Build An Adventure Bike Survival Kit

Tip #28 from the pages of The Total Motorcycling Manual

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adventure bike survival kit

On a long ride or in a foreign country, you never know what might go wrong. If your bike breaks down in the middle of nowhere or the weather suddenly turns nasty, you’ll need more than just luck to survive. When you’re heading off the beaten track, pack a survival kit, and be ready for the unexpected.

KNIFE You don't need some big Rambo pig sticker here. At the very minimum, a multitool with a good blade will do. A Swiss Army knife with a locking blade is also a great choice.

TRASH BAGS These are your wilderness get-out-of-jail-free cards. Stuffed with leaves or pine needles or cattail fluff, they're a mattress.You can also slit them open to make a tarp or cut holes to make a poncho, or just use one as a short-term sleeping bag.

ROPE You should already have some tow rope, ideally 25 feet (7.5 meters) of one-inch (2.5 cm) flat nylon strap. But 50 to 100 feet (15.25 to 30.5 meters) of parachute cord (aka 550-cord) takes up less space.

TARP A tarp can shelter against sun and rain. Wrap yourself up in it, spread it out, or use it as a hammock. The best are ripstop or silcoat nylon.

FLASHLIGHT A headband-mounted light frees up your hands for bike repairs or shelter-building in the dark. Also, know that your bike's taillight or turnsignal bulb draws less battery power than the headlamp.

COMPASS When your GPS fails, you'll need to navigate on your own. Keep your compass on a cord around your neck and tucked into your riding jacket, and know how to use it, too. Don’t forget a map of your riding area, either.

COFFEE CAN You can use it as an improvised digging tool, to transfer gas from one bike to another, or slosh parts in gas to clean them. But most of all, it's a great impromptu cooking pot.

WATER PURIFICATION You should always have water with you, but you can only carry so much. Regardless, you need to purify whatever you find. Instead of a filter, just use iodine-based tablets and follow the directions on the label.

FOOD You don't need much—3,000 calories will seem like a feast and will see you through a couple of days or give you enough energy to walk out. Pack a double handful of snack bars and bouillon cubes or instant cocoa to drink.

WALKING SHOES When all else fails, the best plan is to hoof it out. Hiking some serious distance in motocross boots might cripple you, but in decent footwear you can manage it with ease. Throw in a pair of clean hiking socks, too.