Motorcycle Tips and tricks: An evolving column of wisdom

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Tips and Tricks for Motorcyclists


A monthly column of selected favorites from our vast archive.


What about panty hose?
Fact or fallacy - panty hose will warm you up? It's a fact. However for several reasons they are not the go to base layer. For starters, most wool or synthetic base layers will help you retain body heat better than a pair of panty hose. Should you go down and burn through your outer layer, the panty hose will melt to your flesh. Not easy to remove when you get to the ER. And finally, some of you guys are gonna look pretty funny standing in line with motorcycle gear on, buying a pair of panty hose. Get real and carry some real base layers.

Storage sacks
There are a wide variety of storage sacks on the market these days. Stuff sacks, dry bags, TPU pouches, ditty bags, mesh sacks and more abound. Take some time during the off-season to lay out all your gear and decide which bags are the best to stow collectives of items into. There are many ultra-light bags on the market today which save weight and space, but can wear easily if bumping around in hard cases, so be sure your choices are sturdy enough to handle how each collective of items will be stowed.

Maps & apps - The more the better!
For initial trip planning, 10 maps are better than 1. Large state atlases can reveal a lot about a region, noting significant and lesser known features, as well as alternate roads to get you off of the beaten track. Travel guide books and of course the internet can help you know what’s in store when it comes to lodging and where to eat. The deeper you dig ahead of time, the better your trip is likely to be when you take it. When it comes time to roll, dial your on-board arsenal down to a single map or two, insert your final route into a tank bag or GPS and by now, you’ll probably have a travel guide you want to carry and know the apps you want to access when you’re out and about.

Indefinite gear collection
As you map out your unique packing list of things to bring on the next tour, think of it as an all conclusive list of things you would carry as it you were to be gone for an indefinite period of time. How many changes of clothes do you really need, can you handle all level one and level two service situations, are you ready for any kind of weather and so on? It’s your list, make it complete and modify it at least annually if not more often.

Earplugs that rumble
You’ll often see a vendor or two at a motorcycle show who will fill your ears with goo and create a set of custom fitted ear plugs. While the idea sounds good, the reality is the finished product isn’t as effective as store bought higher rated foam plugs. Most custom plugs only do a decibel reduction in the 20’s, while better foam plugs will reduce noise 30 db or higher. The other issue with custom molds is how they thump around in your ears. If you hit a pothole, or like to ride off-pavement, you’ll be contending with a lot of excessive noise being created right in your ear canal. Our advice – go with the foam and replace as needed.

Packing Light, Packing RightTips and Tricks is a monthly column created by our editors and readers alike. If you have a tip or trick you'd like to share, email it to If we use it, we'll send you a copy of The Sound RIDER! guide to Packing Light, Packing Right - FREE!



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