Motorcycle Travel New Zealand

Super Light Motorcycle Packing for a Short Trip

There’s nothing worse than your motorcycle being weighted down by heavy panniers. Overloading your bike makes the bike handle terribly when you’re meant to be enjoying the bike. When I went on a short 4-day trip around Northland, New Zealand here’s what I pack in a single rear pannier (or a backpack if you want).

All I need for a 4 day motorcycle trip. Photo © Karl Rock.


This is excluding my riding gear, which I’ll be wearing while riding.

  • 1 x Jeans
  • 1 x Belt
  • 1 x Long sleeve shirt – I’ll wear this under my riding jacket but also with my jeans when I get out of my riding pants.
  • 1 x Light pants and top for sleeping
  • 1 x Swimming or gym shorts
  • 1 x Walking shoes
  • 2 x Socks
  • 2 x Underwear
  • Optional: I’ll carry a poncho if I think it’s going to rain. Even though my riding gear is waterproof, I like to avoid not having to dry it.


  • Small hand towel – a hand towel is sufficient to dry yourself
  • 10 x Muesli bars – for snacks
  • Toothbrush & toothpaste
  • Sunblock
  • GoPro
  • USB charger
  • Mobile phone
  • 3 x Plastic bags – for a wet towel, shoes, and clothing
  • Medication
My idea of a Nightmare. Photo by Chris Baird.
My idea of a Nightmare. Photo by Chris Baird.

Things you don’t need

  • Soap – hotels and hostels supply this
  • Laptop – my phone can do everything I need while away albeit a bit slower
  • Jumper or jacket – use your motorcycle jacket instead
  • A ton of clothing – if it’s a short trip you’ll survive wearing your clothes multiple times
Super light bike packing. Photo © Karl Rock.
My Kawasaki Versys 650 packed minimally with a single rear pannier (and locked to my bike with a terrible pink cable) for a recent trip around Northland, New Zealand.

If you want to travel light in a mild climate, check out my super light packing list.

By Karl Rock

Karl Rock, is a Hindi speaking Kiwi ex-pat who take viewers behind the scenes of incredible India and its neighbours. He has visited every state and union territory in India, and its culturally similar neighbours – Pakistan and Bangladesh, and aims to make others fall in love with India and the subcontinent.

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