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My Complete Tool Kit for International Motorcycle Travel – TOOLS, SPARES & REPAIRS

My Complete Tool Kit for International Motorcycle Travel – TOOLS, SPARES & REPAIRS


I’m Bret Tkacs. I’ve traveled five
continents and over 50 countries and I’m telling you it’s important to always be
prepared this is all the things that you must bring with you on every trip you
have a hammer need to have a spare hat don’t forget your tools duct tape fixes
everything and don’t forget to have a spare roll if you need to change fork
seals in oil oil is important don’t forget if there’s a flat it’s a lot of
work to be working on the bike have water with you spare RAM mount let’s see
we have this we have ah just in case I break the axle loose okay that’s a lot
of stuff I’m just kidding (flashback to 2018)
welcome to my day job this is classroom from Puget
Sound safety my day I’m an instructor by night I’m a youtube sensation ah I
remember that guy now we’re coming up on a hundred thousand subscribers we’re gonna celebrate a hundred thousand
subscribers here in western Washington you’re all invited pay attention to
social media we’ll post where and when these are all of the tools spares and
repairs that I carry with me and all of these fit in this bag in our first tools video I showed you
how to build a tool kit that was streamline and specific just to your
motorcycle in this video I’m going to talk about the tools that carry
internationally this is my tool kit and my emergency supplies they carried
through Africa and South America the biggest difference between this are
the tools are a little larger a little easier to work with but more importantly
it’s all the supplies I carry in case something goes wrong
and that’s what I want to share with you one of the first things that I have in
here the easy to grab are just packing straps these are the packing straps they
use when motorcycles come to the manufacturers some will give them away
for free some they’ll charge a few dollars but
the reason I carry these straps Avery so much for packing but if you rip a panier
off the bike or you damaged a pan your frame these work very very well for re
securing those onto the bike it’s amazing when straps come in handy these
are really really strong zip ties are something most of us as writers and of
carrying and they’re wonderful for stitching back together plastic almost
Frankenstein you can drill a hole and use multiples of them but what I like
are the stainless steel zip ties these become very important they’re a lot more
durable and where I’ve used these often is when I rip off a skid plate or
somebody else rips off a skid plate many of the bikes have a fracture bolt on the
bottom that’s a design to fail and rip off if you don’t have replacements it’s
bouncing around and if you’ve already ripped off your skid plate it means you
need it so having something like a stainless steel zip tie and a multitude
of them can be very useful for making those types of repairs J be quick weld a
cold weld epoxy is an absolute must I’ve used this multiple times on other
bikes and I’ve used it on my own bike when you’ve tipped over
cracked a side cover or in one case somebody punched the bottom of their
engine case through their skid plate this allows you to clean all the paint
off put a seal on it and it will last well it’ll last a full continent or more
Loctite is an important thing to carry it’s basically a glue for bolts and nuts
with all the vibration especially riding off-road it’s not a common to have bolts
back off or if you have to repair or play something you tighten it back up
it’s more likely to back off that was carry blue thread lock with me the red
is intended to be permanent so it can be very difficult to break free later the
blue it works and you can break it free with just a wrench or with a ratchet
stainless steel safety wire most commonly used by Road racers or by
off-road riders it works very well for us if you end up with a grip that moves
or slips what they do is they’ll wrap this around tighten up the safety wire
it’ll keep the grip in place but also because it’s made of metal it can be
very useful in making other types of repairs again broken bodywork bent or
even even with the panniers where you might get a tear you can put it back
together with metal electrical tape and duct tape you can fix almost anything
with duct tape but to carry something this size and this much weight
everything adds up and eventually doesn’t make a lot of sense so what I do
instead is all wrap the tape around one of the tools I’ll make a tool handle for
one of my wrenches the duct tape leaves a really thick residue behind
so I’ll take painters tape which leaves almost no residue I’ll put it around the
wrench and then I’ll wrap the duct tape around the wrench so it’s always good
it’s space that is not wasted and it doesn’t add a lot of weight to my kit
I’m trying to address those issues that will leave me stranded where I need to
get out of the out of the woods or back into a civilized area where I can get a
permanent fix so these are all temporary fix items and flat tires they’re always
a possibility my BMW is tubeless so I do carry a small kit that allows me just to
plug the tires but because I like riding off-road often
what gets me a flat isn’t gonna be a nail or something sharp and easy it’s
gonna be a big sharp rock or something that might actually tear or cut the tire
so I always carry a two patch repair kit as well that’ll have the larger patches
so if I get a tear inside I can take the tire off and patch it that way if you
have a tube tire you’re going to be required to carry one of these anyways
make sure I always carry more than one core remover and I carry spare cores for
inside the tube often these can be damaged lost or just stopped working so
always having a spare is a good idea but even then it doesn’t always solve the
problem one of the issues you run into off-trail is you have a very small air
pump something that doesn’t put out a lot of pressure and if you have a
tubeless tire no matter how well you fix it you may not be able to get that tire
to actually seat or the damage is on the sidewall and it’s something you can’t
repair the only way to solve that issue is to install an inner tube for me I
only need to carry one tube a 19 inch tube will work well enough to inflate my
17 inch rear wheel as well as the 19 on the front if it’s a 21 17 I end up
carrying two with the tube inside the tire even with a slow inflation rate of
a small pump it’ll continue to expand until eventually that tire pushes all
the way back up onto the bead and again if it’s a sidewall tear this is the only
fix you have the challenge is how do you carry this tube without damaging it the
blue painters tape protects the tube from the duct tape the duct tape
