There is nothing quite like rushing down the open road on two wheels. Motorcycle camping is a great way to experience the great outdoors with minimal equipment and the freedom to hit the road at a moment’s notice.
Because packing space is limited, it’s important to consider multi-purpose and space-saving options when it comes to motorcycle adventure gear. Here are some simple best practices for choosing the right supplies for a successful camping trip.
New to motorcycle camping? Check out our simple how-to guide for camping with a motorcycle here.
Tips and recommendations for choosing motorcycle camping gear
When choosing which items to purchase, it’s best to think about camping gear first, before deciding which kind of luggage or saddlebags to buy. It makes it easier to choose saddlebags that will easily hold all of the motorcycle camping gear essentials.
Be sure to purchase items designed for the specific season in which they’ll be used. Colder temperatures require thicker sleeping bags. Warm weather campers will want a tent with excellent ventilation. While lots of equipment is multipurpose, it’s better to plan ahead than be surprised by a lack of weatherproofing or warmth after setting up camp.
Don’t forget basics like a solar charger, flashlight, plenty of batteries, and waterproof matches. A first aid kit is also a must, with plenty of bandages, antiseptic, and preventative items like insect repellent and sunscreen.
The pros and cons of motorcycle camping
Unlike packing for air or automobile travel, every single piece of equipment needed on a motorcycle trip takes up valuable space and could potentially throw off the weight distribution of the bike. While the ease of jumping on a motorcycle and hitting the road is a definite benefit, the lack of packing space and exposure to the elements must also be considered.
A good rule of thumb to combat the inconvenience of limited space is to bring only what is needed on each trip. Overpacking is a temptation for most people–regardless of their mode of transportation. Motorcycle campers become quite adept at predicting what they need and what they don’t.
Preparing for a long motorcycle ride
As a first step, check the route that will be taken on the trip. Are there elevation changes? Extreme shifts in temperature? What is the weather forecast along the route? Knowing what to expect makes it easy to prepare the right equipment and take precautions against inclement weather.
Another best practice is to take a trial ride with all of the equipment and gear that will be used on the actual trip. Check the load distribution and security of the luggage and saddlebags. If it’s secured properly, gear will not be a distraction from paying attention to the road.
What is the best motorcycle camping gear?
The best gear is the kind that actually gets used. There is a lot to choose from when it comes to camping gear. Some of it is useful, and some of it is completely unnecessary. Most motorcycle campers need a saddlebag, a high-quality tent, some sort of motorcycle camping cooking gear, and basic comforts like a sleeping bag and pillow.
Here are five camping essentials to consider before hitting the open road.
Alps Mountaineering Lynx 1-Person Tent
At just over two pounds, this lightweight tent is perfect for a single rider to stow in a saddlebag without adding a lot of weight. It’s simple to set up and offers zippered flaps for adjustable climate control and ventilation.
Reviewers report that the tent feels more spacious than most one-person models, with plenty of room for a sleeping bag and gear stowage. They do caution that the optional waterproof floor should be purchased to keep water out of the bottom of the tent.
Alps Mountaineering Lynx 1-Person Tent Floor Saver
The perfect accompaniment to the Lynx one-person tent, this waterproof floor saver offers a barrier between dirt and rain to keep the contents of the tent dry in even the wettest of weather. It weighs just six ounces and folds to a small size in the included case.
Users say that it’s the perfect fit for the Lynx tent and does an excellent job of protecting the tent floor from mud and rain. They also love that it is lightweight and easy to pack. Some campers would prefer that the floor saver be part of the price of the tent and suggest using a tarp instead, although the fit would not be as precise.
Trekology Ultralight Inflatable Camping Travel Pillow
While most campers wish they had the comfort of a pillow to go with their sleeping bag, many motorcycle campers opt to leave their pillows at home to save space. They don’t have to, with this ultralight inflatable pillow. When deflated, it takes up very little space and weighs less than a can of soda.
Reviewers love the ergonomic head support and the ability to inflate the pillow to the user’s comfort level. Some report that the pillow leaks air over time and recommend contacting the manufacturer in the event of a defect.
Odoland Camping Cookware Kit
This compact kit has all of the necessary items needed to cook meals on the road. It includes a mini-stove, two aluminum pots, a set of utensils, a stainless steel cup, an insulated cup protector, and portable carry bags for all of it.
The kit rates highly as light and easy to pack but without compromising quality. The mini stove heats quickly and cooks evenly. Some users caution that the pans may begin to melt if they are left on high heat settings for too long.
Motorcycle Dry Duffle Tail Bag
This 100% waterproof duffle doubles as a saddlebag for a motorcycle and includes all of the tie-downs to secure it to a bike. It weighs just under three pounds when empty, and has a large, 60L capacity to hold plenty of gear.
Reviewers love the bright colors to help with visibility on the road, and the high degree of weatherproofing–even in downpours. Some users find the weatherproof roll top a bit clunky to access in a hurry, and caution that the material may tear if exposed to sharp objects on the bike or at the campsite.
If you are looking for other ideas of lighweight camping equipment, be sure to also check out our guide to the best backpacking gear as well.