Motorcycle touring gear is just as important as the motorcycle you are riding. Let’s talk about touring gear you need for touring and taking long trips.
Touring Gear You Need
Anybody who rides a motorcycle and does any touring or long distance riding, knows that comfort and functionality are very important when it comes to riding gear. The basics are helmet, jacket, gloves, chaps or pants, and boots. There are specific qualities and characteristics that I look for:
There are several types of helmets that people can wear. Usually the helmet is an extension of the type of riding we are doing. Generally speaking, helmets are built based on DOT specifications and function that it needs to serve. There are 6 types of helmets: Full Face helmet, Modular, 3 Quarter Helmet, Half Helmet, Open Face, and Dual-Sport helmet. What I would recommend is for you to do research on the types of helmets, composition of the helmets and comfort qualities. There a many times you can get a better price buying online, but I would recommend going someplace and trying them on to be sure of the size, fit and the comfort before you buy! If you’re going to be wearing this on your head, it better be comfortable. If you take a fall while riding, it better be able to protect your head (and face). If you’re going to be wearing it a lot, I’m sure you want it to look good too. Finally, your helmet should protect you from weather, rocks, dust, bugs, and other eyes, nose, and mouth irritants. Have you ever been caught in an instant downpour of rain in a half helmet? I have and that’s why I try to carry two helmets when I take long rides, a 3 quarter and a half helmet. Remember, you don’t have to be going fast or hit the ground hard to cause a serious head injury.
When touring the country for a day, a week, a month or a year, the jacket or coat you wear needs to be comfortable, functional, and dynamic. I would be the first to admit that I don’t always wear a protective jacket or even a jacket at all sometimes. Is that the best choice to make? No, it is not! But being comfortable is important too. I look for jackets with a removable liner and/or adjustable venting that can make it useful in both hot and cold weather and something that is breathable and water resistant as well. Technology for protective gear is advancing and some protective materials to look for are leather, Kevlar, Cordura, or other possibly synthetic textiles. Finding a jacket that is comfortable to wear in all weather conditioons is hard to do, but it will add protection to your body in the event of an accident…something is better than nothing.
Gloves not only protect your hands and/or keep them warm, they also help with grip and comfort. You can find gloves that are made of the same protective materials as jackets. I personally have many pairs of gloves for every season and weather condition. There are gloves that can be heated with portable/rechargable batteries or plug into a power source from the motorcycle. A good fitting glove is important to that you can grip and feel controls without the glove getting in the way. If they are too tight, they will cut of circulation and that wouldn’t be good either.
Chaps and Pants serve as protection and comfort also. You can get chaps and pants with removable lining for hot and cold weather conditions. They also protect against flying rocks, bugs, sand, and dirt. Wearing shorts, sweat pants, or other flimsy material is just going to increase the possibility of injury while riding your motorcycle. Not everybody like leather or chaps, but there are a lot of other types of material that are used for protectiona dn comfort now.
Boots should be light weight and breathable. They should be rigged yet flexible. They should be resistant to oil, water and other fluids on the road. The sole of the boot is very important and should be capable of griping various road conditions. Also remember that the left boot should have extra padding and material on top of the toe to assist with shifting.
Sunglasses are also extremely important and they need to be functional and comfortable to wear them all day. Polarized sunglasses are good for cutting glare and clarity, but sometimes it’s hard to read electronics with them. Sunglasses with foam padding on the inside of the fram are good to keep wind out and adds comfort as well. I also prefer sunglasses that don’t have the arms for over the ears, they are uncomfortable between the helmet and my head. I prefer the adjustable strap on my glasses/goggles.
Where To Look For Gear
Cycle Gear: https://www.cyclegear.com/
Performance Cycle: https://performancecycle.com/
Harley Davidson: https://www.harley-davidson.com/us/en/index.html
Eagle Rider (motorcycle rentals): https://www.eaglerider.com/
In order to have a fun, safe, and memorable trip it’s important to wear protective and comfortable gear. One of the greatest things about riding a motorcycle is that there is nothing between you and the elements, and it is also the scariest thing. Wearing gear that protects you against the elements and keeps you comfortable is key to motorcycle touring success.
6 Replies to “Touring Gear”
A very comprehensive article, thank you!
I have to say, I tend to add a back protector as well (although that said, I have been on the back of a bike with an Isle of Mann TT competitor in only a bikini and flipflops… not for very long though!). I’ve seen a few too many nasty accidents in 3 seasons of supporting Clubsport motorcycle racing in the UK to want to be on a bike for very long without being completely encased in bubble wrap!
The roads here are a bit more congested then in the US, and unfortunately, if you ride a lot it’s said that it’s not if you’ll come off your bike, it’s when.
Thank you for your comment Lisa! It’s funny you mention bubble wrap because there is actually technology in the works for suits that deploy airbags on riders!
A very good article on the safety gear that is necessary for every biker. When someone rides a bike he/she is totally exposed to the weather and all the traffic. The latter is the reason that makes me afraid bikes in general. A very good and detail article for those that love bikes and bike-tours, but unfortunately not for me.
Thank you for your comments! I’m glad you enjoyed the post. Riding motorcycles is a danger and with traffic getting heavier and more dense, it’s very important to protect your body.
Very comprehensive post on touring gears, I will like to add “Action cameras” to this list. My friend has one it is really fun as you can document your journey through the unknown on action cameras that can be mounted on the bike or the helmet or the shot from a body mounted camera looks really good.
Thank you for commenting Satz! I recently got a GoPro and starting creating video content, some in 360 view, so check back soon to see updates with videos!