Time to hit the road ? Did your 'pile-of-stuff' fit into your panniers?
A basic rule I live by, get rid of at least half of what you think you ought to bring. Often you use considerably less then you think you will use. And you should take into your consideration to use 'Launderettes' if your trip goes over several weeks. So take only 'need-to-have' stuff along.
A further thing to be aware of is, if you hardly could get the panniers closed, it is to much. Why , you may ask... the luggage tends to 'grow' during the trip, believe you me. And even 'more' luggage-space will be needed.
What kind of Panniers, Tank-bags, Top-boxes, should I buy ? Are you in the BMW ' family and in the market for luggage, go and buy the original BMW stuff, they are expensive but they are good, waterproof and they last several seasons, and most of all they will fit your bike snuggly. It is an investment for the future.
A Classic Touring-equipped bike will have the following items installed. On the Tank, the Tank-bag, where heavy stuff should be kept. This will help to get the center of gravity forward. Aft on the bike, the Panniers goes with their fastening-device and Luggage-rack. On the Luggage-rack, you could place your Water-proof Luggage-roll, your Tent, and what-ever as long as these items are fairly 'light'. We do not want the bike to be 'tail-heavy', and by this causing the road-behavior of the bike to totally alter. And remember, fasten those items on the Luggage-rack with proper fastening devices. Be sure to bring along a Luggage-net, it is flexible and nice to use if you want to take your Jacket off and stove it away (however do not forget, roll it tight so that the wind won't take it away like a kite).
To pack the content of the Panniers, you could pack right inside them or do as I prefer, get yourself two Inner-bags to use, it is a lot cleaner and in advance you do not have to take the 'maybe-dirty' Pannier off your bike. The BMW-Panniers, as I have experienced at least, are water-proof, but I always pack the content in double plastic-bags just to be 'safe'. And use clear plastic, then you could see the content and avoids to have to 'empty' all, before finding what you looked for. If you are riding 'two-up' , the simplest thing to do in manners of dividing the space between you, is to take a Pannier each, for cloth and personal items. Pack your Panniers in good time, it should not be needed to find out that the space is not enough, keep as a basic rule, one or the most two pairs of shoes. Take three pairs of cloth-change plus under-wear and T-shirts. As said before, you could wash the cloths either by hand or in Launderettes.
The BMW Tank-bag is 'huge'. It could be up to 28 liters of volume, divided up in three 'layers', remember though, keep those heavy items in the lower-compartment. The rest of the space, it is up to you. Keep in mind though, something soft at the top back-end of the bag, this to have a place 'to-rest-your-chest'.
It remains to 'pack' the Luggage-rack. Either if fitted with the Soft-case or just as a rack, here you put your, Tent, Sleeping-bag and what-ever. Keep in mind, use water-proof rolls ( Ortlieb, is a nice one and it is water-proof). Your Rain-set will come on the top, easy in hand, use a luggage-net for this. Or you would like to put the Rain-set on top of your Panniers, it is up to you, just remember, keep it close in hand.
Modern Pannier-systems is rugged and safe, keep in mind though, you are the one who 'mounts' the Pannier-bags and be aware, do it correctly. It is not 'cool' to see 'all of your luggage' spread out on the Highway.
Are you making your trip alone, and need the space, use the passenger-seat as your 'spare-compartment' and if you are in hand of the BMW Soft-case, it actually have four lugs installed for this option. The lugs is placed underneath your saddle and by that keeping the Soft-case safe in place.
In the Tank-bag: Tools, Photo-equipment, Maps and Travel-guides, Extra-jackets.
Left/Right-Pannier: Normal-cloths, Nice-cloths, Shoes, Under-wear, T-shirts, Bathing-gear, Toaletteries, Towel, Film, Books.
Luggage-rack/Top-box: Tent, Sleeping-bags, Water, Fleece-jackets, Rain-suits.
Things to remember for Touring
Electronics : Cell phone , Cell phone charger , FRS radio/communications system , Spare batteries for FRS radio , MP3 player loaded with MP3's and Radar detector .
Safety/Protection : Earplugs - assortment , Spare key in wallet , Helmet lock , Front wheel lock/alarm , Front wheel lock reminder , Hidden cash on bike , Moist bug cloth and paper towels , Extra bungee cords and zip ties. .
Clothes : Rain suit , Waterproof cover for luggage, Waterproof cover for tank bag , Electric vest and thermostat , Riding underwear , Sunglasses .
Sundries : Eye drops , Pain relievers , Suntan lotion.
Repair : Tool kit , Flat repair kit , Tire pressure gauge , Flashlight , Misc. rags.
Paperwork : Maps and route sheets , Hotel planners , BMW Owners Anonymous book
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