Girl Meets World on FZ-07 Motorcycle: Gear Essentials

All the essential gear that Tiffani takes on her FZ adventures.

Girl Meets World on FZ-07 Motorcycle Gear Essentials
What exactly does Tiffani pack for her various adventures aboard her FZ-07?Photo: Julia LaPalme

As I started gearing up for round 3, a trek deep into Mexico, Central America, and pending some cargo ship logistics, hopefully South America, I tried to be mindful of what was really essential. I'll, of course, still be riding my trusty Yamaha FZ-07, decked out with some basic crash protection and panniers (as noted in Girl Meets World on A Yamaha FZ-07, Part 2: The Bike!), but since I made it back to Los Angeles, I upgraded and replaced a few things, ditched a few things, and tried to refine my pack list that served me over the 49 states, British Columbia, Alberta, and the Yukon Territory. After loading up the FZ-07 with all my gear it came in at a total of 507 pounds. Hopefully, as I head south, where trading or supplementing equipment will presumably be a lot more difficult, I now have a slightly more perfect-ish bag of tricks. That said, I'll be bringing:

Motorcycle Gear:

  • Dainese Tempest Jacket
  • Dainese Drake Air Pants
  • Rev'it Taurus GTX gloves
  • Dainese Siren boots
  • Ari's championship winning Shoei X-Twelve helmet (for good luck and general winning)
  • 2 Cardo Scala Rider Smartpack communicators for myself and my riding buddy
  • Kriega R20 Hydration Backpack with a 3 liter water bladder
  • 1 forty liter Nelson Rigg Dry Bag and 2 fifteen liter Nelson Rigg dry bags for compartmentalizing things
  • Alpinestars GP Pros that I used for racing for when my normal gloves are too warm
  • Custom molded earplugs

Camping Equipment:

  • 2 person 4 Season Tent (That's actually waterproof!)
  • Air mattress
  • Feathered Friends 0 degree Sleeping Bag (I go overkill on temperatures because it's easier to take a blanket off if it's too warm than it is to add more if you're too cold.)
  • A camp chair
  • Nemo Equipment inflatable pillows (I used to sleep on my clothing, but when you run out of clean clothes, a real pillow is a godsend. Having pillows that pack down to the size of a tennis ball doesn't hurt)
  • Solar powered inflatable lantern
  • A mini camp stove with 2 cans of Isopropyl fuel
  • Pot for cooking (And salt and pepper shakers with the occasional gas station condiment to get super fancy and gourmet)
  • Sea to Summit collapsible cup and bowl that pack down to the size of a small frisbie
  • A Sea to Summit titanium spork (because I break things not made of metal, and a fork AND a spoon is just excessive)
  • 2 trekking poles
  • Parachord
  • A water filtration straw and water purification tablets
  • BackPacker's Pantry dehydrated meals
Girl Meets World on FZ-07 motorcycle gear essentials total weight
After the packing was done, the FZ was brought onto the scales. The final weight totaled 507 pounds.Photo: Julia LaPalme

Clothing:

  • 6 sets of baselayers (VNM Sport Synthetics for the heat and various weights of merino wool for the cold)
  • 12 pairs of underwear
  • 6 pairs of merino wool socks
  • Feathered Friends down jacket
  • A goretex shell
  • A sundress
  • A bikini (I'M GOING TO CABO, BITCHES!)
  • 4 casual shirts/1 pair of jeans/set of sweats for sleeping in/1 pair of shorts
  • Hiking boots/river shoes
  • A silk scarf (Like an oldschool cowboy on an iron war pony!)
  • A balaclava
  • A warm fuzzy Yamaha hat and my AFM beanie
  • A pair of Cassette Sunglasses

Tools:

  • T handle with an 8, 10, 12, 14, 17 mm socket, a philips socket, and 4, 5, 6 mm allen keys
  • A socket wrench with a 27 mm socket (for the rear axle nut)
  • Dikes and needle nose pliers
  • 2 multi-tools with various allen keys
  • Open ended wrenches in 8, 10, 12, 14 mm
  • Zip ties and duct tape for days (Because these fix all problems)
  • Chain cleaner, lube, and a spiral cleaning brush
  • Tire pressure gauge
  • Spare levers
  • A small saw and tomahawk
  • A pocket knife
  • Bear spray (Are there bears in Mexico? Does bear spray work on cartels?)

