On a road trip with a motorcycle, of course you’ll be wearing safety gear.
So your body is protected.
But what about your face and hair?
They need protection too.
So you’ll need to decide which toiletries to pack.
You may have already noticed that your side of the saddle bag is not exactly roomy.
What about all the lotions, creams and completely necessary products you use on a daily basis?
I hear you.
I used to get very stressed about packing for a motorcycle road trip.
It seemed impossible to fit everything I needed into something that’s about ¼ the size of a small suitcase.
How do you know which toiletries to pack on a road trip with a motorcycle?
You can’t bring everything, so you need to break it down to the essentials – and preferably in miniature form.
Here’s what to pack, from moisturiser to haircare (and everything in between).
Now, I’ve been riding on the back of the hubby’s motorcycles forever.
In fact, it’s been 30 years.
We’ve done well over a quarter of a million miles on the road together.
And during that time, I’ve figured out how to be a lot smarter about packing for a road trip with a motorcycle.
These days, I can easily bring enough products to keep up the daily maintenance – and not look like Sasquatch’s sister by the end of the motorcycle road trip.
Here are my tried and true tips for bringing the lotions and products you need.
You need to think small here…
The 8 Essential Toiletries to Pack on a Motorcycle Road Trip
1. Face Lotions
A motorcycle road trip is not the time to skimp on skin care.
Even with a full face motorcycle helmet, your skin will be exposed to the sun and wind.
And bug splatter of course, if you open your helmet visor to chat to the rider.
Now and then I kid myself that I can get away with bringing just my day cream on a motorcycle trip.
Surely I can make it do triple duty as a cleanser and night cream as well?
I always regret it.
And so does my skin.
I glance in the mirror, and there she is: a wild warthog looking back at me.
I guess her tusks are impressive, at least.
But I’ve found a way to bring the 4 can’t live-without-‘em products I need on a daily basis:
- Day moisturiser
- Night cream
Unfortunately, some of my go-to products come in glass jars or bottles.
They’re heavy, awkward, and tricky to pack.
So the solution is to decant them into little containers that hold just enough for the trip.
I use some small screw top containers that arrived in the mail when I ordered some makeup samples.
By pouring only what I need for the trip into tiny containers, I can bring all my skin care essentials.
These dinky little containers fit into the palm of my hand.
Here’s what I mean…
2. Eye makeup remover
Like me, you may use a separate cleanser to take off your eye makeup.
Yep, yet another product in the list of toiletries to pack.
But rather than take a bale of cotton wool and a big bottle of eye makeup remover, try this trick.
Set out 2 clean cotton pads for every night you’ll be away.
Moisten them with eye makeup remover.
Pack them into a ziplock bag.
One small squashable bag is a lot easier to pack on a motorcycle trip than two more full size products.
3. Motorcycle makeup
Thankfully, it’s totally possible to wear makeup under a motorcycle helmet.
You just need to break it down to some basics, and use a light hand.
I’ve explained my quick, simple motorcycle makeup routine over here.
Your motorcycle road trip makeup kit has to focus on essentials only.
The trick is to edit out all the extras you really won’t need.
You’re not getting ready to go to Studio 54 in 1976, right?
So you won’t need false eyelashes, glitter eyeshadow and lipgloss.
A motorcycle trip is always pretty casual.
So just focus on the basics, like:
- Foundation (non-drying)
- Concealer (if you need it)
- An eye pencil (not too soft or you’ll quickly look like a panda)
- Mascara (waterproof if you have it)
- Lipstick (moisturising to stop your lips drying out)
- Powder in a mirrored compact (so you can use the mirror on the road if you need to).
Again, that’s literally a handful of products that take up almost no space.
Pack them into a soft, small makeup bag, and you can even squish it into your motorcycle hand luggage for quick touch-ups on the road.
Yep, naturally my motorcycle road trip makeup bag is a little bit sparkly:
4. Helmet hair
Arrgghh, motorcycle helmet hair…
It’s inevitable, I’m afraid.
Now, you CAN fix helmet hair (try this) – but you can’t stop it happening completely.
And the longer the motorcycle road trip, the flatter the hair.
You’ll be needing a gentle shampoo for frequent use, so you don’t dry your hair out further.
And a thick conditioner to help protect against wind damage.
You have three options here:
- Get travel sized versions of your favorite shampoo and conditioner
- Fill empty little plastic bottles with your go-to products, or
- Try a moisturising combined shampoo and conditioner, and decant it into one small bottle.
And if you’re staying in a motel with some of those mini shampoos and conditioners, pop those into the saddle bags for your next motorcycle road trip.
5. Hair styling equipment
OK, so I’ve never actually packed a hair dryer on a motorcycle road trip.
But I do admit that I’ve often brought my favorite hair straighteners along for the ride.
