I’ve been on many long distant rides and I’ve never packed more than a backpack worth. That may mean taking one pair of jeans and whatnot but the less you pack, the better the ride. I have a small tank bag that has my cameras, charger and phone for directions (I use GPS app for directions).
I travelled across Europe for 2 weeks, visiting 10 countries with no more than a backpack and small tank bag. Although I’d prefer not to have the backpack on my shoulders when I ride, it did allow me to pack very light. If you’re planning a long-distance motorcycle ride in the near future, maybe this will help you decide how to approach it.
Don’t plan more than a day ahead.
Obviously, you need to plan to some extent, but if you have an idea of what you want to do then that’s enough. I never knew where I would be the next day so I planned the day’s ride in the morning. I’d book a hotel in the destination I wanted to reach and allow enough time to reach the destination before sundown. Then I could hit the road and enjoy the ride. Obviously, you want to avoid motorways and ride on those bike friendly roads.
Take a portable charger
This is a lifesaver, I got myself a small portable charger from Amazon (£25) to charge my phone (which I used for directions). This kept me going on long rides. Make sure you keep charging it when you make it to the hotels. Once you’re out of juice, you’ll have a lot more trouble with directions!
Take a camera and use it!
Take photos of the journey (even if you’re on your own!) I took all the photos of me riding and they look pretty damn cool don’t they (just see below)! Take a photo at each stop — including state lines, historic roadways, and noteworthy locations.
Pack only the essentials
Be ruthless here. Take the clothes you need to keep warm, one pair of bike trousers that can double up as everyday trousers, a few socks, a few pants, a toothbrush, camera, phone, water and a paper map. I can’t think of much more you would need. Forget towels, shampoos and all that shit. Everything else is a waste of space. Leave the crap at home. Traveling light is liberating and it takes way less time to pack and unpack the bike twice a day.