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My husband and I just took a 2,700 mile tour through Washington, Oregon and California. Me on my wee-strom, and he on his Moto Guzzi Quota 1100. Of all those miles, we did about 100 total on the "super slab". The other 2,600 miles were twisty backroads along the ocean, over the mountains, through fog, cold, blazing sun and heat, shadowy Redwoods, vast swarms of gnats and aphids, and more. We camped for 2 weeks.

There are a few things we had along for this trip that are relatively new in our lives, and we were so pleased with those items I felt them worthy of their own post of must-haves for touring. Your mileage may vary.

1. Armored mesh jackets. :thumbup: What an amazing invention! Many of our days went from high 50s and very foggy in the mornings to mid 80s and dry in the afternoons. Before we bought the mesh, we'd been considering taking two jackets each to accommodate the changing weather situations. I found us both Joe Rocket mesh jackets on newenough.com for way below list price. They're armored, with zip-out wind and rain liners that do a bang-up job. In the heat, we were cool and air-conditioned as the wind passed through us. I also felt less torso buffeting with the air moving through the jackets.

2. Pinlock anti-fog visor inserts. :thumbup: Both my husband and I have used Fog City visor liners for many years, as we're both year-round commuters in Seattle and defogging is absolutely vital when sitting in rush-hour traffic in a downpour. :thumbdown: I had read about the advantages of the Pinlocks over the Fog Citys, and the 3 that struck me most before AND after purchase are the durability of the Pinlock (easy to clean without scratching), the simple swap-ability of the Pinlock (we each took clear, yellow, and dark tinted inserts with us) and the incredible optical clarity of the Pinlock. Riding through the redwoods at sunset, headed West on Highway 1, visibility was greatly hindered by the alternating sun/shade/sun. Both my husband and I vastly enjoy a "spirited" ride in the twisties, to say the least, and after running the old Fog Citys for the last 6 years I am confident I would NOT have been able to see clearly through that product. The Pinlock's optical clarity is every bit as good as prescription glasses, for me. We had fog almost every morning on our trip, and rode through great fluffy suspended clouds along the coast. We didn't ride in any rain on our tour to test out the Pinlock in a downpour, but the cold fog was enough to have us bundled in all our layers, all vents closed, visors tightly in place. I could see the perfect edge of fog all around my Pinlock insert in the helmet, it was obvious I would have been blind on many incredible mountain roads without that product.

3. Highway cruiser pegs. :thumbup: I have the SW Motech engine guards, and was able to pick up some cheap chrome *wince* :buttpirate: highway pegs to bolt on the horizontal bars on my guards. They didn't fit as optimally as promised on the package, so we tried using a bit of inner tube to get them mounted tight. When that failed, my husband fabricated a little metal tab that sticks out and rests on the vertical bars of the engine guards. This stopped them from rotating down. When your fuel range is well over 200 miles and you don't want to stop because the riding is so good, there is nothing quite like pushing against some different footpegs, stretching legs and wiggling butt, without having to stop.

4. A sheepskin butt pad. :thumbup: I use an alaskaleather.com Deluxe on my seat. It kept my seat warm in the cold, and cool when parked in the sun. It's almost an inch thick and so does sit me up a bit higher, but that's fine for me as I have a short torso and I run a Givi Tall windscreen in the lowest setting on my 'strom. My butt never got sore, our whole trip!

5. Thermarest sleeping pads. :thumbup:OK, that's not a bike/gear component, but DAMN it makes a huge difference for tenting. No morning soreness, and no cold air in an air mattress. We actually use the REI house brand knock-offs, 3.5 model self-inflating, with the lashing straps to hold two together so we don't slip apart in the night.

6. Tool Tubes. :thumbup: Strangely enough, we don't keep tools in ours. We both carry full tools at all times (as well as first aid, tire repair, and a towel of course), so outfitting ourselves for our tour didn't require the addition of much of anything in the way of hardware. We have found a Sigg metal water bottle fits perfectly in the Tool Tube. When touring, it's annoying to have to dig to get to your water at a stop. Having water in the Tool Tube was almost too easy. We used them at every stop, and made other bikers grin at the ingenuity. The Tube would also hold a fuel canister perfectly, for those REALLY LONG backroad tours.

