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Few things can compare to the joy of riding a motorcycle, and spending time under the stars is a fun way to spend time away from home.
Camping with your bike doesn’t have to mean living rough.
Here is a list of some common and unusual items that’ll make your trip that much more fun.
At a Glance: Our Top Picks for Motorcycle Camping Gear Lists
Our Top Motorcycle Camping Gear Picks
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Do's and Don’ts of Choosing Motorcycle Camping Gear
When choosing the right motorcycle gear for camping, there are some definite dos and don’ts you want to familiarize yourself with to not overpack or set out unprepared.
Motorcycle Camping Gear: The Do's
1. Do Pack With a Plan
You should not only pack the heaviest items first but also position them low on your motorcycle, between the two wheels. Campers commonly pack them right in front of the rear tire.
2. Do Distribute the Weight
As you pack the heaviest items, ensure they are evenly distributed to each side of the motorcycle. In turn, you’ll avoid the uneven pull on one side or the other.
3. Do Protect Light Items
Pack the lighter objects higher up on the bike behind the passenger or rider to ensure they steer clear of the wind.
4. Do Keep Messes Separated
Designate a saddlebag for your dirty or wet clothes. After all, the last thing you need is them mingling with your clean clothes and other items.
5. Do Be Prepared
Having a first aid kit and other emergency/backup supplies can come in handy when the unexpected happens.
Motorcycle Camping: The Don’ts
1. Don't Bring a Mattress
Do not bring a massive inflatable mattress along for the ride as they are heavy and occupy a large amount of space.
2. Don't Bring Your Heavy Cookware
To drastically cut down on the weight you’re carrying, avoid packing heavy cookware. Invest in a couple of lightweight options or carry non-perishables and meal packets.
3. Don't Bring Cotton
Avoid packing cotton items as they are heavier, more susceptible to getting wet, take longer to dry, and don’t compress easily. Remember, the goal is to travel light.
Must-Have Motorcycle Camping Gear
You don't have a lot of space on a bike, so everything needs to be lightweight and packed down to a small size.
Below are a few items that’ll make your bike camping trip so much safer and more comfortable.
1. CruzTOOLS Outback'r Folding Metric Toolset
This nifty toolset that gives you 14 tools in one is sure to be a hit with space-conscious packers. Weighing in at nine ounces and less than four inches long, this kit punches far above its weight.
It gives you two screwdrivers, three-spoke wrenches, two open-end wrenches (13mm and 14mm), 3mm, 4mm, 5mm, and 6mm hex keys, and a socket driver with 8mm, 10mm, and 12mm sockets.
While it’ll be a good idea to pack your bike's tool kit, this little beauty will help in those emergencies.
2. AMK Ultralight And Watertight .9 Emergency Medical Kit
No biker should set off on a camping trip without some form of first aid kit.
This watertight kit from AMK has all that you’ll need to render assistance. The kit has been professionally designed to suit four people on a four-day trip. It contains:
- A basic set of bandages, gauze, and dressings
- A syringe for cleaning wounds and strips to close wounds
- Medication for upset stomachs, inflammation, allergies, and pain
- Trauma pads and elastic bandage to control severe bleeding
- Protection for blisters
- A small roll of duct tape
The kit weighs 12 ounces, and its small dimensions should make it easy to include in your kit.
3. GSI Outdoors Javamill
One of the few luxuries that most of us refuse to give up on a trip is coffee. Nothing beats the smell of freshly brewed coffee in the fresh air, and this coffee grinder will go a long way to making that a reality on your trip.
This small, highly efficient grinder will turn those beans into granules in no time at all, and with its small size and folding handle, it will be a breeze to pack.
The mill weighs just over nine ounces and stands a little over six inches high, with a diameter of two inches.
4. GSI Outdoors Glacier Stainless Bottle Cup/Pot
Every camper needs a sturdy mug, and this elegant, stainless steel mug not only looks good but is also unbreakable. This mug, which can double as a pot, will last you a lifetime.
The handles of the mug fold around it, so it’s simple to pack, and it’ll fit most standard water bottles making it easy to fit in under your water bottle.
Taking just one item that allows you to boil water and then make a drink in the same utensil is most appealing to many outdoor enthusiasts.
5. Primus Long Spoon
All campers know the irritation of scalded fingers when trying to scoop food from a bag or those bits of veggie from the bottom of a cup of soup.
