I am interested in this as well. It will be good to see what the other folks say. I have seen the suggestion of a camel back or like products for long hours on the road. I wonder how many riders actually do that?
a nice rain suit, gloves, and comfortable shoes/boots with gators to go over them in case it rains. Sunglasses and clear lenses as well. I would buy a ProPad seat cover even if you change the stock seat to varry up your ride a little. I wouldn't worry about a camel back, just carry a few bottled drinks with you since you will be stopping every so often to get gas and stretch. I dont have a back rest on my seat so I bought a Kuryakyn Tombstone backrest/bag. You lean up against it when you sit and the other side leans against your sissy bar, it is like a lazyrider but instead of going against your lower back, it hits your back slightly lower than your shoulders. I did a 1000 mile Iron Butt ride and it was the best purchase I have made for my ride. It also carries quite a bit of stuff and retains its shape when empty. Good luck!
What everyone else suggested and I would just add, detachable saddlebags. They're great, you pull into your hotel for the night, unclip your bags and carry all your gear into the room. The only tool I carry besides the one that came with the bike is a good tire gauge (RodGear digital). I won't ever be changing tires on the side of the road and your Vulcan won't burn any oil so don't bother carrying a spare quart either. I packed a spare quart for the past 3 years and haven't needed it yet, so now I just use the extra space.
If you mean hot summer then rain and cold shouldn't be an issue so a perforated vented leather jacket and pants set up would be the best. I wear Sidi On Road boots on the bike and at work on days I ride in and they're comfortable and well padded. A full face helmet and some vented leather gloves should do it for riding gear.
The rest of what you pack depends on what you're going to do when you're off the bike, so shorts and sandles or hiking boots and a few shirts should do along with the obvious toothbrush and razor, clean drawers (in case you have to go to the hospital), spare spectacles or perscription meds you may need.
I usually carry some baby wipes and a few bandaids and some kind of antibacterial ointment as well. The trick is to pare down to just what you think you need, then take half of that. Other than that, a cell phone and a credit card should cover anything else that comes up
I love my tank bag with map pocket -- and inside I always have a spare faceshield (and extra latch screws) protected in an old heavy wool boot sock, spare gloves and bandana, along with a tube of sunscreen, a tube of handcleaner, a few pair of disposable vinyl gloves and a roll of toilet paper in a ziplock bag, a ball cap and spare earplugs.
Don't forget a mini maglite and headband to hold it. Of course you need a leatherman tool and tire guage. I carry a tire repair kit (the red sticky rope kind works best on tubeless tires -- the plugs don't hold up and harm the tire. Tire irons and the classic patches and/or spare tube for tube-types) and miniature 12v air pump.
CamelBack for under the jacket to stay hydrated is a MUST. For hot weather travel, I find a mesh jacket and an evaporative vest is like magic here in the low humidity intermountain west.
Add superglue to your first aid kit -works better than stitches for closing deep cuts and is GREAT for cracked nails).
I carry a few motorcycle specific tie down straps (like Helen TwoWheels sells) and soft tie anchors and a bungee net (available from any WalMart). A foldable soft cooler comes in handy more often than you'd think.
Kawasaki offers an optional roadside assistance program as part of their Riders of Kawasaki (ROK) group program...something I wished I had when I broke down on my Vulcan in Erie PA last summer, but hey I won't go there. Shameless, but not forgotten plug for the folks at Cycle City in Erie, who were super helpful in sending out a tow and helping get the needed parts for me (ironically enough from Canada where I had come from). Thanks guys!
Depending on how far you plan on riding in a day and how many days in a row, Anti-Monkey Butt supplies: LDComfort or UnderArmor shorts & Gold Bond for riding, and hydrocortisone cream at night. Frequent stops help greatly even if they are only for 5 min. every hour to hour and a half. Summer heat & sweaty cotton underwear makes this much worse.
Mesh or well-ventilated jacket for protection & cooling. Summer heat plus breeze from riding acts like a blast furnace and will dehydrate you quickly. Riding in T-shirt can be worse if temps radiating off the road are higher than your skin temps....covering up actually keeps you cooler. Drink plenty of water & put sunscreen on exposed parts.
I did a 1700 mile trip in August with 95 deg. days, so learned some of this the hard way. Later did a 2400 miler using suggestions above, and was much more comfortable doing about 375-400 miles a day.
My wife and I did a 1500 mile loop from SLC to the Grand Canyon and Monument Valley last spring.
If you are going to high altitiudes make sure you have warm gear in addition to rain gear. Aside from that all we took was a couple changes of clothes, toiletries and a digital camera. We did it with a tank bag, my old leather saddlebags and a small trunk. Staying in motels makes it so much easier than trying to carry camping gear. I have no idea why people think they need all that crap you find on a Gold Wing, UltrGlide, or K1200LT. May as well take an Accord.
The day I think I need all that crap is the day to pick up a shovel and start digging me new accomodations.
Good clothes (I have the Darien Jacket and Pants) greatly enhance comfort all day in the weather. Throttle Rocker, Crampbuster or a nice Kuryaken throttle lock make the long miles a breeze on your wrist. The throttle rocker/crampbuster type lets you use the heel of your hand to hold the throttle open so you can relax your grip. I am never without mine.
I also agree that a cell phone and a credit card will get you through most of the unfortunate problems. A tire plugger repair kit is easy to pack and has gotten me home too.
Stopping every so often to rehydrate and stretch is probably the best touring advice I have found. Helps that my Vmax needs fuel a little more often than most.
Other than that, I have a a 2-way radio in my helmet that also connects to a pocket stereo that I wouldn't travel without. Makes the miles so much more enjoyable.
All good suggestions, I would emphasize if you know how to use a tire plugger then buy one at Walmart and pack it, this has saved me twice. Also don't take your whole wallet with the dept store credit cards, business cards from people you met in a bar 20 years ago, etc...yank out just your driver's license, insurance card, and the credit card you are going to use for the trip leave the rest. cheers
GPS is very handy and will give you confidence to take the road less traveled. Also, attach any emergency medical information to your body where it can readily be spotted and reviewed. Put notification info in your Contacts file on your cell phone.
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