On any camping trip, one of the most important pieces of gear is the tent you choose to take. On a motorcycle camping trip, this can be even more important as you try to find the right balance of comfort without overloading your bike.
There are so many tents available on the market and choosing the right one for your needs can be a real challenge – so I have put together a guide to take the pain out of choosing the best motorcycle camping tent. You can just concentrate on making the most of your time in the woods.
What Are The Best Motorcycle Camping Tents?
When buying a tent for use on motorcycle camping trips, there are certain factors relevant to this type of camping that you need to consider. Other aspects are important for any type of camping. Here is a quick guide to what you should be looking at.
The two most important factors are weight and size. After considering these, a lot will depend on you. Before you buy a tent, you need to think about where you will be camping and the style of camping you prefer as this will affect the kind of tent you require.
This is the first thing to think about when buying a tent for motorcycle camping. You need to keep weight down so you don’t exceed your motorcycle’s weight limit. If your tent is too heavy, you may have to reduce weight elsewhere.
Size When Packed
The second vital consideration is how small the tent is when packed away. If your luggage is too bulky, it will make it awkward to ride and will also prevent you from carrying other equipment. You need the tent to pack down as small as possible.
Style Of Tent
There are several styles of tent:
An A-frame tent is simple and light but its shape doesn’t make it suitable for use in very windy areas.
This shape also doesn’t offer much room for your head. Modified A-frame tents are similar but generally offer more headroom.
Dome tents have arched ceilings and so offer more space to move around. This shape is also better than an A-frame in windy conditions.
Hoop or tunnel tents are similar to dome tents but are elongated. They are good in windy conditions but are not free-standing and need to be staked in.
Modern wedge-shaped tents are like hoop tents but taper towards the feet to make them more resistant to wind. They are very lightweight but offer minimum levels of space and comfort.
Pyramid tents are a simple design, consisting of just a rainfly supported by a pole.
They are very light but most have no floor or inner walls and are not good in areas where it is likely to rain a lot or if there are lots of bugs.
When choosing a style of tent, you need to consider what you value most. If you wish to reduce weight to the minimum you may decide to opt for a tiny one-person wedge tent but if you hope to have a certain level of comfort on your trips, you will probably want something a little larger.
Number Of People
MSR Hubba Hubba NX 2-Person Tent - Via Amazon.com
Tents are available in sizes to sleep different numbers of people from small individual tents or tents for two people right up to the largest that can sleep fifteen or more. You need to consider how many people will be sleeping together in the same tent.
It is worth remembering that if you want a bit of room to move around, you should buy a tent that sleeps more people than the number you intend to use it for.
ALPS Mountaineering Four-season Tent - Via Amazon.com
Tents are sold as either three-season or four-season. Three-season tents are resistant to wind and protect you from the rain. They usually feature mesh walls providing a good compromise between heat retention and ventilation. They are not suitable for very cold conditions.
Four-season tents are more rugged and are designed for camping in the harshest of conditions. You only need to consider buying a four-season tent if you know you are likely to be camping in conditions that are too tough for a three-season version.
Tent poles are made from different materials which all have various advantages and disadvantages associated with them. Aluminum poles are strong and light and easy to replace. Fiberglass poles are heavy and durable and are used in most cheap tents.
Carbon fiber tent poles are extremely light and are suitable for specialist campers who need to cut weight to the absolute minimum. This reduction in weight comes at a price since carbon fiber poles are expensive.
Ease Of Setup
After a long day in the saddle, you probably don’t want to spend hours pitching your tent. Most modern tents are very easy to set up although some are easier and faster than others. This is a factor you may wish to consider.
Coleman Juniper Lake Tent with Extra Gear Storage Space - Via Amazon.com
Some tents provide space for storage. If this is important to you, you will need to check out how much storage is available in a particular model.
This Hubba Hubba is a two-person freestanding dome tent with a vestibule and two doors featuring stay-dry guttering. The clips are color-coded for ease of assembly, it packs down small into the compression sack it comes with and it even looks pretty cool!
This tent is a great option for someone looking to reduce the pounds and ounces. It is very light and takes up little space when compressed in the bag. You don’t even need to use all the components so if you’re expecting good weather you can leave some behind to cut even more weight.
I love the versatility of this tent. With the two doors and guttering, you can keep dry even in bad weather. It is easy to set up and with practice, you should be able to do it in about five minutes. The quality is good and this tent will protect you from the elements.
The only negative for me is the price, which is a little higher than some of the other tents on the market – but what you are paying for is a better quality of tent that weighs less and if you are willing to spend the money, this is a good choice.
I would recommend this tent as a good two-person option for someone who needs something more substantial than some of the cheaper options available – but if you only need a tent for casual use in moderate conditions, you might not want to splash out on this model.
- Good quality tent
- Super lightweight and very small when packed away
- Looks great
- Price – represents good value but too expensive for casual use
This Snugpak one-person tent has a low profile to protect against bad weather and strong winds, it features a single entry point with a double zipper and is supplied with aluminum poles. It’s sold as a dome but it’s really more of a hoop tent.
