Motorcycle camping combines the freedom and mobility of having your own vehicle with the unbeatable feeling of sleeping outside under the stars and close to nature.
There is more of a sense of adventure to a motorcycle trip than with car expedition but you also need to make some sacrifices when it comes to weight. Here’s a list of suggestions for motorcycle camping gear you can’t afford to leave behind.
The 13 Essentials You Need For A Motorcycle Camping Trip
The first piece of equipment you need to think about is your luggage and when it comes to motorcycle bags, there are basically two kinds, hard and soft. It is best to have specialized motorcycle luggage that straps down to prevent it flapping as you ride.
Hard luggage has the advantage of being lockable but it costs a lot and can also be damaged. Soft luggage is more affordable, it is usually made of rugged, water-resistant material and is easy to mount, usually with straps.
The Nelson Rigg Tail Bag is a good quality, tough bag that straps onto the tail section of the motorcycle. It is available in two sizes and is a good solution for carrying your kit securely on camping trips.
The next piece of kit you need to invest in if you plan to go camping on your motorcycle is your tent. There are many types of tent available and the one you choose will depend on many factors, including the number of people using it and the climate where you plan to camp.
For groups travelling together who wish to share, tents are available for up to six and even more people. The problem with large tents is that they can end up being bulky and the weight might be a problem.
A recent development is a kind of tent specifically designed for motorcycle campers and features a kind of porch for your bike next to your sleeping area. However, these can also be slightly large when space is at a premium, and are often expensive.
A good solution might be a single person tent such as the Snugpak 1 Man tent which is suitable in most conditions as long as the weather isn’t too cold.
Find out more about The Best Motorcycle Camping Tents
The next vital piece of kit is your sleeping bag. They are available in down-filled or synthetic varieties and are either rectangular or ‘mummy’ style, ones that taper towards the feet. Rectangular bags give you more space to move but mummy bags are better for keeping you warm.
With a sleeping bag, the amount you need to spend and the style you choose depends on where you are going to use it but for general use, the SEMOO Comfort sleeping bag offers a good combination of price and size.
However, if you plan to go camping anywhere particularly cold, you will need to invest in a sleeping bag more suited to the conditions.
Just because you are sleeping outside, it doesn’t mean you have to compromise on comfort and it is also important to keep yourself insulated from the ground to prevent heat loss. This means that a sleeping pad is also essential equipment for motorcycle campers.
I like this self-inflating sleeping pad from TNH for a couple of reasons. First of all, and importantly for when you are riding, it rolls up nice and small so it’s easy to carry on the back of your motorcycle.
The second thing is that it basically inflates itself. You just unroll it and it almost ready to go. Just add a couple of puffs to fully inflate. Coupled with this, it’s made from durable material and when you put all this together, it makes a really good choice of mat for a motorcycle camping trip.
One thing you shouldn’t forget to take is some kind of pillow. Especially for those who don’t camp so often, sleeping on the ground with nothing to rest your head on can lead to a very poor night’s sleep – and a rolled-up bundle of clothes just won’t cut it.
There are various solutions out there but I think this inflatable pillow from WACOOL is a good option for a motorcycle trip. When not in use, it takes up little space but when you take it out, it self-inflates to a decent-sized pillow. You just need to add a couple of breaths of air for firmness and it’s done.
When you’re camping, you never know what situations you might need to face and it’s always a good idea to take a multitool. This is even more important when you’re riding as you may also need to do running repairs on your motorcycle.
The Gerber Suspensions Multi-Plier is small and lightweight but also very sturdy. There are many similar multitools available but I think this one is perfectly suited to motorcycle camping due to the strong pliers it features.
In total, this multitool has eleven different tools and it’s definitely something I would want to pack for a motorcycle camping trip.
After sorting out your sleeping arrangements, what is more important than making sure you can eat well on your trip? If you want to eat hot food or even if you hope to be able to have a cup of coffee in the morning to wake you up, you are going to need something to cook on.
This stove offers several advantages that will be especially appreciated by motorcycle campers trying to cut down on bulk. With this model, you don’t need to pack any special fuel as just using twigs you find around camp, you can heat a liter of water in under five minutes.
