Motorcycle Camping Tips
Motorcycle camping seems to be part of the natural evolution of owning a bike. Having said that, it can be the best time of you life, or one of those “I don’t think I’ll be doing that again” moments. Your outcome is totally dependent on your advanced planning. It is easy to spend a lot of money on all of the latest camping equipment and plan a weeklong excursion for your first trip. Before you go on that “journey of a lifetime” take a few short adventures to see if really like motorcycle camping and get a feel for what you really need to make your trip fun and comfortable
LET’S GET STARTED:
Motorcycle camping is akin to backpacking in that you have limited weight and space capacities so plan accordingly. Start with just enough equipment for a one-night outing at a location near you. There is a campground within fifty miles of almost any city or town, start with that.
It is easy to go over board if you are just starting out when it comes to your tent. If this is your first one I would say start with something inexpensive for the first time and work up from there. Wal-Mart has a few tents that sell for 25-35 dollars and will work quite well. Our first tent was a 2 person Wenzel that we spent three weeks in on a five state trip and it worked very well. These tents are lightweight and pack easily and are very easy to set up. Spend some time setting it up and taking it down before you head out. There is nothing worse than getting a new tent and pulling into a campground not having ever set it up. Trust me on this. Just last year I got a new tent to try out and set it up for the first time at the campground, in the rain. Things did not go well and so I spent the next day dying everything out.
Cooking is always fun on a camping trip, however, motorcycle camping requires some careful planning. If you plan on using a stove I would recommend a small backpack canister stove. These stoves are lightweight and take up very little space as well as being inexpensive. Fuel is readily available and they are very efficient. Most camp stores have a good selection of cook kits that should provide you with enough cookware to get you off to a good start. Our camp store carries most of these items. You might not want to cook on your first few outings so simply pack snack food for sitting around the fire. Freeze died meals have come a long way. Just add water and you can have a great meal in just a few minutes. Before leaving home, though, it's smart to plan which meals you expect to prepare versus those you'll eat in a restaurant.
CHECK YOUR STUFF
Familiarize yourself with how all of your camping equipment works before leaving home. Set up your tent in the backyard; figure out how the stove works and cook something on it; try out your sleeping pad and sleeping bag; and, make a checklist, assemble and inventory all of your gear to see if anything is missing. The day before you leave, pack the bike, and take a local test ride to make sure the bike handles safely and that all items are well secured.
Motorcycle camping requires a little pre planning, know in advance where you plan on staying each night of the trip. Reservations are always a good idea. I would personally recommend a KOA for beginners or similar type facility they have running water, toilets, and showers. As you gain more experience you want to do some "rough" camping, without any campsite bells and whistles. Good site selection is also important. The intended location of your tent should be as level and smooth as possible, and it should be free of any stones and twigs in the tent floor area. Camping close to the shower house is never a good idea; it is amazing how may people walk around at night.
Always take some sort of sleeping pad, be a self-inflating on or even a small air mattress.
Get a sleeping bag; even in warm weather sleeping on the ground can get quite cool. There is nothing worse than trying to sleep when you are cold. A good down or synthetic mummy bag rolls up, packs small, and are good to about 20 degrees.
Hope this helps for some of you first timers. Give it a try. One final note, while on your trip, make a checklist of everything you didn’t use or forgot to take.