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The Guide to Essential Motorcycle Camping Gear
Posted on 2/16/2021 1:14:26 PM

Heading out on your motorcycle for a few nights under the stars can be a magical and rejuvenating experience for any rider...as long as you bring the right motorcycle camping gear. Just as you would for a ride of any kind, you’ll want to be prepared before you head out into the wilderness. In addition to the standard items you should keep on hand for any ride (tool kit, tire gauge, first aid kit, backup bulbs, necessary Harley Davidson parts or extra parts specific to your ride, etc.) you’ll want to make sure you have the right motorcycle camping gear to get you through your overnight adventure.

Keep in mind that in camping by way of motorcycle, as opposed to a truck or RV, you’ll need to be especially mindful about what you’re packing. By keeping the total weight of the bike plus cargo as low as possible, you’ll create less stress on the suspension and you’ll find that handling the bike for long distances will come much easier (not to mention that storage space on your bike probably comes at a premium anyway).

And before you head out, make sure you have a plan and know what kind of accommodations (if any) to expect. Many reputable, right-off-the-highway campgrounds are extremely affordable, motorcycle-friendly, and offer certain amenities (running water, electricity, Wi-Fi, bathrooms, etc.) that you obviously won’t find should you decide to venture off the grid entirely. Not to say that just winging it can’t be an adventure all its own, but building a plan and sticking to it is certainly the safer option.

Must-Have Motorcycle Camping Gear Checklist

Once you know a little more about where you plan to stay and what to expect, it’s time to start packing. Now let’s get into some of the “must-have” items for your next motorcycle camping trip.

Tent

You probably won’t want to go with a three-room family-style tent for this ride. These bags can be pretty bulky and add a lot of extra weight to your bike. We recommend going with a backpackers tent. Not a lot of room to work with, but they are light and compact. If you are going out with a group and intend on sharing a larger tent, just make sure it is tied down securely.

Foldable chair or stool

A bag chair or tripod stool will be fine for your needs. Both are compact, durable, and won’t add a lot of extra weight to your bike. And you’ll certainly be more comfortable lounging around the campfire than you would be on, say, a stump or a large rock.

Food

Unlike your neighbor with the 30-foot motorhome, you won’t be able to go overboard in terms of meal planning. Again, your space will be limited and your cooking amenities will likely be pretty minimal as well. Think like a backpacker and go with some dehydrated meals, snacks, and maybe a few canned goods you can warm up over the fire or a portable burner. And if “roughing it” isn’t your trip’s primary goal, you can always just set up camp within a few miles of the local drive-thrus.

Portable gas burner

If you do need to cook, and don’t want to try your hand at doing it over the campfire, a portable camp gas burner can be an excellent tool to have. You can find single burner models fairly easily that will certainly be able to heat your soup or cook your oatmeal. NOTE: Be extra cautious about how you pack butane or propane cylinders. Make sure they are secure and away from the exhaust or any component on your bike that can get hot. If you have the means, you may just want to buy cylinders once you get where you’re going.

Foldable utensils

While you won’t have the luxury of bringing the entire kitchen with you, cooking and eating will be much easier with a foldable or all-in-one utensil set. If you don’t have one, consider packing a few pieces of disposable flatware in a Ziploc bag to get you through your excursion.

Flashlight

Obviously you’ll want to see where you’re going once the sun goes down. A flashlight, lantern, or headlamp will definitely come in handy. And for good measure, you may want to just keep a spare flashlight in your bike’s storage compartment at all times just in case. And don’t forget extra batteries!

Sleeping bag

This might be the biggest and bulkiest of your packing needs, but it’s a necessity. Fortunately, modern sleeping bags provide excellent warmth and protection from the elements without taking up TOO much room. If you’re still using a pack from sleepaway camp when you were a kid, and you want to make motorcycle camping a regular thing, it might be worth a trip to the sporting goods store for an upgrade.

Inflatable pillow

A travel pillow or neck rest can also suffice here. But an inflatable pillow will give you the size, comfort, and support you’re used to while occupying a fraction of the space and weighing next to nothing.

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