7. Last but not least... a journal. This was my first trip journaling the happenings every day, and I found it both relaxing and very fun to recap the day's events with my best friend and #1 riding partner. In areas where we rode with other bikers, I got their input on the happenings as well. I tend to write long, personal ride reports (sorry) and the journal has been vital to remembering where and when things happened.

What are your touring must-haves?



 

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Thanks for the detailed report about the Pinlocks. I'll keep that in mind ... I live in the same rainforest as you, fighting the same battles.

Cheers -d
 

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What are your touring must-haves?
Time and money.

I'm self-employed and never seem to have the opportunity to enjoy them simulaneously.

My wife (best friend and favorite riding partner) and I just got back from an extended Labor Day jaunt and found it difficult to turn into our driveway at the end of the trip.

Cheers,

Norm
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Thanks for the detailed report about the Pinlocks. I'll keep that in mind ... I live in the same rainforest as you, fighting the same battles.

Cheers -d
David, upon further "research" I would have to say the yellow insert is my favorite for overcast days. The amplified light is awesome, and it only takes my brain a second to compensate for the color difference.

Do you ever make it to Backfire Nights in Ballard? I see a lot of 'Stroms down there, and usually try to introduce myself to other 'Strom riders if I notice them. I know I've met at least 2 'strommers at Backfire, just wondering if you're one of them. :eek:)
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Time and money.

I'm self-employed and never seem to have the opportunity to enjoy them simulaneously.

My wife (best friend and favorite riding partner) and I just got back from an extended Labor Day jaunt and found it difficult to turn into our driveway at the end of the trip.

Cheers,

Norm
Sounds like you two have a similar dynamic to my husband and I - ah, the magic of a best-friend-and-fave-riding-partner who you also get to to sleep with!

I would speculate self-employment has the same need as any other career... scheduled time off. Work on that!

Funny thing, my other friend Norm (F650GS rider) also signs his emails to me as "Cheers, Norm".
 

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Looks like a nice trip, wish I had the time to do that. I have a question. Which shade visor did you prefer? I am interested in the pinlock shield and visor and I am thinking either amber or yellow. I ride in a lot of cold rain in the winter, sometimes fog, during my morning commute which is before sunrise, but with well lit urban fwy's. I am thinking the amber or yellow would be better over the clear in these situations. What is your opinion between the clear and yellow? I will probably carry an extra shield without insert and just swap them before the afternoon commute. The fog/humidity usually burns off by noon here in the winter. Thanks,

Kevin
 

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"Cheers, Norm".
That's actually an inside joke with some business assocates: Years ago when the TV show "Cheers" aired on Thursaday nights on NBC, my name would get called out when I walked into certain offices. Yes, I'm that old.
 

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I would speculate self-employment has the same need as any other career... scheduled time off. Work on that!
If I need time off, I put the phone on ignore. There's no other way.

I like your list. New for me in essential gear this summer is a 2 liter Camelback. I don't know how I did without it for so long.
 

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Boy, am i jealous.
I like your gear review. I just got my pinlock (HJC CL-16) and love it except I used a cheap paper towel at work (the rough brown kind) to clean it and scratched the bejebers out of it. Still functional. Just be careful.
The new mattress pad by _______ (can't remember who makes it) is awsome. Got to try one out at Gander Mnt. It's only $170.00!!!!! but is lighter
and actually a little more comfy than the self inflating. It will only go down to about 35-40 degrees though.
What is the other motorcycle in the pictures (red one). I tried to read the letters on the tank and it looked like "Kabota". Could that be?????
Just bought my son a Joe Rocked jacket like yours with the liner. How cold can you go with it with
say a flannel shirt underneath????
 

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Discussion Starter #10
Boy, am i jealous.
I like your gear review. I just got my pinlock (HJC CL-16) and love it except I used a cheap paper towel at work (the rough brown kind) to clean it and scratched the bejebers out of it. Still functional. Just be careful.
The new mattress pad by _______ (can't remember who makes it) is awsome. Got to try one out at Gander Mnt. It's only $170.00!!!!! but is lighter
and actually a little more comfy than the self inflating. It will only go down to about 35-40 degrees though.
What is the other motorcycle in the pictures (red one). I tried to read the letters on the tank and it looked like "Kabota". Could that be?????
Just bought my son a Joe Rocked jacket like yours with the liner. How cold can you go with it with
say a flannel shirt underneath????
Thanks for the scratch warning on Pinlock - after all those years with the very light Fog Citys, I'm very cautious of cleaning regimes!

