Our Travel Bag

I'll take that to go, please.

What should you pack when you hit the road? How many road trips does it take to learn how to pack just the right stuff? Well, I've taken hundreds of two-wheeled tours and I still find myself ducking into truck stops for just the right doo-dad. Even when you've learned what to bring, it doesn't always make it in the bag.

We do have a basic rule around here, though, and that's never touch the core kit. When ex-editor Friedman left Motorcycle Cruiser for all-things-virtual he took the magazine's "magic bag" with him and we were left to fashion another package of touring essentials. We think we've made some improvements.

We started with a medium-sized tailpack--a box-shaped Cordura bag with built-in bungee hooks so it can be shackled to any machine we happen to head out of town on. Our latest tote is Roadgear's Sport Tail Bag ($90, 800/854-4327), which also comes in wee and whopper sizes. We keep a seat pad (Roho's Airhawk's, 800/850-ROHO) nestled in the bottom to cushion our goodies, and bums, as needed. All the rest of the loot is divided into zippered Cordura bags (Aerostich, 800/222-1994) and Ziplock-like plastic bags so the bulk can be separated and split into saddlebags if we decide to pick up a hitchhiker or grandfather clock en route.

Inside our bag you'll find three items from Cruz Tools (888/909-8664), a basic metric tool kit, electrical kit and tire repair kit. We rarely use them for major roadside repairs, but they're worth their weight in trade for peace of mind. Same with the fish tank siphon we tote in case we run out of fuel. We always carry bandannas and clean rags, cable ties, duct tape, extra earplugs and bungee cords, a first-aid kit, hand-cleaner wipes, sunscreen and lip balm, a pocket tool with pliers and screwdrivers, a spare bike key, set of plugs and fuses, supplementary faceshield, tire gauge, bottle of water, flashlight, rainsuit and a handgun. Kidding. The maps, cell phone, GPS, hand-held computer and folding picnic table all get thrown in at the last minute. These are the staples that stay in the bag without fail. It doesn't mean you won't be visiting Wal-Mart for that extra sweatshirt when the temperature plummets, but you'll definitely be ahead of the pack.

Jamie Elvidge

Elvidge with some of her travel staples.