Dual Sport Adventures Find the Coolest Views

There is nothing quite like heading out into the wilderness on an adventure ride. From asphalt to dirt, dual sport motorcycles can take you just about anywhere you want to go, and allow you to see things most people don’t ever take the chance to see. However, living and camping off of your bike for an adventure ride takes some practice to perfect.

Learning how to pack for an adventure ride is an adventure in itself. It usually consists of making a list of everything you need, then whittling that down to what you think you can’t go without to fit the available space on your bike. Just like anything worth figuring out, packing takes a few rounds of trial and error to get right; to discover what you REALLY need on a ride and what you probably could have left behind. Of course, discovering what you really need on a ride often comes from not having it when you could have used it most – items you may never have considered otherwise.

Ray, Eric and Justin on an Adventure Ride

We decided to ask three of our most experienced adventure riders here at Rocky Mountain ATV/MC the following question: What are three things you didn’t know you needed when you first started adventure riding and won’t ride without now? Our three riders all have been riding dirt bikes for years (a couple for most of their lives) and adventure riding for the last 8-10 years. They have had lots of opportunities for trial and error packing, and while their specific picks are personal preference, they might just help you out as well. Check them out!

Meet the Adventure Riders:

ERIC

Eric Riding the Pony Express Trail

Eric is in the Brands Department here at Rocky Mountain ATV/MC, and works in Product Development. He can be found on every adventure ride held by RMATV/MC and says adventure riding is a natural progression for him from his dirt bike background. When it comes to the items he can’t do without, he says, “I have learned a few things along the way as I’ve transitioned to adventure riding. These items were not obvious to me to start with but have become painfully so. They might seem like no-brainers to you but for me, I had to learn the hard way.” Here is what Eric says are the top three items he never expected to take on every adventure ride.

Eric Admiring One of Many Waterfalls Along the Way

Visor care. Rain-x, no-fog, bug cloths, plexus, and a small soft cloth. Coming from the dirt side, I would just use my jersey to wipe off my goggles and call it good. Your visor needs a little more TLC. There was even a time when the rain treatment and the no-fog saved my life. I won’t go in to details but it has to do with a downpour, dusk, and a roll of carpet that had fallen out of truck and was laying across my lane. I also include a pair of glasses with a clear lens for night riding. The helmet shield does the heavy lifting but there are times on an adventure ride when you are surprisingly far off the planned route and it is dark. It is nice to be able to run the visor up here and there. Dark sunglasses do not work well in this situation.
The Old KLR650 Had Many Adventures

Tusk Portable Power and Jump Starter. Adventure bikes do not bump start easily. On one ride, we had a particularly bad day involving bentonite clay and moisture from the skies above. We could barely walk and those weren’t ideal conditions to pull start a grossly overweight adventure bike. An unnamed member of the group accidentally left their key on for a little too long but the Tusk Portable Power and Jump Starter saved the day. I also use it for recharging my phone, my Sena Bluetooth, and GoPro at night. Very handy little unit.

Wheelies on the Flats

Joey Chair. I love this thing! I have always hoped that I am not a delicate wilting flower. I surmised that while camping off my bike, I could sit on the ground, find a log, or even sit on a pannier when hanging out around the campfire. Turns out, I am a pansy! This chair folds up very small, is strong enough for my substantial 230lb-ish girth (rated for 300lbs!), and is extremely comfy. I will leave extra food home to make room for this in my pack.

Eric and his new KTM 690 Adventure R

A Little Trailside Maintenance on the KLR650

RAY

Ray on the Old KLR650

Ray is the General Manager here at RMATV/MC, and he can be found on most of the adventure rides from Rocky Mountain as well. As for his experience in coming up with the essentials for a ride, he said, “I’ve been riding dual sports for 10 years and camping off of them the last 6 years. I’ve learned a few tricks of the trade over that time. Here are a few things I will never ride without.”

