Scout’s Honor Cross-Country Ride, Part 2

How We Prepared for A Cross-Country Motorcycle Trip

How to pack for a cross-country motorcycle trip
Tough day for Captain Coffey, our recently rescued Jackshund pup.©Motorcyclist

Editor's note: Justin Coffey and Kyra Sacdalan, partners in the travel documentary company WESTX1000, are taking on a new challenge with the help of Motorcyclist — leaving behind their lightweight dual sports to wrangle a pair of Indian Scouts across the country, from California to Daytona. Follow along...

Scout's Honor Part 2, tools for a cross-country ride
First step to a proper installation of accessories: figure out what tools you 'don't' own.©Motorcyclist

The Pack. It’s an art form, really. And it has a huge impact on a cross-country motorcycle trip. How much can you haul, how well it sits on the back of your bike, whether it gets wet or stays dry, etc. The Pack, however, is relative to the type of person you are. Because we’re not all alike – some of us require a lot more kit, some of us can wear the same thing every day for a week.

Undergarments are an obvious example. Maybe you’re willing to put on the same pair, the same socks stuffed into your boots, or the same shirt on your back for more time than your mom would be alright with. Some of us are willing to stretch our stuff, smell a little and deal with the dirt. Others will require a clean kit every morning. A fresh pair. That alone will determine how large your load is. Other things to consider are the conditions you’ll encounter – wet weather requires one set us stuff, warm weather calls for another.

Scout's Honor Part 2, packing for a long ride
We laid out a look; a few of the things Kyra will be carrying with her across the Country.©Motorcyclist

So when Kyra and I were preparing to ride these Indians across the country – from California to Key West – we needed to consider the kind of weather we'd encounter, our willingness to wear the same stuff day after day, and amount of space we had to keep all of the aforementioned. The bikes were bare. After picking up a Scout and Scout Sixty in California, we returned to our winter home in Phoenix where we'd attach a few items that would ensure our cross-country adventure wasn't entirely uncomfortable. The bikes aren't really designed to travel this distance. The fuel capacity and MPG alone requires us to stop every 120 miles. And the lack of luggage left us looking into options. The result? After careful consideration of what we'd carry, we opted for two sets of Indian's leather clad saddle bags, their solo luggage rack that mounts over the rear fender, as well as a pair of Wolfman Luggage's new Skyline tank bags and dry duffels and Filson's Dry Messenger bags that'll keep our camera and computer equipment easily accessible.

Scout's Honor Part 2, Indian saddlebags
Gen-u-ine leather Saddle Bags from Indian will keep our rain kit dry before it keeps us... dry.©Motorcyclist

Other accessories we installed included Indian’s quick-release windshield, a phone mount courtesy of REVER, and a set of performance rear shocks manufactured by Fox Racing. Pretty simple stuff. The bolt-on accessories from Indian - to include the extended length handlebars and reduced reach controls that make Kyra a bit more comfortable - proved to be perfect for what we planned to do. The luggage rack provides a stable platform and a place to attach our ROK Straps, while the leather saddle bags are stuffed full of ICON Raiden gear – the kit we’re carrying in case it rains.

Scout's Honor Part 2, helmet
We asked our friend Asher to throw some custom pinstripes on our new ICON 1000 Airframe helmets.©Motorcyclist

But everything I’ve said doesn’t answer the obvious question: what did we pack for a cross-country motorcycle trip? Well, here’s a list of the things I’ll be carrying across the country…

• T-shirts - mostly black (x7)
• Tellason Topper denim shirt
• Filson moleskin vest
• Khaki shorts
• Rainbow sandals
• Tellason 16.5oz denim pants
• Stance socks (x5)
• Katin board shorts
• Indian Motorcycles long-sleeved shirt
• Filson Scout watch
• AO Eyewear aviator sunglasses

Riding Gear, Etc.
• ICON 1000 Airframe Pro Helmet
• ICON 1000 The Hood Jacket
• ICON Raiden DKR Jacket & Pants
• Danner Mountain Light boots
• ICON 1000 Rimfire Gloves
• ICON Raiden DKR Gloves
• SENA Bluetooth 10C headset
• Finisterre merino wool long johns
• Klim Inferno jacket
• Butler Maps – Southern CA, AZ, NM

Scout's Honor Part 2, Kyra Sacdalan
Kyra can't seem to stop smiling. It must be the socket driver.©Motorcyclist

Last year, Kyra and I spent a month exploring Baja on small dual-sport bikes. The trip, which culminated in a visit to the starting line of the Baja 1000, taught us a lot about what you do and do not need when traveling by way of motorbike. Like I mentioned earlier, your willingness to wear the same thing for more than one day is important. The ability to pack half as many shirts as you might otherwise wear cuts The Pack size in half, literally. Toiletries also take up a lot of space, so we learned to make due with a lot less. One bottle of mint scented Dr.Bronner’s soap will wash all your important parts, and can also be used to clean up your clothes if you have the time the let them air dry.

Also important, and something that we learned after countless adventures both on and off the bikes, is that an outfit you’re comfortable walking around in, as much as you are riding in, is essential. You wear dirt bike gear when you ride your dirt bike or a leather one-piece when you race your GSXR, but when you’re traveling from place to place, taking your time to see something other than the highway that’ll take you across the country. The ability to step off the bike and into a restaurant, or hike up a hill to take in that view, is something we’ve come to cherish. ATGATT is one thing, and we’re both proponents of gear and, more importantly, wearing it. But you’ll need to find a mix that works well for you. If you’re cool with the Moon Suit look and don’t mind the eyeballs at the billiards hall, good on ya. But if you’re a little vain like me, you’ll want to wear some things that don’t look all the way out of place.

Scout's Honor Part 2, saddlebags
Leather luggage might not be water tight, but damn if it doesn't look good!©Motorcyclist

Lastly, and perhaps most importantly, be sure to test The Pack. Load everything into your bags and onto the bike, and then go somewhere and spend the night. Trust me, this is where you’ll discover what should stay and what can go. You’ll notice what you wear, how many layers you’ll need if it gets cold, and what never left your duffel bag. You’ll also be able to tell how many of the toiletries that you packed were worth their weight. Hotel rooms often have bars of soap, shampoo and conditioner that you can use. Toothbrushes, razors and other small items are on the ‘don’t leave home without’ list, but like I mentioned earlier, a bottle of Dr.Bronner’s can go a long way and will save you lots room in your Dopp Kit. When you get home from this short test trip, lay out everything you had packed and do a double-take. Make sure each item is essential. Be ready to deal with cold, wet, hot, humid and just about every other climate you might encounter. Layers are important, but a piece that serves two purposes is better. Ultimately though, The Pack is a personal thing, and while I am happy to suggest what you should bring, the final size is really dependent upon the kind of person you are; Kitchen Sink or Minimalist Motorcyclist.

Scout's Honor Part 2, packing
A last minute, late night installation of accessories before we left Arizona. It takes a little more effort than you might imagine to get the Indian saddles bags to sit just so...©Motorcyclist