The mother of all motorcycle rallies is right around the corner, that means it’s time to start planning and packing for the majestic Black Hills. No matter if it’s your first trip or 21st trip to Sturgis, I put together this list of 10 essential items I think everyone should take with them.
Smart phone, GoPro, GPS unit, or even a self-leveling cup holder, whatever it is you want to secure to your handlebars Ram Mount has a mount or accessory to get you dialed in. You can get complete kits or mix and match pieces. I would recommend something like the [mageProductLink sku="321-9172" title=""]RAM Mounts Universal X-Grip Cell Phone Cradle With Handlebar Mount[/mageProductLink] kit, that way you have a way to safely attach your phone and then if you want to setup a camera or GoPro to record your ride you can swap out the X-Grip for a camera mount . The other thing I like with the kit is that the ball and short arm give you nearly infinite adjustability to set your device exactly where you want it.
A Wasp Camera is a must for Sturgis. It's like a GoPro, just a bit less money. You’ll be doing a lot of riding and with a GoPro you can capture all the great scenery without having to constantly pull over to the side of the road and pull out your camera. The capability to shoot great quality photos and high def videos combined with its rugged durability makes the [mageProductLink sku="4402-0427" title=""]Waspcam 9900[/mageProductLink] a do-it-all device. If you do pick up a new Wasp make sure you download the accompanying app, it will make your life much easier when it comes to setting up the perfect shot or video.
I have been to Sturgis about a dozen times and I’m pretty sure every time it has rained at least once. If you don’t pack [mageProductLink sku="204-wp8000-blk-01-sm" title=""]rain gear[/mageProductLink] I guarantee you’ll be one of those people fighting for space under one of the overpasses on I90 when the skies open up. If you’ve never been caught in a Sturgis rain storm, you’re in for a treat. Torrential downpours are a regular occurrence, and I swear the rain drops are heavier and denser than anywhere else in the world.
If you have a motorcycle alarm on your bike, that is great, but I suggest you get some kind lock as well. A simple [mageProductLink sku="313-2062" title=""]disc lock[/mageProductLink] is a quick and easy way to add another layer of security to your prized possession and best of all it won’t take up a ton of space in your saddlebag or motorcycle luggage. Just don’t forget to remove it before you ride away.
Frogg Toggs Chilly Pad
If it’s not raining in Sturgis then it’s usually muggy and hot. Your bike overheating while duck walking down Lazelle St. on your way out to the Buffalo Chip is definitely a possibility. But what would be even worse is if your body was to overheat. The [mageProductLink sku="350-6165" title=""]Chilly Pad[/mageProductLink] from Frogg Toggs is a great way to keep you cool. Simply dunk it in some water and wrap it around your neck or tuck it into your motorcycle helmet. The hyper-evaporative material will help the towel stay wet for hours and provide a great cooing effect as you ride.
Two Pair of Glasses
Law enforcement in Sturgis and the surrounding areas are just looking for a reason to pull people over in an effort to get drunk riders off the road. It’s illegal to ride in South Dakota without eye protection unless your motorcycle has a windshield. So why two pair of glasses you ask? Well, unless your motorcycle helmet has a clear shield and drop down sunscreen or you enjoy swapping out your face shield for day and night time riding then you’re going to need a tinted pair of glasses for daytime riding and a clear or Hi-Viz yellow pair for night time riding. Don’t even try and pull off the “cool guy riding with sunglasses at night” look the cops will get you. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve seen people walk out of one of the bars n Main St. hop on their bike and ride away with no glasses or toss on their sunglasses and think their good to go. Nope. The cops will pop you.
America the Beautiful Pass
There’s a lot to see and do in the Sturgis area and some of the best sights are at National Parks like Mt. Rushmore, The Badlands, and Devils Tower. Do yourself a favor and grab an America the Beautiful Annual Park Pass. For $80 (free for current duty U.S. military) one of these passes will get you and a passenger or even another motorcycle into more than 2,000 federal recreation sites across the country. The pass is good for a year at the time of purchase and covers entrance and amenity fees. It doesn’t cover things like camping fees but it will save you a ton of money. The entrance fees for a motorcycle to get into Devil’s Tower National Monument and Badlands National Park is $10, so if you just hit up a couple more national parks or monuments on your ride out to Sturgis you’ll have you pass paid for. It should be noted that there is no entrance fee to get into Mt. Rushmore but they do charge for parking ($10) and annual pass doesn’t cover that.
While the state of South Dakota allows riders over the age of 18 to ride without a motorcycle helmet, there are neighboring states that have helmet laws—I’m looking at you Nebraska. If you ride out to Sturgis, depending on where you live and what routes you take you may encounter a state or two that requires you to wear a motorcycle helmet. So it’s best to have one on hand just in case.
Antigravity XP-3 Micro Start Personal Power Supply
Chances are you’ll be out in the middle of nowhere and you’ll need to use your smartphone to get directions or make a call, and more than likely your phone will be dead. Weighing only 10.5 ounces and small enough to fit in your pocket, this little battery charger/jumper packs enough juice to jump start your motorcycle. With two USB ports you can charge two devices at once and it even has a built in flashlight. This thing could be a real life saver if you’re stranded on the side of the road. The [mageProductLink sku="321-3003" title=""]XP-3 [/mageProductLink]measures 6″ x 3″ x 1″ and can jump start gas engines up to a 5.7 liter V8.
My Harley doesn’t have saddlebags and I hate riding with my phone, wallet, and keys in my pockets. That’s why I take a motorcycle tank bag with me when I ride. I dump my pocket into the tank bag and it makes for a much more comfortable ride with all my items easily accessible. The [mageProductLink sku="03-8225-2405-00" title=""]Micro 2.0 Tank Bag[/mageProductLink] form Cortech is compact enough that it doesn’t take up a ton of real estate on top of the tank but can still hold a good amount of stuff. It has magnetic feet to secure to your tank or you can use the included straps to attach it to your bike. When riding around Sturgis I take my phone, wallet, and keys with me and just leave the bag attached to my bike. If you’re afraid of someone walking off with the bag you can use the straps and wear it like a backpack.
So there you go that’s my list of must haves for Sturgis. Use one of them, use some of them, or use none of them, it’s up to you. Just enjoy your time out there, keep your eyes peeled, and ride safe.