Multi-Use Items Are the Key to Packing Ultralight for Your Next Motorcycle Trip

Are you packing for a motorcycle trip? Welcome to Part Three of my ultimate guide to ultralight Motorcycle packing. In this article, I’ll go over some of the multi-use items that can save you a lot of weight and space on your next motorcycle camping trip or road trip. These items are some suggestions I have found useful. As you are packing your own saddlebags, look at your gear and think hard about what you could toss for a multi-use replacement.

Clothes, bandanas, and towels

A Harley-Davidson motorcycle rider navigating a hairpin turn in the mountains, other riders visible in the background.
Motorcycle trip | Harley-Davidson via Unsplash

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One easy way to reduce the amount of gear you are carrying on a long motorcycle trip is to reduce the amount of clothing you are carrying.

Do you carry a warm layer to wear under your riding leathers on cold days? If it is a down jacket or sweater, than you could also wear it around camp or a motel room without your leather jacket. Or if you swap your underwear for quick-drying boxer briefs, you could wear them during a swim, and you don’t have to pack trunks.

One piece of gear I find priceless is my “buff” or circular ring of stretchy cloth. I replaced my traditional bandanda with a bandana-print buff and I’m never going back. I can wrap it around my face while riding or if I need a mask. I can tuck it into the collar of my shirt as a sort of scarf. I can even twist it into a makeshift hat. My buff can do everything a bandana can do, and more.

One of the most useful pieces of gear you can carry is a microfiber camping towel. This lightweight piece of cloth can be a towel. It can also be a makeshift blanket or ground cloth. You could even use it to make a sling if someone got hurt.

If you haven’t already, check out my post on multi-use merino wool clothing for motorcyclists.

Do you need a second pair of shoes?

A Harley Davidson motorcycle rider standing up while navigating a paved road through the desert.
Motorcycle rider | Harley-Davidson via Unsplash

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I love my harness/Frye motorcycle boots while I’m on my bike. But they are less than ideal for wearing around a campsite. They also would be awful boots for a hike if I wanted to explore the woods next to my camp. Even if I’m sleeping in a motel, I don’t want to put my heavy boots back on every time I leave the room.

For this reason, a pair of lightweight flipflops are usually worth their weight. But do you need a second set of closed-toed shoes?

I began shopping for some leather boots lighter than regular motorcycle boots. What I found was interesting: several companies make “sneaker-like” dress shoes. And most of those companies offer an ankle boot variation. The boots I settled on are made by an Italian company called Geox, but there are many options.

So far, I have been happy with my ankle boots. They feel sturdy enough to ride my motorcycle. But they have sneaker-like soles and are comfortable enough to walk around town in all day long.

Multi-use electronics can save space too

The view of a desert road from behind a motorcycle's windshield and handlebars.
View from a motorcycle | Donald Giannatti via Unsplash

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Instead of bringing a charger for every electronic device you carry, consider investing in a multi-use cable. You can order a range of cables which have swappable ends. These cords can charge anything from a laptop to a cellphone to your headphones.

Do you usually carry a flashlight? Do you also like having a lithium-ion backup battery pack for your phone? Did you know that some lithium-ion packs have a built-in flashlight?

The electronics you carry depend entirely on your needs. But you might be surprised how many items you can combine if you’re a smart shopper.

Next, see how to pack for a motorcycle road trip in the video below:

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