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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
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 :)
 

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Day trip? Weekend? Week?

If only a day trip I suggest your 300 - 400 miles is good.
Weekend? probably double the above.

As to what you need that depends on how long your going, the longer you go for the more you will need to take and hence what luggage you need etc.

Sounds like you have most of the gear for a day / weekend. Going longer you will need luggage if you intend to tour regularly I'd suggest hard luggage, if only occasionally soft luggage will do the trick.

The panniers and racks I have are easily removable if you prefer to not have the racks on (I leave mine on for added crash protection). Some people prefer a clean look.

 

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Minimun bike touring is the old 90cc Postie bike and a credit card... yes the Honda CT9- and CT110 have gone around Australia!

Basically it comes down to how far you can ride and where you sleep and eat.

Ditch the owners manual and download it and the service manual PDF version to your phone from this forum under the technical section sticky. (2015 model might not be up there yet)

Take and wear layers for colder weather/rain.

Take extra zip lock bags for you phone and wallet etc

I have done long day trips with just a back pack and 2lt of water.
I would do a 2 day week end with the same and sleep in a motel.

You have the basics for a least a few days away.
 

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If you plan to camp, you'll need a little more planning and more stuff. If you camp, it helps to have a way to charge your phone while you ride. Bring rain gear, waterproofing for your luggage, chain lube in a squirt bottle (DuPont Chain Saver) and a small rag, faceshield cleaner kit (AeroStitch).
 

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Are you going to camp or stay in a hotel?
Do you want to travel as light as possible? Or are you going to load up on luxuries?
Are you going to explore the destination off the bike, or is the focus riding?
Do you need to carry all youth electronic devices and charging stations?
You going to wash garments in the sink, laundry facility, or when you get home?

A lot of factors go into deciding what to pack for a motorcycle trip.

For motorcycle touring, textile gear trumps leather unless your tour is someplace it seldom rains.

My minimum gear for a summer trip:
Gore-tex riding boots
Mesh pants
Mesh jacket
Mesh gloves
Coolmax neck gaiter
Gore-tex rain jacket
Gore-tex rain pants
Gore-tex gloves
Heated vest liner
FF helmet with photochromatic shield
2 pair quick dry traveller socks
2 pair quick dry traveller underwear
1 pair quick dry, zip off hiking pants
2 quick dry t-shirts
1 100 weight polartec pullover
Small bottle woolite laundry soap

Personal hygiene items. (Some can get by with what the hotel provides)

Other personal essentials:
1. A pocketknife or multitool

2. A first-aid kit can be a lifesaver. Literally.

3. Zip ties

4. Duct tape

5. A flashlight with spare batteries

6. Snacks

7. Water

8. Matches and/or a fire starter may be used to light fires for heat, or for signaling for help.

9. Sun protection might include sunblock, sunglasses, lip balm and a wide-brimmed hat.

10. A map of the area you are visiting and a compass to orient the map.

11. Spare bike key

12. Photocopy of license, registration, insurance, and some cash hidden on the bike.

Bike essentials:
Chain lube
Tools to do what you are capable and willing to do on the side of the road
Tire repair kit
Most important is making sure your bike is ready for the trip. All maintenance is up to date and done early if the trip will put you into the maintenance cycle. You don't want to buy a tire or get an oil change on the road unless you are doing a 10,000 mile trip.

If camping, then think ultralight backpacking when picking out gear.
 

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Day trip? Weekend? Week?

If only a day trip I suggest your 300 - 400 miles is good.
Weekend? probably double the above.

As to what you need that depends on how long your going, the longer you go for the more you will need to take and hence what luggage you need etc.

Sounds like you have most of the gear for a day / weekend. Going longer you will need luggage if you intend to tour regularly I'd suggest hard luggage, if only occasionally soft luggage will do the trick.

The panniers and racks I have are easily removable if you prefer to not have the racks on (I leave mine on for added crash protection). Some people prefer a clean look.

Hey Maverick, how did you swing that license plate? It's even green!!!!!!
 