This was never a great idea.
My GHD straighteners are large, heavy, and pretty expensive.
I have quite enormous hair, and just like me, it hates being told what to do.
But packing my beloved hair straighteners was always a big mistake.
Every time it started to rain, I worried.
Would my precious straighteners get wet, and electrocute me when I tried to use them?
What an embarrassing way to die.
And full size hair straighteners take up a LOT of room in a saddle bag.
They’re the worst of all worlds – they’re big, fragile, and can’t be squashed or folded.
And of course they need to be kept dry.
What a drama!
But that’s not even the worst of it.
99% of the times I carefully packed my beloved straighteners, I didn’t even use them.
How RIDICULOUS, right?
By the time we got to our destination I was always pleasantly tired, and relaxed.
The state of my hair was no longer that much of a priority.
I would do a quick run-through of my motorcycle helmet hair fix routine, and that was that.
Time to catch up with friends, or head out for dinner.
So now I’ve stopped annoying myself (and the hubby) on every motorcycle road trip.
I no longer pack my beloved straighteners.
Now I just book a motel that has a hair dryer.
And if it doesn’t and I’m SUPER sure that the state of my hair WILL matter at my destination, I’ll pack my cheap, mini straighteners.
My mini-straighteners are replaceable.
This is not a long-term, committed relationship.
If they get wet or broken, it won’t break my heart.
And they won’t take up a huge amount of the available space in my share of the motorcycle luggage.
But chances are that like me, by the end of a motorcycle road trip, you won’t be too worried about your hair…
So that covers hair styling.
But if you have long hair, you’ll need hair ties too.
Bring some tighter hair ties for when you’re in the wind (one to wear, 2 spares in your jeans pocket). And of course a soft, velvet scrunchie for sleeping in.
And don’t forget the tiny travel hairbrush!
6. Teeth care
I’m a bit of an oral hygiene freak.
I brush my teeth a lot.
And use two kinds of floss.
Yep, I’m a little weird.
When it comes to packing for road trip with a motorcycle, I’ve broken down the tooth care obsession to a sensible level.
I’ve come to accept that I don’t need to bring 18kg of toothpaste.
Even I won’t get through that much during 2 nights away from home.
In fact, one small travel-sized tube of toothpaste is fine.
And if I’m feeling extra neurotic, even two of them is a fraction of the size of my usual family sized toothpaste tube.
But what about the different kinds of dental floss I absolutely, definitely need?
I’ve broken it down to just bringing pre-cut strands rather than multiple full containers.
The toothbrush itself goes into a snap-locked clear plastic tube.
You’ve gotta keep things hygienic, right?
And there’s one more mouth-related must-have that will take up hardly any space.
A tiny flip-top pack of Tic Tacs will take care of on-the-go breath freshening.
They come in kind of handy after another roadhouse meal.
7. Soap and a washcloth
I’ve talked before about the scary pump-packs of glow-in-the-dark electric blue body wash you often find nailed to the wall of motel bathrooms.
This evil liquid is supposed to be an all-purpose kind of soap, I think.
But it looks and smells like chemically perfumed nuclear waste.
Yeah, I won’t be putting that stuff anywhere NEAR my skin or hair.
I won’t even wash my hands in it.
So I always bring a cake of soap, still in its wrapping.
I just dry it off and put it back in its paper sleeve when it’s time to leave.
And don’t forget a washcloth or two.
Just tuck them into a ziplock bag.
Then you can re-pack them if they’re still damp and they won’t get everything else wet.
They pack flat and can be squashed around the edges of the saddlebag.
And your own soap probably won’t turn your hair or skin blue…
8. Lady supplies
If you’re 100% sure your Time of the Month won’t arrive in the middle of your motorcycle road trip, then you can leave these supplies off your packing list.
But if there’s even the teeniest, tiniest, most remote chance that it MIGHT happen, then add a tiny package of tampons to your motorcycle luggage.
The small travel packs are slightly larger than a credit card, so take up next to no space.
And knowing you have SOMETHING to hand if you need it means one less thing to worry about.
If you don’t plan for this event and the worst happens, you’ll be wandering the streets at midnight in a strange town looking for a pharmacy.
In Australia, we call this fun time Shark Week.
It’s messy, and potentially dangerous (especially for the hubby).
You need to be prepared for a random monthly attack.
So that’s how to pack your toiletries on a road trip with a motorcycle.
As you can see, you don’t need to leave all your must-have lotions behind in the bathroom.
The key is to downsize the amounts of products you take, and minimize the packaging.
Let’s face it, it’s a motorcycle road trip.
You don’t have to look like a supermodel.
But you don’t want to look like a wild rhino either.
With this simplified approach, you can make sure your packing for a motorcycle trip includes everything you need to look like your usual gorgeous self.
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