It’s easy to set up and is really simple to put back in the bag which is a big plus. With this tent, you can really cut down on excessive weight and it packs down to a tiny size. Even though it is very small, the space inside is quite acceptable for a tent of this design.
This is a good tent for times when you are not expecting good weather conditions. If it’s windy or rainy outside, you can hide inside and you have nothing to worry about. It features a bathtub style bottom to prevent any rainwater getting in. It’s also good quality for the price.
There are just a few problems associated with this tent. First, this style of tent isn’t designed to give you much space so you can’t sit up inside although you will be able to store a bag inside with you. It is also not free-standing and you will need to find a place that takes stakes to pitch it.
This is a great option for someone sleeping alone who wishes to pack as little luggage as possible onto a motorcycle. It is not expensive and if comfort is not a big consideration, this could be a good choice. This is not a great tent for people who prefer a little more luxury on their camping trips.
- Very small and minimalist design
- Fairly spacious for this style of tent
- Protects you well in bad weather
- Not freestanding
- Not a luxurious choice
This is a one-person freestanding dome-style tent from ALPS. It features half-mesh walls for ventilation and includes aluminum poles. Its measurements when packed are 6”x17.5” and it weighs in at 4lb.
This tent is really easy to pitch so you won’t have to mess about with anything complicated at the end of a long day on the road. Once it’s up, there’s a vestibule under the rainfly which provides a storage area large enough for a fairly large backpack.
This tent is also pretty sturdy once it’s up and stands up to weather well. The ventilation will help you keep cool enough in warm conditions but the tent also offers a good level of protection from cold weather as well as wind and rain.
This is an inexpensive tent and this is reflected in the quality of the materials. The floor is not particularly durable and the poles seem a flimsy. I’m not sure how this tent would stand up to too much abuse.
Overall this is an affordable option for one person sleeping alone who wants a tent that is easy to pitch and doesn’t weigh too much. It is suitable for medium conditions but you won’t want to be camping anywhere too extreme with this tent.
- Easy to assemble and disassemble
- Offers decent protection from the elements
- Good ventilation in warmer conditions
- Reasonable price and good value
- A little lacking in quality of materials
- Only suitable for benign conditions
This tent is a four-person dome tent from Coleman. It is made from polyester, stands at 59” in the middle and offers a spacious interior. There is a ground vent and a large window for increased airflow and it features inside storage pockets and a clip for hanging a torch.
The first thing to note about this tent is that it is very reasonably priced. It is a good tent for first-time campers and is quick and easy to pitch, and if you are not planning to do anything extreme, this could be a good choice.
It does a good job of keeping out the rain and the ventilation system is also well designed to keep the air moving so even if four people are in there together, you shouldn’t get too hot in warm weather.
Being such an inexpensive tent, the materials used are not of the highest quality. I don’t know if I would trust this tent in windy conditions as the poles seem quite fragile and this tent is not designed for extremes of cold. It is sold as a four-person tent but I think four people would be cramped.
This is not a bad option for someone looking for an inexpensive option and who plans to camp in mild climates with a possibility of light rain. This is not a tent that will perform in more demanding environments.
- Great price
- Spacious interior
- Easy to use
- Good storage options
- Flimsy poles
- Not suitable for cold locations
The Grand Mesa 2 is a two-person three-season freestanding dome tent by Kelty. It features solid construction and includes aluminum color-coded poles for ease of construction. When pitched, there is also a long vestibule area for storage at the front.
One of the best things about this tent is that it’s really simple to put up. The color-coded poles help, but even in the dark, it won’t take too long. Its size and weight mean it isn’t a good choice for ultra-lightweight backpacking but it is ideal for motorcycle camping.
The price is attractive and for me, with the quality of the material it is made from, it represents good value for money. This tent should be able to protect you from the elements but it is only a three-season model so it isn’t suitable for taking anywhere too extreme.
One of the problems with this tent is the strange shape of the vestibule. While it is a great idea in theory, in practice the strange angle makes it difficult to store anything in there. This means if you use it for two people, you will have to store some gear outside.
I think this tent is a good option if you are looking for a reasonably-priced tent for two people and you aren’t planning on going anywhere that with throw up any really bad weather. The size and weight are just about right for carrying on a motorcycle.
- Solid construction
- Color-coded poles
- Good size and weight for motorcycle camping
- Good value
- Strange shaped vestibule awkward for storage
- Tight for two people plus gear
These tents are all good in the right conditions. If you want to sleep four without breaking the bank, the best choice is the Sundome. For an inexpensive motorcycle tent for two, you might go with the Kelty.
For one person alone, the more comfortable option is the ALPS tent whereas the Snugpak offers a more Spartan solution that will allow you to cut down on weight.
For me, the pick of these tents and the best motorcycle camping tent currently available is the Hubba Hubba. It might be in a slightly higher price range but it is a reliable tent that will keep you dry in the rain and warm in the cold and it’s small and light too. For me, that’s money well spent.
How about you? Which tent do you take when you go camping on your motorcycle? Do you prefer a bit of luxury or do you prefer to keep it simple? If you have any tips to share, please leave a comment and if you enjoyed my article, please don’t forget to share!