10 Items To Pack For Your Ride to Sturgis

If you forget these items your ride could be ruined

Riding to Sturgis can be a life-changing event for some people, and being prepared makes for a positive experience. Not a single one of us will bring the exact same equipment and gear for this trip, but there are a few things we all should have for this mission. This list is intended to help fill in the gaps between the usual items in on your packing list, like helmets, jackets, sleeping bags, and monkey butt powder.

Bike Lock

Kryptoflex
Kryptonite KryptoFlex 1018 Combo Cable LockCourtesy of the manufacturer

Sturgis can be a lot of fun for everyone, including opportunistic bike thieves. Making your motorcycle a little more difficult to steal might just be enough to deter one of those scumbags from stealing your bike and ruining the vacation. There are a number of lock styles available that range from small, portable disc locks to more bulky but durable cable and chain locks. It doesn't matter what type you like just so long as you have one with you. I like the small Kryptonite cable system with integrated lock because it allows you to wrap bikes together, feed it through helmets, and it is visible to all. Sometimes that is good enough.

Tank Bag

Tank Bag
Chase Harper 6XM Expandable Tank BagCourtesy of the manufacturer

A quality tank bag will allow you easy access to your various sundries while also giving a little extra storage while you're riding around the event. You can stash everything from cash, phones, bottles of water, rain gear, and even the aforementioned bike lock. There are a number of new bags that actually double as a duffel bag or even a backpack. I just bring the biggest one I can fit on my bike.

Cargo Net
Powertye 50152 Black 15"X15" Cargo NetCourtesy of the manufacturer

Inevitably you are going to need to strap stuff onto your bike that you were not prepared to haul. This mystery item might be your trophy from the wet T-shirt contest, swag from a concert, or you might go crazy and buy a bunch of novelty items from the multitude of vendors. Having bungees on hand is never a bad thing.

America The Beautiful Pass

Parks pass
The National Parks and Federal Recreational Lands Pass SeriesCourtesy of NPS.gov

If you plan to sightsee while you are visiting Sturgis, then consider grabbing one of these before you go. Between Mount Rushmore, Devils Tower, and the Badlands there are plenty of reasons to have the ATB Pass before you head to Sturgis. All of these national parks require a fee to enter, so for $80 (free to active members of the US military) you get an annual pass that allows you and a passenger (or another bike) to come and go as you please.

Sunglasses

Wiley X PT-1
Wiley X PT-1 Changeable Lens SunglassesCourtesy of the manufacturer

Not just one pair—bring a selection. We suggest a regular tinted pair as well as one equipped with clear or high-vis yellow lenses for night riding. Sturgis is one of those tricky states that allows you to not wear a helmet, but does require you have eye protection for both rider and passenger. This is a good way to keep the man from harassing you while you're just trying to have a good time. Plus, riding back to camp at night with dark lenses is a bad move.

Sun Block

Bare Republic Mineral Sport
Bare Republic Mineral Sport SPF 50 Sunscreen StickCourtesy of the manufacturer

Even though the temperatures can be mild up in the hills, the sun is still bearing down on your skin relentlessly. When you're riding, it's good to smear a blob across the back of your neck or any other exposed skin. When you are walking around the Chip or strolling through the vendors, it never hurts to have sunblock on.

Rain Gear

Rain suit
Alpinestars Hurricane One-Piece Rain SuitCourtesy of the manufacturer

It is not uncommon for Sturgis riders to experience rain during their stay. Year after year severe thunderstorms and other inclement weather systems sneak up on the crowds. Come prepared. Many rainsuits are small, light, and take up very little space. I like the Alpinestars Hurricane one-piece suit but there are many options out there. Just bring something; riding wet is one of the fastest ways to ruin a good ride.

Spare Key

Key Holder
Ram-Pro Magnetic Hide-A-Key HolderCourtesy of the manufacturer

Let's face it. Sturgis is a big party with distractions at every turn; there's always a chance you could misplace a key. Spare keys can be stashed on your bike using the tried-and-true Hide-a-Key, or simply leave an extra somewhere safe.

Tire Repair/Tool Kits

Tire Repair Kit with Mini Compressor
Aerostich Compact Tire Repair Kit with Mini CompressorCourtesy of the manufacturer

These are such a simple little setup that can really save your butt, so don't skimp on these. Think it over, bring the tools you need to make working on your bike easier: special wrenches, spare fuses, spark plugs, J-B Weld, the list goes on. The best tire-repair kits include an assortment of tire plugs, patches, and some type of inflator. This can be a small portable 12-volt pump, a CO2 pump, or a hand pump, for that matter. But without air, you just have a flat tire with a plug in it. I've seen CO2 take a half-dozen bottles to fill a tire, so while they can be great, I prefer a pump of some type.

Towing insurance

If you do not have this specifically designated in your policy, there is a chance they might not pay for the tow. I learned the hard way that AAA requires a bike-specific policy. If you happen to be out in the sticks when your breakdown occurs, this can be expensive lesson to learn.