There are many reasons people travel the world over to the Sturgis Motorcycle Rally. Most want to experience the beauty and stellar riding of the Black Hills. Others come to see old friends and make new ones, while taking in the top-notch entertainment and events held across the region.
The ways folks rally are as varied as their reasons for being here. Some throw a tent on their bike and camp in a local's yard. Others cruise cross-country in an RV or toy hauler, setting up shop at their favorite Sturgis campground. Some fly in, rent a motorcycle and crash in a hotel or rental house. And a lucky few need only ride their motorcycle out of their garage to go enjoy the Black Hills.
No matter your story, some essential items are required for everybody who comes to the Sturgis Motorcycle Rally. We've compiled a few so that when you make your journey, no matter how long it is, you're prepared...
First and foremost, if you're going to ride any distance, you'll need some leather. God willing, you'll keep the rubber side down the entire time. But in case you don't, you'll want some protection so you're not leaving the Black Hills with a fresh road rash tattoo.
A jacket like the Roland Sands Design Walker Perforated Black Leather Jacket will save your skin in more ways than one, allowing maximum airflow while riding around the hills during those hot August days and keeping you protected in case you go down.
Ladies will dig the Trinity Perforated Leather Jacket by Roland Sands Design for the same reasons.
You'll stay cool, protected, and look damn good too. Triple win.
You'll want some solid leather gloves to go right along with that leather jacket for all the same reasons listed above.
This pair of Premium Leather Motorcycle Cruising Street Palm Sliders Biker Gloves by Jackets 4 Bikes is a good example of a pair that will make sure your mitts stay cool and in tact on your Black Hills motorcycle excursions.
We can't say it enough– you'll never regret staying protected if you lay your motorcycle down. "I sure wish I'd worn LESS protective gear," said no motorcyclist who's ever been in a wreck.
Kevlar-lined jeans are a great way to keep your legs protected so you can boogie down at night after cruising the hills. Check out the photo in the reviews of these MAXLER JEAN Men's Motorcycle Kevlar Jeans after they endured a 55 mph slide and tell us your favorite pair of plain ol' denim jeans would even still exist after that. Doubtful.
Of course, it's also a great place to keep your wallet with these other necessities:
If you're going to protect the rest of yourself, then you should definitely protect your noggin. There's a ton of options out there, and the prices range from next to nothing to more than what you're neighbor is asking for that old motorcycle he's got in his garage, but something like the Bell Qualifier Full-Face Helmet is a great option for anyone not looking to break the bank or their melon.
Pro Tip: If your helmet isn't full face, you'll want to rock some sunglasses or goggles as eye protection.
We just covered your head, and everything in between, so now it's time to cover your toes. A good pair of riding boots will protect you from the road, hot pipes, cold weather and looking like you don't know how to dress yourself. They'll also give you traction so you can stay in control while you ride. When it comes to function, style, comfort, security and durability, the Harley-Davidson Electron Motorcycle Boot is a good choice to get you covered.
Depending on what you ride, you could have a lot of options to choose from here, or you might not need any because it's already built in. Saddlebags are the most common type of motorcycle luggage.
Something like the Momentum Outrider throw-over saddlebag from Kuryakyn would be able to fit the clothing, toiletries you need for a quick day trip on your bike.
Pro Tip: Bring Ziplock bags or vacuum bags to put your clothes and toiletries into to save space and keep the inside of your saddlebags organized.
Listening to a high volume dull roar inside your helmet for hours can cause fatigue and hearing damage. Pull the plug on that noise and plug your ears so you can keep on cruisin'. Get some good Ear Plugs.
Perhaps the most versatile item you can pack as a motorcyclist is a Bandana. Your neck is generally the only exposed area when you're geared up for a long ride, so a bandana or neck gaiter can protect that spot from getting stung by an insect flying toward you at mach one, keep you warm when it's brisk, or you can cool yourself down by soaking your bandana in water. It also covers your face when the conditions are dusty and conceals your goofy looking helmet hair. Not to mention multitudes of other uses as necessary. Pack a few.
You're bound to run into rain at some point when you're riding. If you're not near a place where you can wait it out, you'll want some waterproof outerwear to throw on so you can keep going. This Viking Rain Suit will keep you dry and your wits about you as you proceed through the nasty elements to a drier destination.
Waterproof Duffel Bag
Also, a dry bag like this FirstGear Waterproof Duffel Bag to pile up over the top of your saddle bags will help keep your gear dry.
Tire Repair Kit
You might've packed everything you need for a massive trip and completed all necessary maintenance checks, but if run over something and your tire goes flat, your trip is all but done. A compact kit like the Pit Posse Motorcycle Tire Repair Kit will take up only a small amount of space and will get you back on the road in no time flat if you… get a flat.
In that same vein, you'll want a small tool kit in case you need to fix something on your bike. Find one that is specific to the bike you ride and make sure you've got it when you head out for a trip.
Food. It's tasty and gives you energy. Bring a few of your favorite packaged snacks.
What can't they do? GPS, call for help, reserve a hotel or campsite, look up how to fix something, take photos when you stop and take breaks. The number of uses is endless so don't leave home without it.
A windshield helps lessen fatigue on a long ride while protecting you from the harsher elements and flying debris (or organisms) heading toward you at 60+ miles per hour. They're relatively easy to install and uninstall as well.
There's a lot to consider when purchasing a windshield, but in simplest terms, the bigger it is the more protection it'll provide. And the bigger it is, the more it will change how your bike looks. Plenty of model-specific options exist as well as universal fit windshields like the Spitfire from Slipstreamer, which fits a large cross section of standard and cruiser motorcycles from every OEM. Make sure you do your research before pulling the trigger so you know your new windshield will fit your motorcycle.
For longer trips, the bags and gear can pile up rocky mountain high on the back and sides of your bike. Why not make that pile be manageable while providing you or a passenger a good backrest? Enter the Sissy Bar. They hold stuff, they hold people, and they look cool. What more do you need to know? Do your research and figure out what you'll use it for and how you want it to make your bike to look before making a selection.
Emergencies. Breakdowns. Crappy situations. They happen… often at night. If you need light and you need your hands free to fix something, a high quality headlamp will serve you well. This 6000 lumen LED headlamp from Cobiz is bright, affordable and rechargeable via USB. Pick up a set of 18650 rechargeable batteries from a reputable brand, swap them in for the included batteries and you'll be good to go.
A bike that's in tip-top shape and freshly maintained from end to end isn't moving anywhere very quickly if the battery is dead. Keep a portable jump starter with you to avoid finding yourself on the side of the road hoping someone comes along to give you a jump. This Lithium Jump Starter from DBPower is compact and packs enough juice to jumpstart vehicles with engines much larger than your motorcycle if need be.
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What did we forget? What items are the most essential to you? Let us know in the comments below!
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