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Extra key(s) for bike ignition and luggage
Chain lube
Dry bags if you're camping and not everything will fit in the luggage
Rok Straps (not bungies) to secure the bags
Wide-mouth carabiners to secure the Rok Straps to the bike (not necessary, but carabiners make the straps quicker and easier to take off and put on)
Tank bag (I have, and highly recommend, a Bags Connection tank bag with a Quick Connect ring)
Shoes for walking, hiking and/or kicking around a campsite
Lightweight wool socks, 1 pair for riding and 1 pair for off the bike
Paracord to act as a clothesline to air out (or dry) your stuff
One of those blow-up sitting pads, like a butt-size sleeping pad, that REI sells, maybe Thermarest makes em too
Trash bags
Platypus or other collapsible water bottles
Wet wipes
Notepad and pen or pencil
Maps. The kind that are printed on paper. At age almost-39, you're probably familiar with them. Paper maps are amazing, useful technology.
 

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There's a Wal-Mart lurking near every town of any size.

If you forget something.

I tend to travel light.

This was a 3,000+ mile trip .....
.
.
.
 

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Some pretty good suggestions here. The "BIGGIE"?

Just get ON and GO!

BEST advice I got (just before my first Alaska ride in '04 on a Bandit 1200S...) - treat your trip as just a collection of three-day rides. That way it's NOT overwhelming, and I carry grub for three days, then shop, and plan a laundry each week or so!

I've done trips N of from 14 to 31 days in length, EVERY night in a tent and sleeping bag, MOST meals cooked on my camp-stove, or eaten cold on the side of the road (lunch snacks).

Some FABULOUS memories from them!

:yeahsmile:
 

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Lots of great advice given already. One thing I'll add - use what you already have rather than being tempted to go out and buy a whole bunch of new gear. For example, I used an old baseball bag I had in the garage that turned out to be great for tying on the bike and held my tent, sleeping pad and bunch of other stuff. Most of my camping gear I've had for years.

You want stuff to be small and light, but it's not as extreme as backpacking. When you get super light, things get expensive really fast.
 

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Lots of great advice given already. One thing I'll add - use what you already have rather than being tempted to go out and buy a whole bunch of new gear. For example, I used an old baseball bag I had in the garage that turned out to be great for tying on the bike and held my tent, sleeping pad and bunch of other stuff. Most of my camping gear I've had for years.

You want stuff to be small and light, but it's not as extreme as backpacking. When you get super light, things get expensive really fast.
Those of us who are former backpackers, and former river travelers, already have light gear and dry bags. So, I agree. Use what on have, but if you don't have, get good gear and you and your belongings will stay comfortable and dry.
 

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i just finished a short 12-day, 3000 mile trip, apparently traveling in the same area as kohburn. i met up with my cousin, who was on his first long ride, coming out from Georgia. he tallied about 7000 miles in three weeks on the road. he had only done a few weekend trips before this one and was carrying way too much crap, much of which he didn't need. if i were you, i'd start with short trips around Texas and surrounding states. Do a few long weekends to start figuring out your gear. when you are comfortable with that, take a week-long trip (or several) to get your setup properly dialed in. soft luggage is fine, maybe a waterproof duffel, spend your money on gas, food, lodging and whatever other gear you may decide to add as you gain experience. not sure whether you r gear is waterproof, but that would be ideal. i'm not a fan of separate rain gear, or stopping under bridges to shimmy in/out of it, but be equipped one way or another. when? i think september is a great time to travel but i bet Texas weather is even better in october. maybe you can do a couple of weekend trips this year and spend the winter planning a longer ride (or two) for 2016. Carlsbad Caverns? Ozarks? Cajun Country? it never ends. :)
 

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I almost forgot financial planning. I have a pretty good spreadsheet that maps out all pre-trip preparation, variable expenses, and more so one time as well. Think about how much you are going to spend per day on gas, food, lodging, misc, national park fees, so on. The first trip I went on I spent a lot more than I was expecting.

Best regards,
 

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1. Realistically speaking, plan your oil changes out per miles (for dino oil) and estimate tire wear replacement (or you will get ripped off!) And carry tire lube/solvent cans and a rag with you!

2. An AMA $50 free tow card would not hurt either.

3. Look at the anticipated weather for clothing needed, on and off bike (hopefully combined.) Then plan your bike loading (as little as possible.)

Then just gas er up and geter done! For 1200 mile weekends, just jump on the bike and go.
 

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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
 
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