Motorbike Adventure Gear List for a Biking Adventure in Northeast India

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After almost 20 years on the road in the Land Cruiser and a couple of long-distance hikes it was time to try a new type of adventure. And so we flew to Northeast India with the plan to tour the Seven Sisters, as the region is dubbed, on a Royal Enfield, the iconic Indian motorbike.

While the plan had been to buy an Enfield on arrival and sell it before flying out, we had the luck that our friend Krishnajan was happy to lend us one of his bikes! How incredibly kind is that?

So what to pack for the bike? On arrival in Guwahati, the plains of Assam, it was bloody hot (around 30C / 86F), but it would be cool in the mountains. Pack camping gear, or not?

The Enfield came with two panniers and so that was the maximum capacity to carry our gear. Once we had our clothes packed, we had plenty of space left for a tent, inflatable mattresses and one light sleeping bag.

Read More: the Journey & our Long Distance Hikes

Mizoram tour by Royal Enfield, India (©Coen Wubbels)

Recommended Books on Overlanding by Motorcycle

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Motorcycle Trip Journal

Land of Dawn-lit Mountains – Antonia Bolingbroke-Kent

One Man Rides Northeast (India) – Ketan Joshi

Products from Amazon

Our trip and what we learned

  • 90 days – Nov 15-Feb 14
  • Short days. Sunrise around 6.30 am and sunset between 4.15 – 5.15 pm.
  • In the mountains many, if not all, shops and restaurants close at 6 pm if not earlier (the record was Zunheboto, where everything was closed before 4 pm).

Per State – Climate & Clothes/Gear

  • Foreigners no longer need Inner Line Permits except for Arunachal Pradesh. Indian nationals still need some other Inner Line Permits (I believe Nagaland & Manipur).
  • Assam & Tripura (Nov/Dec) : plains, warm. In the morning we started out with wearing a light wind jacket and ended up driving in our shirt. A second set of clothes for the evening so we could wash our sweaty biking clothes and have them dry in the morning.
  • Meghalaya (Nov) : hills, warm. The only state we camped, twice. It was warm enough with one sleeping bag for the two of us. Disadvantage: the tent was soaking wet and took long to dry. By the time the sun came over the hills and the tent was dry, we lost part of the morning. So we stopped camping.
  • Mizoram (late Dec), Manipur, Nagaland (Jan), Arunachal Pradesh (early Feb): mountains. Cold! We bought fleece jackets, Coen a down jacket, and we were glad to have brought our rain jackets (as wind protectors; we had no rain at all). We also bought rain pants to wear as second layer. Still, by the end of the day we would be stiff from driving. Plenty of tea stops along the way to warm up in the sun.
  • To sum it up: make sure you bring enough warm clothes.

Accommodation

  • We camped twice in Meghalaya
  • A couple of times we stayed with locals, mostly through Couchsurfing.
  • Most nights we stayed in budget accommodations. Some states have government accommodation, called Circuit houses / Tourist lodge / Government resthouse / Forest resthouse. In the mountains the room had hot water (sometimes brought in a bucket). All rooms were unheated and only three times we got a tiny electric heater, which did not by any means warm the room, but was nice nonetheless. So also for the evenings you need warm clothes! Thermal underwear does the job.
  • Many of the (government) guesthouses had filtered water systems to fill your water bottle.

Travel Guides for India

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Insight Guides – India

DK Eyewitness Travel Guides – India

Lonely Planet Travel Guides – India

Products from Amazon

Coen’s Clothes

motorbike adventure gear, India (©Coen Wubbels)

Karin-Marijke’s Clothes

motorbike adventure gear, India (©Coen Wubbels)

Camping Gear

motorbike adventure gear, India (©Coen Wubbels)

Toileries / Water

motorbike adventure gear, India (©Coen Wubbels)

Electronics & Other

motorbike adventure gear, India (©Coen Wubbels)

Check it out: the Landcruising Adventure Sketchy-Ride Shirt Collection

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