Motorcycle Camping: The Basic Necessities
One day you will wake up and there won't be any more time to do the things you've always wanted. Do it now. -Paulo Coelho
Summer time is coming and the weather is warming up. And if you're like me, you're starting to look for some of the best stretches of highway away from the city where you can just open the throttle. These roads also lead to some of the best places to camp, so why not bring some gear with you and soak it all in for a few days.
All lined up. There is always plenty of space to park outside the city!
It's been a little bit of trial and error for me, learning what to bring and what not to bring on my motorcycle. It's easy to overpack, so let's be real and only bring what we need. Otherwise, you're going to overpack your bike up really high & wide and end up a meme on the internet. So, we'll tell you the basics of what you need to survive and how to pack it on your bike.
It's pretty simple what you need to bring: a tent, sleeping bag, sleeping pad, cooking gear & fuel. You can pack some foods, but most likely (unless you are in a super remote area) you're gonna be close to a camp store or market that you can go to and pick up food and water after you set up camp.
Camping Basics: Cookware, fuel, tent, sleeping bag, sleeping pad
I prefer to have lightweight backpacking items, because obviously they are lightweight and they don't take up a lot of space. I try and upgrade one of these items every season, because who really wants to go and drop a billion dollars at REI for one trip? Amirite?! If it is tough to get all of these items, I bet one of your friends may have a tent or sleeping bag you can borrow in the meantime if your budget is tight. Good ole Walmart has pretty much everything you need too, at a fraction of the price.
Here's a list of my essentials:
MSR Stove kit has everything you need to make gourmet camp dinners
Screen shot or right click on this and save the checklist for your next camping trip!
Now that you know what to bring, you have to fit it all on your bike. If you have saddle bags, you can fit all sorts of stuff in there. Be sure to place the heavier items in your bags and be sure to make the weight close to equal on both sides. If you don't do this, you can make the bike really off-balance. If you don't have bags, you will need a luggage rack or a sissy bar on your bike. With these, you will be able to strap your bags and gear to your bike. There are all sorts of companies that make bags out there for traveling, but i found that a canvas army duffel bag works great (and they're cheap!) you can find them at any Army Surplus Supply and on Amazon. The same idea works with a bag on your sissy bar, and make sure you put the heavier items at the bottom. I use a few bungees to secure my bag, as well as a stretchy cargo net (just because I'm paranoid about losing stuff). I put all small items -sunscreen, sunglasses, chapstick, protein bars - in a bar bag (or tank bag) that is easily accessible.
My tent, sleeping bag, sleeping pad, and camp stove fit in my army bag. Clothes, etc. fit in my backpack
Before setting off on your big trip, be sure to do a test run and pack everything up on your bike and go ride around. This way you can make sure everything stays put and that it doesn't affect your bike's handling. It usually takes a trip or two to get your packing and camping routine down, and it's going to be different for everyone because we all have different bikes and different necessities for comfort. This is a good guide to get you started in the right direction. There is nothing else like the freedom of going wherever and staying wherever you want on a motorcycle. It's brought me some of the greatest memories and joy, and has taken me on some incredible adventures. Cheers to you and your next adventure!