How to pack for a big adventure?

A guide on how to pack: Packing is a philosophy. It is a personal thing.

Back in the days, when I went on a three week trip with my parents in a car, we took everything with us, a whole kitchen set, clothes for at least two weeks, snorkling mask, fins, games, books and so on and so on. The car was fully loaded. On the first trip by myself I took a 65L backpack and stayed at hostels and took the same approach to packing as I had learned from my parents. When I went on my first big trip to the U.S. I took a whole suitcase, 70L full of stuff. For 2 months I lived out of that suitcase roadtripping around the country. But if I need 70L for only 2 months, how will I be able to carry what I need when going on a motorcycle adventure?

So what to pack for a one year RTW trip?

While I was planning for the first trip from Europe to Asia, I started to think about what I am using during the year at home. What was most important to me, I put on my packing list. I also considered, what I cannot get anymore after I left the Europe. My first trip started in fact, whithout being able to move on this bike anymore.

Just to give you an overview, what I took with me, but never really used: Coffee machine (you get coffee everywhere, if not, there is pretty good instant coffee, or even small travel coffee machines). A torque wrench - I never ever used this huge tool with a length of 0.5 metres. I even brought 4 litres of oil, since I was sure back then that I will never find this kind of oil anywhere. I took clothes for at least two weeks with me.

The most important documents and my computer I carried with me in a backpack at all times. It cost me sweat and time, carrying all this stuff around. Lifting up this fully packed bike after a crash was nearly impossible. All these mistakes and experiments resulted in this latest packing concept.

The new approach

The challenge is to take as little as possible, or as they say in desig; KISS. Which means, Keep It Simple Stupidand it's to achieve the most nflexibility and freedom. This time I also came to the conclusion, that it is a good idea to invest some money into intelligent gear, like smaller foldable plates and cups. A good luggage system is also an important decision. There are a lot of different systems out there but soft luggage will always be my personel choice. It is easy to carry, light, simple to repair, easy to mount and if the bike falls over it is an additional bumper (just make sure you dont put any fragile stuff -like your computer- into it).

 

Clothes

At home you are probably standing in front of your closet with dozens of different clothes. Get rid of it. You are used to wear every single day something else? Change your t-shirt as soon as it gets a little sweaty? Accept now that you'll be stinky and sweaty at times on your trip and it will make packing a whole lot easier. So let me tell you what our arsenal of clothes is consists off for a Europe>Africa adventure.

DJI_0373-3.jpg

NORA's PACKING LIST

  • Three t-shirts
  • Long jeans
  • Rain jacket (which folds up really small)
  • Windstopper
  • Buff, fleece buff & beanie
  • Of course we want to be fancy too and bring dress.
  • 2 pairs of riding socks, 1 warm & 1 cold
  • 3 pairs of normal socks
  • Flipflops for the beaches and camping.
  • Walking shoes, preferably waterproof and light
  • Fleece vest
  • Skirt so we can visit churches and other religious buildings
  • Towel
  • Swim wear
  • Sports bra
  • Sport shirt
  • Underwear to get along for 14 days without doing the laundry
  • Thermal shirt & pants
  • Riding short
  • Normal shorts
DJI_0382-2.jpg

JOJO's PACKING LIST

  • Towel
  • Three t-shirts
  • Long pants
  • Rain jacket (which folds up really small)
  • Hoody vest
  • Buff & fleece buff
  • Of course we want to be fancy too and bring shirt.
  • 1 pairs of riding socks
  • 7 pairs of normal socks
  • 1 pair of warm army socks
  • Flipflops for the beaches and camping.
  • Walking shoes, preferably waterproof and light
  • Fleece vest
  • Swim shorts
  • Underwear to get along for 7 days without doing the laundry
  • Thermal pants
  • Normal shorts

This results in a 15 litre pack volume which is much smaller than your average closet!

DSC00050 (1).jpg
DSC00049.jpg
 

Camping gear

Leaving our nice house and change our permanent adress to the unknown. The daily challenge is where to sleep? We prefer to sleep in the tent for the next few months. You can pitch it almost everywhere, it's cheap and being outdoors is one of the reasons we do these trips. Camping gear can be spacious. There are a lot of smart products out there but small packing volume, comfort and good quality has its price. If you are doubting the price you have to pay for the gear: Just divide the total costs you want to spend by the nights you will sleep in the tent. If you are using it like us for 150+ nights on the trip, then you will find out its a reasonable price per person per night. Don't forget you are able to sleep at the locations with the best views!

DJI_0366.jpg
DJI_0367.jpg

We prefer to cook over going out to a restaurant because it has a satisfying feeling, after a long day to be able to slow down, prepare the food and listen to the sound of the stove. It developes your creativity and you are in control of the nutrition you are supplying your body with.

We've kept our fuel burner from the previous trip and added a large plate which also acts as a cutting board. The food we store in two seperate drybags. With the dromedary bag we are able to carry 6L of water and if we add our two bladders, then we reach a maximum of 12L which sould be enough for at least 2 - 3 days without any water. An additional water filter gives us the opportunity to extract drinking water where there is a water source available.

 

Tools, toiletries and other things

We want to ride as light as possible. So besides the clothes and camping gear we reduced the stuff we take to a minimum. The tools are a collection, as a result of two years experience working on Zuki. We'll take the maintenance manual for this specific model as a pdf. Always remember that there will be a lot of small workshops on the way with friendly people who are happy to help and glad to see a bike like that and will lend out the larger tools and a hand if you need it.

We take enough toiletries to keep us clean and healthy, as well as some first aid essentials. So this is it.

DSC00067-2.jpg
DSC00068.jpg
 

Electronics

The last part is the electronics. It is nice to keep documenting a journey like this. Filming and photographing the stunning landscapes and creating memories you can share with others. We took two laptops, so we can edit and work. The drone, two cameras, a GoPro. A GPS tracker and cables to supply all the gadgets. I think there is nothing more to say. What you can do with all this gear? Check out the work on the YouTube channel.

IMG_0999.jpg
IMG_2871 (1).jpg

Last tips and tricks

So that is all the gear we are taking on a 10 month trip. I hope that showing you what we decide to take helps you in making your own choices. If you have any questions feel free to shoot us an email or a message on facebook/instagram. Let me end this article with our last tips and tricks that helped us during our packing saga.

  1. Pack for every day use, not for the what if (except the first aid kit)
  2. Consider you will carry food and water, so leave a saddle bad empty for that
  3. Take pictures, don’t buy souvenirs. It will save you a lot of space.
  4. Do a test trip, to see if you like your setup before you leave
  5. Send stuff home by post or give to friends/family when they are visiting. (always a good excuse to convince them to come over ;) )