My REI brand "thermarest" was only $80! Hope yours is twice as comfy for twice the money!

The red bike is my husband's 2000 Moto Guzzi Quota 1100. They were only imported to the US for one year. It was Guzzi's answer to the BMW GS. It's very hairy-chested and a torque monster. My husband is a die hard Guzzi guy, I think it's a contagious disease... :yesnod:

As for the mesh jacket with the liner in, and just a flannel shirt, I would estimate I PERSONALLY could ride in the high 50s for a sustained period. I'm sure your son's experience will be different. I say that because I am hot blooded, well acclimated to cool temperatures (in fact I can't cope with heat at all), and rather "busty" which leaves me with two heated sweater puppies inside my jacket. :mrgreen: Let's just say my torso doesn't get cold unless we're doing sustained riding in sub-freezing temps. It's my ass that freezes off.
 

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Discussion Starter #11
If I need time off, I put the phone on ignore. There's no other way.

I like your list. New for me in essential gear this summer is a 2 liter Camelback. I don't know how I did without it for so long.
Thank you! Do you drink out of your Camelback WHILE you are riding? Does it fit over your jacket?
 

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Looks like a nice trip, wish I had the time to do that. I have a question. Which shade visor did you prefer? I am interested in the pinlock shield and visor and I am thinking either amber or yellow. I ride in a lot of cold rain in the winter, sometimes fog, during my morning commute which is before sunrise, but with well lit urban fwy's. I am thinking the amber or yellow would be better over the clear in these situations. What is your opinion between the clear and yellow? I will probably carry an extra shield without insert and just swap them before the afternoon commute. The fog/humidity usually burns off by noon here in the winter. Thanks,

Kevin
Hi Kevin, did you see my other post about the yellow Pinlock? It's my favorite, and it's perfect for overcast days. I have somewhat poor night vision and I have not found it bad to ride with after dark (both in the morning before work, and a late-night jaunt). I *think* the amber would be a little darker than the yellow, so I'd still lean toward the yellow.

No need to carry a spare visor. For the same amount of energy as swapping visors, you can either just pop out the Pinlock and slip it in it's sleeve (just a cardboard info sheet from Pinlock) and throw it in your bag, or swap to your clear if you need it. For me, now that I'm fog-free I vastly enjoy singing loudly in my helmet and keeping my visor closed at every stoplight... I think I'm spoiled... I don't want to ride without it, even if it's not foggy and rainy out! :thumbup:
 

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Sarah, thanks for the reply. I see your other post now, somehow I missed it. This is the first I heard of the pinlock shield when I seen your post. I have an HJC helmet and the shields swap real easy, at least for me anyway. I have done a little research and some people say that you have to be careful when installing it to make sure you get a good seal where the silicone on the insert meets the shield to insure an airtight seal. That is why I figured I would leave it, and just swap out shields if I need to. I might just have to experiment with it. Also it looks like yellow will be the way to go, since it will be either dark or overcast when I am using it. I have tried some yellow driving glasses and I like them for driving in hazy, foggy conditions.
 

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I had heard of the pinlock system and reading your experiences with them has convinced me to go ahead and order a pinlock ready shield and inserts for my Shoei. I love that helmet but the fogging I experience in the rain is absolutely horrible. I hope this helps.
 

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Great List.

I'm soon to go on a 10 day trip to the Barber Museum along the Blue Ridge Pkwy/Appalachians and suspect a pin-lock will be good for my Shoei RF-1100 as I go up and down in elevations.

I just bought a Thermarest (Prolite Plus)and have an awesome Olympia mesh jacket. I have hwy pegs made by Hepco Becker which look good and have rubber grips on them to keep my feet from slipping. I also have a dual saddle Sheepskin from Alaska Leather, but I find that even with it and my gel seat, I get a bit sore after a few hours.. So I just bought a cheapo gel insert to go underneath the sheepskin... hopefully it works well. I also have one of those farm tractor tool tubes, which I use to store some clean cloths and my chain lube.