Ordinary teaspoons just don’t cut it, and this long-handled spoon is just the ticket. This spoon is made from quality stainless steel with a plastic head and will last you many years and save countless scalded fingertips.
6. Therm-a-Rest Neoair Uberlite
Nothing beats a good night's rest while looking up at the stars, but sleeping on the ground isn’t for everyone.
This is a fabulous sleeping mat that will make you think you are back in your comfortable bed. This mat stretches out to almost 47 inches long and is 2.5 inches thick but rolls up to a size not much larger than a liter water bottle.
This top-quality sleeping mat will make a world of difference to your night's rest, leaving you alert for riding the next day.
7. GSI Outdoors Bugaboo Base Camper
Taking pots camping can be a nightmare. They don’t pack efficiently, and the handles cause big problems. This is the answer to those pot-packing blues!
This cookset includes a set of pots that nest inside one another, all packaged in a neat stuff sack that can be used as a dishwashing sink if need be.
The sets come in three different sizes, but this, the smallest of the sets, weighs in at just under three pounds. In the group, you get two pots and a frying pan that all fit inside each other, along with two strainer-type lids, a chopping board, a detachable handle that fits all the pots, and a small chopping board. All of this packs neatly into a bag.
8. Weber 121020 Go-Anywhere Charcoal Grill
If you have space, this Weber grill will make a world of difference to the meals you can produce in the wilderness.
With 160 square inches of cooking space, this portable charcoal grill weighs in at almost nine pounds, so it’s only for the large touring bike brigade. Weber is a household name, so you know this grill is well made, easy to use, and simple to keep clean.
9. Coleman Tent Sundome Dome Tent
The Coleman Sundome 2-Person Dome Tent is a warm-weather tent designed to be quickly erected and fully weather-proof.
The floor space is large enough to take a queen-size blow-up mattress, and there are storage pockets to help keep your kit organized.
A nice feature is the special e-port designed to let you quickly bring an electrical cord into the tent.
There are 48 inches of height under the dome, so dressing won’t resemble a contortionist act. Coleman’s quality is legendary, so this tent will last for many years and provide weeks of camping pleasure.
10. Platypus GravityWorks Water Filter System
One of the most significant issues of back-country camping is finding clean drinking water. You can’t trust water from most sources.
This compact water filtration system is a must for any wilderness camping trip.
It consists of two bags (clearly marked for dirty or clean water so you don’t contaminate your clean water bag), a hollow fiber filter that fits between them, and plastic piping to connect them.
This straightforward system allows you to collect water from any source and filter it to produce clean drinking water simply using gravity.
The filter is rated to remove bacteria and protozoa, including all the nasties that cause common illnesses. Don't go into the backwoods without it.
11. GCI Outdoor Folding Rocking Chair
The ingenious mechanism on this standard-looking camping chair takes it out of the ordinary as it rocks smoothly back and forth.
Made with a powder-coated steel frame with a sturdy fabric seat that will support 250 pounds, this lightweight rocker is a taste of the porch in the backwoods. Not only is this chair very comfortable, but it also easily folds flat for packing and comes equipped with a handy carry handle.
12. Swiss Safe Store Emergency Mylar Thermal Blankets
No traveler should go without one of these thermal blankets.
These Swiss-made blankets are 30 square feet of protection but weigh a mere two ounces.
These blankets have various uses, from insulating your tent from the cold ground or the blazing sun through providing warmth to chilled bodies and providing an obvious target for a rescue. The highly reflective surface will either retain or reflect heat and be a lifesaver in both freezing and hot weather.
13. GSI Outdoors Micro Table
Anyone who has tried to prepare a meal on the muddy ground will know how valuable a flat, dry surface can be.
This little aluminum table will be a boon to any campsite. Low to the ground, the legs will all individually adjust so that you can take up any uneven ground. This table can hold an impressive 20 pounds.
With a top surface of just over 11 by 15 inches, this functional little table comes with its carry bag that’ll also hold your fold-up pot, kettle, and, if you are lucky, your stove as well. A kitchen in one pack!
14. Barebones Cast Iron Kit
This cast iron cookware set will only be for the large touring bike owner due to its weight, but there are few options better than this for an all-round cooking experience.
