Travelling west in 2011

Preparation – Riding Gear

One of the challenges of a long motorcycle is to face the various elements. On the same day, it can sometimes be very hot, a few hours later, very cold and if you are very lucky, you can get a nice rainfall to reward you for all your efforts.

On previous trips, I suffered from the cold and rain. I promised myself to better prepare at this for this trip to South America.

In 2008, I travelled across Canada in summer. I did not have a heated vest. Big mistake! I quickly learned that a sunny and warm morning can turn to a cold and rainy afternoon.

At that time, I wore a BMW Rally 2 Pro suit. Although it’s a good product, I noted two major problems. First, it is not waterproofed. To ride in the rain, you need to stop and put on a internal liner. It is sometimes very complex and impractical. Just imagine having to remove the boots and then remove the pants, adding the lining, putting back the pants on and do the same thing with the jacket! And all this under the rain!

Moreover, even when this lining, the outer shell gets wet, becomes very heavy and sometimes takes a long time to dry. On some occasions, when hanged in the evening, it was still wet the next morning.

In 2010, during a trip to Labrador, I changed my strategy.

Instead of adding the inner liners, I put on a raincoat over my suit. A little better, but the trouble having to stop and fight with the outer lining is still present, but the worst was the lack of comfort with all these layers. I sometimes found myself with a t-shirt, a heating vest, the Rally 2 Pro jacket and raincoat. Unbearable!

So I turned to an all-in-one solution. A rainproofed suit. I chose the BMW GS Dry.

Here is a good review for those interested.

BMW GS Dry Suit Review

My first tests revealed that it is much lighter than the Pro Rally 2, better adjusted, but much less ventilated.

Indeed, it only has 4 openings that are quite effective to produce an air flow, but the pants are very hot, simply because that there is no possibility of ventilation.

BMW GS Dry suit
BMW GS Dry suit

So I added a “BMW Motorrad Motorcycle Cool Down vest”. Very helpful and I would have loved to have this piece of equipment before, even with my Rally 2 Pro, especially when I crossed the Death Valley a few years ago!

BMW Motorcycle Motorrad Cool Down vest
BMW Motorcycle Motorrad Cool Down vest

In terms of rain, the suit performed as described. I stayed nice and dry and I did not have to stop to add anything! Happiness!

You understand that I now have a heating jacket. I usually wear it when temperatures are below 16 degrees Celsius. Brand: Powerlet with wireless controller.

My helmet is a BMW System 6 with an intercom system. The big advantage of this helmet is that it is modular, that is to say, it is possible to raise the front and drive with my face in the wind. Essential in my case!

BMW System 6 Helmet
BMW System 6 Helmet

As for gloves, I’ll bring 4 pairs:

  • BMW AllRound: Cool weather
  • BMW GS: Hot weather
  • Heated Gloves (inner lining) of Powerlet: Very Cold Weather
  • Arc’teryx outer shell: Very rainy days
BMW AllRound Gloves
BMW AllRound Gloves
BMW GS gloves
BMW GS gloves
Powerlet heated gloves
Powerlet heated gloves

In terms of boots, I have, a long time ago, made a controversial choice to wear only my hiking boots while I ride my motorcycle. The reason is simple. The main motivation, when I travel by motorcycle, is adventure and this, most of the time, leads me to places where it is impossible not to go small or long walks in the mountains or in nature. The storage space available on the bike does not allow me to carry an extra pair of boots so they are the ones that I always wear.

There is a slight disadvantage in terms of protection and sometimes it’s a little less comfortable due to lack of ventilation. But this is a concession I’m willing to do.

My choice fell on Bora² Mid GTX Hiking Boot Arc’teryx, made of Gore-Tex® with a removable liner.

Arc'teryx Bora² Mid GTX Hiking Boots
Arc’teryx Bora² Mid GTX Hiking Boots

Those boots are, in my opinion, the best on the market. Without going into too much detail, it was nothing short of a revelation and an end to my suffering feet! The Adaptive Fit removable liner inside these versatile and technical hiking boots eliminate any friction. I’m done with toes that hit the end of the boot on downhill walks and blisters due to long days of walking!

On the bike, they are ultra-light, fully waterproof and ventilated. What joy in cold, hot or wet weather.

Small bonus, it is possible to walk only with the liner in the evening because it is the sole is strengthened.

Clothing Comments Price
BMW System 6 Helmet Size 60-61 800,00
BMW Bluetooth intercom system 600,00
Helmet spare Parts Visor, electronics, microphone, screws 100,00
Helmet charger 0,00
BMW Jacket GS Dry 800,00
BMW Pants GS Dry 700,00
BMW Hydro Vest
Hicking boots Arc’teryx 400,00
Heated vest Powerlet 300,00
Heated vest remote controler 0,00
Batteries for heated vest controllers 2X Modèle CR2032 10,00
Heated gloves (liner) New pair and old for backup 100,00
Motorcycle gloves BMW GS, AllRound 1X, Summer gloves 300,00
Plexus Cleaning visor 30,00
Nanotips 2X Leather and fabric 25,00
Ear Plugs Taperfit 2 (312-1219) 100X 10,00
4 175,00

The next post will cover camping and hiking equipment.

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Marc Ouellet

Adventurer at heart. Travelling on 2 wheels to South America soon!

  • Johann Berry

    Why not a Klim, Touratech or Aether for gear? Also, sidi for boots?

    1. Marc Ouellet

      And why not a BMW? 🙂

      As for the boots, I chose to ride with hiking boots because I’ll be doing some treks during the trip and I don’t want to carry 2 pairs.


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