motorcycles, travel, friendship, respect… I may drift off into WTF-land at times so hang in there.

Packen It.

Updated July 3, 2016


I don’t know about you, but if I get a bee in my bonnet about something, I research and study it to within an inch of its life before making a decision on the appropriate course of action.

Such was the case with our recent holiday.

We’d never undertaken a journey of such length or distance before, not by airplane or car, and certainly not by motorcycle. Sure we’d done day trips, and even weekends away on the bike, but these were small fry compared to our Tassy trip.

So for about 18 months before The Pillion and I set off on our trip, I read everything I could find on how to prepare the bike, The Pillion and myself for the trip.

The major things I had to do to prepare Bluey for the trip were documented within the pages of this blog:

… and of course the obligatory major service which included a new set of tyres, chain and sprockets.

Worked A Treat... Until It Failed - This Has Since Been Sorted

Worked A Treat… Until It Failed – This Has Since Been Sorted

I also hooked up a UHF CB radio through the hard-wired intercom and although the installation of a UHF CB was a good decision and proved useful for getting road conditions from approaching Truckies, it turned out to be a dismal failure of epic proportions.

The connection to the radio failed after about a week, and the intercom connecting cables to my helmet had an intermittent fault, which although fixable on the road, was both frustrating and a PITA.

So, I’ve learned a few things:

The UHF radio problem is fixable: I just need to make a more robust connection to the intercom. I’m going to persevere with the hard-wired affair for the moment because when it works, it works well, but I have to admit my patience is wearing thin and I’m ready to cut my losses.

With that, I’m seriously looking at buying a Bluetooth intercom.

There are a few reasons for this. The main one being that I can walk away from the bike at a servo without having to unplug or remove my lid, and I’m less likely to get tangled up in the darn thing when getting on and off the bike.

In short, it’s just more convenient, and with all the advances of Bluetooth technology in the past 12 months it has become a much more appealing option.


Sena 20S Bluetooth Unit

There are several good Bluetooth units around, and I’m leaning towards a Sena of some description as I’ve heard good things about them.

Other options include Scala and U-Clear.

The U-Clear unit is intriguing because it doesn’t use a boom mic, but rather uses black-magic and witchcraft to get your voice to be heard.

Good for full face helmets because you don’t catch your nose on the mic on the way through when pulling you lid on. I’m open to suggestions on this topic from you dear reader, so please speak up. 🙂

An added benefit of a Bluetooth unit is that I can use it when my son, The Bar Tender, starts to learn to ride. He’s eligible to get his learners permit in a few weeks and it would be handy to have while instructing him on the finer points of not falling off.

I also learned a lot about efficient packing and what you actually need to take with you and what you can leave behind.

Note, The Pillion and I stayed at hard bed accommodation: B&B’s, cabins at caravan parks or at friends or relatives homes. As such, this little learning does not apply to camping… well some might but not all of it.

So what did I learn?

Our Apollo Bay Cabin

Our Apollo Bay Cabin

Consider caravan parks:

These can be a cost-effective way of sleeping in comfort and can be a little cheaper than a hotel or B&B, especially if you’re travelling in a group.

What to expect:

  • They have en-suite shower and toilet built into the cabins.
    • Soap and towels are usually provided.
  • Linen will cost you about $6 extra per person.
  • They can sleep 4 – 6 people easily.
  • Kitchen, full size fridge, dining table, TV, air conditioning/ heating and a lounge are included, as is an (uncovered) parking bay.
  • On site laundromats are available for use at minimal cost. Where on site washing facilities were not available we used a laundromat in the nearest town. In both cases:
    • Allow $2 per load.
    • Allow $3 for drier (easily fits 3 or more loads).
    • Laundry soap is usually available at off site laundromats free of charge, or for a very small price, this is not the case at caravan parks.
      • If you have to, you can buy a small pack of laundry soap at the local shop for a dollar or two, or take some in a zip lock bag and top it up when the opportunity presents itself.

The Great Lakes – TAS

Top Box And Panniers:

We packed our clothing in gym bags which were carried in his and hers panniers. This allowed us to leave the cases on the bike and take the bags out when we stopped. Tie a ribbon or some other identifier to one of the bags so you know which is which.

