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How to pack more on the RT when two up?


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Packing properly for longer trips on a bike can be as much

art as science, but I haven't parsed out the particulars yet.


So how can I "make more space" so to speak, on the RT when

touring two up?


Adding larger side case lids comes to mind (but then I'd want

to have them painted to match the bike like my regular lids,

which I assume will cost $$).


I could add a luggage rack to the top case, but I'd prefer

to avoid that since the top case is only meant to take so

much weight, and I think the rack would ruin the asthetic

when not needed to hold a bag on it.


Not sure, but I think Helen2wheels has addon bags that can

be tied on top on the side cases, but even so, my wife is

fairly short, and swinging her leg over those to sit down

might be a real chore.


Seems like using larger case lids is my only good choice;

am I missing some options here?


(I'm already planning on a BigMak tank bag, but that's

mostly for maps and other goodies; won't help with the

overall volume much)

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Take a look at the Upac luggage. It replaces the tourbox, but increases the carrying capacity by a great amount. I just returned from the National rally, which was my first trip with the Upac and was impressed. I have the medium size. It doesn't look as good as the tourbox, but is very practical for two up camping with the RT.

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Here are a couple of suggestions for you:


Consider one of the U shaped bags on the market. I've got a Jo's Upac, (unaffiliated of course) which I purchased from the classified section on this site. It works great. Another tip is to purchase those plastic bags that you can seal and then set on them and squish all the air out. You can get them from A Bed Bath and Beyond or another home supply store. They pack much smaller than regular bags. You might also consider reducing the amount of stuff you carry. Every trip I bring along stuff that I never use.



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Well, first of all, you need to look at WHAT you're packing.


Instead of jeans, go get some convertible Microfiber pants from REI. They pack in a fraction of the space of jeans, and the legs zip off to turn them into shorts. I could probably fit 4 pair of them in the space that one pair of jeans takes. Also, they dry fast, so you can wash them in the motel sink, and they'll hang dry pretty quickly.


There are other things like that which will cut down on the volume of your clothing greatly. Go to REI or a similar outdoors/camping store and ask for stuff that a backpacker would carry.


For toiletries, go get "Sample" sized shampoo, toothpaste, etc. Pack those in a ziplock bag. (Sometimes I use two ziplocks to make sure I don't have any problems with shampoo leaking out onto my stuff.


Pack clothing in gallon-sized ziplock bags. Pack the bag, sit on it to press the extra air out, then seal it.


Your gear makes a big difference as well. I used to wear overpants, then I'd rotate between a FirstGear jacket, Joe Rocket mesh jacket, and I'd put my gerbings liner under either jacket as necessary. The problem with that is I'm always storing a big bulky motorcycle jacket with armor. That wastes a HUGE amount of space. I basically filled up an entire saddle bag with my gear. Lisa was in the same boat, so both bags were wasted.


Now we wear 1-piece Roadcrafer's and we use the gerbings liner in the cold and a Hoon cooler in the hot. My Gerbings liner and hoon cooler easily fit in half of a saddlebag. Hers goes in half of the other saddlebag.


That leaves the other half of both bags, and the entire topcase for packing.


We can easily pack enough stuff for a 2-week trip in that much space.

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When we were still on the 1150RT two-up touring we had the large lids and they really are a help.


Of course paring down what you're taking of course.


Remember with most places you always have the option of shipping ahead, shipping home. We have "staged" a box of supplies before at a planned mid-trip point. Then used the same box to ship the first 1/2 of the trip back home.


A box of dirty stuff sitting on your doorstep from UPS when you get home two weeks later is always a pleasant surprise. tongue.gif (Actually most UPS places will 'delayed delivery' ship stuff too.)

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"Well, first of all, you need to look at WHAT you're packing.


Instead of jeans, go get some convertible Microfiber pants from REI..."


Indeed, in fact, having a fair amount of camping and backpacking

experience, we're already using many of these techniques.


"Your gear makes a big difference as well..." Yes, here is one of our major

problems. Maybe we are simply at an earlier stage in our "gear evolution"

than you are. The inner portions of our side cases hold our bag liners

reasonably well, unless they are really loaded, with the outer case shell

available for extra stuff or gear. However, there are times and places where

you don't feel comfortable leaving your nice armored mesh gear laying out

unprotected on the bike, but don't want to haul it with you either, and

it simply won't fit in what's left of case space. I'm starting to consider long

thin loop ended cable and a lock to strap them on the bike.


