Motorcycle Touring Kit: Tried & Tested!

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Bikes aside, motorcycle touring kit is by far our number one subject of questioning by readers.

And whilst it’s easy to get hung up on the best motorcycle touring kit money can buy, that isn’t really practical when applied to most people.

Because if most people were to go out and buy the very best of everything, the total amount wouldn’t fall that far short of the price you paid for your bike!

And for beginners who have just spent all their hard-earned cash on motorcycle lessons, their first bike, and increasingly expensive insurance premiums, the best motorcycle touring kit is probably a little out of their financial reach.

Everyday Motorcycle Touring Kit

For the above reasons, I decided not to review the best of everything.

I could have done. And I did think about it.

But it would only be useful for a very small minority of people.

Ultimately, it would be more beneficial (to more people) to bring about a list of affordable motorcycle touring kit. And the best way to do that is to review some of the gear that we use on a daily basis here at Motorcycle Tourer HQ.

So with this in mind, I rummaged through our office to bring you a complete collection of basic motorcycle touring kit that is accessible for the everyday rider; regardless of your level of experience.


Motorcycle Touring Kit: The Helmet

shark spartan carbon helmet - motorcycle touring kit
The Spartan Carbon Skin Helmet by Shark (image via Shark)

We all know that a helmet is the most important part of anybody’s motorcycle touring kit. But as someone who spends a lot of time on the road, it’s important to me that my helmet is lightweight whilst providing me with all the necessary protection.

And that’s why I wear the Shark Spartan Carbon Skin. At the time of purchase, it was the lightest helmet on the market that still included an internal visor (I always buy a motorcycle helmet with sun visor.)

Two years on, it’s still one of the lightest helmets available. In my opinion, it’s one of the best motorcycle helmets you can buy in this price range.

At A Glance

  • Carbon fibre and fibreglass construction
  • Internal drop-down sun visor
  • Double D strap
  • Optimal comfort for glasses wearers
  • Pinlock MaxVision visor with insert included
  • Quick-release visor system
  • Removable and washable interior
  • Planned interior location for Sharktooth Bluetooth system
  • Anti-scratch visor
  • Weight 1290g +/-50g

Notes

I’ve worn Shark helmets for years so I’m familiar with the sizing. But the Spartan Carbon Skin does seem to run a little smaller than other models of Shark helmets.

If you are planning on purchasing this helmet, you may need to go up a size or purchase thinner cheek pads.


Motorcycle Touring Kit: The Jacket

oxford montreal 3.0 jacket
Oxford’s Montreal 3.0 Textile motorcycle jacket (image via Oxford)

When it comes to jackets, we always recommend textiles for your motorcycle touring kit. There’s nothing wrong with leathers on a track (or even on a Sunday morning ride out), but for touring, textiles are always far more practical.

You can buy some truly amazing jackets these days, but you’ll be paying the best part of £1,000 for the privilege.

And in general, it’s not always worth the additional cost.

I’ve worn Oxford jackets for years; they’re practical, affordable, reliable, and their customer service is dependable. (I’ve only had one problem jacket and they replaced it immediately.)

Today, my everyday hack is the Oxford Montreal 3.0 Textile jacket, and it makes up an important part of my motorcycle touring kit.

At A Glance

  • Waterproof drop liner with Rainseal technology
  • Thermal liner for extra warmth
  • CE certified shoulder and elbow protection
  • Pocket to accommodate back protector
  • External elbow protector pockets for improved comfort
  • Multi-adjustable collar with neoprene edging
  • Soft Amara on the cuffs for comfort
  • Reflective panels to help aid visibility
  • CE approved elbow and shoulder armour
  • Oxford’s Rainseal hood enclosed in collar
  • Airflow vents on front and rear
  • Two large box pockets at the front with handwarmer pockets
  • Accordion stretch panels on the back for added comfort
  • Rear box pocket
  • Critical ‘Bar-Tack’ stitching for added durability
  • Double zip with storm flap
  • YKK zips used throughout
  • Short connection zips to connect trousers

I’ve been caught in some treacherous weather over the years. And the only time my Montreal jacket let me down was when my new one was defected on arrival.

I’m happy to point out here that Oxford replaced it immediately and the new one has never leaked – despite it being in some truly biblical downpours!

Related: Motorcycle Touring Mistakes To Avoid


Motorcycle Touring: Pants

RST Pro Series Paragon 5 textile pant (image via RST)

I find myself in a bit of a quandary when it comes to riding pants. Because for years, I’ve been a staunch wearer of Hein Gericke textile pants.

And even when they went into administration, I always managed to find a brand new pair lurking in some dark corner of the internet!

This time, however, I probably won’t have such luck and will no doubt have to enter the textile pant equivalent of the dating scene, having been in a comfortable relationship for years.

A pair of well-coveted textile pants (actually my dads) are the RST Pro Series Paragon 5 textile pants which have served him well for the last few years.