We used the bags to carry our shopping as well. Very handy.

Gear including overnight clothing, medication, first aid kit, iPady/ Tablety thingy, spare jocks and socks for each of us were also carried in a gym bag in the top box.

In addition to what we were wearing we took enough for 4 days change of clothes:

  • Long Johns or thermals (legs only).
  • One long sleeve T-shirt or sloppy Joe (can be worn by itself or as a thermal under/ over shirt).
  • Three short sleeve T-shirts.
  • One Polo shirt (for RSL clubs or other places that require collard shirts for entry).
  • Four pairs of (thick) socks (stuff ‘em in your spare shoes, see below).
  • Four pairs of jocks.
  • One pair sand shoes, not track shoes.
    • Track shoes are too bulky and don’t squash down.
  • Flip flops for use in public showers (camp grounds etc…).
  • Extra Kevlar jeans or Cargo pants (Cargo pants will get you into most RSL clubs, jeans not always).
  • One pair of shorts, these can double as swimming trunks or pajamas.
    • Wear your dirty T-shirt as a pajama top or a clean one ready for the next day if you like.
    • Or sleep au-natural (your call).
  • One Thinsulate lined neck warmer for cold days.
    • I actually started using a head sock on warm days even under the full face – you’d be amazed how many bugs ended up my nose and in my ears in 6-1/2 weeks.
  • If you are wearing summer gloves take winter ones as well and vicky-verky.
    • Consider rain mittens if your normal gloves are not water proof – worth their weight in gold on a cold/ wet day.
  • Rain gear.
    • We had these stored in a Sea To Summit Dry Pack ocky strapped to the top of our top box for easy access.
  • Thermal liners for riding jackets and a jumper or other warm jacket.
    • These were also in a Sea To Summit Dry Pack on top of our top box.
  • Full size microfiber travel towel, they are absorbent, dry fast and pack small.
  •  Toiletries
    • Roll on deodorant.
    • Tooth brush in a zip-lock-bag.
    • Small travel size toothpaste.
      • you can always buy a new one if you need to along the way.
    • Small travel soap in a zip-lock-bag
      • You can use this to wash your hair as well. But remember most accommodation you stay at will supply this.
    • Headache pills
      • One strip of 8/10 will be plenty.
  • Small travel pack of wet wipes
    • Not just for your face and hands you can use it to wipe your err…. you know?
  • Medications/ prescriptions
  • Manicure set if you plan on travelling for more than a few weeks.
  • Small emergency sewing kit.
Puncture Repair Kit

Puncture Repair Kit

Tank Bag:

I recommend you chuck an In Case Of Emergency (I.C.E.) card in the clear part of your tank bag that has all your details and information about who to contact in the event of an accident or if some other serious event occurs.

  • Small microfiber cloth for cleaning your visor
    • Use saliva it works as a defogger and will remove the most stubborn of bugs. Its space-saving too 🙂
  • Puncture repair kit & electric air pump. (Read my post here).
    • Tyre pressure gauge.
  • Pocket knife – like a Victorinox or Leatherman
  • Average size Philips screw driver.
  • Average size flat bladed screw driver.
  • Metric (Or imperial as the case may be) Allen Keys.
    • You can tie these together with several rubber bands: You never know when you might need a rubber band.
  • Open end/ ring spanners metric 5 –18mm (Or imperial 1/4″ – 3/4″).
    • Rubber band these together as well.
  • <EDIT> A roll of insulation tape (I did have this with me but left it off this post – Thanks to Hogriderdooks for the reminder).
  • <EDIT> Small torch/ flashlight. Again, I had one of these with me but it was part of the air compressor not a stand alone item – Thanks again to Hogriderdooks)
Last Minute Tool Kit

Last Minute Tool Kit

As a side note, the tools were a last-minute addition that turned out to be a blessing when we broke our top box mount (Pictures in this article).

