADV’ boots on the market aren’t quite up to the challenge, I decided to follow Paul’s lead and get a pair of mining boots. Reinforced toe and heel, Goretex-lined, sturdy and tall, these seem like they can take a beating and then some.
- Sunglasses and waterproof/ shockproof camera
- 1/2 of the tent. Paul carries the other half.
- Big Agnes sleeping bag. I love this sleeping bag so much. It’s seen me through hot and cold, rainy and arid, freezing and warm, and it’s holding up really well. It’s super comfy and snug and while I wish it packed smaller, I wouldn’t want a different sleeping bag!
- L-lysine (can’t recommend it enough – never had a cold sore again since I started taking these), contact lenses solution, extra toothbrush heads, shower sponge (back off. This is my only luxury item!!), and Purequosa awesomeness (read more about the shower in the bottle HERE!).
- Laptop and shock-proof laptop case.
- Mosko Moto 25 liter duffle – empty
- Forgot to put this on the pic! Sorry 😊
- Klim Women’s Altitude jacket
- Klim Badlands pants. Why men’s version? Because women’s has no pockets – and I want pockets.
After we took these photos, I realized that I forgot to include: flip flops, bike cover, First Gear heated jacket, camping pillow, old beat up leather tank bag, 2 Pacsafe steel nets, bike lock, and Sena Bluetooth communication set. I also didn’t include tools and spares! To see what we carry in terms of toolkits and spare parts, see Paul’s post on packing (we both carry the same).
The end result, packed and ready to go, is still this:
What are your packing essentials? Let me know in the comments below!