protects the tube from everything else on top of that I get the bonus of extra
duct tape if I need it to fix some other problem the tape is nice to compress the
tube but another alternative is simply just wrap your tube in plastic and then
tape the plastic okay yeah it does look a little suspicious at the border
crossing huh bury it deep along with your repair items to make sure of course
you have the tools break the bead and pulled the tire off
the rim even if you have a tubeless tire and if I end up changing tires on the
road I always carry a strip of weights with me so I can do a static balance on
that tire before I put it back on the bike also if you throw a weight it can
be a pretty rough ride I carry a heavy duty dual lock velcro
that’s plastic on both sides this is really good for mounting things onto the
motorcycle minor repairs I’ve used this when I broke into my helmet mount for my
comm system and reattached it using this if I need to make an electrical repair
this weighs almost nothing this is shrink wrap it allows me to make the
repair I put the shrink wrap over the top of the repair and I heat it up with
a lighter or a torch it’s way more professional than electrical tape I
started carrying a tape measure with me just so I could set the SAG on my
motorcycle and tune my suspension but it’s very useful when something goes
wrong I’ve also used it to measure bolts so want to make phone calls looking for
parts or if I have to manufacture some sort of part I can take exact
measurements bike specific things I carry are things such as an o-ring crush
washers or even a belt for my alternator if that fails I’m kind of out of
business and that’s something to consider when you’re traveling if you
have a bike as chain-drive and what I did through South America on my 800 GS
was I carried a section of extra chain just a little piece it’s going to
replace my chain I keep the spare and then I buy two master links for either
end and the reason I do that is I’ve had these pins fail or you can pick up a
rock that will damage the chain and you’re not able to continue on this
allows you to cut that section the chain out and splice in a new piece if you’re
going to carry the extra chain you’ll also need a chain breaker and or
possibly a chain press depends what kind of master link you have I was dad an
Uruguayan I had lost my chain breaker I had to borrow from a local guy which was
really interesting because he spoke a language I didn’t speak which was
Portuguese and I had to take a bench grinder and actually grind off the outer
Lane so I could splice in the new chain so
definitely important to have the right tools with you and depending how hard
you travel and where are you going main up carrying forks hills with you
will bearings head bearings or even an oil filter for me I’ve been able to find
automotive filters that crossover to my motorcycle for both the 1200 GS and the
800 GS and in fact one of the benefits is it fits my Toyota Tacoma the same so
I get to use them and I can find those filters anywhere in the world but if you
have a filter very specific to your motorcycle it may be something you want
to carry with you you may also need to bring extra items with you such as brake
pads quality chain or sprockets things that fit your bike very specifically
that could be impossible or near impossible to find in remote parts of
the world there’s other tools you might consider if you’re traveling
internationally this one I bought while I was in Mexico because we dented a rim
one of the people I was riding with ended up using it three times to repair
the same rim turns out I tried to get rid of this almost the entire trip it
kept getting being given back to me and I used it over and over and over again I
ended up replacing will bearings and head bearings on two different bikes on
that trip I recommend carrying a punch finding one of these in Colombia or
Botswana or some of these countries can be extremely difficult and what I did
find one I paid an exorbitant amount of money to borrow it so I do recommend
carrying a punch the bearings I could find the tool I couldn’t a small set of
locking pliers can be very useful if you damage or break off a shift lever or
potentially a clutch lever or a brake lever I don’t carry spare brake levers
or clutch levers with me because they have the proper protection on the
motorcycles and I usually replace them with shorter levers that are less likely
to be damaged but if you do break one a set of small locking pliers can be a
lifesaver wd-40 is kind of universal for me it’s good for breaking bolts loose
it’s good for helping break the bead off of tires if it
very dry it’s also very good for helping seat a beat on a tire by the way it’s
not going to hurt the rubber I do care eww 40 it’s good for cleaning the chains
it’s good for doing a quick lubrication it’s good well you get the idea it’s
good for almost everything and I think I can use it to brush my teeth I also
carry a motorcycle toe strap it’s got a high tensile strength it’s the proper
length and it’s gonna be much better than a piece of rope or twine you find
on the side of the road if you use a toe strap one side has a closed loop and one
side has an open loop the closed loop gets fed through and is put on the tow
vehicle if you’re the motorcycle being towed you take the non loop side and you
wrap it once around on the center of the handlebar and you place a hand over the
top of it this way if something goes wrong when you let go the strap can be
pulled free my current motorcycle uses a can bus system so I don’t have any fuses
here but if your bike has fuses throw a few in the bag they’re light they don’t
take any space and if you have no secondary lighting and only one
headlight you may want to consider carrying a spare bulb as well and all
that’s left are the tools I showed you in the first video our instinct is to
try to prepare for every single contingency on the trail or on the road
and it’s okay to ask for help it’s okay to find other things what we’re trying
to do is prepare ourselves for those things that will leave us in harm’s way
or completely stranded some of my absolute best memories traveling came
about because of something I couldn’t fix on my own in Congo my subframe
completely broke off the back of the bike and the locals that came by they
brought bolts and none of us spoke the same language and they helped me out in
Mexico we’ve been to frame end up sleeping on the porch of a local
policeman meeting his family meeting all of his family local club came by he
called all his friends and all these motorcycles came to see the travelers
these memories are some of my most cherished memories so having a little
bit of vulnerability allowing yourself to ask for
help allowing yourself to get help could be well it can be one of the best
experiences you have

