Motorcycle riding means a perpetual exposure to nature, so motorcycle camping seems like a very logical progression. Short of exploring the outdoors on horseback or on your own steam, you could see it as the purest form of being one with the unspoiled world. Like anything worth doing, this is worth taking the time to do right, so let’s take a look at how you might prepare for a two-wheeled camping adventure.
You need to have somewhere to go before you actually start going there. Is there a particular place you have in mind? Do you want to wander down a certain path to get there? Did you hear about an awesome view that you need to check out? How far do you want to go? Think about things like this, and more. The obvious choice is to head towards a dedicated camp ground. In that case, you’ll need to look up the rules and regulations, as well as any fees…not to mention if it is easily accessible by motorcycle.
If you’re going for a true wilderness experience, then you’ll need to be sure that it is legal as well as safe to camp where you are thinking of camping. As far as safety and amenities are concerned, however, you’ll be completely on your own, so keep that in mind. The most adventurous option may not necessarily be the best one.
Shelter and Rest
If you’re camping, then a decent tent is absolutely essential. You want your tent to be big enough to accommodate you and anything you might not want to store under the sky. A waterproof bottom is handy, but having a cover on the ground beforehand also helps. If anything, it must be sturdy, it must hold up to the elements, it must be light, and it must be compact.
Second to a good tent is a good sleeping platform. It will help you feel refreshed, and that is extremely vital because you want to be at 100% when you get back on your motorcycle. What you prefer is up to you, but you have choices such as air mattresses, sleeping pads, sleeping bags, or even low, lightweight cots. Whatever you choose, make sure it offers you the comfort you need and, again, that it is compact enough to pack. Don’t forget a pillow, too.
Depending on the weather, you’ll want something that either breathes or insulates. It’s a good idea to ditch clothes made out of cotton for those made out of synthetic materials. You can find such clothes that will be suitable for a variety of conditions. Plan ahead with regards to the change of clothes you’ll bring as well, as doing laundry probably won’t be an option.
You’ve got to eat. No way around it. Are you going to pack a light, simplistic meal, or are you going to try and carry a burner and some small cookware? Remember that you have limited carry space, so you must consider what nourishment you want to bring along as you pack up your motorcycle. Dehydrated foods, protein bars, and healthy snacks are an option, but you may wish for some variety. Simply make sure you pack enough and that you have a place to pack everything. Anything used for cooking should also be as small and as lightweight as possible. Ah…and don’t forget the water.
Other than your motorcycle’s tool kit, you’ll want to bring along a few extra items as well. Swiss Army knives and various multi-tools will give you a good choice of gadgets in packages that will fit in a pocket. You may also wish to bring a hammer if you need to set up tent stakes, plus maybe a small shovel and axe. Bring an alternate light source with you as well, like a flashlight or a headlamp. If bugs are a concern, then you should pack some repellant. Naturally, maps, a compass, and/or a GPS should be part of your overall kit. Fully charge your cell phone before you leave, and bring a portable recharging pack or two with you.
Packing It All
This depends directly on the size of your motorcycle and how well-equipped it is. Chances are you have a motorcycle that has a reasonable measure of off-road capability (if you’re headed off the beaten path on a CBR600, then you may have a tough time). Motorcycle luggage comes in various forms, from soft saddlebags and tail bags to hard panniers. Tank bags also give you great additional space while giving you a convenient clear pocket in which to hold a map or directions. You may have a motorcycle that has luggage as an option, or you may have purchased aftermarket items.
Whichever way you go, it’s important to keep your packing light and as low as you can. If that’s not completely possible, try to keep the heavier items lower. Practice keeping everything tight and compact as well. If yours is a party of two, you’ll obviously have less room, but it is still possible to pack enough for two.
All of the above should help you on your way to what is hopefully a fun, memorable camping trip with your favourite mode of transportation.
Is there anything else you do when you go motorcycle camping? Share it with us.