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How to pack for California Motorcycle touring

Published Jan 1st 2016, 7:55pm

Whether you are on one of our self guided motorcycle tours or on a custom tour we've made for you and your buddies, packing is always a challenge. Everyone tells you to pack light.  Great, so what do you pack? We've been sweating in the central valley only to ride through ice chips a day later. Also don't let TV fool you. Riding Highway One you can encounter cold fog that chills to the bone.

It's not just limited size of motorcycle luggage and the wisdom of packing light. Airlines are making it harder and harder with weight and space limits. Trying to get 1 piece of checked luggage under 23kg (50lbs)  and carry on under 8kg is almost impossible. They never weigh purses/laptop bags and rarely do they weigh carry on luggage so we often put heavier items in carry on. Your fashion look will be international motorcycle rider. Plan on 3 or 4 sets of under layers, shirt, socks, underwear that dry quick. Hotel sink laundry is a time honored tradition. One pair of casual quick drying pants. One pair of riding boots, one helmet, two sets of gloves (one standard, one cold weather for chilly mornings). A soft-shell water resistant thermal jacket works great under gear and out in the evenings. One set of thermal long underwear if you want to be sneaky warm. Remember your chargers for cameras and phones. You want only one set of riding gear that can accommodate layers.  The Northern California climate can go from cold fog near the coast to hot and dry temperatures in the inland valley, to hot days and very cold nights in the high Sierras.  Northern Californians know it is all about wearing layers. Of course our guides never go on any tour without their Venture Heat jacket liner.

Climate wise, the coast moderates the temperature and soaks up the moisture. The further inland you ride the more extreme the temperature highs and lows but the dryer the air.

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