100 comments on “My Complete Tool Kit for International Motorcycle Travel – TOOLS, SPARES & REPAIRS

  1. I've done an around-the-world (63 countries/6 continents) on a 1200gs. The best tool is a sincere smile and gratitude, as the locals will bend over backwards to help. There are good people in this world, regardless of race, politics and religion, just be open with them and you will be well taken care of.

  2. They speak Spanish in Uruguay unless you’re right up at the Brasil border where you’ll get a Spanish/Portuguese mix.

  3. School pencil case with a couple of sections containing a few spare bolts, nuts, Allen keys
    My spare chain link, fuses zip ties and araldite and thread lock also go in here.
    I carry a small bottle of rad seal to.
    Ratchet strap for ferry companies that don't provide them.
    Congratulations on 100000 and more happy travels.

  4. Great advice Bret, really enjoyed this video.
    I carry as few spares as possible and as many tools as i might need for my situation. If im riding my bike on roads only, in my home country then i carry my credit card and breakdown insurance. At the other end of the scale, if im off roading abroad, the. I take a load of tools, spares etc that will cover me and help mitigate any risks im taking.
    In the end though, i love your advice on vulnerability. People will help you out and sometimes its not a bad thing getting some support from others.

    Keep up the good work, keep the videos coming! 👍🏻

  5. A metal file is also good, break a brake lever, you can file off those sharp edges, also, can file the link ends off your chain, or a rounded bolt end and cant get the nut off, you can file it back again so you can remove the nut,
    BTW……
    WD40 is NOT good for a chain lubricant, its a degreaser, and will eat into all the grease inside your links, when you spray chain lubricant it wont always get inside the links past the rubber seals to lubricate them, its not about drying the rubber o-rings

  6. Interesting, thank you.
    Tape measure: Knowing how to measure chain stretch and knowing the spec for my chain helped me spot a developing chain failure in advance out in the boonies. Simple and worth

  7. If removing an air valve core, just put it in your mouth like chewing tobacco. If you loose it then you can always fish it back out the next day.