  • Phone charger:
    • Most phones and other electronic gadgets are 5 volts (you need to check this for yourself, don’t take my word for it) and as long as all your gadgets are 5 volts then you will only need ONE charger.
      • The amperage doesn’t matter. The higher the amps the faster it charges, don’t exceed more than 2 amps though because more amps can also mean more heat while charging.
  • Charge cables as required, but check to see if some are the same and are interchangeable between gadgets.
    • Not all gadgets have the same charge cable. However, the USB fitting is the same for all cables and will fit your ONE charger.
  • Cigarette lighter to USB converter (12 volt to 5 volt) – See Below
  • Small tube of super glue. Yes, I did use this several times.
  • Small roll of extra heavy-duty double-sided tape. Yep, used that too.
  • Chain lube.
    • I’ve since invested in a Tutoro Automatic Chain Oiler as its more cost-effective, lasts longer and takes up no space in the bags. Once I’ve received it, set it up and used it, I might do a write-up.
  • Camera, batteries and extra SD cards.
    • You can save space by using Alkaline batteries instead of NiMH batteries and charger etc but it can be expensive.
  • Sunscreen. You will get burned.
  • Note pad and pen.
  • Sunglasses and or reading glasses with case.
    • Take the bigger case so you can use it to store one or the other.
  • Glucose jelly beans for when you need an energy boost. Chocolate melts.
  • Water. I can’t stress this enough. The sun combined with the wind blast you get while riding will dehydrate you very quickly
Hockey Puck

Hockey Puck


  • A hockey puck for your side stand because if the grass is soft when you park, your bike will lie down for a nap.
  • Full set of spare keys for your bike, locks etc.
    • Give these to a travelling companion to carry.
  • Cable ties.
  • Half a dozen zip-lock-bags big enough to put your phone in during a down pour.
    • You pocket is NOT waterproof.
  • Cash.
    • Not everyone will accept credit cards or electronic funds transfer at point of sale (EFTPOS).


USB Charge Converter

USB Charge Converter

Useful Additions:

Do you have a charge point (cigarette lighter) on your bike?

If you don’t I highly recommend one, as they allow you to charge gadgets on the fly and give you a place to power your air compressor from, in the even of a flat tyre.

12v Charge Point

12v Charge Point


So you’ve fallen in love with that hanging whats-it but it’s far to big to shove down your jacket or put in your panniers.

What do you do?

Send it via post or courier to your home.

Just remember to make the delivery address and return address the same, that way if it gets lost in the post, it’ll find its way home.

Too Easy!

I know this has been a wordy post and it’s by no means complete, but I hope you can get something of it.

Thanks for hanging in there, until next time


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One Of My Riding Companions - Port Of Melbourne

One Of My Riding Companions – Port Of Melbourne VIC


23 responses

  1. Some good tips! I am going to use a few that I had not considered. We are going on a 16 day trip in June.

    Liked by 2 people

    April 20, 2016 at 1:05 AM

  2. This is an excellent and thorough post.

    We have bluetooth Senas and they are handy for not only two-up riding but when on separate bikes. Although when hubby gets too far ahead they think and ping in the ears.

    Sounds like you managed to fit just the right amount of things in the bags.

    We have a habit of researching things to death, and for me, it usually takes most of the fun out of it after a while.

    Liked by 2 people

    April 20, 2016 at 4:44 AM

    • There were one or two things I omitted form the list that we did take, namely a thermos and a small chiller bag. In reality we barely used these and they were a waste of space as we tended to eat at road houses, cafes, pubs.

      Liked by 1 person

      April 20, 2016 at 7:46 AM

  3. Good advice here my friend. I also pack a compact led torch and a small roll of insulating tape; spare bulbs are also a good idea and are a legal requirement in some countries.

    Liked by 2 people

    April 20, 2016 at 5:03 AM

    • Thanks Dooks. I knew I left something off the list, I did take some insulation tape but not the torch or bulbs. The bulbs was just omitted but the torch I have is contained in the air compressor. Very handy

      Liked by 1 person

      April 20, 2016 at 7:48 AM

  4. Excellent list. Who knew “underwear” wasn’t enough!

    Liked by 2 people

    April 20, 2016 at 8:30 AM

    • Thanks John. Yep you need clean socks too. Look after your feet and they’ll look after you. Thanks for commenting 🙂


      April 20, 2016 at 8:37 AM

  5. Good trip, good read!

    One word of advice, go the Uclear! It has been most excellent for me and never failed. I get a full day 8-10 hrs riding out of every charge and the fact that it is boomless, well…enough said.

