Camping with your motorcycle gives you an opportunity to really see the world – up close and personal. However, it’s not like camping in your typical camper, RV or even supply-filled compact car. You have to learn to pack light and pack smart.
If you’re really roughing it, you can simply bring a sleeping bag and a flashlight. Hey, if you need anything else, you can buy it when you get there, right?
For most of us, we want a few more of the luxuries of home. How much can you bring? Well, we’ve heard of some riders packing 70, even 120 pounds of gear. A more logical amount would be somewhere around 15 pounds, depending on your motorcycle’s weight and limitations. So how do you add on all of those pounds?
No matter what type of tent you choose, make sure it’s lightweight, compact and simply fits the amount of people that will be traveling with you. If you are choosing the typical tent, we recommend the “pop up” which is self-supported and eliminates the need for an extra bag with the poles. You can also choose tent options specifically designed for motorcycles. The biker tent protects your cycle from the elements by housing your motorcycle right within the tent. The tent trailer is just what it says – a trailer that hooks up to your bike, which can save you valuable packing space. Once you choose the tent that works best for your ride, don’t forget to bring something to pound in the stakes.
Choose a good sleeping bag. And what I’m saying here is that this is not the place to skimp. Sleeping bags are usually graded by temperature in degrees of how cold the bag will keep you warm. If you’re going to be dealing with any cold weather at all, we recommend choosing one rated for 20 degrees. A mummy style bag rolls up tight and maximizes storage space.
If you prefer more comfort than the cold, hard ground, you may want to consider a foam pad under your sleeping bag. Foam pads that easily roll up are light, inexpensive and simple. Inflatable air mattresses are space savers, but not if you have to bring a pump. You may want to call ahead to your campground to see if there is public access to an inflatable pump.
Of course there’s nothing like cozying up to a crackling fire after a nice long cycle ride. Simply put, don’t forget the matches, lighter, two stones or whatever way you have to get the fire going. Make sure you check-in at the campground in enough time to buy wood. Many states have regulations now about bringing in wood due to pest infestations. That’s hardly a good packing option anyway.
Part of the camping experience is cooking over an open fire. That’s also a really good idea when you’re motorcycle camping. You don’t have to bring a grill, a propane oven or any heavy cooking equipment. If you want to pack light, you could simply bring the tinfoil and make the good ol’ “tinfoil dinners” over the charcoals. You could also choose to bring typical camping cookware like a pan, spatula and utensils. Another way to save space is to purchase plastic dinnerware when you get to your destination.
This is also what we recommend for food. Maybe pack a few non-perishables for the road, but set up the tent and go to the local grocery store to buy a disposable cooler, ice and the rest of your provisions. Make sure to check ahead to see what amenities are in the city nearby or if you’ll have access to a campground store.
Bolts and fasteners
Since you won’t have access to a locked vehicle, get a locked saddle bag for some of your important stuff. And invest in a good chain lock for the bike.
Here’s another good tip: Park your motorcycle next to a tree or somewhere that will ensure that you won’t wake up to a tipped “baby.” Just not a good way to end a trip.
The final checklist
Don’t forget the typical camping and travel basics:
• clothing for all types of weather
• collapsible lounge chair (Check with campground to see if you can rent or borrow one.)
• bug repellent
• cell phone
• travel size soap and shampoo
• duct tape
• garbage bags
• shower shoes
Alright, I guess you’re packed. Now it’s time to get some fresh air.
Want more time camping? Want to camp across the country? Have HAULBIKES ship your motorcycle to your vacation destination and your bike will be ready and raring to go when you arrive.
Photo by Rohan Makhecha on Unsplash