Jun 15, 2023
Top 10 Tips For Motorcycle Camping
Ace your moto-camping game with these 10 tips! Motorcycle camping combines the thrill of the open road with the freedom of the great outdoors. In recent times, motorcycle camping has picked up among
Ace your moto-camping game with these 10 tips!
Motorcycle camping combines the thrill of the open road with the freedom of the great outdoors. In recent times, motorcycle camping has picked up among riders who are looking forward to infusing their rides with some real world experience of living off their motorcycles. As exciting as the experience can be, it is an equally daunting step for those who are beginners.
So before you hop on your motorcycle which promises to take you everywhere, and go about your camping adventures, make sure to go through this article so that you will be better prepared. Let’s look at the top 10 tips for motorcycle camping - from packing efficiently to choosing the right gear and finding the best campsites, we'll cover everything you need to know to embark on your motorcycle camping adventure with confidence.
Related: Essential Beginner Riding Gear (And Some Essential Gear If You Want To Travel)
There is a reason why so many different kinds of motorcycle gear are available on the market. That's because different gear is meant for different purposes and use cases. For instance, if you intend to use your track gear for an adventure ride, not only will you be the laughingstock among your buddies, but it will be an equally uncomfortable and unpleasant experience while you are riding.
So, the first thing to do is invest in the right kind of gear for yourself. It is better to opt for dual-purpose gear that can take the brunt of camping as well as on-road motorcycle abuse, and at the same time it will help you free up some space by carrying less items. Irrespective of what gear you choose, ensure that it is waterproof if your intention is to be out in the nature under the open sky.
Over packing is the arch-nemesis of motorcycle camping. It is the number one issue that plagues riders across the globe and the only way to up your packing game is through experience. A good place to start is by foreseeing your travel plans and packing accordingly. Generally speaking, heavier clothes like sweaters and pullovers should be avoided and replaced with thin fleece or Merino wool layers and dual-purpose waterproof liners. Another great tip is to invest in some packing cubes to pack all your essentials and help save up space. Remember, it is better to pack less and have a lighter bike and buy a thing or two on the road than to have packed way more, manage an overloaded bike, and having to send things back.
One of the most important things to remember about moto-camping is that you will be under the open sky. So, keep an eye out for the weather forecast and choose an appropriate time to camp. Do not get thrown off by light drizzles as most modern-day tents can usually withstand a good amount of rain.
Another important aspect of camping is to avoid setting up your camp at the wrong time. Avoid pitching your tent too late in the night when the visibility is low as you may not be able to find level ground to pitch the tent. In a situation where you do end up invariably catching yourself in the middle of a rainstorm while you are camping, ensure that you are camped away from tall trees just in case there is lightning.
Related: 10 Safety Tips For Riding Through An Unexpected Rainstorm
One cannot undermine what a bonfire can do to elevate your camping experience. No, a campfire is not only required when it's cold - instead, it is actually a great idea to light a small bonfire irrespective of the weather, especially if you are wild camping. It helps keep the wild animals away and also ensures a good amount of warmth when it gets chilly late in the night. An important part of this step is to understand which way the wind is blowing so that you can keep the campfire away from your tent. Fire starter kits are relatively inexpensive and waterproof which makes them a great tool for all kinds of moto-campers.
The number one way in which most camping experiences turn bad is when folks do not pick out good campsites. In this day and age, you will find a campground almost everywhere across the country. Some are paid while some are wild campsites which are free, but not every campsite will suit you.
For instance, if you are someone who likes their peace and quiet, setting up camp at a spot where there are tons of trailers and campers might not be the greatest idea. Hence, choosing your camp spot carefully is an extremely important step. Having a well-laid-out physical map of an area is a great way to understand the camp sites on your route. Butler maps are one of the most renowned maps for this very purpose.
This is a universal motorcycling tip for anyone who is planning to venture out on an adventure of any sort. But more specifically, when it comes to motorcycle camping, it becomes an even more important part of your pre-ride ritual. Planning well is not only related to your route or your destination, it also extends to planning appropriately so that you are able to take care of your motorcycle as well on your journey. Adding to this, you should also be mindful of the weather, rest stops and grocery stores on the way. Because motorcycle camping in itself is based on the concept of being self-reliant, and you cannot take the risk of poor planning when it comes to camping miles away from any help.
Everything from tents to sleeping bags to sleeping mattresses to water bottles and even fuel canisters comes in a number of shapes and sizes. That is because there is no one-size-fits-all when it comes to camping. Some people choose to carry hefty equipment because they have the luxury of four wheels with them.
Being a motorcycle rider, you have to be mindful of the weight you are carrying at the back of the bike. This means you will have to opt for lightweight gear that suits you the best. In case you are traveling with a pillion or a group of other riders, having a multi-person tent setup can be beneficial as well. So before investing in any kind of campaign equipment, it's best to know what kind of camping you are intending to do in the first place.
Related: 10 Tips For Motorcycle Riding With A Pillion
This tip extends both ways - metaphorically and literally. Metaphorically, you need to be vigilant and keep an eye out for any signs of trouble on your moto-camping adventure. This can vary from sudden weather changes to finding yourself in a no-signal area or even running into a motorcycle issue that could have been sorted out earlier.
As for literally, you also need to keep an eye out for the road signs around you. While camping, it is the signs that will help you understand what kind of area you are in. For instance, if you are in a bear territory, there will be signs suggesting the same. Or let's say if you are in a paid camping area, you will have to be mindful to look out for signs like that.
One of the most important tips for motorcycle camping is to have an in-depth understanding of your motorcycle itself. It's simple - you are most likely to be far away from the luxury of mechanics and convenience stores. So in the likelihood that you run into motorcycle trouble, you should be capable enough of fixing it on your own. At the very least you should be able to create a temporary fix until you can get your bike to the nearest town. For this, you need to be aware of how to go about fixing the small issues on your motorcycle. It's easier to fix such issues on small lightweight ADVs and dual sports compared to the hefty premium adventure motorcycles.
Most importantly, the number one tip for motorcycle camping is to remember that this whole experience is a learning curve. It is not something that you will ace overnight or with one ride around town. The more you delve deep into the world of motorcycle camping, the more diverse your skillset will become. With time, this will also enable you to do your own DIY hacks to enhance your camping experience. Remember, you cannot train for an adventure unless you really get into one. So, keep your expectations on the low and be ready to learn with the flow.
Utkarsh has over a decade of experience traveling and documenting his adventures through photographs and films.He has a YouTube channel where he shows his motorcycle adventures through India. On days when he is not writing about motorcycles, he's riding one.YouTube channel