What worked, and a few things that didn’t

Grandpa’s old adage “Take care of your gear and your gear will take care of you” might be ancient but it still rings true today. Operation Numbnuts was a perfect excuse for all of us to upgrade gear, and try new set-ups, and the length of the trip and conditions encountered exposed some favorites as well as a couple of duds.

There is a point where you can simply have too much stuff. Knowing where to draw the line between what’s realistic and what’s not isn’t always easy. Especially when you’ve got a big trip planned and a variety of conditions to ride through and camp in.

I always like to lay all my gear out on the ground a few nights before any significant trip. Once laid out, it’s easier to see if I’ve duplicated anything, and what’s missing and then pull out the items that seem redundant or not essential.

Certain things are always in my kit, like a tarp, which can be used for shelter, shade, stretcher, or myriad other uses. Tools and spare parts are of course an absolute necessity. Coordinating a little with your riding buddies means you don’t all have to bring multiple versions of the same tool. A quick-access multitool and the ability to charge a phone from your bike make life easier.

It’s amazing how stripped-down a kit gets after a few days on the road. All the bullshit you imagined needing becomes more obvious, as does the stuff you forgot! The trick is remembering that the next time you pack. I keep a list on my phone just for reference.

Field stripping is an old military and backpacking technique that makes life simpler and your kit lighter. Delete anything you don’t need. Put hygiene stuff into smaller containers or at least buy small travel-size portions. There is zero reasons to show up on a motorcycle with an 18-ounce bottle of sunscreen when a 3-ounce tube will suffice. Whiskey and weed travel better than beer and don’t require ice.

Camp chairs have gotten lighter and more compact and upgrade the comfort level by keeping you off the ground. A cheap, rechargeable inflation pump is a sweet upgrade when you’ve got an air mattress to blow up every night.

Clothes are a matter of preference. I like to start the trip with a couple worn-out t-shirts and after a couple of days in one, wipe down the bike and toss it. Cheap new ones picked up during the trip make great mementos. Socks and underwear are really the only things to keep multiples of and don’t be afraid of doing a little soapless laundry in a stream or hotel sink.

Whatever you do, put a little thought into it and try to recall what worked and what didn’t on the last trip. The last thing you wanna do is be “that guy” who’s always gotta borrow something because you didn’t think ahead. (BTW, we don't get paid for affiliate links or any of that junk, these are just personal recommendations based on our experience.)

Gear Guide
1. BILTWELL CAMP MUG: Such a simple device with many uses. Great for holding easy-to-lose hardware while working on the bike, or mixing up a whiskey drink or breakfast oatmeal – our easy-to-clean, enamel camp cup always comes through.
2. BIG AGNES WYOMING TRAIL 2: Neither cheap, light, or fast to set up, this clever tent is made for a luxurious “garage” to work on the bike while it was dumping rain, or just a chill spot to make a pot of coffee out of the weather.
3. JET BOIL STOVEOtto won’t leave home without it. Whether used for oatmeal, coffee, or a dehydrated camp meal, the Jet Boil system can’t be beaten for size, durability, or speed.
4. FOLDING SLEEPING PADThis thing sucked for sleeping but made a good backrest to lean back on and provided a dry spot to sit in camp or while working on the bike. Otherwise, not recommended.

Gear Guide
5. GEN 2 EXFIL-0 TOOL ROLL: This is super secret but I was able to test out the redesigned EXFIL-0 tool roll and it was awesome. It was unfortunate how many times I needed to use my tool kit but the fact I had room for all my tools and hardware kept me moving down the road.
6. THOROGOOD BOOTS: These waterproof 8-inch work boots worked flawlessly keeping my feet dry and warm the entire trip.
7. CHATTERBOX X2slimP: This was a great addition that allowed me to listen to music as well as communicate with other members of our team.


Gear Guide
8. FENIX E12 FLASHLIGHT: Fenix E12 double-A flashlight always on my person coupled with that Whiteknuckler knife meant no charcuterie was safe from me, whether by day or night. 
9. ELEMENT FIRE EXTINGUISHER: The Element fire extinguisher stick is my go-to now after seeing so many bikes catch fire. They travel quite well. The Air Hawk seat pad is great on all bikes, so I ran one.
10. DARN TOUGHDarn Tough socks have been great to me for years. Kalen turned me onto SmartWool undergarments and it’s all I run now. 
11. ROK STRAPSRokStraps are possibly the best all-weather tie-downs, so these are a must-have.


Gear Guide
1. HARLEY GEAR: My Harley-Davidson Passage Adventure Jacket, Quest riding pants, and Gravel boots were all top-notch. Adding the @ventureheat jacket liner to the mix was a life changer. I’ve been running heated gear since 2005, but this piece was SO GOOD. The built-in remote was the icing on the cake. 
2. BIG AGNES SLEEPING BAGFirst time cold(ish) weather camping that I didn’t wake up cold a single time. 
3. MOTION PRO BEAD BREAKERSMotion Pro bead breaker/tire spoons. Don’t leave home without ‘em!