Ray on an Adventure Ride through Europe

Flushable wipes. I’ve always had a small stash of toilet paper in my pack when riding single track and dual sport. A few years ago, though, a friend of mine turned me on to the flushable (biodegradable) wipes. They pack up nicely and keep me riding happy, no matter how big a mess I’ve made. The bonus is that they don’t take a century to turn back into dirt.

Desert Riding on the New KTM 1190 Adventure R


Small but Effective Camping Equipment
. I know this can be multiple items but in general, I’ve learned that skimping on camping equipment is no bueno. The first time I camped off of my bike, I had all of my normal camping equipment: Ozark Trails tent, Coleman sleeping bag, and a blow up mattress from Walmart. I had to find a huge tail bag to carry all of this around. I looked like I was delivering pizzas! Over the next five or six trips, I invested in camping equipment with the proper materials to reduce size and weight. I now have a tent that folds up to nothing, a zero degree sleeping bag 1/3 the size of my original, and a sleeping pad that folds up to the size of a drink bottle. My bike handles better and I am better protected from the elements.

Ray at the Grand Canyon

Small Head Lamp. Don’t laugh. These things can be life savers when getting into camp late at night, or when a bike is in need of repair – trying to hold a flashlight is the last thing you want when you need both hands to work. Now, a real trick would be writing an article about the items I’ve learned I CAN ride without.

Ray and the KLR with His Old Camping Gear

Ray Enjoying the European Mountains

JUSTIN

Justin Exploring Some Old Ruins

Justin is the manager in the brands department, and just like the others is found on every dual sport adventure ride we have. Justin has been riding since he was about 14 years old. “Dirt bike riding for me has always been about going fast, about the competition, the challenge, or doing things like crazy hill climbs that nobody else can do,” he says. “But it is different riding dual sport bikes. You enjoy it more, and have more time to take in and explore your surroundings. Camping along the way makes you feel like a boy scout again: you live off what you bring and go back to the basics. That being said, it’s crucial to have the right gear with you because whatever situation you get in, you’ve got to be able to get yourself back out of it.” Here is what Justin brings along on the ride.

Justin Removing His Clutch for Another Rider to Borrow in the Clay

Rok straps. Durable tail bags are a must if you do real off-road riding on your adventures. I have found that tail boxes and hard cases don’t hold up. I use the Wolfman Expedition Duffle on my rear rack, and it is the ticket! It stores my tent, sleeping bag, pad, and pillow. After using different straps to hold my bag on with, I have found that Rok Straps are by far the best. The built-in elastic on the Rok Straps always keeps my load tight, no matter how items may move or settle. They are also easy to hook up, and I can cinch the load down quickly. Rok Straps are a simple invention that make packing a tail bag much easier and more convenient.

Battling the Bentonite Clay

12 Volt Socket. You always need available power. I installed the Tusk 12 Volt Power Socket up by my handlebars. With a USB adaptor, I use it to charge my phone, GPS, GoPro, etc. I can even use the socket to run my little Slime air pump when I have to fix tires (yes, you will certainly be fixing flats on adventure rides). Having a 12 volt socket isn’t just nice, it is a necessity.

Justin Enjoying the Western Landscape

Jetboil. Ray mentioned having small/lightweight camping gear. I also started out with mediocre camping gear and have improved it over the years. Buy the right stuff the first time and save yourself some money. My cooking system has greatly improved by going to a Jetboil Flash Cooking System. It is light, compact, and boils water in couple minutes. Most of the time my meals consist of freeze-dried dinners or oatmeal for breakfast, so the Jetboil is ideal. It includes everything in one compact kit – burner, pot (with insulator), and igniter.

Justin and his KLR650 in the Colorado Rockies

Excellent Views from the WR250R

Adventure riding is meant to be just that – an adventure. But every adventure is much more enjoyable when you are prepared for the situations you face. Eric, Ray and Justin have honed in on what items personally help to give them the best riding experience possible and maybe they are items that will work for you too. Now that you know their suggestions, what is it that YOU can’t live without when you head out on a dual sport adventure ride? Let us know in the comments below!

Eric and Ray Enjoying the Adventure Ride

By Rachel Bretzing