Friday, July 24, 2009

Packing Travails

Whenever I'm starting to pack for a motorcycle trip, I'm always agonizing over what to bring. I start watching the long-range weather forecast for areas I'll be riding to or through, and I start laying things out in piles, which allows me to change my mind multiple times until the day of departure.

Most of my clothing purchases are made with motorcycle packing in mind. Technical fabrics, sink-washable, quick-drying, pack up small. Some of this does double-duty as running apparel. But this type of clothing lulls me into the over-packing trap, so now I always pack a couple of days before departure so that I can "sleep on it" and then I almost always remove a few items that I convince myself I won't need.

So...what to pack, what to bring? With limited carrying capacity on the bike, I can't afford to be wrong. And I am often wrong. Not completely wrong....just partially wrong. Like bringing all short-sleeve shirts, when a couple of long-sleeve shirts would have been nice. Or wishing I had brought a pair of shorts when I thought the weather would be too cool for them. Or bringing more of the right kinds of clothing than I really needed.

On this last trip, what did I do right? That is, aside from the usual required riding apparel like jacket and AST pants, LDComfort shorts, Coolmax socks. I packed three pairs of shorts and wore every one of them...more than once. I packed running shorts, which really came in handy for not only running, but hanging around the hotel room. Four short-sleeved technical fabric tops came with me, and each got washed and worn at least twice. Two jog bras that were brought for running but got pressed into action, instead, for everyday wear. One pair of cropped pants, which I pulled on Saturday afternoon at the rally and was glad to have them with me, even if they were only worn for half of one day. The Columbia rain jacket came along and saw good use, as did the super-lightweight BMW zip-up wind jacket. I brought a half-zip heavier weight running top and pressed this into action when the temperatures dropped Saturday afternoon at the rally and again on my last day riding home, after rains dropped the temps more than 20 degrees in less than an hour.

What took up space and wasn't used? The technical fabric skort, which saw lots of use on the Moab trip, but just didn't strike my fancy on this trip. The two sleeveless polo tops and one sleeveless technical fabric top that I brought but never wore, taking up precious space. The long-sleeved Under Armour shirt, which could have been used Saturday, but the lightweight wind jacket served the same purpose. A second set of running clothes...ever the optimist that I am. One pair of jeans...I always pack these in case of emergency, say, should something happen to my AST riding pants.

Of course, the next trip could be totally different. What worked on this trip might not work on the next one, even given similar weather and amounts of time off the bike. That's what makes it so hard....and interesting.


  1. Packing decision angst. Happens every trip!

  2. Enjoying your journies and reliving the memories and roads to the parks you have visited. I think I have this packing thing down to a science, but there is always VISA for those unexpected moments.