Build the Ultimate Adventure Bike Survival Kit for Your Next Trip


The weather is getting better and it’s finally time to prep for that Great American Motorcycle Trip on your adventure bike. Most of the planning is already done, routes are selected, reservations are confirmed, and money is set aside. Even the bike is freshly serviced with new tires and brakes. Everything is set up to ensure an exciting, pleasant and safe motorcycle adventure.

Unless, that is, you’re half way through your tour, motoring through a wildlife management area in remote Arkansas when you decide to go off-map and take an enticing unmarked trail. After two hours of exploring, you realize you’re hopelessly lost. Neither your cell phone nor the GPS are picking up a signal and it’s getting dark. Of course, you could slumber in comfort if you had built an adventure bike survival kit as described below, though you might still be lost in the morning.

Every Cubic Millimeter Counts

As you’ll be on a motorcycle with very little room to store gear, conserving space is the primary concern for assembling your survival kit. A sleeping bag, tent, food, water and basic tools will all be part of the survival kit. Go to an online motorcycle parts store and browse through their luggage section to make sure you have the latest, most innovative storage solutions available.

Maximize Cargo Space With These Items:

Luggage Racks: If your bike didn’t come with them, get racks for the front and rear of the bike. Get the highest load capacity you can find.

Saddlebags: The hard-shell bags look better and offer better impact protection, but the soft, nylon type will stretch out to hold more. Soft bags are considerably less expensive, too.

Duffel Bags: These classic soft bags come in many sizes, from one-piece to three- or four-piece stackable configurations. These fasten to the rear luggage rack and can hold more gear than both saddlebags.

Tank Bag: Available in different sizes, larger versions have zip-apart compartments, stack vertically and have detachable pouches on the sides. The top may have a transparent map-holder you can reference on the fly, too.

Back Pack: Assuming you’re riding your motorcycle solo, a small pack will prove invaluable.

Camping Equipment You Probably Already Packed

Tent: the Scenic-II 2-man nylon tent folds down to 24 X 5 inches and weighs 4 lbs., 14 ozs.

Sleeping Bag & Pillow: The Snugpak Softie 3 Merlin is one of the neatest sleeping bags on the market. It packs down into a 7 X 7-inch zippered bag. Try a FILLO Compact Camping Pillow by NEMO. Blown out it’s 17 X 10.5 inches, but tucked into its attached stuff sack its only 6 X 4 inches and weighs just 10.8 oz.

Cot: Believe it or not, you can get a full-size cot from Aerostitch that packs down to just 16 X 5 inches.

Food: Get dried bags of soup, a couple of MREs, nutrition bars, bullion cubes, cocoa, and instant coffee.

Finally, The Survival Kit

Knife and Tools: Get a Gerber folding hunting knife with a 4-inch blade and a Deluxe Leatherman Multi-Tool. You need scissors but not the corkscrew.

Cigarette Lighter: Try the Bic Click — it’s much easier than rubbing sticks together.

Flashlight with Spare Batteries: Get the headband mount type with LED bulbs.

Trash Bags: Use as a tarp, ground cover or a rain shelter.

Rope/Strap: Pull your bike out of the ravine using parachute cords.

Empty Aluminum Coffee Can: It has many uses, from cooking to digging.

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