Every motorcycle enthusiast has those moments where they want to catch a long road and ride to distant places, leaving all the hassle and the stresses of daily life behind if only for a few days. And the great thing is the open roads also lead to great locations for camping that offer stunning and unforgettable views.
It’s a great idea then to carry a few essentials for your motorcycle camping experience. However, there is so many motorcycle camping gear out there that choosing the necessary and right equipment can prove a bit of a challenge.
Let’s take a look at the essential motorcycle camping trip gear as well as some useful tips on motorcycle camping.
Sometimes carrying your gear in a simple paper bag might sound like the easier thing to do, but once you strap it onto your bike and begin your journey, you are going to hate the sound of the paper bag flapping in the wind.
Getting the right luggage is therefore not only important but essential. There are 3 types of luggage to choose from. These are hard luggage, textile luggage, and leather luggage.
This type of luggage is made from either plastic, fiberglass, or aluminum and features mounting systems to help secure it tightly and safely on your bike. One of the main advantages of hard luggage is that it offers a secure way to carry your items. Nothing beats a lock that needs a key to open.
Hard luggage is often also detachable meaning that you can take off any extra weight that you do not need. However, this type of luggage is also expensive and in case of a fall, it can break easily.
What makes textile luggage such a popular choice is the fact that they are simple to mount, some are waterproof and are durable. What’s more, you will not need to maintain it frequently as you would with leather, and in case of a fall, you don’t have to worry about it breaking as you would with hard luggage.
The leather luggage is a classic type of luggage. It will last a long time and in case of a fall, you don’t have to worry about it breaking. If you ride an older model motorcycle, the leather luggage will complement the look and feel.
To ensure the leather remains in top condition, you will need to clean the bag regularly. Most types of modern leather luggage also feature straps that allow you to secure them onto the seat of the bike. One main benefit of using a leather suitcase is that it is waterproof.
There are many different types of tents which makes choosing the right one for your motorcycle camping seems like a daunting task. They can be categorized into 3 main types. These are expedition tents, family tents, and backpacking tents.
You will need to choose a tent that will be easy to pack and carry on your motorcycle.
These are among the most popular types of tents. They generally feature a dome structure and can house between 2 and 6 people. The family tents are usually designed for car camping but will work just fine when you are rocking a bigger motorcycle.
Besides, a two-person family tent will provide you with all the room you need.
When you are going on a motorcycle adventure, you will likely need one of these. Expedition tents are a fairly recent design and they allow not only plenty of space for you inside, but also provide a vestibule to shelter your bike from the elements.
They feature a large door where you can push your motorcycle inside. While these are not as large or heavy as the family tents, they offer plenty of room and are relatively lighter.
These are the smallest types of tents and are mainly designed to fit in your backpack. This means more space on your motorcycle to carry other essential motorcycle camping gear. If you don’t mind giving up space for lightweight, then this type of tent is the one for you.
However, since the only room available will pretty much only fit your sleeping bag, dressing up can be quite the challenge.
Few more essential must-haves when motorcycle camping
You can never predict the weather with absolute certainty when camping so it is always important to pack for a cold night or a very warm day.
After riding the whole day in your motorcycle boots, your feet will be craving for something more comfortable when you finally get off your bike. A good pair of camping shoes will work just fine.
As far as personal hygiene goes, packing soap and a fast-drying towel will help you keep your friends, that is if you have a few who decided the idea of motorcycle camping was too much fun to miss out on.
If you are motorcycle camping in warm weather, it’s always a great idea to take advantage of any river where you can swim and blow off some steam. A swimsuit will come in handy.
When riding that long open road, your mobile phone can help you call in a mechanic if something goes wrong with the bike. Sometimes you just might need help in case of an injury. Carrying a charger may not a viable option but a solar charger is. This will keep our phones and other devices fully charged throughout the trip.
There is also the option of using your bike to charge your devices and mobile phones. This is a great way to top up your phone battery as you cruise down the road.
You will need to eat and the nearest hotel can be miles away. A good compact camping stove that is lightweight and simple to pack is a necessary item.
Tips for motorcycle camping
The first step to enjoying your motorcycle camping trip is getting to your destination safely and without any problems along the way. Your journey should be a smooth and fun ride. Remember, your motorcycle camping trips are not just about having a great night under the stars but also enjoying every step of the journey.
