Packing for an ADV Motorcycle Trip

Amanda Zito's 2016 Triumph Tiger800xc, ready for adventure. Baja, Mexico 2018

Here's a resource for you that kind of lists everything I take on a motorcycle trip, and a few extra tips while travelling.

That being said, experimentation is going to be your friend, and the best way in the long run to find what works best for you and your bike. Everyone rides differently, everyone has different levels of technical knowledge about their bike, and everyone has different needs/expectations for comfort. However, for those beginners who are just starting out, this is a decent starting point to go off of, then mold and edit to fit your needs.


I'm going to start with the most painfully obvious advice, Make a List. I mean it. It sounds absurd, and you're probably like, duh Amanda. But then you get busy and then your trip is right around the corner and you're trying to fling everything into your bags the night before you leave and you realize 300 miles from home that you didn't bring a lighter, tent pegs, or your phone charger. So ya, Make a List. 

Next, slowly go through your list and start piling everything up on the floor next to your bike or on a big table, before you pack everything into your bags.  I like to keep everything in sections (like below).This means you can easily check everything off of your list once you start putting everything into your bags.

If you're having trouble pairing your stuff down, fill a ziploc bag with socks and try and fit them in the top of your bags. This will help keep you from over packing, and simulate how your stuff is going to behave on the road. Nothing ever packs back up into your bag the way it did when you carefully packed it at home. 

Keep as much of the weight as low as possible on the bike. So keep tools, and other heavy things low in the saddlebags. 

Adjust your suspension AFTER you've loaded your bike down with all of your stuff.

Once you've found a good place for all of your stuff on the bike, don't move it around. If you keep everything in its place, you'll always know where everything is. You won't always be that guy looking for his headlamp, or phone charger.