Few things are as filled with freedom as two tires on the road with the wind whipping past or camping in the wilderness. Combining these two pastimes can seem a daunting task. But truthfully, it is simpler than you think. You have a few things to consider: your storage options, the length of your trip, and finally, what to bring. Let's start!
Unlike most forms of camping, motorcycle camping forces you to limit what you bring. This is smart though. As an experienced camper, I’ve spent plenty of time relearning the lesson that I don’t need all the things I think I need. Whenever I pack up a car for a weekend trip with some friends, I wind up leaving half of it untouched. When having to carry all of your supplies in smaller spaces, efficient is key. So take a look at your bike. You’ve likely stored things in or on it before, especially if you already have storage built into it. If you don’t have any containers, consider what are some of the best ways to attach your luggage. Things like luggage straps and a cargo net are essential.
Check out the length of your trip and where you’re going. It is very important to look at what kind of weather you’re expecting. This is going to affect everything from the clothing you bring to the type of sleeping bag. Just like with longer rides, layering is important. You can remove or add layers depending on the weather conditions you encounter. This can make fall trips nice because the weather has yet to really cool off but the heat of summer has often lost its edge.
Having some layers, or better yet, some USB powered heated apparel would be a great idea and a good sleeping bag is important at night as well. If it is going to be cold you may need a colder rated sleeping bag, whereas the same bag will be far too hot for a summer trip. Longer trips may necessitate more clothes, or planning a trip into town for some laundry and to restock on food.
What to Bring
There are always a few must haves for any camping trip. Water is always priority number one. Consider your bike size and see what containers of water will work best for you. If you have to choose anything to pack too much of, it would be water, especially on summer trips. Other must haves are as follows: Compact Stove, Toilet Paper, Flashlight, Bug Spray, Hatchet, and of course a sleeping bag and tent/hammock. Jetboil makes an excellent compact stove and is also great for making the ever-important coffee. If you plan on finding yourself surrounded by trees consider hammock camping. A few straps and maybe a rain-fly to keep away drizzle can leave you packing light and enjoying the views, all with less effort. If a tent strikes you more than check out small one to two person tents. They will take up less room on your bike and have a smaller price take. Consider packing a bike cover as well in case rain strikes.
At the end of the day, you’re taking to the open road to explore and see things that few people see. Pack light, plan long trips around trips to town, check the weather three times, and most importantly, enjoy the experience. That is what it’s all about.