I do not have a journal, nor have I ever used one... Great idea that helps to add a bit more context to the photo's. I'm also wondering how the camelback works with gear on...

For me, another touring must have includes my 20GB mp3 player with my Etymotic ER6i earphones (which also double as earplugs when no music is playing)
 

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Thank you! Do you drink out of your Camelback WHILE you are riding? Does it fit over your jacket?
Yes and yes. My jackets are 3XL and 4XL.

This one: Amazon.com: Camelbak Classic 70 Oz Hydration Pack: Sports & Outdoors

BTW, your endorsement for Pinlock, especially the comparison to FogCity, inspired me to buy a setup for the Shoei helmet that's been sitting on the shelf here (new) for three years. My best friend bought the helmet, and then went and died before he got to wear it. :cry: It's my size.
 

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The new mattress pad by _______ (can't remember who makes it) is awsome. Got to try one out at Gander Mnt. It's only $170.00!!!!! but is lighter
Exped? I bought a Thermarest NeoAir this year. It packs to the size of a can of Fosters and is at least as comfortable as my older Thermarest.
 

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Well, now that we've given Pinlock their fair shake...

What are your touring must-haves?
1. Flashlight. This one item will make you king of the hill when no one else has their own.
2. Antacid. Eating "right" whilst on the road is important; this is also when the temptation to sample the local fare is at its highest. GI issues are never fun, so stop them before they begin. Antacids are part of my larger rescue pill inventory (all OTC).
3. Book (singular). Touring is hopefully a very social event for us, but there's always going to be quiet time in the tent or hotel/motel room. Reading a chapter or two at the end of a busy day can be a great way to decompress. Justifies carrying item #1.
4. Synthetic undergarments. They can be washed in the sink and they dry quickly. Properly sized, they won't chafe.
4a. Synthetic wardrobe. Hi-performance garments are awesome. Granted, they have a sometimes-high price (coughAerostitchcough).
5. GPS. Provides priceless peace of mind.
6. Camera. No explanation should be necessary here.
7. Extra cash hidden on motorcycle. Same reason as #6.
8. Tool kit designed to your own needs and specs.
9. Rain suit, if your regular gear won't cut it in heavy precipitation.
10. Eye drops.
11. Toilet paper, 1 roll, Scott's, compressed.
12. Hydration pack. Water is life.

It's easy for this list to go on and on. I've tried to limit my suggestions to those items that possess obvious functionality, and/or would be sorely missed if I had to do without any of them. I consider these items akin to chainsaws - when you really need one, nothing else will do (e.g., #11).

TM
 

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I am both a sea kayaker and motorcyclist and discovered years ago that my thin Neoprene kayaking gloves are excellent rain gloves on the bike. Store away the leather gloves when it starts to rain and they stay dry (they take a notoriously long time to dry out and are often very stiff and hard when they do).
The Neoprene gloves allow your hands to get wet but hold a very thin layer of water against your skin which acts like insulation. This only works on a bike to a certain temperature of course but your hands stay warm in surprisingly low temps.
They dry out very quickly. And they take up next to no space in your saddlebags.

I now own waterproof, leather gloves but find them bulky. I still prefer to wear the neoprene gloves if at all possible.

They are also sold in places like Gander Mountain for hunters.
 

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Just to add about hydration packs:

Yes you can use them while riding, they work great! Mine has a bite valve, and the hose can be routed over either shoulder, so it goes over my left shoulder.

While riding, I can easily grab the hose with my left hand and shove it under the lip of my helmet. Then it's bite and suck a la Dracula.
Spit it out the hose when you're done.

I've also traveled with it lashed to my gear on the passenger seat. You can loosen up the hose for more slack, and I stuff the bite valve into my pocket to keep it from dangling. It's a little more labor intense but still worth it.

Pack with ice to keep it cold all day.

It's nice to get a shot of cold water when you start to zone, it wakes me up.

I paid $20, well worth the money. And I've actually used it for the intended use of hiking, it's great for that too.
 
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