  8. MOTOTREK, i just wanna say thanks for this awesome channel you have, it helps me alot. Yours Sincerely The BearCat

  9. I really liked your closing statements. Most people want to help and when given the opportunity, forms appreciation and friendships.

  10. What's a really good video very informativeit's funny you're international kit looks a lot like my going out in the woods kit that I leave on my bike 100% of the time thanks for sharing

  11. I’d like to offer some insight I gained dragging a WR450 with a broken crank gear through Lockhart Basin. Instead of attaching the tow strap to the bars, attach it to the left foot peg in the same fashion you mentioned. When the towed rider needs to release, just lift your foot off the peg. It makes life much easier for the towed rider by pulling at a far lower point on the bike. Give it a shot sometime…✌🏼

  12. I dig your views on a journey that teeters between full prepped EagleScout and VulnerableVagrant. So often the greatest memories are in the unforeseen events and the chance to interact with fellow parishioners in this global cathedral called Earth. Strangers are just Friends we’ve not yet met!

  13. i only drive around "locally~400km range" on a cheap 125cc sports bike, but its surprising to see my homemade tool kit is exactly the same as yours.
    i think the most important thing:
    -epoxy and a piece of aluminum pie plate for a patch.
    -a ratchet strap and CO2 bicycle inflator (seat bead, repair flat and you can use the strap for luggage)
    -carry a least a full change of oil (1liter in my case)
    -spare gasoline
    people dont think about the oil thing, if you break your casing and manage to fix it, you still cant ride away when its 2AM and you dont have oil anymore. in my country most people dont even carry oil in their car. so motorcycle oil is even rarer on the side of the road.

  14. Two valve core removal tools? Easiest way to carry, and hard to lose, is this sort of thing https://shop.slime.com/products/core-remover-valve-cap?variant=47562928200 I have them on every bike, but only one as I don't venture far from "civilisation".

  15. Hey Bret, I don't see it listed, what bag do you have all of that packed into? I was thinking that would be a good starting place…

  16. How can those BMW's not have any fuses? Surely there's a few somewhere,…..other CANBUS controlled motorcycles certainly have fuses.

  17. About storing the spare inner tube : I coat my tube in talcum powder then seal / vacuum store that tube in tough cry-vac plastic. The cry- vac plastic is tear resistant , while making the tube more compact, and the talcum powder helps preserve the rubber whilst stored in the cry- vac , and also later aids with easy installation of the tube into the tire.

  18. I like the humour. It effectively reinforces the messages. I went back to my kit and put it on Bret's tool kit diet.

  19. Might I suggest spare valve stems @Bret Tkacs …….oh wait, you just learned that lesson in Alabama. Lol
    Looking forward to hanging out @ Casbah with you tomorrow.

  20. Hi Bret, really a great topic !
    What about, how to securely mount a bunch of electrical accessories (like gps, phone, go pro etc..)
    I know, ram mounts rule… or are they!?
    Thanks 4 what you do

  21. Only could watch the first 40 seconds. I'm heading out to get all that stuff now!!!! And a new shock to carry the load… LOL

  22. Brett, Wait – Wait – Wait!! Hope you will produce another video soon to compliment this great video on how to 'repair' yourself!! I mean, I have broken a finger falling off my bike, others have had their knee broken on the many trips we have traversed and we never thought about the first aid kit for when our bike is 100% okay, but we are only 80% physically hurt and unable to ride due to a broken body part. See you in Washington soon. You are simply the B E S T, B R E T T 😉

  23. I guess I’m not going on any international offroad adventures. I can’t even fix most of these things at home in my own garage.

  24. If you really like to carry a save product with you which can also be used to brush your teeth or cure your body, I absolutely recommend to watch out for Ballistol. This product is absolutely not toxic like WD40 is‼️

  25. Great video. Love the tip on the stainless steel tie wraps. Will add those to the kit.

    However, I find the towing tip in the centre of the handlebars very doubtful. Almost all bikes have some sort of fairing and it is impossible to attach it to the centre of the handlebars. Even on my KTM exc I would destroy the plastic headlight mask. The tip someone mentioned in another comment about towing footpeg to footpeg is the most practical and safest method. Love your video's anyway 🙂

  26. I've watched tons of these "what tools to bring while touring" videos, and this was the most helpful by far. I also completely agree with your closing statement that breaking down far from home is often the very best part of a trip 'cause of the nice folks you meet. Count me subscribed!

