Every rider will pack too much on their first tour, it’s natural

It’s very common to pack far too much kit on your first tour, to be honest, I still do it now sometimes. For the majority of us, we are natural worriers and will want to cover ever eventuality, even if that means running out of socks and pants. It’s fine, it’s perfectly normal and this guide will help you decide what you should leave in and what you should take out!

First rule of thumb, if you think you don’t need it, you most probably wont. We have seen clients turn up on tours with fold out chairs on the back of their bikes or even suitcases and panniers. Whilst it’s understandable some riders will want their creature comforts, taking the kitchen sink and toilet roll is, well, maybe a little too extreme. Aim to pack light and learn how to roll your clothes, not only will this prevent creases but it can save a lot of space and make finding items of clothing relatively easy.


  • It depends on the tour, but lets just say for example you are heading off on a 14 day tour to the Alps with Guided Motorbike Tours Ltd you’d want to be comfortable, of course but most riders arrive home having only used half of what they took.
  • You will find things like socks and pants can easily last two days, likewise (unless the weather is sweltering) you can make t-shirts easily last two days. If needs be, just take a small travel size bottle of detergent and wash them by hand half way through the tour. On many tours there are rest days, it may pay to check with the tour guide to find out if their are laundry services at the rest day hotel.
  • Don’t be tempted to pack 12 pairs of shoes. You may need a pair of trainers, a pair of flip flops or sandals and that’s about it, unless you plan on going mountain climbing
  • One waterproof lightweight jacket will keep you dry if you’re off the bike. A lightweight, warm mid layer fleece will keep your warm on or off the bike.
  • A pair of shorts and one pair of trousers, if you can, get a pair with zip off legs. It’s not as if you’re going to be going to the casino every night
  • Pack a battery power pack for your phone
  • SD Cards for your cameras
  • Spare pair of gloves in case you loose yours (now a legal requirement in some countries to wear gloves)
  • Chargers and cables
  • Medication – such as prescriptions, pain killers, heartburn tablets, anti histamine etc
  • Spectacles – A spare pair if you need them for riding
  • Paperwork – Insurance, V5, Passport, Licence, NHIC card etc
  • Hi-Viz vest (legal requirement in Europe)
  • Spare bulbs (if not LED) – legal requirement
  • Money!
  • Credit or debit card

When all is said and done, it’s impossible to advise anyone on everything they should pack. We are all individual and our needs vary from person to person but our best advice is to roll your clothes, don’t take it if you think you don’t need it and just make sure you have the important stuff, like passport etc. Anything else, no matter where you are in the world, can be pretty much bought on route.

Download a free packing list guide –¬†GMT Motorcycle Touring kit guide