As it stands, the top case is filled with, 1 quart of oil (just in case), extra

bulbs, $10 airpump, two rolled up sets of raingear, two jacket liners for the

morning chill, and depending on misc. items that might find their way in,

hopefully a couple of ziplock bags with our cooling vests in them. If there's

no room, then those go in the side cases, and eat up some of that remaining



My wife has been a Slow adopter of Any riding gear ("Oh that's too expensive,

I don't need it, you ride more than I do, I 'll just use jeans, tennis shoes" etc.),

so this has been a running battle for me since I insist that she have

reasonable safety gear on. I was thrilled when, this weekend, she said she

wanted some thin camping shorts, and mesh pants instead of the Dragon

Jeans she usually wears, but now there's that much more that we may want to

stow in the bags at times. And if we find enough goodies at a rally, it better

be soft and foldable (barring shipping oppourtunities), or we're out of luck.

And a small foldable cooler with water and snackes?, no room left, unless

it's really small.


The Gerbings are and excellent space saving idea, and we've had them on our

"Must have before fall" list all season.

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I'm using Helen2wheels bags on top of the side cases... Work well.. My wife is 5'2", and she has gottent the hang of getting on over the bags.. See the attached pic..


They work well, are waterproof, and easy to get on\off. Mounting on top of the side cases keeps the weight low and balanced on the bike..


They do block the mirrors on the R12RT (seeing directly behid the bike), so I'm using a GS mirror to see behind the bike when fully loaded..




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Jerry, for small stuff, don't forget the glove compartment, and the space in the tailsection.


I keep all of my tools/spares/etc either in the glove compartment, or in the tail.


To secure the gear on the bike when you're not there, a cable with a padlock works well. I use a set of handcuffs, which are nice for a few reasons:

1. If I lose the key, any LEO will have a key that will work

2. They take very little space when not in use.

3. Who's going to mess with a bike that has stuff handcuffed to it. smile.gif


Leg irons would probably work even better since the longer chain gives you more leeway.


I don't carry oil anymore. If I need it, I'll be able to get something that's "good enough" at a gas station along the way. If I have a failure that's so bad that I can't make it to the next gas station without adding 1q of oil, I've got bigger problems to worry about anyway.

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I use a set of handcuffs, which are nice for a few reasons:

1. If I lose the key, any LEO will have a key that will work

2. They take very little space when not in use.

3. Who's going to mess with a bike that has stuff handcuffed to it.


I guess I was expecting at least one more reason... wink.gif

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How about Helen Two Wheels on top of large case lids?




(Of course the sexy model is a BMW accessory. This one happens to be just under 5'2") tongue.gifthumbsup.gifclap.gif

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OK, my situation is a bit different in that I travel on business by motorcycle quite a bit and have to pack casual business attire as well as riding gear. I'm also gone for up to 4 weeks so I need quite a bit of stuff. Don't bother reading furnter if your real attached to your top case cause its the first thing I suggest getting rid of in favor of a rack.


Now, on to packing.


Left side case (standard lids on both)


My work tools all packed in a 13W x 10H x 5" deep leather two section laptop case left over from when laptops were small. This thing is packed pretty solid with tools and weighs about 20 lbs. In an Eagle Creek packing cube, my foul weather gear. BMW Klima Komfort Rain Suit, BMW Summer Rain Gloves, Gerbings glove liners, Gerbings jacket liner, and controller. The rain suit does not come along if I'm wearing my 'Stitch. In the creases and crevices, I have some small stuff sacks with things like spare sun screen, ear plugs, a small tool roll. A small Eagle Creek packing cube with about 10 sets of H2W straps, a couple of bungies with adjustable hooks from Road Gear who, incidentally makes the mesh stuff sacks.


Right side case


15" Powerbook laptop with power supply and mouse plus some small paperwork related to my work plus all the paperwork for the bike all in an nice leather sleeve I got at the Apple store. I use a small Marsee clip on bag to hold things like a pair of reading glasses, safety glasses, floppy drive and disks, a pen, a couple of USB sticks, that kinda stuff. Also in the side case goes a stuff sack with all my chargers and crap for all the other electronics I carry, some reading material. There is plenty of room to stuff small soft items like commerative tee shirts or the sock monkey if its raining real hard.


On the rack, or in my case strapped across the pillion seat for aerodynamic reasons.


5 Polo shirts, 5 sets of dress type socks and underwearm in two Eagal Creek packing cubes. 5 sets of riding gear, each polypro tee shirt, Underarmour boxers, white athletic socks. Each in a 1 gallon zip lock bag and then stuffed into another Eagle Creek Cube. An Eagle creek 2 sided Cube with a pair of swim trunks, wading shoes, 3 more poly tee shirts and 3 pairs of poly boxers and one pair of poly pants with zip off legs. A pair of Merrell slip on loafers that double as dress shoes. 2 pairs Dockers folded into an Eagle Creek folding square. Finally, my toiletries bag which also came from Eagle Creek. All of this gets stuffed into a BMW waterproof duffel from their Lifestyles catalog. Its the big silver thing with the diagonal zipper. There is no spare room in this thing and I have to work to get the zipper closed. This is intentional as I strap this thing down using Helen Two Wheels straps and have never had it so much as shift a bit. Oh yeah, also inside are some spare gallon zip locks for laundry.