  27. The best take away for me was the use of a tow strap and wrapping it and holding it by hand. Had not thought of that before

  28. i learned a few things here. I'll save the video until next april when the snow leaves Canada. Thanks for the vid!

  29. Not sure if this is a commonly known trick but when you first get a fresh bag of zip ties (where the bag isn't resealable) use a Stanley knife and cut through one side of the bag in the middle crossways not lengthways. This way zip ties don't fall out into your tool kit and they are easy to grab when you need them.

  30. When you perform maintenance on the bike at home, use the same tool kit you intend on taking on your travels, that way you know you have the correct tools as well as the tools being able to do the job required. My R1100 GS I took a 14 mm Allen key and a 30 mm socket, with the factory tool kit I was able to change the clutch plate, change gearbox bearings.

  31. Pretty confused to see that the registration plate on the pannier box is from Bangalore, Karnataka, India…!
    Are you in India presently?

  32. Quick question regarding the towing technique.. I always thought the closed loop is tied to the towing vehicle, the open end is wrapped twice on the footpeg of the towed vehicle. If in danger, the towed rider can lift the foot off the strap and it will unravel breaking free the vehicles. What do you guys think about this? Hopefully never had to use this.

  33. Excellent review. You can never prepare for everything. I found over the yrs bringing everything but the kitchen sink impacted the ride; having to lug it all or having to work around it if packed for optimization wasn't fun. The things you may use once if at all on a trip often got in the way. In the end I went minimalist because ultimately when going round this world or round the neighbourhood, that is always getting smaller, a valid credit card, health and safety kit, a quality phone or sat phone and cash can be all the life or trip saver you need

  34. I ride the world solo and the ONLY extra tools I take with me is a tyre puncture repair kit. No need to be scared of the unknown and no need to carry half of a garage tools with you and extra spare parts. Those bikers who carry with extra tyre look ridiculous and are the laughing stock for the locals. Sorry guys but it's true. Come on guys, these days you can even order pizza to the middle of the ocean. If something break down it will be an experience you'll learn and a story you'll live to tell the world about for the rest of your life. Finally: watch my film Solo on Moto.

  35. I defo second that. When things go Pete Tong is when the adventure really begins. Be open to help, its meeting people that make the adventures great.

  36. Another place to carry Duct Tape is on your bike,, you can wrap a heap around top of forks or anywhere wide enough and out of the way, I always carry one inch wide electrical tape and material reinforced duct tape and Zip ties,, you can also zippy tie a heap of Zip Ties to your bike : )

  37. Hi Bret "Tax", let me enlighten you on origin and pronounciation of your surname. Do you happen to have Central European ancestry? If so, I suggest you type your surname to Google Translate and listen how it should be pronounced. https://translate.google.sk/#view=home&op=translate&sl=sk&tl=en&text=Tk%C3%A1%C4%8D
    Correct sound is "Tkáč" in Slovak language, it actually means weaver. The word has been hungarized, that's why it's written as Tkacs. Hungarian "cs" has the same sound as Slovak "č". In Hungarian, weaver i would be "takacs", very similar sound – one extra vowel. Hungarian and Slovak languages and words are somewhat intertwined due to common history.

  38. Thanks for the video. I am just wondering if there is a tube dimension that will be accpetable for both 21"-90mm and 18"-150mm tyres of my Africa Twin.

  39. I think I over pack. I bring spare tubes, a pump, patch kit, all kind of electrical stuff like soldering iron, multimeter, test light, shrink tube, tire tools, pry bar….pretty much everything I need to work on my bike and that's just when I ride the KLR to get groceries. 😉

  40. Hi Bret! Love your stuff, simple, practical and well-told. Please tell me what metal panniers you're using. I've looked but I can't find them. I really like how they're tight to the bike and narrower than the bars. With love, Ken

  41. have you ever considered a video about street adv riding?
    do I have to lean in like a street bike, stay up like a supermoto or something in between?

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