What really sets this stove apart, however, is its secondary use. The heat generated by the burning twigs is also converted into power which can be used to charge telephones or other gadgets via USB, which means you don’t need to carry a separate charging unit. Genius!
Once you’ve heated your camp food, unless you want to eat with (and probably burn) your hands you’re going to need to take carry cutlery. Many campers swear by the ‘spork’, the combined spoon and fork that serves for eating any kind of meal.
How about this? Why not take a specially designed knife, fork and spoon set that all folds up into a convenient packable size? As an added bonus, it even features a bottle opener. If you’ve finished riding for the day, there’s nothing wrong with having a couple of beers in the evening around camp!
A torch of some kind is one of the most basic and essential items in any camper’s inventory. They come in all shapes and sizes and there are literally thousands to choose from.
Many people prefer to camp with a head torch because it frees your hands to work on other things. I can see the advantage of this and I definitely agree that headtorches are a great invention. I regularly use one myself.
However, I feel that on a motorcycle trip, a traditional style one that can be stored somewhere with easy access is most suited to this type of camping and a good option would be something like this Refun model.
This sturdy torch is less than six inches long, water resistant, very bright and features five different light modes specially designed for camping. It is a very simple and effective item that will most certainly come in handy on any motorcycle camping trip.
Some people crave the hardships of the most minimal kinds of camping but for many, there’s no point in going away if you’re going to deprive yourself of all the little comforts you enjoy in life.
If you’re like me, whether you’re out camping or at home, it’s impossible to get out of bed or your sleeping bag without a steaming cup of coffee to look forward to. When you’re camping with your motorcycle, you always need to consider weight – but you don’t need to sacrifice a nice warm brew.
This is a French press coffee maker that has been specially designed for the campsite. It’s small and lightweight, is double-walled to keep the heat inside and prevent you from burning your hands, it keeps all the dirt out – and it even looks cool. Perfect for a hot coffee on a cold morning.
I think this is a fantastic idea. When you take your motorcycle on a camping trip, you never quite know where you are going to end up or what the conditions are going to be like. If the ground is muddy or full of stones, the last thing you want is the kickstand sinking into the ground.
I always say the simplest solutions are the best and this item epitomizes that sentiment. Just a specially designed plastic stand to spread the weight of your kickstand to stop it digging in so that your motorcycle doesn’t topple over in the mud.
Cheap and easy – and I love the fact that it’s orange so you will be able to find it easily again even in bad weather.
Perhaps when you’re trying your hardest to keep the size and weight of your luggage to a minimum for your motorcycle trip, it seems maybe just a little decadent to pack a camp chair – but there’s no need to deny yourself some luxuries just for the sake of it.
This chair is so light and folds up so small that you can really consider taking it with you on a motorcycle camping trip. After a long day riding, you just want to relax by the campfire. Much better to do it in a chair than sitting on a hard or wet floor.
Some of the more minimalist campers might object to such self-indulgence but if you’re on vacation and you just want to relax, well, why not?
There’s one piece of vital kit that we’re still missing. You’ve got a stove to make hot water, you’ve got coffee and you’ve got a chair to sit in – but you’ve got nothing to cook your food in. One of the problems with a lot of cooking gear is that it’s bulky but there are some good biking options too.
This camping cookware mess kit is perfect for someone on a motorcycle trip who needs to keep equipment to a minimum but also wants to be able to cook and eat properly in the woods.
It’s a ten-piece cook set but that’s hard to believe when you see it all folded up and stored in the bag provided. It’s also very good quality and will last a long time. Definitely a good addition to your camping gear whether you’re a motorcycle camper or not.
Many of the items I have mentioned here are suitable for all motorcycle trips. For others, however, it will depend on exactly the type of trip you are planning and where you are planning to camp, as well as the level of luxury you require.
If you are travelling to cold regions, you will need to make sure you have the necessary tent, sleeping bag and clothes for that kind of expedition and you will need to plan and pack accordingly.
However, wherever you are going, motorcycle camping always has a certain magic about it, the feeling of heading off into the unknown on your own two wheels in search of adventure. Just make sure you take the right motorcycle camping gear for your trip!
What are the first items you pack for a motorcycle camping trip? What are the luxuries you have to take? I want to hear from you so please don’t forget to comment. And if you enjoyed my article, please don’t forget to share!