Monday, September 24, 2012

Euro Trip - Packing for the Flight

We've pretty much got our motorcycle trip preparations down to a science by now, but this new trip is unlike anything we've ever done before.  We're basically throwing out everything we've learned and are starting from scratch on this one.

Touratech will have two fully-loaded bikes ready for us at their factory in Niederschach, so that instantly takes away half my stress level for the trip prep.  I normally have the bikes torn down to the frames, rewiring, installing, maintaining, or modifying something into the wee hours of the night before we leave.  Check out my post on bike prep from the Cycle World Roadtrip to see what usually ends up happening:

The first logistical challenge to address will be getting ourselves and all our riding gear on a plane to Germany.  The tickets have already been bought, so we'll have to come up with a way to pack two helmets, two pairs of boots, and two bulky riding suits into our checked luggage.  Our usual luggage isn't shaped or sized adequately for carrying these large and oddly-shaped items, so I've brought two different bags home from work to try out and see what'll work the best:  The Ortlieb 60 liter waterproof duffel bag that will double as a backpack, or the KLIM "Kodiak" bag that is designed for transporting riding gear.

The KLIM bag is massive and packed with features.  It has a hard bottom, roller wheels, retractable handle, and is sized according to airport regulations.  As you can see in the picture, my entire Badlands Pro riding suit, both our helmets, both pairs of boots, thermal liners, gloves, and socks fit in with room to spare.  The Ortlieb bag at 60 liters is big but not quite enough to fit all that bulky riding gear.  I checked the airline's rules, and it is about the maximum allowed size for carry-on luggage.  It would be perfect to use for carry-on because of its backpack straps.  I think the choice is clear: buy both bags and use them together.  The Ortlieb bag will be perfect for our side trip to Berlin, and I can also strap it to a motorcycle if needed.  The Kodiak will take the bulk of both of our gear over with me, and Brayde will only need to carry her jacket and pants in her own checked luggage when she flies into Cologne.

We have nice clothes for travel that can be washed in a hotel sink then hung to dry in a matter of minutes.  Being able to do laundry on the fly helps keep the clothes you pack to a minimum.  We'll be in riding gear 80% of the time, but it's also nice to have a good button-up or something to wear out at night.  Columbia makes some nice convertible pants and button-up shirts that wick moisture, pack small, are wrinkle free, and dry fast.

I won't bore you with details on tool kits, camera equipment, or navigation equipment.  Let's just say I'm an Eagle Scout, so I tend to over-think, and over-pack when I'm allowed to.  I think this method of fly-and-ride travel is really keeping those "Be Prepared" tendencies in check.

- Matt

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