    Liked by 1 person

    April 20, 2016 at 10:31 AM

    • Thanks Dan.
      Yeah I like the boomless idea. All the new ones talk to each other now (Scala, Sena, UClear etc) so on that front its much of a muchness – I think UClear is coming out with an update later this year so I might see what they have to offer. Sena and Scala have already released theirs.

      Liked by 1 person

      April 20, 2016 at 11:36 AM

      • Yup and the other good thing with Uclear brand is they constantly drop Firmware updates which are great and simple. Lool into the Twin Pack…i think its called UBC200 or something, around $500 for a set for you and the Pilliom in a Million but well worth the money imho. You know the ole adage…you get what you pay for. 👍

        Liked by 1 person

        April 23, 2016 at 12:23 PM

  6. Bob

    Great list! After you modify it by eliminating things you never used, keep it handy for all your trips, even weekend ones. You’ll be amazed how much easier packing becomes when you just whip out the list and scan it for what you need. Memory never works. Something always gets left behind. Thanks for the info!

    Liked by 1 person

    April 22, 2016 at 11:49 PM

    • Hi Bob. Yeah this list is the stripped down version and will be the basis for any forthcoming trips.

      There were silly things like a camera monopod, far too many chargers a small esky (or cooler bin) etc that we took when in hindsight they were a waste of space and not necessary.

      Thanks for commenting

      Liked by 1 person

      April 23, 2016 at 7:14 AM

  7. LB

    Not only is is helpful to all of us, it’s a great tool for you as well. A good summary of lessons learned, helpful suggestions, and things to remember for your next trip.


    April 25, 2016 at 11:36 AM

    • And that’s the thing Laurie, short trips, small learnings, long trips, big learnings. Then if we all share them about we all gain valuable Insights on to what we should and should not do.


      April 25, 2016 at 10:26 PM

  8. Great list and advice! One additional item we always carry are plastic zip ties, we have used them as temp fixes for lots of things on our travels. 🙂

    And we have Scala Bluetooth headsets, and they work great, both bike to bike and same bike, but they do have a boom mic which has been no problem in our flip face helmets. Mic magic would be even better, but not sure we have Uclear here in the US.


    April 27, 2016 at 3:42 AM

    • My son “The Bar Tender got his motorcycle learners permit on Monday just past, so a Bluetooth intercom is going to be a priority.

      I’m still reviewing my options on this one but I;ll have to make a decision soon because I’m sure he will want to ride with us once he is licenced and has some miles under his belt.

      Its funny how the same things can be called different things in different parts of the world isn’t it. What we call cable ties over here, you call zip ties.

      Maybe they should be called cable zip ties LOL.

      Liked by 1 person

      April 28, 2016 at 11:14 AM

      • Yes, you will love the intercom, whichever you choose, especially with your new rider along!

        Funny you say that about cable ties. My first job was as a cable installer many moons ago. We called them cable ties in the telecom industry, but the rest of the US came to call them zip ties, and use them for absolutely everything. 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

        April 28, 2016 at 12:41 PM

  9. I can’t believe I didn’t pick up on that crackin’ t-shirt you are wearing in the last pic 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    May 4, 2016 at 5:32 PM

  10. Excellent post! I can’t believe I never thought of using a hockey puck for the side stand. When we go touring we bring little squares of plywood…they work but don’t fit in the pocket like a puck does. I’ll be stopping by Canadian Tire this weekend 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    May 5, 2016 at 11:03 PM

    • Last century, whenever you turned up to a rally someone would hand you a can of beer before you got off the bike. You’d down the beer, crush the can and stick that under your side stand. Hockey pucks are better when you need to stay sober 😉

      Liked by 1 person

      May 9, 2016 at 7:57 PM

  11. Pingback: TUTORO: Top Up, Turn On, Ride Off | EXPERIMENTAL GHOST

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