Packing For A Motorcycle Camping Trip
Most bikers say they ride for the feeling of freedom. Going on a motorbike camping trip gives people the perfect opportunity to experience the ultimate sense of freedom, breathing fresh air in the great outdoors.
With this experience comes more responsibility, it’s not like turning up at a hotel where you know there will be a cosy bed and towels for the shower. Camping is all on you, which takes more effort but is a million times more rewarding.
What do you need to take on a camping trip? When you first start thinking about packing, there can seem like a lot to organise! So it’s best to break it down into sections, that way you can think about each part separately. The We Buy Any Bike team often go on camping trips, in our experience the following things need to be thought about and planned:
People have different priorities so packing is different for everyone. Camping in England means my priorities involve keeping dry and warm! To give you an idea of what I take with me, on motorcycle camping trips my panniers usually contain:
- 1 Rain suit
- Heated gloves
- 1 Wool hat
- 1 Pair of jeans
- 1 Hoody
- 2 Tshirts
- 1 Thermal top
- 1 Thermal leggings
- 1 Pan
- 1 Cup
- Coffee making ingredients – important!
Also carried on the bike are the tent, mattress and sleeping bag.
Which panniers you go for is down to personal preference, there are a million different variations on luggage, so to keep this straight ward we’ll break them down into two large categories: hard or soft. There are pros and cons to both pannier options, so to run through them...
With hard luggage a big positive is your boxes are lockable, of course, you can make soft panniers very secure but the ease of simply turning a built-in locking system is very nice! Although this type of luggage does tend to be expensive, I’m sure if you shop around and look on eBay you’d be able to come across a good deal. Hard luggage also can be damaged fairly easily, for example, if you drop your bike the panniers are likely to be dented. Something else to mention is hard luggage can be rather weighty.
I personally prefer soft panniers (could you tell?) mostly due to the weight; soft panniers are lighter than any hard luggage out there. Also if you go off the road and hit a few trails like I do, you don’t need to worry about breaking or denting them. On top of that, they are cheaper, so it’s not crazy money to swap and change till you find the panniers you like.
It depends on how much space you have and how conscious you are of weight. For me, keeping the weight down is important as I like to go off-road and if I drop the bike I want to be able to pick it up fairly easily. So I only pack the most basic of clothes, which are light, easy to scrunch up so they don’t take up much space and quick to dry.
A thing to remember when thinking about clothes for camping is:
Synthetic or Wool: Good
You can easily reduce the number of space clothes take up by making this simple change of replacing everything made from cotton with Synthetic or Wool. Replacing these items with synthetic or micro fibre interior layers is a good plan as they keep you warm and dry mega fast, so you could wash them in the evening and they’ll be dry by morning.
Stove wise, I have a Multi Fuel so it can burn kerosene, unleaded fuel and a handful of other sources. The reason I went for a Multi-Fuel is pretty obvious, it's going to be able to burn at least one nearby fuel anywhere in the world and since I go travelling on my bike it's a good option.
Deciding which tent to get has a lot of factors involved, how many people is it for, what you want space for - just sleeping or a porch area?! The list goes on. We went for a MOTOTENT V2, it's perfect for what we need, a sleeping area for two and a lounge-type area. We paid a bit more for this slightly bigger tent as we spend a lot of time camping and wanted to be able to relax in the tent without sitting in the sleeping area.
► Sleeping Bag
Camping in England means low temperatures, I got an ASCENT 700. This is a Down filled bag, Microlight inner and outer fabric – light and warm, ideal for my needs.
Cooking & Snacks
Cooking yourself dinner on the stove is all part of the camping experience. I tend to make quite simple food while I’m on a motorcycle camping trip, as i don’t want to take up too much space on my bike. So I usually get a bag of pasta and sauce, some (small) veggies!
Snacks are definitely a must, maybe it’s all the fresh air or use of energy but I’m always hungry when camping. It’s a good idea to have some snacks on hand crisps are always good and fruit, although we wouldn’t suggest bananas..they don’t travel very well.
If you’re staying on a campsite you can be sure there will be a water source there, but if you aren’t sure where you’ll end up make sure you have a few bottles of water on your bike somewhere. This is for cooking, brushing teeth, making coffee and so on. You should also think about a backpack with a reservoir though, if you’re touring or riding some trails it’s great to be able to have a little drink while you’re rolling.
An ultra-light towel is needed on camping trips, they need to take up little space and dry ridiculously fast. Packing a wet towel is the worst; it makes the rest of your clothes damp and smell. My towel of choice is the Microfibre Travel Towel its compact, lightweight and super absorbent..and affordable.
It’s important for safety to have your luggage packed tight and tied down, but also for your sanity. Nothing is more annoying than seeing your luggage bag flapping around in your peripherals while riding along. I use ROK Strap Adjustable Luggage Straps, I prefer these to bungee cords as they are much easier to use. They don’t ‘ping’ back at your face when you detach them, which is ideal.
Locking your bike is always important when you go away somewhere, especially if you aren’t able to camp near the bike. It’s nice to sleep soundly knowing your bike is safe, so spend time looking at the different options where you can chain up, a tree or another bike is always pretty solid.
Aspirin & Ibuprofen
The thing is when you’re on a motorbike camping trip, getting a headache or feeling rough in general is extra tough. Especially if you’re planning on riding the next day, so it’s best to take some basic painkillers.
Also, take a spare key when you go away! Losing your key while on a riding trip is the worst, it's literally a show stopper. I tend to keep my spare key in the inside zipped pocket of the riding jacket. It’s a good option as I’m always with my jacket, it only comes off when I go for a coffee and even then its only on the back of my chair. It’s in a pocket that is always zipped up as I don’t keep anything else in there, so I’d only go in if I needed the key.
You need to capture the fun time you’re having, so make sure you pack a camera! To be honest, this is something I always forget to do, but luckily the iPhone 6 takes great photos I always have a backup.
Having a practice ride with all your luggage on is important, if you’re planning on going away for a few nights it’s a good idea to pack your bike as you’re planning to for the trip and see how it goes. There might be something really annoying that isn’t working out well with the luggage, or the tent needs to be much further back on the seat etc.. it only takes a few miles to see how things are and what you’d want to change.
25 Aug 2017