The Roadless Travel Guide to Packing


OUR PACKING PRINCIPLES:

You can’t pack for every eventually – so don’t try!

Less weight = less wear and tear + more fun on those dirt roads…


We like to travel light. We ride 2 up, on a heavy bike and so when it comes to packing we try to save as many kilograms as possible. Travelling light means making compromises, but we are willing to forgo some of the creature comforts for the freedom of going off road. Many of the routes we take would not be enjoyable, or even possible, if we were carrying a lot of weight. When it comes to spare parts, we don’t try and prepare for all eventualities. Often the more you take, the more you need to take, because things are more likely to go wrong on an overloaded bike. Unless you are planning to get really off the beaten track, you should be able to source some parts en route. Even in Western and Central Africa we were able to find tyres, tubes and other basic parts in a few of the big cities. There are also online stores (such as https://rugged roads.co.uk) who can courier motorbike parts worldwide in a few days and at a reasonable price).

Ultimately, packing is a personal choice, it depends on how you like to travel, where you are going and what you want to get out of your trip. This is by no means a definitive list, it’s just how we like to do things. We are not sponsored and no one has sent us any freebies (yet) so you can rest assured this is our honest, unbiased view on the essential items to take with you.


– WHAT’S IN OUR PANNIERS? –

Riding Gear

  • Helmet – Arai tour x 4
  • Spare parts for helmet
  • Bike jacket and pants with removable liners
  • Buff
  • Goggles and/or sunglasses
  • Riding boots (we wore hiking boots to save on space)
  • Hydration pack – 3L Camelbak
  • Earplugs

Camping

  • Tent – Big Agnes Copper Spur HV UL 3
  • Footprint
  • Pole repair kit
  • Seam sealer (e.g SeamGrip)
  • Goretex tape (e.g. Gear Aid tenacious tape)
  • Spare tent pegs (aluminium)
  • Sleeping bags – Sea to Summit Spark II
  • Sleeping mat – Therm-a-Rest NeoAir Xlite
  • Therm-a-rest repair kit
  • Head torch – Alpkit Manta USB Rechargeable

Cooking

  • Water filter – Lifestraw gravity filter bag
  • Cooking stove – MSR Dragonfly
  • Stove repair kit – MSR
  • 2 x saucepans – Evernew ultralight titanium
  • 1 x frying pan – Evernew ultralight titanium
  • Cafetière (not lightweight, in fact it weighed about the same as my entire camp kitchen, but what can I say – I’m a coffee fiend!)
  • 2 x plates – Sea to Summit delta light
  • Plastic cutlery set -Sea to Summit delta light
  • Plastic cup – Sea to Summit delta light
  • Insulated mug- MSR
  • Small chopping knife – Kuhn Rikon
  • Small plastic spatula
  • Folding chopping board – MSR
  • Wooden spoon
  • Pot drainer
  • Washing up sponge and liquid
  • Penknife (with tin and bottle opener)
  • Lighter

Clothing

  • 4 x t shirts (for bike days)
  • 2 x t shirts (non bike days)
  • Long sleeve breathable shirt
  • Thermal leggings
  • Thermal top
  • Warm, lightweight hooded sweatshirt
  • Lightweight waterproof jacket
  • Hiking trousers
  • Shorts
  • 6 x underwear (synthetic or merino)
  • 4 x socks (breathable)
  • Sandals
  • Swimwear

Tools

  • Tyre levers
  • Bead buddy
  • Chain breaker and repair tool
  • Small file
  • Multi tool
  • Bike specific tool kit
  • Feeler gauges for valve clearance
  • Epoxy
  • Superglue
  • Quick Steel
  • Loctite
  • Gaffa / Gorilla tape
  • Electrical tape
  • Plumbers tape
  • Electric pump
  • Hand pump
  • Tyre gauge

Spare Parts

  • 500 ml bike specific oil for top up
  • Chain cleaner and lubricant
  • Small tub of grease
  • O rings
  • Chain links
  • Fork seals
  • Fuses
  • Puncture repeater kit
  • Tubes (if using)
  • Front sprocket
  • Headlight bulbs
  • Break and clutch leaver
  • Clutch cable
  • Break pads front and rear
  • Spark plugs
  • Oil filter
  • Air filter
  • Fuel filter

Luggage

  • 2x Kriega OS-32 Soft pannier – 32L
  • 2 x Kriega OS-12 Soft pannier – 32L
  • Tank bag – Givvi XStream – 15L
  • Rear bag – SW Motech 350 – 35L
  • Ratchet straps
  • Bungees
  • Packing cubes (great for clothes and tools)
  • Dry bags (we rode through West Africa in rainy season – we now keep everything in dry bags)

Paperwork

  • Passports
  • Carnet de Passage – only for certain countries
  • Driving license
  • International driving licence
  • Vehicle ownership papers
  • Travel / health insurance papers
  • Vaccination book and yellow fever certificate
  • Vehicle insurance papers
  • Manuals for vehicles and any electrical items -download and save an electronic copy
  • Haynes manual for you vehicle – electronic copy
  • List of emergency contacts and phone numbers
  • Fiche (printout containing personal details to hand to police – essential in some countries e.g. Mauritania)
  • Bank cards / Credit cards (take a few)
  • Pre paid travel card (e.g. Revolut or WeSwap)
  • Photocopies of most important documents scanned copies also saved online.

Personal Items

  • Dice x 5 (who doesn’t love Yahtzee)
  • Cards
  • Money belts
  • Sewing kit

Washing

  • Micofibre travel towel
  • Travel pegless washing line
  • Toiletries (liquids in screw top plastic bottles to prevent spillage)
  • Suncream (high factor)
  • Sun block for lips
  • Insect repellant (50% deet)

Medical Kit

  • Sterile First Aid Kit – Lifesystems Sterile Pro (contains syringes, needles, IV cannula, synthetic suture, wound closure strips etc)
  • Anti Malarials (a personal choice – we didn’t take then. Leon got Malaria 3 times).
  • Malaria test kit (these can be bought over the counter in some African countries)
  • Emergency malaria treatment – artemether with lumefantrine (also available over the counter)
  • Paracetamol + Ibruprofen
  • Cold and Flu medicine
  • Anti diarrhoea – Imodium / loperamide
  • Anti cramping – Buscopem
  • Rehydration sachets
  • Antihistamine
  • Burn gel
  • Antiseptic cream – Savlon
  • Antiseptic wound wash
  • Plasters (assorted sizes)
  • Gauze pads (for dressing wounds)
  • Gauze swabs (for cleaning)
  • Bandages
  • Micropore tape
  • Cove oil (for tooth pain)
  • Trauma shears
  • QuicClot Haemostatic dressing
  • Eye drops (for dry eyes)
  • Blistex Relief cream (for cracked lips)

Electricals

  • Camera and associated cables/ chargers – Fujifilm XT2
  • Camera bag
  • Lenses – 35mm, 18-55mm and 14mm
  • SD Cards
  • Card Reader (or transfer photos wirelessly)
  • Worldwide travel adapter with 4 USB charging points – MLPC (available on Amazon)
  • Laptop And associated chargers – we use an IPad
  • Portable keyboard – Logitec slim combo
  • GoPro and associated cables and charges
  • Kindle
  • 2 x Portable power pack

Motorbike set up

  • Engine guard
  • Headlight guards
  • Handlebar guards
  • Kickstand extender
  • Navigation – we used phone with Quadlock
  • Pannier frames – Kriega OS pannier base