Learning to work on your bike
Changing a flat tire is one of the most important things to learn when planning your motorcycle camping trip. The nearest help may be miles away which would leave you stranded in the middle of nowhere if you can’t quickly change a flat tire.
You also need to know how to check the brake fluid, oil, as well as adjusting the various controls and levers.
Carry only what you will use
Overpacking will only add extra weight to your motorcycle and make your camping trip less comfortable. Plus, it will end up taking a lot of time for you to set up camp and unpack all that motorcycle camping gear.
To prevent overpacking, imagine yourself on the camping trip and think about everything you will need. Ask yourself whether you will need certain items and which items you can simply do without. Toothbrush, toilet paper, fire starter, tent, and stove are important. However, bringing 4 t-shirts and 4 jackets is simply not necessary.
Carry lightweight cooking gear
The idea is to bring down the weight as much as possible and one of the ways you can do this is to carry lightweight cooking gear. Most camping gear that is meant for backpackers will be lightweight so this is a good place to start when shopping for your motorcycle camping cooking gear. This will include a small cook stove, cookware such as a pan, pot, and simple cutlery.
The cookware should be purposely built and should have pots and pans that fit inside each other. This is an excellent way to save on space and it means that the largest space consumed will be by the largest pot.
Water is essential when you are out on the road. Carry enough to last you a couple of days. Water can add to the weight and you can easily find water at the convenience stores along the road you are traveling on. Remember to replenish each time you are at a store.
Piking a camping spot
The right location for setting up camp can be the difference between a comfortable and fun night and a sleepless one. You want to make the most of your motorcycle camping trip.
Sometimes what may appear as the perfect spot with a great view can end up being the wrong choice. Start by picking an area that is away from where water collects as this often means a lot of mosquitos.
Also, avoid very grassy areas as there may be a lot of crawling and biting insects around. Bare ground is a good choice but it should also be free from rocks. Instead, choose a flat ground where it’s simple to set up your tent. To determine whether the ground you chose is a good place, try lying down and judge for yourself how it feels.
Choose a good spot for your bike
Not only will you need to pick a good camping spot for you but it should also accommodate your bike. This means your bike should not get in the way of having a good and pleasant camping experience. For example, the best place to make a fire should not be where you placed your motorcycle.
Also, give your bike a complete walkthrough to ensure it is ready for the next morning’s ride. Check the tire pressure, brake fluid, oil, and whether there are any leaks.
Motorcycle cooking basics
Ensure that you carry just enough food when you are on your camping trip. Since you may not have access to a cooler, foods such as pasta will be easy to pack.
It is always a good idea to carry aluminum foil. This will help you to prepare any fresh food you have such as that fish you caught in the river. Non-perishable types of food that are easy to pack and carry as well as simple to prepare are best when camping with your motorcycle.
Keeping away those biting insects
Nothing can keep you up at night quite like the annoying buzz of a mosquito or the painful bite of an insect. The first step is to carry bug spray and insect repellent. But this will only do so much. When you are inside your tent at night, make sure you close the screen zip to the top and leave no opening at the bottom.
Some pesky insects will take advantage of any opening that they can find.
We mentioned that you should avoid camping where water collects. Standing water provides the perfect breeding ground for mosquitoes.
The wild animals
Animals use their sense of smell as a primary tool for survival. And some of these animals are big and dangerous. Bears, for example, can pick on the sweet smell of food from miles away, and so can wolves. This could put you in a life-threatening situation.
If you have any leftovers, pack these in a Ziplock bag or a container that shuts tightly without letting the smell out. If it’s food you need to throw away, then do so a distance from your tent.
Scented soaps and hand sanitizers can be mistaken as food by animals so make sure your soap has no smell and your hand sanitizers don’t smell like apple-pie.
How long will you be gone?
The duration of your camping trip will be a huge factor to determine what you are going to carry. If you plan on going away for a few days, then you will need a few clothes that you can easily change into. Dirty clothes can be easily packed to be washed at home.
If on the other hand, you plan on being on the road for a week or more, then you will need to wash your clothes while you are camping. In such a case, pack the right soap for handwashing your clothes.