Now, when I get to the hotel, the only thing that has to come in with me is the big duffel. I mostly bring in the laptop as well.


Point is, you could easily fit all you need for both of you in both casual and riding clothing in the one duffel, leaving the side cases free for foul weather gear, enough for two folks easily will fit in only one bag with room left over. That leaves the other bag for tools (I don't bother), parts, oil (again I don't bother) maybe a bigger camera or some other stuff.


A large tank bag, actually two pieces of Big Mak completes the luggage. All my electronics go into the map case. Camera, sun screen, small can of Plexus and microfibre cloth, wet wash cloth in a zip lock for the bugs, safety glasses, whatever I feel I might need handy winds up in the bottom half. On the S, I strap the bottom half of the bag on top of the duffel and just run the map case on the platten so as to get better air flow on my chest.


If it weren't for the tools, work clothing and laptop, I can and have fitted everything I need into two side cases with city lids and a tank bag. Was gone for 8 months one time on nothing more.

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Those bags look great....where did you get them and how are they attached....whip


p.s. my RT is the same color.......cool

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Like the u pack idea myself, but I'm riding solo.


Helen Two Wheels bags can be found at:






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I learned from NASA. I pack really old stuff and jetison clothes along the way. It makes room for the Tee shirts I buy. If I run out I buy more at Wallyworld or at Goodwill.

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I use the Helen2wheels stuff when touring. While 2up I get a side case, and SWMBO gets a side case. We can put anything we want in it, but get only that much room. In the Helen2wheels stuff I have the tent in a large cord close sack. Two Thermarest Base Camps and two sleeping bags that pack really small, along with two polar fleece bag liners in a X-large roll top sack. I use ROK straps to keep everything where it should be. THe whole thing looks like this 24091191-S.jpg

The Helen2wheels stuff makes a sturdy and comfortable backrest for my wife. We also use the mesh bag she sells to put stuff in if we stop by the store for beer or food. You can also dry your clothes in the mesh bag if you needed to. I am going to switch to the Big Agnes air matress instead of the Thermarests, as they pack smaller, and provide more comfort. Other than that, I can only say that Visa is your friend while touring two up.


Hope you get it figured out,

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The use of compression bags of different sizes will make it possible to pack more in less space. For example: a North Face cats meow sleeping bag packes to 8 x 7 in a 15 liter bag. Cost is about $21.00 US. Same for my tent a Mountian Hardware 2 person it packs even smaller. The poles fold to 17 inches so the fit in a saddle bag or trunk. Other sizes include 10 and 25 liter. Thermorest is my choice because the fastning system is easy yo use even in the dark. Most bike shops have thes in stock. A set of 4 or 5 at a cost of around $100. will make packing easier.

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I for got to mention one thing I did different as I packed for Lima. I donot like things tied onto the seat such as Thermorest matress. Insted I carefully folded it as I removed the air. It it will keep the flat shape if it seals as it should. I placed it in the large trunk of the rt in stead of tying it to the seat or top of a bag. No more blind spots to the rear.

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Those bags look great....where did you get them and how are they attached....


I got them from http://www.helen2wheels.com/ Some dealers also carry her products. They strap on using a D ring on one strap.. I connected the long strap under the rear rack, and the short D ring to the grap rail.. Quick and easy.



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Based on your profile, I'm assuming you're on a pre-2005 RT. If you're currently using the BMW top case, you might look at the Givi 52 liter top case instead. I haven't taken measurements or anything, but I'd have to guess that the Givi has twice the usable space as the BMW box. The BMW box loses a lot due to the funky shape of the bottom section.


The reason for the pre-2005 distinction is that BMW offers a huge case for the 2005 RT - I don't know that the Givi is any better.

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Thanks Bob; actually that was a solution I hadn't thought of, and it is

worth looking into!


So far, the Helen2Wheels bags appear to be the cheapest, and a very good

fix. Using Russell's and Ed's packing techniques, and all or any combination

of larger side lids, Helen's bags, Givi case and Upac bags, we should have

more space than we need!


By the way, Bob: nice pic of the bike, and Sun-Joo too! I appreciated all the

shots showing bags in place on the bikes, it helps.

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