21 most useful tools/things from my travels

Motorcyclists are limited to how much they can take with them on the road. But we always seem to find room for the most useful things.
Here were some of the things I was glad I made room for:

1. Headlamp – Perfect for guiding you back from your outdoor bathroom to the tent and for shining into shadows on your bike to inspect problems. Also great to strap onto a water bottle to use as a lantern or for “painting” objects in photography. Hang it from a tree or handlebars or the peak of your tent to use as a small lantern or spotlight.
2. Lip balm – You wouldn’t believe how dry and cracked your lips can get from the sun baking in your visor or from the high altitude dehydration that will dry you out.
3. Collapsible sink (mine was a 5-liter Sea to Summit) – Used for many batches of dishes, laundry, hauling water to put out a fire or to wash the bikes with.

4. Buff – Great for keeping out dust and bugs when tucked into your jacket and your helmet. Cools you off when you soak it in water and warms you a little when it’s cold. Can be used to hold your hair back or as a pony tail holder or to wrap something in to protect it if needed.

5. Multi-tool (mine was a Gerber) – Great for chopping veggies for dinner, tightening a screw or sawing kindling for a fire.

6. Re-sealable plastic bags – Kept things wet, kept things dry, kept things organized, kept things clean…I took a dozen liter-size and a half dozen 4-liter-size. In Central America, I sealed some electronics in one with uncooked rice when the humidity starting playing havoc with them.

7. Mini business cards (from Moo) to share with other travelers – https://www.moo.com/us/
8. Stickers (from Sticker Mule) to paste on hostel windows and at borders…not very environmentally friendly of me, I know. – http://www.stickermule.com/

9. Air compressor (Slime) – And it was well-used with all the sand and gravel which we aired down for and aired up after.
10. Wet wipes – Used to clean surfaces, myself, dishes, all sorts of things…
11. Cell phone case and mountain bike handlebar mount ( Lifeproof ) – I used my cell phone as a gps from time to time and had it handy for photos, checking Pocket Earth, etc. my iPhone only survived the 45,000 miles of the trip because of the case.
12. Ortlieb waterproof duffel bag – That thing was indestructible and never leaked once in two full years of dust, sun, rain and cold. I cinched it down right each day and the bag never wore at all in the spots that were under the straps. It was amazing. My laptop and I will be eternally grateful.
13.Rok Straps – Which held my bag onto the back rack as tightly as could be. I never removed the straps to store them. So they baked in the sun and withstood the elements for two full years and then some.
14. MSR foldable spatula – much better for flipping things than my titanium sport ever could be.
15. Slender thermos – Perfect for keeping water cold. More environmentally friendly than buying plastic bottles if there is potable water to refill it with. And great for keeping soup or coffee warm until you take a break.
16. Heated gloves (Gerbing) – I had a heated jacket too but didn’t use it half as much as the gloves. It’s amazing how cold your hands can get at altitude.
17. Platypus collapsible water bottle – great space saver and very useful.

18. Duct tape and WD40 – for things that are loose and shouldn’t be, and things that are tight which shouldn’t be. The latter is also good for spraying onto bike parts to protect them from moisture. (Technically this puts me at 22 things)

19.Paracord (10 meters) – used as a clothesline mostly or for using a ground cloth for shade. But useful for so many things.

20. 3-to-2 prong adapter – This less-than-a-buck hardware store goody worked to allow me to plug in my charger that had a grounding pin into outlets that would not take them, and later a friend bent the two flat prongs at opposing angles to allow me to use it as an adapter in Argentina.

21. Pen and paper – Endlessly useful. Ie. Making yourself a little exchange rate cheat sheet, jotting notes for your diary in the middle of a ride day, leaving thank yous for whomever…

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  1. Stickers are essential it spread cheer encouragement and colour. Environmentally friendly pfffft…:D

  2. Nice list Michelle, I have a number of those on my list too but not all. Then again I haven’t travelled half as far as you on two wheels either. Cheers, Mike.

  3. This is valuable information right there, thank you so much for sharing!

  4. Great list. It’s amazing how little you actually need for a long trip and the variety of uses you can find for things with a little ingenuity. It’s surprising to find how un useful things are that you thought you couldn’t do without. My list grows a little shorter with each trip.

  5. The list is great. I like to think with a minimalist mindset too and its amazing what we can generally do without. Its our first world problems πŸ™‚

  6. This is really useful information to Travelers!! I travel to many place but forget to bring useful tools like above. I will keep this on my mind by now/

    Thanks for letting us know.

    Great blog with useful information.

    Keep travelling,

    Kathmandu, Nepal

  7. i have traveled to many places but always forget what to bring, useful tools. I found this blog very useful for me. I will keep on my mind now with these useful tools to bring during travelling.

    Thanks for the information. Cheers

    Keep travelling, keep writing.


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