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The Essential Motorcycle Touring Holiday Gift Guide 2021

Santa's ready to ride this holiday season with these essential gifts. • Credit: iStock
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The Essential Motorcycle Touring Holiday Gift Guide 2021

12 gifts riders are sure to love!

Looking for gift ideas for the motorcyclist in your life? Here are the best, guaranteed-to-please gifts aimed at improving the riding experience.



If you are looking for a Christmas or holiday gift for your favourite touring motorcyclist, here are some ideas that will help make their next touring adventure a little bit better.

These are items that I either own or that are on my Christmas list. They have proven to be excellent additions to my kit, and I expect would be ideal for any motorcyclist who likes to tour. Most of them can be found online or can be ordered from a local retailer or motorcycle shop.

Here's a list of motorcycle gift ideas focused, for the most part, on improving the touring experience.

I know from experience that having a fail-proof waterproof duffle bag is essential for enjoying your travels. I owned a duffle bag from a reputable company that failed. Their replacement also failed. Arriving at your campsite or motel with wet gear can really put a damper on your day. The Aqua Quest White Water Duffle (available in 50-, 75-, or 100-litre capacity) has proven, rainy day after rainy day, to keep my gear dry. It is an ideal gift for those who keep riding, rain or shine. Available online or from your local outdoor retailer.

This obviously isn't something you take touring, but it is an essential piece of kit for every motorcyclist to have in their garage. I recommend this one because it can be used with lead-acid and lithium-Ion batteries. It can charge or maintain a battery and can monitor battery activity for safe charging without overcharging. It also includes a built-in battery desulfator to rejuvenate underperforming batteries. Last spring, I called my motorcycle shop because of some battery issues. They said to bring my motorcycle in, and they would do a battery analysis and test at a cost of $135.00. (I’m assuming if it failed, they would then charge me for a new battery on top of the cost for the analysis.) I used my G3500 to find out that my battery was toast and bought a new battery for $95.00, all told, for a lot less than taking it to the shop. I’ve seen it on sale for as little as $65.

Last year, before Covid, I took a two-day emergency first aid course because I thought it made sense. Then I bought this first aid kit. After doing my research, I thought it offered the best bang for my buck, not to mention the best bang for its size. The case is approximately 20cm x 15cm x 10cm. It includes most of the things you'll need for day-to-day cuts and scrapes, plus a little bit more. I like it because the products are well organized and labelled. I'll trust that an explanation isn't needed as to why having a first aid kit on your bike while you tour is a good idea. But, as a reminder, make sure that you have your I.C.E (In Case of Emergency) information, including blood type, up-to-date and easy to find in the event of a crash. Available online or from your local outdoor retailer

Sometimes the quality of the tool makes all the difference. I think this applies to hatchets. In fact, I believe it so much that I put this on my Christmas list. At one campground this past summer, they had chopped wood for sale but no kindling. And, they had a strict rule about foraging for wood or twigs on or around your campsite. Luckily I persuaded the camp warden to split some wood and make some kindling for me. But, a lightweight hatchet would have solved this problem. And, there will be times when I am camping somewhere it is not only allowed but essential to find and chop my own wood. On another occasion, I arrived at my campsite to find that it had been graded with gravel to accommodate RV campers. Luckily a neighbouring camper helped out with some 6-inch spikes and a hammer. This was when it occurred to me that a hatchet with a flat butt end, for not much more weight than a hammer, would serve both for hammering in tent pegs and splitting wood for kindling. I decided then to add it to my kit. Available from Axeman, A Canadian Company.

5. Ergodyne Chill It Cooling Neck Gaiter, $19.99

 

If you ride in extreme heat, heatstroke can be a real risk. The Ergodyne Chill It Cooling Neck Gaiter is made from material that retains water. Its evaporative technology is activated with water for immediate cooling relief. Wet it down, wear it, get cool. It’s as simple as that. I've used this type of gear for years. It works. Available online or from your local outdoor retailer.

The vest works on the same principle as the neck gaiter. Simply wet it down and wear it under your summer riding jacket and it will dry as it gets hit by the wind. In the meantime, it will keep you cool. It is one of those products that you don’t think you’ll ever use, until you do. I rode for over eight hours on a sunny 40+ °C day. Fifteen minutes from home at the end of my long hot ride the car driver directly behind me decided to run the yellow light that I had already stopped for. This vest helped ensure that even after an eight-hour ride in 40°C weather I was still alert and able to recognize the hazard and take evasive action. It not only helped me prevent heatstroke, I believe it could very well have saved my life. Available online or from your local outdoor retailer.

This is an ideal companion for any touring rider who loves to explore off-the-beaten-path roads. Although your GPS tells you where you are, and of course, you can plan your route and save it to your GPS, relying on it alone might have you missing some of the roads known only by the locals. It takes a little research, but when you find that empty, curvy, scenic ride away from the major routes, you'll thank yourself for bringing your Backroads Map Book along. Available online or order from your favourite local bookstore.

8. Tire inflator/pump, $35.99

One of the most important jobs of a rider is to check your motorcycle every time you throw your leg over the saddle. This includes checking the tire pressure. This mini inflator (mine shown) has worked for me time and time again. It's small, and it's ideal if you have to plug a tire. Every touring kit should include one. It's available from Fortnine.

9. Torque wrench, $19.99 – $199.00+

Every garage housing a motorcycle should have one. And even if your rider isn't mechanically inclined, it is still a must. This is because almost everything on a motorcycle that needs to be tightened has a torque setting. I noticed a frame bolt had come loose on my motorcycle. I found out the torque setting required and tightened it like a pro. Without a torque wrench, many jobs might need to be done by a motorcycle shop at a much higher price. This, too, is one of those tools for which it is best to pay a little bit more. Make sure the wrench covers the range of settings required by the motorcycle. Princess Auto has a wide selection as does Canadian Tire.

Written by Keith Code, founder of the California Superbike School, A Twist of the Wrist Volume II is a great read for the off-season. The section about survival reactions (what you automatically do when you panic, even though it's the wrong thing to do) is worth the read in itself. For those few people who still read this is a great gift. For those who don’t, there is also a DVD version, but in my opinion, it is not as good. Available from Chapters Indigo or your favourite local bookseller. 

11. Camp Chair, $37.89 – $149.95+

For roasting marshmallows next to the fire or for keeping yourself warm on chilly evenings. Need I say more? I bought a cheap one from Amazon, and it is already starting to unravel at the seams. It is probably worth investing in a premium quality model. Available from Mountain Equipment Co-op.

It’s not cruise control, but it is still nice to have. I like having my hand on the throttle, feeling the engine, and being ready for anything. But, has your throttle hand ever gotten that pins and needles feeling? Mine has. And when this happens my hand needs a break. It doesn’t take much. I just need to take my hand off the throttle for a few minutes to shake it out. The Go Cruise Throttle Lock is ideal for giving me the short breaks I need. Available online or from your local outdoor retailer.

Christmas lists can go on ad infinitum. Instead, my intent is to give you a few ideas that might, otherwise, not have crossed your mind. I hope my mini-list has helped.

Happy holidays, but in the meantime, and until the snow flies, safe riding! I’ll be out there!


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