Where will you be camping?
If you will be riding between camping cabins then you will have access to a few essential items and amenities. You do not need to carry your cooking gear or your tent or sleeping bag. However, if you will be camping next to the open road, then the right motorcycle camping gear is essential.
For outdoor campers, a proper sleeping bag will have a big impact on the quality of your experience. Often motorcycle campers are torn between the synthetic fiber sleeping bag and the down feathers sleeping bag.
The down sleeping bag is simple to pack and carry and will keep you warm. However, it is not the best choice for damp conditions. Such requires a synthetic sleeping bag as it is fast drying. On the downside, synthetic sleeping bags are not as simple to compact and carry as the down variety and will consume more space on your motorcycle.
When choosing a sleeping bag for your motorcycle camping trip, make sure you pick one with the right temperature rating. You have the choice between a three-season sleeping bag that will keep you warm in temperatures as lows as 20 degrees Fahrenheit and a four-season sleeping bag that is designed for subzero temperatures.
You will also need a reliable sleeping pad. It will keep you off the hard and sometimes cold ground. However, make sure that it is small and lightweight and doesn’t contribute significantly to weight.
Access to resources
If you are heading out to a designated camping ground, it’s important to know what types of resources you will be able to access. This will help you decide what you need to carry and what you can leave behind.
On the other hand, if you will be camping next to the road, then you will need to carry your own cookware set.
Check local laws and regulations
Different states have their regulations on camping as well as on the modifications made on the motorcycles. Some states such as California prohibit any modifications done on the exhaust system as it will often tamper with the emissions.
It’s always a good idea to remain on the safe side. Also keep in mind that while you should always have a helmet on when riding your motorcycle, the rules on wearing a helmet are different in different states.
Check the weather conditions
The weather will determine what type of clothes you will carry on your motorcycle camping trip. Check the weather forecasts before heading out. If you expect light showers, be sure to pack a water-resistant jacket.
On the other hand, if there is the possibility of heavy rain then you will need waterproof clothing. And if the summertime is your best time to go on your camping trip, then your motorcycle jacket should be breathable to prevent you from overheating.
Packing for your motorcycle camping trip
Going on a motorcycle camping trip is very different from car camping. There is more space in the trunk of your car and you can pack more gear. With a motorcycle, you need to find the right balance between how much to pack and how to distribute that weight, all while ensuring you have a comfortable seat to ride your bike.
Riding a bike is all about balancing with or without the extra weight of your motorcycle camping gear. Proper packing ensures you enjoy a smooth ride. For this, you need to make sure that the majority of the weight is distributed near the center of gravity. It is too far behind the rear wheel, the weight could cause the front wheel to rise, which could be dangerous.
The heavier items should be packed right above or slightly in front of the rear wheel. Any lighter gear should be put behind the heavier gear. A benefit of this is that the heavy gear will protect the lighter gear from being blown by the wind.
Also, check how the weight is distributed between the two sides of the motorcycle. You want to avoid the luggage and gear swinging on one side as this could cause the bike to lean which would make you fall or crash.
Carry a saddle bag
You will need to change your clothes at some point during your motorcycle camping trip. Dirty clothes should not be stored in clean clothes. A saddlebag will help separate the two and can also help to carry any wet clothes.
Observe the no trace rule
Remember one of the most important rules of camping and that is to leave everything as you found it. Motorcycles can be loud and you mustn’t disturb other campers in the vicinity of the wild animals. Turn on your motorcycle engine when you are ready to move on to your next destination.
Do not leave any litter behind and if you set up a campfire make sure it is in a spot where surrounding vegetation will not catch a spark and cause a forest fire. When you retire to sleep at night, make sure you have completely turned out the fire.
Globo Surf Overview
Going on a motorcycle camping trip can be one of the most exciting and exhilarating adventures you can ever embark on. With the wind blowing against you and the endless road ahead, you can revel in the feeling of freedom.
However, as with any other type of camping trip, it’s important to know the basics and to have the right gear that you need to make the most of your trip. Calling in for help in case of a flat tire or leaking brake fluid might cost you valuable time and expenses that you would have otherwise spent having fun. Learning to work on your bike yourself will give you an edge.