Essential carry items (for solo riding mostly)

I ride alone often and someone else mentioned in another thread here that good body armor was essential when riding solo (or any time if you ask me). But then I got to thinking about what one would consider essential items to carry along on a solo off road ride. I think this topic may have been covered before, but I just thought I'd see what others consider absolutly essential. A lot of these things I have learned from my solo hiking days.

Here is a list of my essentials for solo riding.

Digital camera - not an emergency item, but I almost always carry one

Cell phone + spare battery (fully charged)

GPS (sometimes two)

MAPS!! - I'm surprised at how many guys I see out in the woods without a map.

FRS/GMRS radio (thinking of getting a portable Ham radio too. For the extra range)



Spare NiMH AA batteries - I have a little carrying case I bought off of eBay; it holds 8 but I usually cary 12

Emergency space blanket

Mirror for signaling (don't laugh, might save your life)

First aid kit


Several Power bars

Two liters of water (minimum)

Waterproof matches and fire starter

Small poncho

Small roll of twine

Toilet Paper; no reason to be crude even when lost in the woods :)

Then there are the tools;

Leatherman (carry this if you carry nothing else)

Spare inner tube (one 21in tube will work for either front or back)

Some way to inflate a flat tire (small hand pump, Co2 etc.)

Assorted wrenches and such, but most importantly axle nut wrenches.

Spare spark plug


some sort of tape; duct or electricians

These are just the basics that I carry; It may seem like a lot of stuff but I usually carry most of it between my front fender pouch, the over the number plate glove box and my back pack (which also holds the water bladder) - and I just put on a rear rack on the DRZ and have a small tail bag on order for even more tote space.

I have other odds and ends and I am constantly changing my load and what I carry but I would consider these things essential; at least when riding solo; I usually leave a few things behind if riding with a buddy or a group.

Anyone else care to share what's in their backpack?

I ride alone alot too, I don't carry as much stuff as you, but more than most people I know. The whistle is a must. The mirror is a good idea; I have a fold-away acerbis mirror on the bike that I could use in a pinch. I also carry a spare brake lever. I'd carry a spare clutch lever if I needed one [autoclutch].

My friend, who is "well connected", allways carries some vicoden in his first aid kit. You never know when a party might break out. :)

A spare bladder for red wine would be a good idea, for the same reason as the above item. :D

good point about the mirror; although signal mirrors have a little hole in the center so you can kind of aim your signal; course up here in the northWET! there's usually too much cloud cover or trees to block any thing resembling sunlight.

and yes, I forgot about the levers and probably a clutch cable should make it on to the essentials list.

sorry, I don't do drugs or alcohal any more so they wouldn't be on my personal list; but whatever helps you make it through a survival situation :)

A lighter is a good idea... Small.. And if the [@#$%&!] hits the fan... Start a fire. :)

Edit: ooorrr you could just use those waterproof matches you carry... hehe.. didn't read too thoroughly did I?

heh, lighters work too. Some might say that's really all you need in an emergency. A lighter and fuel.. you got a bunch of fuel your carrying around in your gas tank; just lean er over on some twigs, apply fire and sit back and enjoy the heat until help comes.. just don't get the bike caught up in the flames.. remember the guy on the Husky out in the desert in "On Any Sunday" :)

Safety wire and JB Weld have been known to come in addition to the already-mentioned duct tape. Small tire irons too.

Don't forget an extra pair of glass or contacts even if there're old, if I lost mine or broke'um the rest of the stuff wouldn't be of much use :)

Extra gloves.When they get wet or cold or any overnights they help along with a beene.And I also carry a power bar.

dry socks, first aid kit containing some medicinal marijuana and some good ole beef jerky and don't forget the zigzag's :)

I carry about the same list, along with:

- tow strap

- LED flashlight

- Registration and insurance

- $20

- glove inserts

- a Cohiba cigar

- A real survival blanket (not the plastic metalized one)

I tried out the $3.00 plastic thermal blanket once on a cold night. It was better than nothing, but not much. :) I found a survival blanket at REI that rools up to about 4"x14" and I strap it to the bottom of my camelback. So far, never had to use it, but I'll bet the day will come....

just don't get the bike caught up in the flames.. remember the guy on the Husky out in the desert in "On Any Sunday"

Lol, yes.. Yes I do... It was funny... The guy was an idiot, but they got the point across.

Excellent information here. One thing I might add, depending on where I'm riding is an emergency strobe. I have one on my boat, carry one when I dive, and have carried one when I hike, so it just might need to find a spot on the bike.

The sucker is bright, bright, bright :)

i carry-

msr putty

spark plug

plug wrench

super small 10mm t handle

cut down 14mm wrench

this all fits in my camel back.

survival stuff is a good idea.i guess im never that far from the truck.

i dont carry to much "patch the bike together stuff".i can ride out under most any circumsatnce with what i carry.

I carry most of the same plus the Vicodin for those rides out of Mexico with a broken Collar bone. As far as radios I carry Cell Phone FRS and a Motorola GP68 (You din't hear it here but it can be programed to FRS GMRS frequencies with slightly higher power and has a UHF signal search feature that might find yuou a HAM repeater if your lucky and know how to use it.Other than that I carry most of the stuff listed so far but most imprtantly I try to take a friend *G*

some great ideas; I think I'm going to need a bigger pack :)

Burned has a good point about not usually being too far from the truck where you couldn't walk out if you had to; but I'm thinking the worst case scenario like you fracture your femur or something nasty and you can't walk or ride and/or the ultimate that none of us would never admit - getting lost! and then even worse, running out of fuel. This happend up here in Washington back in October if some of you remember. 4-5 guys out riding in the mountains in a big ol wind and rain-storm. The weather got so bad visibility was practically nill. They got lost, then a couple ran out of fuel and they all ended up spending the night in the cold and rain and then walking out in the morning. Not too fun I would imagine.

This has inspired me though; I think I'll maybe make a couple of kits; one with the real basic stuff when riding familer areas and one for longer dual-sport type rides where you may end up being 60 miles from the nearest civilization or whatever.

I've often considered adding Vicodin to the kit. Good idea, but tough call if it is someone else's kid who needs it and has to ride back. :D (I live in CA, the land of lawyers) :)

I've even more confused about the need for carrying a spark plug. Do they really go bad if they are changed every 6 months or so? Even on a flooding, can't I just dry the old one off and put it back in??

who makes those cool front fender and headlight shroud bags for extra storage?

Be careful of what you put in the front fender bag as the weight can cause adverse steering "shake" I put a few tools in mine and found later that it caused excessive shake particularly on the road. I keep it now for a "space" blanket and Towing Strap.

on the fender bag. I have one made by Moose, quality is pretty good, but it is wise advice not to overload it.

I stick with what is was made for, tube, tire irons and CO2 patch kit.


I carry Vicodin - gave to my cousin with the busted wrist a few weeks back. Just half a pill helped him deal with his pain.

Best method for worry free riding - Ride with well prepared friends :)


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