luggage

What to pack

First things first: There are no rules, only guidelines. There is no "right" way to do things, only personal preference. And experience is the best teacher. But with a little practice and the proper attitude, packing can become an exciting time of anticipation rather than a tedious chore.

Many people feel packing a motorcycle is more about what you leave behind than what you take. One technique is to put everything you would like to bring into a big pile on the floor. Remove the least-essential items first. Eliminate items one by one until the pile becomes manageable – and packable. (And don't forget to check your owner's manual for the cargo weight limits of your bike.

We’ve provided a list of packable items, consider this list a starting point – a "virtual" pile on the floor.

As a reminder, always consult the "Safety First" section of your owner's manual for guidance on proper loading and to be sure you are not exceeding the Gross Vehicle Weight Rating (GVWR) or Gross Axle Weight Rating (GAWR) of your motorcycle.

tips

Travel Tips from Experienced Riders

  • Before you begin your trip make sure to review all local motorcycle laws for the states you'll be traveling in. Learn more. 
  • Lightweight synthetic clothing – such as T-shirts and underwear – can be washed in a hotel sink and dried overnight (cotton fabrics take too long to dry in this manner).
  • Zipper-lock plastic bags of various sizes can be extremely useful for organizing items in saddlebags and duffle bags. They can make it easier to find and retrieve particular items without unpacking your entire motorcycle. Use the one-gallon size to pack one day's worth of clothes – jeans, undergarments, and shirt. This makes it easier to unpack just what you need.
  • Don't fold your clothes – roll them. They take up less space that way.
  • Pack items that have more than one use. A multi-tool is handier than a basic pocket knife.
tips
  • When traveling with other riders, conserve space by comparing packing lists and eliminating duplicate items.
  • When traveling (two-up) with a spouse or "significant other", ask yourself questions such as: "Can we share a tube of toothpaste?" or "Can I get by using her shampoo for a week?"
  • On long trips, consider bringing your rattiest underwear (or other clothing), then just throw it away when you're done with it!
  • Check the cargo weight limits of your bike - as wells as the bags and racks - and adjust tire pressure and suspension accordingly.
  • Few things are as easy to pack as money or credit cards. If you're struggling with whether or not to bring a particular item, consider simply buying it on the road if you need it.
  • If you watch the ounces, the pounds will take care of themselves. When possible, lighter is better.
  • When loading your bike, keep as much weight as possible close to the bike's center of gravity. That means low and toward the tank, distributed evenly from side to side.
tips
  • A day or two before you leave, do a dry run. Pack the bike and go for a short ride, then adjust the load as needed.
  • If you're camping, set up your tent once or twice before you leave (and don't forget to waterproof it). Practice setting it up in the dark.
  • With your bike fully loaded for your road trip, check your headlamp to make sure it’s properly aimed.
  • Pack all your cold weather and raingear no matter what time of year it is.
  • Plastic bags make great boot liners if you forgot your gaiters. If you forgot your rain gloves, rubber dishwashing gloves make great, inexpensive substitutes.
  • A small towel can be wrapped around your neck during a rainstorm to keep water from running down your back – and doubles as a shop rag.

Packing Checklist

Clothing

  • Helmet
  • Rain jacket and pants
  • Rain gloves
  • Summer gloves
  • Winter gloves
  • Overboots or rain gaiters
  • Heated gloves
  • Hand warmer packets
  • Glove liners
  • Heated vest liner
  • Skullcap
  • Microfleece neck warmer
  • Balaclava
  • Fleece head wrap
  • T-shirts
  • Socks and underwear
  • Synthetic long underwear
  • Long-sleeved shirts
  • Turtleneck shirts
  • Extra jeans
  • Light jacket
  • Leather/cold-weather jacket
  • Chaps
  • Leather pants
  • Riding boots
  • Leather or denim vest
  • Bandanas - two (one for face; one for neck or forehead)
  • Sunglasses
  • Goggles/night eye protection
  • Change of shoes
  • Sock liners
  • Cooling neck wrap
  • Windbreaker or light jacket

Bike Maintenance

  • Tool kit
  • Replacement fuses
  • 8-in-1 screwdriver
  • Spare spark plugs and plug wires
  • Genuine Harley-Davidson® Motorcycle Oil
  • Paper funnel
  • Small can of multi-purpose spray lubricant
  • Motorcycle jumper cables
  • Turn-signal and brake-light bulbs
  • Tire gauge
  • Bike cover
  • Harley™ Care Starter Kit (cleaning supplies)
  • Softcloth
  • Locking pliers
  • Needlenose pliers
  • Sidecutters
  • Clutch cable or clutch saver
  • Thread locking adhesive
  • Various nuts, bolts, washers
  • Torx and allen wrenches
  • Closed/open-end wrenches(standard and metric - bring only the ones common to your bike)
  • Basic socket set with one drive (bring only the ones common to your bike)

Personal

  • Basic toiletries
  • Emergency cash
  • Change for tolls (keep in easy-to-access place)
  • Sunscreen
  • Lip balm
  • Nail clippers
  • Handkerchief
  • Tweezers
  • Small package of tissue
  • Cotton or earplugs
  • Contact lens solution
  • Moisturizing eye drops
  • Fork and spoon in plastic wrapper
  • Traveler's roll of bathroom tissue
  • Moist towelettes/baby wipes

Emergency Items

  • Personal first-aid kit
  • List of emergency contact numbers (include doctor/medical professional)
  • List of current medications
  • List of medical conditions (include allergies)
  • Small waterproof flashlight
  • Spare key
  • Basic cold and headache medicine
  • Antihistamines
  • Insect bite stick
  • Utility light
  • Emergency blanket
  • Cellular phone and charger
  • Telephone calling card
  • Small candle
  • Waterproof matches and fire-starting kit
  • Duct tape
  • Electrical tape
  • Small amount of (baling) wire
  • Bottle of water
  • Energy food bars
  • Eyeglass repair kit

Miscellaneous

  • H.O.G.® Touring Handbook (available to H.O.G. members only)
  • H.O.G.® membership card (available to H.O.G. members only)
  • Bike registration and insurance info
  • Motorcycle owners or service manual
  • Motorcycle warranty card
  • Pen and small notebook
  • Kickstand board
  • Camera and film (or disposable camera)
  • Small sewing kit
  • Cargo net
  • Bungee cords (various lengths)
  • Swiss-style pocketknife or multi-tool
  • Tote sack
  • Two or three large trash bags
  • Small can opener
  • Bike lock
  • Extra zipper-lock bags
  • Small towel

trip planner-xs trip planner-sm trip planner-lg
Ride Planner

Plan your next trip

Part of the fun of riding is experiencing the unexpected… the sights, the sounds, the smells and the people you meet. But you need some kind of plan…right?

Ride Planner
H-D App-xs H-D App-sm H-D App-lg
THE HARLEY-DAVIDSON™ APP

GEAR UP AND GET RIDING

Our all-new Harley-Davidson™ App gives you access to the best tools to get the most out of your time on the road

Learn More
hog-xs hog-sm hog-lg
Explore H.O.G.®

Join the Harley Owners Group

Harley owners around the world, bound by the passion to ride.

learn more