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Packing An Adventure Motorcycle Long Way Round Style

 Packing tips from the Long Way Round crew that you may not want to take

Published on 12.22.2013
Claudio von Planta with thumbs up
Claudio von Planta discusses packing an Adventure Motorcycle

Nearly every Adventure Bike rider has watched the 2004 documentary Long Way Round that follows Ewan McGregor and Charley Boorman on their around-the-world adventure motorcycle tour. For many, the Long Way Around shows are the reason they started riding Adventure Motorcycles.

There is no question that the Long Way Round and Long Way Down series have done more to popularize Adventure Motorcycling than anything else. We are all in-debt to Ewan and Charley for putting a great show together that has captured the imaginations of many. Without them, we may not have the same level of investment from the motorcycle manufacturers and the great diversity of Adventure Bikes we have today. However, this has not stopped some Adventure Riders from making critiques of the Long Way Round series.

A common criticism has always been that the bikes were overloaded with too much gear. No doubt, watching overloaded bikes struggle through the mud made for good television. But in the real world, over packing an Adventure Motorcycle has a negative impact on your enjoyment during the trip.

Every Adventure Rider makes personal choices while packing an Adventure Motorcycle. Some items may be important to some while not to others. Adventure Riders should scrutinize each item they are packing and minimize any redundant or bulky items.

We recently came across an Adventure Motorcycle packing video that seems to bring into question again the packing skills of the Long Way Round crew. Claudio von Planta, the likeable cameraman from the Long Way Round series, stars in this video that discusses all the things you can fit when packing an Adventure Motorcycle for a tour.

Claudio begins the video excited about the quantity of items his companion Rick Peterson is able to fit on his BMW R1200GS. He is impressed with Rick’s packing skills and claims he is “The Master” of packing an Adventure Motorcycle. If this is the best Claudio has seen to-date, it makes us wonder how poor their packing skills were way back in 2004 during the filming of Long Way Round.

We know the Touratech Panniers and luggage are great for packing a lot of equipment and Rick Peterson may be “The King” of packing an Adventure Motorcycle with a lot of stuff. But just because you have the space available, does not mean you should fill it up. Every extra pound of equipment you bring on an adventure tour is going to affect the handling, gas mileage and overall fun factor of your ride.

We warn you that this video is a bit long as Rick goes through each piece of equipment he likes to bring on Adventure Tours. Items include heavy equipment like a gian Apple Laptop, CDs and multiple backup hard drives for photos. There is also a lot of redundancy including 4 different jackets, 3 hats, 4 types of bug repellent, 4 pairs of gloves… The total load was estimated at about 175lbs of equipment. That is the equivalent of throwing one of your buddies on the back of your bike for the duration of your Adventure Tour. You can imagine what that will do for your handling!

We definitely saw room for improvement in this video when it comes to packing an Adventure Motorcycle. For instance, you could take a small inexpensive Netbook style computer and digitize all of your media. Instead of hard drives, you can take large capacity SD cards which are compact and lightweight. Replace the rear inner tube with a front tube that can be used in either the front or rear tire. Buy spray can products (visor cleaner, chain lube, etc.)  in the smallest can size available. And you can probably get away with just bringing 2 jackets and 1 hat, right?

We have seen useful “How to Pack” an Adventure Motorcycle videos before, but this video seems to fall more towards the “How NOT to Pack” category. The video is not all bad though and we got a few good tips from watching nonetheless.

We liked the Thermolite® Extreme Reactor Sleeping Bag insert Rick recommends. The insert can increase the warmth of your sleeping bag when camping in cold weather. We also liked the idea of using a medicine bottle to hold your change. It can be annoying when loose change bounces around in your pockets or storage boxes while riding.

Check out the video and you may get some interesting ideas about “What to Bring” or “What NOT to Bring” on your next Adventure Tour. Just remember when packing an Adventure Motorcycle the focus should not be on how much you are able to carry, but how much you are able to not carry!

Author: Rob Dabney

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7 thoughts on “Packing An Adventure Motorcycle Long Way Round Style

  1. So true the way these guys packed was a great example of how NOT to load your bike. I see riders throwing everything but the kitchen sink on their bikes and greatly compromising their riding. If you pack smart you’ll be surprised with how little you actually need.

  2. He did not have a candle to hang in the Tent to kill the humidity. Try it, it works. Get them from Bass Pro etc. It is a metal and glass tube to hold the candle so no naked flame. Packs small.

  3. Ok, I loved the series and those guys have both forgotten more about wrenching and bikes than I may ever know, but I do know how to ride. Those bikes were too top heavy and too heavy in general. There is the part where Claudio’s bike breaks and they have to buy him a Russian bike that’s a standard. Suddenly he’s running circles around them! They could have done that trip easier on a lot of bikes, or the bikes they took with about 1/3rd of the gear. As they were struggling so much with the weight of their bikes I kept thinking ‘geeze, my 73 CB350 would go right by that. It looked to me like with luggage and contents they were adding about 250 lbs + 200 lbs for them + 525 for the bike. That’s a 975lb package. No problem when the the road is flat (concrete, dirt, gravel), but when it it isn’t a road anymore you are going to have to fight that bike a lot compared to a smaller, lighter enduro with a lot less gear.

    Still. I very much respect what they did and they did it the way they wanted to do it.

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