They’ve seen almost daily use (in every kind of weather) by way of commuting, as well as on European tours.

Particularly noteworthy is the excellent fit thanks to the integrated braces, and the hidden pockets on the inside; ideal for stowing away your cash and passport.

  • CE certified for road use
  • Constructed of Ballistic and HT tex material
  • Sinaqua waterproof breathable lining
  • Fixed breathable mesh lining
  • Removable thermal quilted liner
  • Pocket for optional RST contour Plus hip protectors
  • RST Contour plus CE knee armour
  • Full jacket to jean connection zip
  • Night-time visible reflective detailing
  • Stretch comfort panels
  • Detachable braces
  • Adjustable waistband
  • Two external zip pockets
  • Re-inforced seat area
  • Air intake vents on thighs
  • Double and triple stitched seams
  • Heavy-duty bonded nylon thread
  • Max zips used throughout

For an all-rounder that is robust, waterproof, warm and well-fitting, these waterproof motorcycle trousers come highly recommended. And after 2-3 years, they are still an essential element of my dad’s motorcycle touring kit.

Motorcycle Touring Kit: The Boots

alterberg motorcycle boots - motorcycle touring kit
Altberg motorcycle touring boots (Image by Altberg)

For me, the best motorcycle boots in the UK are by Altberg.

Based in a small factory in north Yorkshire, they offer personalised service and products that are of superb quality.

Known for kitting out police forces across the country, Altberg boots are expensive (yet affordable) and come with a pedigree that in my opinion is unmatched by any other boot manufacturer out there.

My dad bought me some Alterberg Hogg Microlite touring boots around three or four birthday’s ago. They have been on numerous tours with me as well as being my everyday boots.

In this time, they have never leaked or caused me any blisters, and the non-slip sole has saved me from numerous mishaps on slippery petrol station forecourts.

Head on over to Altberg for more information.

At A Glance

ProtectionAnkle protection, 6mm astroshock impact absorbing material
Width5 Width Fittings – Made to Order XN, N, M, W, XW
Sizes3.5-13.5 UK (inc ½ sizes)
Upper2.4mm full grain water repellent Anfibio® leather made from UK/European bovine hides
LiningSympatex® breathable 4 layer lining with military grade waterproof membrane interlayer
MidsoleTri-Flex® 3 season crush resistant to BSEN 13634:2010 requirements
SoleVibram® Masai hiking/military sole with lightweight midlayer, combined to a full rubber abrasion resistant rand
Weight860gms (size 9)
Height25.4cms (size 9 including heel)
FootbedTrek Airgrid Black

The only ‘issue’ I’ve noted with them is that my feet do get particularly cold when riding in winter. It’s not really a problem, but it’s worth bearing in mind when you order that you may need to wear a thick pair of socks when riding in the winter.

Other than that, I can wholeheartedly recommend Altberg boots whatever your level of experience. For me, they form an integral part of my motorcycle touring kit that I wouldn’t be without.


Motorcycle Touring Kit: Winter Gloves

richa ice polar gore-tex gloves
Ice Polar Gore-Tex gloves by Richa (image via Richa)

For me, winter gloves are always the hardest items of my motorcycle touring kit to replace because it seems like no matter which pair I buy, they’re never quite right! It’s very difficult to find the best motorcycle gloves for your needs.

Do you go for the warm, insulated pair and risk the water getting in? Or do you go for the out-and-out waterproof gloves and pray they’re going to be warm enough?

Whichever set you buy, they can prove to be a costly mistake.

In the past, I’ve always erred on the side of caution by purchasing waterproof gloves and pairing them with either heated grips or inner gloves.

But if you’d prefer the all-in-one solution, the Ice Polar Gore-Tex gloves by Richa are a great option at a reasonable price.

At A Glance

  • Leather and textile mixed construction
  • Gore-Tex waterproof and breathable membrane
  • Thermal fleece lining for cold rides
  • Leather reinforced double stitched palm
  • Elasticated wrist for optimal fit
  • Hidden PU knuckle impact protection
  • Hook and loop cuff closure system
  • CE certified for use on the roads

Related: 9 Practical Tips For Motorcycle Touring Comfort


Motorcycle Touring Kit: Summer Gloves

furygan td12 summer gloves - motorcycle touring kit
Furygan TD12 summer gloves (image via Furygan)

As mentioned in previous posts, I always carry my Furygan TD12 summer motorcycle gloves in my top box; whatever the weather. Just like my Altberg boots, they are an integral part of my motorcycle touring kit; especially for summer tours.

For summer riding, the mesh fabric keeps your hands so cool that it actually transforms your ride from a good one to a great one.

Considering they cost so little, these gloves by Furygan are my star find.

At A Glance

  • CE approved
  • Polyester and goatskin construction
  • Hard external knuckle protection
  • Mesh for added ventilation
  • Reinforced doubled layer foam on the palm
  • Textile stretch panel between fingers for added comfort
  • Hook and loop wrist closure system
  • Silicone grip on the index and middle finger

Notes:

These gloves do run a little on the small side. You may need to go up a size.

