Getting away to enjoy nature with a great ride on your bike is just about the best thing there is. The fresh air, the solitude, and the wonders all around are so refreshing. And motorcycle camping will save you money instead of staying in a ho-hum motel or hotel, too.
If you are just starting out, you will enjoy your getaways a lot more if you follow these easy motorcycle camping tips.
1. Planning and researching your motorcycle camping trip.
First decide where you want to go. Unless you know someone who has a farm or a private lot out in the country, you will need to search online for a campground or state park with the conveniences you are looking for.
In addition to how far away the camp site is, your campsite considerations may even include the availability of:
- bathroom facilities
- electrical outlets
- drinking water
You can also ask fellow riders for their recommendations.
Once you decide where you are going camping, we recommend using a TomTom Rider 400 Motorcycle GPS to help get you to your destination. With a Rider GPS, you can choose either a winding, adrenaline pumping route, or a direct route to get you there as quickly as possible.
2. Choose the moto camping gear that you will take along.
You want to take only the camping gear that you think you’ll actually need on the trip, and that will fit comfortably on your motorcycle.
Panniers (also known as Hard Bags or Saddle Bags) – Put some Panniers on your bike for the trip. They are a proven-good way to stow your camping gear. Also, you should have a waterproof storage bag (such as a duffle bag), which is a better size for storing your tent and sleeping gear and can easily be strapped to the rear of most bikes.
Small lightweight Camping Tent – When you pull into your camp area in the pouring rain, or just as it’s starting to get dark, having an instant pop-up tent that can provide you shelter in seconds is a real plus. You want a tent that is plenty roomy for your trip and durable. And if you like an instant pop-up tent with some of the latest technology, you should also consider Catoma Tents.
Some tents require a tarp for a ground cover, others do not. A ground cover keeps moisture in the ground from wicking up into your gear, and it helps keep you dry when it rains.
Sleeping Bag – Buy a compact sleeping bag that offers the temperature rating necessary to keep you comfortable during the time of year you plan to be camping. Don’t buy something you don’t need. For example, a goose down filled bag is better for camping out in colder weather, and can be rolled up to be very compact to pack and carry on your bike. But if you don’t plan to camp in cold weather, you don’t need to buy a sleeping bag rated for below zero temperatures. Enjoy a better night’s rest on an Award-Winning TravelChair SleepRite Cot and a comfortable Sleeping Pad.
Lighting – You want to take at least one small flashlight. Flashlights with LED bulbs provide plenty of light, and are less drain on the flashlight battery. We’ve found Nokero Solar Lights are an easy way to provide lighting for your campsite after the Sun goes down, and the Sun recharges them each day (no batteries to replace).
Seating – Sooner or later, you will want to sit down; to eat a meal or to just relax after your ride. May we suggest a Joey Chair by TravelChair? Comfortable seating that is easy to take along.
If your plan is based on cooking your meals, or even just heating water for coffee or tea, you’ll need a small camp stove or a flame-less (just add water) heater, a light weight (usually aluminum) pot and skillet, and at least one mess kit (including plate, cup, knife, fork and spoon) for each person.
Clothing – Plan to take clothing to allow for fluctuations in the weather – cooler/hotter/wetter. And at least one complete change of clothes.
Gear for your Bike – You probably already carry a good motorcycle tool kit with a multi-tool, a tire plug kit, and a pump. Don’t leave this gear behind to make room for camping gear!
3. Practice trials – It’s a good idea to try using all of the gear you plan to take on your trip in a practice camping evening, before you head out on your first motorcycle camping trip. It’s easier to make changes in your travel gear list while you are home than out on the trail.
4. After several overnight outings, you should have a handy checklist of gear to take on your motorcycle camping trips.