Other:

  • SPOT device (with spare batteries)
  • First Aid Kit (including bandages, a soft knee brace, antibiotics, and anti-inflammatories)
  • Maps of Mexico, Central, and South America
  • Plug kit
  • Bug spray (98.11% DEET, because mosquitos find me magically delicious and I don't want Malaria. Strong enough to melt plastic!)
  • Sea to Summit Mosquito head nets (because seriously. Mosquitos. Like. Me. So. Much.)
  • Sunscreen/chapstick/toiletries (Including environmentally friendly soap, for those good ole' fashion lake baths, which will hopefully not be as cold as the Canadian glacier lake baths)
  • Small, inexpensive laptop for writing
  • Waterproof point and shoot Camera to wear while riding (lest we stop every other minute to take pictures, because the world is amazing)
  • Books for reading at camp (The last journey started with Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance- this time we're starting with Jupiter's travels!)
  • 2 liters of auxiliary fuel

Stuff special for getting around borders and such:

  • Passport and ID
  • The original title to the FZ
  • Several photo copies of each
  • Vehicle insurance for Mexico
  • A can-do attitude
  • A trusty cowboy from Montana called Hollywood
Girl Meets World on FZ-07 essential gear
This list might seem like a massive one, but if you know you are going to be out on your motorcycle for months on end these really are all essential.Photo: Julia LaPalme

This might seem like a massive amount of stuff, especially to fit on a motorcycle as small as the FZ-07, but when you’re expecting to be living off your bike for months in third world countries with little idea of what to really expect, there’s a lot of considerations to be made. I made a point to get mostly Ultra Light Backpacking equipment from the start of my planning, so the gear would be more packable with the added bonus of not weighing the bike down as much. Things like my Nemo camp pillows might make me sound like a princess, but not getting a good night’s sleep can make riding day in and day out more torturous than fun. And my clothes all packs down pretty small, just because I wear tiny girl clothes (This might be the first time being small has ever been useful in the motorcycle adventure world!). Tool selection was based on a fairly generic set of Japanese motorcycle needs, with just a few more specialized selections, like the socket for the rear axle nut. Everything else basically falls into contingency plans.

Having toured the whole country now, I found myself getting rid of a handful of things I thought I’d need, but never really used. Things like a telescoping fishing pole (Fishing license laws and a healthy fear of doing things that might attract bears or wildlife made this way less of an option than I had originally imagined), a solar panel to charge my equipment that did virtually nothing in practice, A full service manual for the bike (If the work is complicated enough to use a manual, it’s probably too complicated to do on the road), and my purse (going places without my handbag was a really tough mental step for me, especially with how small and useless women’s jean pockets can be, haha). Some of these things that made the cut, particularly in the way of clothing items, perhaps fall more into vanity than actually being legitimately useful. Jeans are a bit bulky, but spending every single day of my life wearing base layers as normal clothes sometimes gets old. You’d be amazed some of the tiny, silly things that become mini morale boosters- things like actually smelling good or looking kind of, sort of, almost like a presentable human being. I’ve given up a lot since I started on these road trips, but getting to stand on a warm, sunny beach in a flowery sundress is not one of them, dammit!

Honestly, all I really know about the world south of the border is what I’ve read in the media and some accounts from friends and internet adventurers. Despite growing up in LA, for some reason I never felt particularly compelled to even go to Mexico. I don’t know if this will be enough or too much or just right, but I’m hoping the knowledge I’ve gained over the last 9 months will serve me well into the next frontier!