This cast iron pot and skillet will cover all your cooking requirements. The pot can be used to stew or braise, but it will also double as an oven for baking. One lid is supplied that will fit both the pot and the pan.
The kit also comes with a wooden serving board that’ll double as a chopping board, and a wire scourer to make cleaning a breeze. There’s also a rustic strap that’ll keep all these items together to make packing easier.
Safety Considerations When Heading Out for a Motorcycle Camping Trip
Any camping trip can morph from a fun time away to a life-threatening exercise in a short space of time. The wise camper will spend time considering the dangers that may be faced, especially when riding a motorcycle, where the risk of injury is high, especially in the off-road environment.
There are three significant areas that the wise camper will consider:
Staying in Contact and Knowing Where You Are
Nothing is more alarming than getting into a difficult situation but being unable to call for assistance. If you’re going into the back-country or riding remote roads, consider your communications.
- Cell phones may not have coverage, so consider renting a satellite phone for the trip. The few dollars spent on a satellite phone may save a life as you can call for help if required.
- Also, remember to pack a solar-powered power bank to make sure that batteries stay charged.
- A GPS is a fabulous device, but it’s not infallible; a hard knock can render it inoperable. Make sure you carry paper maps as a backup to your GPS.
All-the-gear-all-the-time is a simple acronym that can save you lumps of missing skin, brain damage, and broken bones.
- Don’t be tempted to ride in shorts and a tee; your gear can’t protect you if you don’t wear it.
- Make sure that the group carries a first aid kit, water, and tools to make running repairs when need be. These should be considered as essential as body protection and a helmet.
- Prepare for inclement weather and carry rain suits and cold weather gear.
Pack Lightly and Safely
Choose the stuff you want to take along wisely.
- Take what you need and not what you want!
- Watch weight distribution between your packs. Too much weight on one side can cause the bike to be unbalanced.
- If you’re riding in a group, share everyday items. Not everyone needs to carry tools or a common camping kit such as pots or kettles.
- Make sure your luggage is waterproofed.
Ride at the Pace of the Weakest Rider
The leader of the group must understand the riding capability of all the members of the group.
With this extensive motorcycle camping gear list, you can now pack efficiently. As you do so, keep in mind that it’s advisable to select lightweight and compact items.
Granted, we don’t scrutinize ounces as backpackers do. However, traveling light will undoubtedly make the trip easier on your motorcycle.
People Also Ask
We’ve rounded up answers to some of the most popularly asked questions regarding which items to include and how to create a more well-rounded motorcycle camping gear list for your next trip.
How Do You Load a Motorcycle for Camping?
Keep the weight balanced and down low from one side to another, as much as possible. Ensure you pack the heavier items in the bottom of the panniers, except those that you want easy access to without unloading other stuff for your camping trip.
How Do You Stay Comfortable on a Long Motorcycle Ride?
To ensure comfort during long rides, you can stretch all your major muscle groups, such as the calves, hamstrings, quadriceps, neck, groin, shoulders, and lower back, for a couple of minutes. You should also drink lots of water before and during your rides and dress according to the weather.
How Should I Pack My Motorcycle for a Cross Country Trip?
Ensure you prepare for emergencies by having a versatile toolkit for roadside repairs, a working cell phone, an emergency first aid kit, rain gear, and extra clothing in a saddlebag. For space conservation and to prevent wrinkling, roll your clothes tightly as opposed to folding them. It’s also a good idea to put liquids in a zip-lock bag to avoid leaks.
How Do You Secure a Duffel Bag to a Motorcycle?
Simply grab a few odd lengths of rope and tie the bag in place across the rear of the motorcycle, ensuring that it goes through the loops that your duffel bag has. Furthermore, make sure you tie off each section of the rope to prevent the knots from coming loose. Having a few specialized straps that go on more quickly would also hold things firmly in place.
Can I Use a Tarp as a Tent Footprint?
Yes! The tarp’s durability allows you to use it to safeguard the tent’s exterior against the elements. It can also be used to protect the bottom of the tent from ground debris.
What Should You Not Wear on a Motorcycle?
There are some items you want to avoid wearing while on a motorcycle. Due to potential road rash, don’t wear a skirt or dress. Don’t wear dark clothing from head-to-toe for as much visibility as possible to car drivers. You should also avoid wearing sandals or shorts as they offer no protection against your motorcycle.