Can you go camping with a motorcycle? Heck Yeah!
If you’re like me and love to ride your motorcycle and also enjoy camping or hiking in the wilderness on occasion, this blog post is for you!
Camping while motorcycle touring can be a great experience that will leave you with great memories for years.
It sure did for me!
Seriously, what more amazing than combining two of your favorite hobbies?
My first time going for a ride with camping in mind was literally the day after I got my motorcycle driving license. Go figure :).
I would spend the four-day long weekend with my family at La Mauricie National Park.
I stayed behind for work and my riding exam while my family was already on-site enjoying nature.
I would have to bring my own camping gear and tent by myself. Just like I was on a solo Motorcycle camping trip.
That included food, a small tent, sleeping bag, clothes, etc.
I was pleasantly surprised that everything I needed was fitting in my 36-liter Osprey backpack.
Only if I packed wisely, mind you. No bringing the kitchen sink here. 🙂
Still, I was delighted and ready for a 4-day trip.
Being done with my responsibilities, I was a happy little biker driving (getting lost on purpose for more riding time) in the general direction of my folks for some canoe camping.
And yes, I did mention canoe camping. Let me explain.
My parents left a kayak, a flotation vest, and a paddle behind a tree under a cable lock on the lakeshore for me to pick up upon arrival.
It still counts as motorcycle camping in my book as if my family choose a road vehicle accessible camp; I would still have been alright with my two wheels.
And thank you, little brother, for that hidden beer bottle you left under the Kayak seat that really helped with the paddling :). I had a heck of a time with you all that weekend.
Plus, finally being legal to take the bike out that same week is easily in the top 10 most fond memories of my life.
Moral of the story (sort of):
I was so happy to realize; sure, it a little more challenging camping with a motorcycle than a car, but you can absolutely do it, and it is so rewarding to take up that challenge.
It just is a similar but, at the same time, different and incredible experience.
How do you camp on a motorcycle?
So how Can you go camping with a motorcycle? Here is some advice on how to pitch and enjoy your perfect moto-camp!
Motorcycle camping gear What to bring?
Well, the short answer, less is more.
The first head-scratcher is carry capacity. You are obviously more limited compared to traditional camping vehicles like cars or RV. To counter this problem, try to be as minimalist as possible.
Everybody different and different needs for various camping projects for different gear caring setup. Now that all the differences are out of the way, here my way to do it.
My personal method; I just clear a random square space in my apartment, usually the floor or my bed four by four feet.
I Then open all the storage bins containing my outdoor stuff. I take a rummaging inside and just throw the equipment I think I need in the general direction of this ‘’organization space.’’
Then I reorganize the mess and neatly aligning items to make a compelling visual inventory.
For the last part, I would go item per item and impose a rule for myself; in a 3-5 second spam, I need to decide to bring it or not. And I am not playing safe or conservative here. I am aiming to take as few items as possible.
I found that the short time constraint for decision-making is tremendously effective for me to get rid of stuff I don’t need and not wonder about for hours about details.
Another effective answer: make a list! Old school but still as productive that the day ‘’list’’ were invented. Dah!
Speaking of lists, here one for you to base your personal one from it. Of course, leave out what doesn’t apply to your need and add items to your personal preference.
Try to be as minimalist as you think you can be while motorcycle camping. Also, try to buy and choose ultralight equipment when you can.
What about your helmet and protection gear?
Sadly your protection gear and helmet when not riding will burden you one way or another when you are not riding.
Depend on what sort of camping activity you are planning to do too.
If your tent and motorcycle are close to each other, this will be the best possible scenario. Especially if you plan to stay at your moto camp most of the time. If you need to leave you motorcycle and protection gear
However, If your going for activities like backpacking or In my case back at the canoe camping story, i had to leave the bike, helmet, boots, jackets and pants unattended for several days.
Although they are rare in the outdoors and nature-loving peoples I was a little scared of thieves or opportunists.
Here a little something i realised on the spot. Prevention is key. Usually the more obstacles and difficult you make it for the not so good person the less likely you gear will disappear.
Of course, you could put everything under lock but here the things. A very simple and effective deterrent is to get it out of sight.
If they can’t see it or not clearly; opportunist are going to be less tempted
In my case, I expected heavy rain on the second day while i would be away. My saddlebag containing my boot and pants are not waterproof so i actually brought along my motorcycle cover.
Here the thing it also hides everything you leave on the bike seat
People know when looking at it in the parking lot. hey, here a motorcycle!
But if you play your card right, that about it for what they see. Thieves won’t see what bike model it is or make it difficult to guess what it is. Plus, they won’t know for sure all your protective gear is hidden under your motorcycle cover.
If they can’t see it, they won’t know they want it.
Other steps you can take to secure your property
- Try to park your wheel in a high traffic spot with other campers, like right between the trail entrance and the parking lot, for example.
- Well lit spot at night if possible
- Ask other nearby campers if they keep an eye on it for you. Even ask if you can park it on their camping spot while you are away.
Buying locks for your helmets, your motorcycle itself like a brak and wheen lock, and a steel cable and padlock for your pants and jacket is also a great idea. Combine all these strategies, and you get to go enjoys nature with all the peace of mind you deserve.
Motorcycle Camping Tip Check the weather.
And check it often. It’s not always easy to predict and subject to change all the time.
Pro tips check the radar map if you can.
Your local weather forecast might announce rain but then realize by looking at the radar that the event and the direction are isolated.
So by leaving early or late for your trip can, you can outrun or dodge the rain!
Sometimes it may not look like rain is coming at all, but then suddenly, a giant’s angry dark cloud comes out of nowhere!
Quickly look for some kind of shelter like under a bridge and take a break on the road. Simply wait out the bad weather if you see it only a passing cloud on the weather radar.
Also, the perfect excuse to enjoy a local restaurant or snack bar is if there is one nearby.
Or be a rider on the storm 🙂 pun intended. Ride through it if you feel like it, but be careful and assume it could be more than you can chew.
If you’re still set on riding your motorcycle during bad weather conditions like the badass you are, please be careful.
Your motorcycle with all your camping gear will weigh more and could be unbalanced. Riding in the rain with this burden increases accident risk.
Make sure that your equipment is as secure as you can to avoid item shifting weight or losing stuff strapped to the exterior of your motorcycle.
Take frequents breaks and keep checking forecast reports in case of daybreak somewhere on the map and consider riding that way.
Be flexible with your plans. The solution might include to chooses another destination in another direction to avoid localized lousy weather.
And sometimes you just got to accept you got unlucky. No one ever expects their vacation or camping trip to be ruined because of rain and wind that lasts for days on end. But it happens.
It is your call to ride it or consider others options.
I hope I gave you tips that you will find helpful to plan such adventures on wheels.
If you never tried motorcycle camping, you should absolutely go out and try it.
It’s an experience like no other, one worth living if only for the stories it will give you to remember fondly!
There’s nothing stopping anyone from going on their adventure in nature with just two wheels and a tent.
So get out there, find some campgrounds, dirt trails, or country roads near your hometown that lead to your next great adventure.