For our distance riders (or anyone with insight on the topic), I'd really like to venture further out on my 650 LT. At a minimum I think I really need advice on the following areas:
1. How far out should I go for my first distance trip?
2. When should I go?
3. Without breaking the bank, what are the touring "essentials" for a distance newbie?
FYI, here's some of my rider "status":
* 39 y/o and in excellent health/shape
* 2+ years riding experience; 11k miles on my ER-6N and 4k miles on the 650 LT.
* Completed advanced rider course & did a track day last March.
* Most distance done to date, are 3 to 400 mile day trips in most of the Texas Hill Country.
* No accidents (yet ....knocking on wood).
* Full coverage on the 650 LT via Progressive.
* Living in San Antonio, Texas
* ATGATT rider (Shoei Qwest helmet, Joe Rocket Atomic 4.0, Resistor and Phoenix Ion jackets, Joe Rocket Phoenix Ion overpants, Cortech Latigo full length boots, Taichi Raptor perf. leather gloves, Icon Patrol w/p gloves, Alpinestars leather gauntlet gloves, Bilt cooling vest, compression base layers)
* Bone stock Versys 650 LT except for a Ram mount (Lol).
* Flat tire kit, OEM tool kit, multitool, safety wire, owners manual (in a Ziploc) and flashlight always stay under the seat.
MANY thanks in advance for any help :-)
Brain dump on touring essentials:
- credit card, for emergencies or currency conversion
- travel medical insurance which is only a few dollars for a few days if
traveling out of country - if you are visiting US from Canada (medicare does not cover you in US), or your US medical insurance does not cover you in Canada
- luggage and tie down straps and stretch cargo net (<$10)
- OEM under seat tool kit and duct tape and perhaps some wire ties, just in case
- cheap tire plug kit to plug flats, just in case
- tank bag is really handy to store extra stuff and frequently accessed stuff like maps and pens, water bottle, and cell phone
- cell phone or tablet with WIFI access to look up info along the way like camp ground location and hours, research destinations and routes, etc.. DON'T leave your cell phone's automatic wireless DATA transmit setting on (this does not refer to WIFI) if crossing the border or travelling outside your carrier's area of coverage or you will be in for a very expensive surprise when you get your bill at the end of the month, use free WIFI instead. The additional service fees for connecting to cell phone towers other than your own carrier is truly incredible, in the $100s of dollars for only a few days. Your phone will automatically do this UNLESS you turn wireless data off on your phone.
- portable soft saddle bags if you do not have hard panniers
- rain gear or water proof gear, rain gear that can be put on over regular gear and dries easily, is preferable to gear that has an inside removable water proof barrier
- cool max type shirts and shorts make the best and most comfortable under layer and are easy to wash in the sink and quick to dry
- cheap cooling vest if travelling in high heat
- a GPS is really, really handy when travelling unfamiliar territory
- passport if you are riding near the border. It's nice to have the freedom to cross the border but you will need a passport. It usually takes all of 1-5 minutes depending on traffic to cross the Can/US border as long as you're not red flagged in their database. If you're a Hell's Angels or Bandidos member it may take longer
(Police, passport, drivers licence, vehicle registration, border crossing history and other relevant record databases are shared between US and Can border services so there is very little that won't show up on their screen.) The US/Mex border may be different. I live near the Canada/US border and frequently cross the border, sometimes just for just 15 minutes on the American side, to buy cheaper gas or beer, or follow a road I am travelling on.
- garbage bags to cover rolled up sleeping bag, keep stuff dry, or collect trash at camp site
- refillable water bottle, lighter to start camp fires, and pocket knife
- extra bike key taped in hidden spot, just in case
- chain lube