2023 Motorcycle Packing Tips for the Crazy Weather in Sturgis, SD

If you haven’t been to Sturgis then you really don’t know crazy weather. In August, there’s a 19% chance of rain on an average day. And on the average day it rains or snows. Snow? Yes, snow. We’ve also seen hail the size of golf balls.

The average day has 14.0 hours of daylight, with sunrise at 5:56 AM and sunset at 7:58 PM. It’s somewhat humid at 53% (relative humidity), which could be described as comfortable. With an average high of 87°F (30°C) and a low of 59°F (15°C), it generally feels pleasantly warm with a gentle breeze.

Flying Piston Builders Breakfast Rolls into Sturgis

Long straps allow you to secure your leather jacket to the saddlebag when it gets warm

Suggestion: Consider packing warm and cool weather riding attire. There is nothing worse than being caught in a hail storm with only a t-shirt..

Motorcycle  Packing Tips and Checklist for the 2023 Sturgis Rally

Listed below is a set of items we suggest you bring with you on a trip. The best policy is to keep it simple and pack light with items that you need. Also,  you will almost always bring something back. You’ll need to leave a little room for the return trip.


  • Helmet (If you do not normally wear a helmet check the map for the laws where you will be
    traveling to and through.)
  • Skull cap for wearing with a helmet
  • Leathers – Boots/Jacket/Chaps/Gloves/Vest
  • Glove(s) for different weather
  • Rain Gear (Jacket, Pants, Booties, and Bike Cover) – Weather can change quickly here. Always prepare for the unexpected.
  • Clothing – Keep it simple, a couple pairs of jeans
  • (2) Merino wool t-shirts, 2 Jeans, Underclothing, + multiple t-shirts
  • At least one sweatshirt, fleece, shorts, sweats, or something for rainy days, cool nights, etc…
  • Waterproof bag
  • Cloth for wiping down seats due to rain, etc…
  • Small soft cloth for cleaning riding glasses/goggles/shields
  • Clear lens riding glasses/goggles for night, rain, etc…
  • Sunglasses


  • Flashlight
  • Zip ties
  • Extra Bungee Cords & Straps
  • Tire gauge and tire repair kit
  • Bike Lock
  • Tools – Basic tool kit for road side emergency repairs.
  • Knife (pocket or belt loop style)
  • Battery charger


  • Cash – Even in a digital world, having it on hand is necessary.
  • AAA Card – for towing
  • Bank Card
  • Insurance card – Make Copies
  • Motorcycle registration – Make Xopies


  • GPS
  • Smart phone
  • 12V cellphone
  • Charging adapter


  • Toiletries & Sunscreen
  • Lotion-Chapstick
  • Bandaids, hand sanitizer
  • Prescription medication
  • Pain reliever (Aspirin, Tylenol, Ibuprofen, etc…)


This Checklist is now in the PDF Format 

To make it easier for you, we made the checklist printable.

Consider packing warm and cool weather riding attire.Just download the checklist here and then print it out.’

Making Everything Fit

Back in the day, Dally Parton had a wardrobe malfunction at the CMA Awards. When asked about it, she said, “My daddy says that’s what I got for putting 50 pounds of mud in a five-pound bag!”

So, you want to make sure you put the right amount of stuff in the space you have and not over stuff your bags because that can lead to unintentional consequences. In order to get ready for your adventure, we have a few suggestions:

  • Do not pack the day before—Take your time and plan ahead
  • Before you pack, take your bags & secure them to your bike to make sure everything fits & can be secured
  • NOTE—light merino wool will keep you cool and warm
  • Rolling your clothes takes up less space than folding them
  • Less Is More—Pack the bare essentials
  • Develop a System—a system allows you  to find the things quickly and easily
  • Bring an Empty Bag—You will be bringing stuff back, plan for it
But Wait, There’s More

Check your bike – Before you begin an adventure, take an afternoon and conduct a Road Trip Inspection on your bike. When you prepare your motorcycle, keep in mind the amount of miles you will be accumulating on your trip. If you recently replaced fluids, remember you may be adding thousands of miles to these fluids in the course of a week. The same applies to your tires, cables, spark plugs, air filter, etc.

Consider packing warm and cool weather riding attire.Click here to download the MSF Inspection Checklist. 

Be prepared for breakdowns by carrying the correct tools for your motorcycle. If you are riding with a group, it is usually only necessary for one or two of your members to have tools.

By following these steps, you have a good chance in getting to your destination and back with minimal inconvenience.

Barbie The Welder & Lora WilkinsonThe 2023 Sturgis edition of the  Flying Piston Benefit Builders Breakfast is produced by Marilyn Stemp of Iron Trader News and Jeff Najar of Horsepower Marketing.  Our work raises awareness and funds for non-profits and individuals in the motorcycle community, vets, and kindergarteners. Our funds are directed to All Kids Bike and Motorcycle Missions.


To connect with the Flying Piston team,  connect with us.