Motorcycle camping is one of the most unique outdoor experiences you can have. Thanks to the flexibility and maneuverability of a motorcycle, you are not constrained with main roads and typical hiking routes. Using a motorcycle allows you to go to places that are difficult to access that would otherwise take hours on foot, such as steep climbs or deep areas in the woods.
Camping with a motorcycle offers an unparalleled level of freedom as compared to average camping. You can take more luggage without lugging it around. You can smell the fresh air as soon as you land on the outskirts of the woods instead of waiting to get out of your car. You can feel the wind in your hair as you traverse deeper into nature.
In order to camp with a motorcycle though, you have to be prepared. While it’s definitely a fun activity, without ample knowledge and prep, it can quickly turn into a nightmare. Here are a few tips to make sure that you are ready for your motorcycle adventure.
What to Bring Along
When it comes to camping with a motorcycle, the rule of thumb is “If you don’t need, don’t bring it.” Remember to pack lightly, and bring only the essentials. If you have everything to fulfill your basic needs during your camping trip, then you are probably good to go. Motorcycles have very little space to store stuff, and it may make your trip more difficult if you decide to lug around more on your bike.
If you are planning on bringing a crazy amount of stuff – your laptop, radio, hard-drive, books, etc. – then make sure that you are prepared to carry the extra weight. Make a checklist of things to bring before you start packing – then slash out items on your list as you see fit.
However, don’t forget to bring these following basics:
- Food: Of course, bring food. Whether it’s cooking materials and ingredients, or pre-packaged ready-to-eat snacks, do not forget to stock up enough food to get you through the length of your entire trip. It’s advisable to ring a little extra.
- Clothes: Take just a few clothes, and bring the most comfortable clothes you can depending on the weather. Bring raingear just in case. Wear a versatile pair of shoes that you would allow you to walk in a variety of terrain conditions.
- Water: Water is a given. If there’s anything you need a lot of, it’s H2O.
- Navigation Instruments: If this is your first trip and you feel like you might get lost (and you will get lost) a map, travel guide, compass or GPS system will always come in handy.
- Motorcycle headset: To make communication easier and more clearly, you might want to get yourself a good motorcycle intercom. In that way, you never have to stop 20 times a day to discuss where to go or when to have a break. Check out our overview of intercoms.
- Torch / Flashlight: Even if you will likely camp out during the night, a flashlight or a torch is an item you can’t leave home without.
- Tools: If your motorcycle breaks down, you’re screwed. You need to be prepared to do some repair work in a jiffy.
Plan Out The Trip
Make sure that you know what you are going to be doing and where you are headed to. While a motorcycle trip is fairly more flexible than other kinds of camping trips, you should have picked all of your camping grounds in advance and created a schedule that you follow as accurately as possible. Check out the top 10 of discovery for some great ideas. If you haven’t planned it out carefully, it’s possible to lose daylight very quickly trying to figure out where to sleep.
There are multiple campsites available, from those with amenities and reservation systems in place, to those that have no guidelines and are essentially just a blank piece of land that you can sleep on. Make sure to pick and choose accordingly. For beginners, it is suggested that you stay in campsites that are comfortable and have features like running water or lighting available.
Get Your Gear Together
Besides the motorcycle, food, water and the clothes on your back, the item you really need to be concerned with is your camping gear. For a beginning camper, the amount of gear you have to select from can be overwhelming. There are numerous varieties of tents, sleeping bags, and other crucial camping gear that you may need.
The basic rule to picking your camping gear is to read their descriptions. Do you need something easy to set up? Would you want one that’s spacious? Do you prefer tents that are light to carry? Then make sure to check the features of these tents before you buy them. For sleeping bags, they are usually classified according to their intended temperature, so pick according to the current state of the weather.
Most outdoor stores will let you try out the product before you make a purchase, so take that opportunity. Make sure to gauge if the product is perfect for you before you purchase. For most beginners, we recommend a freestanding tent. A good freestanding tent mostly eliminates all the issues involved with setting up difficult beams and insertions.
And the End of the Day, Have Fun!
When it comes right down to it, a motorcycle camping session is supposed to be a fun adventure, and one that you can decide to take for a variety of reasons. Some decide to do it to get away from the world and revitalize, some do it to see the beauty of nature, and others do it simply for the sake of doing it. No matter what the reason is, you have to make sure that you are having fun!
If you want to try spending the night inside your sleeping bag on the hard ground, then go ahead! If you want to pack only the bare essentials and leave your map and GPS behind, then do so! If you feel like taking the road less traveled will make your experience just a little bit more fun, then by all means, do it!
This is your experience, and the most important tip to motorcycle camping is to do it your way.