While in college I had the fortunate experience of taking an outdoors appreciation class taught by Ron Hood. He had us memorize the Ten Essentials for outdoor travel, which I mostly remember to this day. Years later, while he went on to professional greatness, the Ten Essentials he taught can be valid for dual sport riding – with a slight adjustment. Number eleven you could say.
The idea for the Dual Sport Eleven Essentials (DSEE) is that with a little planning, many off-road problems can be easily handled, allowing for more time to enjoy the ride and adventure ahead. I’ve found that overcoming minor challenges with the DSEE add to the interest of the ride. Ironically, being well prepared seems to make needing the DSEE less likely.
Carrying the DSEE should be done in a fanny pack or backpack, or both. The objective is to be able to walk out at a moments notice with your supplies if situation calls for it. Bears? Hill people? Zombies?
The Dual Sport Eleven Essentials
1. Bike Preparation:
Before gathering all the essential DSEE gear, your bike must be ready for its voyage. This seems like a no brainer, but many trail problems should be sorted out while in the garage (See How To: Prepare The Bike For An Endurance Race). For a dual sport ride, remember to bring the basics; a driver’s license, vehicle registration and proof of insurance.
While GPS Receivers, Spot Trackers, and other devices can be very helpful – when fully charged. But never underestimate the never fail system of a paper map and compass. A quick Internet search will yeild literally any and all maps which can be downloaded. Or, you can kick it old school and pick up a professionally printed version from Butler, Automobile Club, Park Service, or a local gas station. A compass with a neck string is great when having to walk out. You can practice map reading and compass navigation in your neighborhood or via a few good sources on YouTube.
3. Extra Clothing:
Weather can change very quickly, especially at night, so a jacket, jeans, etc. are a good idea. It may be hot during the day, but an extra jacket, pair of jeans and a stocking cap can make a cold night bearable. Staying warm is critical if you find yourself with an injury. I ride with prescription glasses, so an extra pair of untinted glasses in a hard case travels in my pack.
A headlamp or flashlight can make an evening repair visible and provide illumination for the dreaded long walk out. Don’t forget fresh batteries.
Have a whistle with a string for around your neck for signaling others when lost.
6. First Aid Kit:
Obvious enough, but be sure to include any medication you may need. A small tube of sun block is also good in a pinch. Cloudy one day doesn't mean it will be the entire weekend. You can make your own first aid kit from supplies already in the medicine cabinet and bag it yourself, or buy a premade kit. Also good to have is a small pack of facial tissues for when nature calls.
A box of waterproof matches, lighter and fire starter can also be useful.
An emergency tool kit is all that is needed. Some guys travel with way too many tools; these guys are great to ride with and borrow gear from. You only need the minimum. There are way too many tools to list all of them here; research your owner’s manual for what’s needed for your bike. Here’s a few ideas:
Tube, tire pump or CO2 inflation kit, tire irons, Multi-tool, Duct tape, Big Zip-ties (for securing a flatted tire to a rim), Tow strap, Cash, Cell phone (only useful if charged and if cell service is available along the route, but somehow reassuring nevertheless)
In addition to the food and drink needed on your planned ride, bring plenty of extra. Consider an extra bottle of water and several packages of energy bars or snacks. Pick food that won’t go bad quickly and is sturdy enough to withstand rough handling.
A new Mylar blanket, factory folded, takes little space and may be necessary to keep the injured warm. On a bike with panniers, a tent and sleeping bag are good insurance.
Bring 10 yards of lightweight rope to lash down things onto the bike, like goodies bought along the trip.
This idea behind the DSTE is to prepare for the worst, yet expect the best.
What else have you found helpful to bring dual sport riding?