All-in-all, these gloves are excellent for summer riding and I can’t recommend them enough. I’ve actually got some on my Christmas list this year to replace the ones I already have.


Motorcycle Touring Kit: The Heated Jacket

keis j501 heated jacket
J501 premium heated jacket by Keis (image via Keis)

As with summer gloves (just on the opposite end of the scale), I always carry a heated jacket in my top box as part of my motorcycle touring kit.

If you’re touring in the mountains, the weather can change unexpectedly and leave you freezing cold and wearing nothing but your summer motorcycle touring kit.

A heated jacket (whilst pricey) is a worthy luxury to carry on your tours.

Whilst other brands are available, Keis is the manufacturer of choice in our office. Their jackets are tried and tested and competitively priced.

In our office, most of us started off with the bodywarmer-style Keis V106, and then upgraded to the slightly more expensive, full Keis heated jacket.

At A Glance

  • Micro carbon fibre heating element
  • To be worn as an inside layer or stylish casual outer jacket (Not waterproof)
  • Breathable and lightweight softshell construction
  • Elasticated side panels for an optimum fit
  • Dedicated zip pocket for cables and controller
  • Convenient lifestyle pockets for small items
  • Chest, kidney, arms and collar area heating panels
  • Motorcycle battery connection cables included
  • Free Heat Controller included
  • Current Draw 7A – Typical Power 84W

Notes:

It worth mentioning here that this jacket does get really quite warm! Do not wear it on bare skin; I tend to wear it in between my base layers and mid layers to trap in the heat.

It’s also worth spending a little time on getting the correct fit. You want it to be fitted; if it’s baggy, it won’t work quite as well. And remember, this is close to your body with very few layers underneath it, so you won’t need to allow extra space for bulky layers.


Motorcycle Touring Kit: Base Layers

rukka mark thermal set - motorcycle touring kit
Rukka Mark Thermal set (image via Rukka)

Everybody is quick to buy sexy items such as helmets and boots and jackets, but then they forget about base layers!

But base layers have the ability to transform your riding enjoyment; so make sure you have a pair as part of your motorcycle touring kit.

The trick with base layers is to get ones that aren’t bulky. And you’ll find that you can often substitute a couple of layers in winter riding for the sake of one set of well-purchased base layers.

Firstly, they keep you warm. Secondly, they do a great job of wicking away sweat and preventing that cold, sticky sweatiness on your back!

And base layers can be a year-round thing. Whilst thermal (or merino wool) motorcycle base layers are excellent for keeping you warm, summer base layers can make your ride so much more comfortable by sitting between your skin and the fabric of your riding gear.

For winter riding, the Rukka Mark Thermal set is right upthere on our list.

  • 100% polyester construction
  • Moisture-wicking
  • Maintains body temperature
  • Base layer garments, top and bottom set
  • Quick-drying
  • Machine washable

Motorcycle Touring Kit: Waterproofs

Out of everything, waterproofs often cause the most amount of confusion.

After all, if you have a waterproof motorcycle jacket and pants as part of your motorcycle touring kit, do you really need additional waterproofs?

As mentioned above, you can indeed buy a jacket and pants combo that will be 100% waterproof. But the problem with these is two-fold:

  1. They cost a huge amount of money
  2. They are so waterproof that they lack any kind of ventilation; which means they are hot and can make it uncomfortable to ride in

In my experience, it’s better to get mid-range textiles that are water-repellent and pair them with a cheap, two-piece set of waterproofs.

(I will be writing a separate post on waterproofs in the near future, so keep your eyes peeled for more information!)

The beauty of cheap waterproofs is that you use them only when you need them. They’re lightweight and easy to store, and because you have the option to take them off, it means you don’t become overheated whilst riding.

Moreover, waterproofs can act as an extra layer in the cold. Pop them on underneath your main jacket for an extra hit of warmth when the temperature drops.

Our choice of waterproof pants and jacket come in the form of the Richa Rain Warrior series which are a great addition to any motorcycle touring kit.

Jacket:

rain warrior waterproof jacket by richa
Rain Warrior jacket by Richa (image via Richa)
  • Designed to be worn over a jacket
  • Fully waterproof PVC construction
  • Provides noticeable wind protection
  • Elasticated waist and cuffs
  • Lightweight and easy to store
  • Comes supplied with a mesh bag
  • Richa logo and text is reflective
  • RiDE recommended and tested

Pants:

rain warrior waterproof pants by richa - motorcycle touring kit
Rain Warrior pants by Richa (image via Richa)
  • Designed to be worn over jeans
  • Fully waterproof PVC construction
  • Provides noticeable wind protection
  • Elasticated waist and leg openings
  • Lightweight and easy to store
  • Comes supplied with a mesh bag
  • Richa logo and text is reflective

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Top image via KTM

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