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Luggage and Packing

I pack my gear in a Moto Fizz medium size bag, strapped to the rear seat of the bike.  It has a lot of pockets and straps to store and sort my gear.  I recently phased out the large Moto Fizz bag for the medium.  It is less bulky.  If you're like me, the bigger the bag, the more you'll pack, and I just thought the large bag was too much.  I've used several tailbags, but I like the Moto Fizz best. Another useful feature of the Moto Fizz are the expandable zippers on each side.  This makes it easy to retrieve items from the bag without unpacking.  In the course of a days ride, I have to do that often.   It is well thought out with a lot of handy items. 

You can read about the Moto Fizz bags here:

My sleeping gear is packed away in the Helen 2 Wheels medium compression bag.  It carries my therm a rest pad, sleeping bag, and pillow.  I've been using my H2W bag since my first Canadian trip way back in 2001, and it is still going strong.  I strap it to the luggage rack of my bikes behind the Moto Fizz.  I can recommend the H2W bag, it is well made, and functional. Click below to see pictures, how they work, or to order:


I also use the H2W strap system to secure my bags to the bike.

Both bags do a good job of keeping my gear dry in the rain.























Here you see the RT loaded for touring.  The MotoFizz
on the rear street.  The H2W with my sleeping bag, Therm
rest and pillow on the luggage rack.  I load all 3 bikes 
in the same manner.

There are many other options when it comes to luggage.  These items are just what I use.  I currently don't employ a tank bag, I find them rather cumbersome and in the way, but many guys swear by them, and if you like them, don't mind me.  They carry items in handy place, and distribute that weight well.

What to bring, where to pack it

I subscribe to the theory less is better, just the opposite of my good friend "Uncle" Phil Derryberry.  He believes better to have it and not need it, then need it and not have it (I think that's how that saying goes).  Neither of us are wrong, because there is no right or wrong in this situation, I can only explain why I try to travel light.

First reason, just less to keep up with, which I've been really poor at lately.  I've got stuff scattered here and there all the way to California.  Maps, watches, straps, PDA's, socks, shoes, all kinds of things.  Obviously, the less to pack and store each morning, the quicker you can get on the road.
Second, a light bike is a happy bike.  I do all I can to make my bike as light as possible.  Weight=drag, and it will dog you the entire tour if you have too much.  I only bring stuff I'm going to use, and use often.  For instance, when I leave out in mid June for California, I'm not taking any heavy duty winter gear.  I'm just not.  I leave behind my heated gear and thick winter gloves.  I'm not going to be any place cold in mid June.  The only locations that have a chance at such temps are high in the Rockies.  Well, I've crossed the Rocky Mountains 7 times in mid June, border to border, and not had a morning cold enough I needed heated gear.  Yes, I've had a morning or 2 in the 30s, but that time of year it is not going to last long.  By the time the stuff got hot, I'll be down out of the elevation and in warm temps anyway.  Now I don't know about y'all, but I'm NOT lugging all that cold weather gear 8,000 miles on the chance I'm going to need it for 30 minutes?  The last time I did that I wrestled with that stuff every time I opened my left bag, a real pain.

Now, if I don't know what I might encounter, I'll pack it.  Fall ride in New England?  Stow the heated gear, but I'll counter that by leaving my spring gloves home.  Now where do you think I can wear spring gloves in Maine come October?  The last time I was caught off guard was the UK.  It was really cold there and I packed for a spring ride.  I just didn't know any better.   Good thing Uncle Phil was on the scene.  If you don't know, pack accordingly, and if you do, act the same.

Ditto for tools.  I carry the basic items.  Stuff for flat tires, fuses, some duct tape, and the bike's tool kit.  The only thing you can fix in the field are flat tires, minor electrical problems, hoses, and out of gas.  Anything else you're going to need a part.  You can qualify as a mobile garage, but all those tools are worthless if you don't have the part you need.  Why carry all the tools for a overhaul, when you know that's never going to happen?
A 2 week trip will see me packing the following items.  Lots of underwear, 2 sweatshirts, 1 sweatpants, 2 t shirts, 6 pair of white socks, and 2 pairs of bicycle shorts to wear under the Roadcrafter.  For times when I am not on the bike, I have 1 pair of Khaki shorts, 1 pair of jeans, 2 polo shirts, and 1 set of Nikes.  All my clothes can pack in the Moto Fizz, strapped to my rear seat.

I carry almost all whites to streamline things on wash day.

My toiletries are packed in a Wallaby hang up bag.  I carry it in the Moto Fizz
.
The Moto Fizz carries all my clothes, along with my electronics, and chargers for my camera, Axim, and phone.
  
The right saddle bag will house my tent, and flat tire kit.

The left bag has my cold weather stuff.  I keep my gloves and thinsulate vest there.  It will also carry my bread box, canned chicken, and peanut butter and jelly, along with my atlas and pillow.  That is one thing I wish I could change.  I carry 2 pillows, one in the pannier, the other in the H2W bag.  They take up a lot of room.  I wish I didn't need them, but they are essential if I want a good nights sleep, so they always make the cut.
Honda and BMW both make top cases for their sport touring bikes, but I choose not to go that route.  Loaded top cases really put a damper on a bike's lines (can you say AWAC), and aerodynamics, and punish your mpg and tire life.  They put the weight high and too far back in my opinion.  The ST 1300 in particular doesn't like a top case.  It will make the bike handle very squirrelly.  The VFR I rode in the UK had a Givi top case, and it REALLY hated it.  I had a terrible time holding it on a line, it drifted all over the place.  But they are handy for things like lap tops and big time cameras, and are downright essential if you ride with a partner.

The Moto Fizz has outside pockets on each end.  The left pocket is where I keep my hair brush, hand light, and small bug spray bottle.  The right usually stores a few things like candy (particularly fond of tootsie rolls and those sweet and sour things), charger for my phone, 2 pens, some paper, aspirin, and anything else I pick up along the way.

Over the years I have greatly reduced my load.  I use to carry 3 sweatpants, but now only 1.  When it gets dirty I'll wash it.  If I find I need something I don't have, no need to panic,  I just go to Wal Mart.
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