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jeff10236 05-25-2010 05:00 AM

Motorcycle camping
I love camping. I am a teacher and I'm off during the summer (except those summers I take a summer job- maybe 1/3 of my summers). One of the things I had in mind when buying a bike is possibly taking a cross country tour in the next 2-3 years, after some experience. In the meantime, I'm thinking about some weekend (first) and week long (later) camping trips, possibly starting with a short trip sometime this summer (take a weekend and go somewhere that is just 2-4 hours away).

How many here have done motorcycle camping? What gear that you may "need" when car camping have you left behind when motorcycle camping? With all the stuff out there for backpackers there are plenty of small scale versions of camp gear, however backpackers need to worry about weight (won't be too big a deal on the bike) which may add to the cost. What do you take with you, and do you try to squeeze regular camp gear into your bags, or do you spend extra for the unneeded weight savings to have the smaller sized backpacking gear?

I assume I pretty much need a tail bag. My tents (a 4 person Alps Mountaineering, and a cheap Bass Pro Shops house brand 4 person 4-season tent) will definitely not fit into my saddlebags. They may fit into a tail bag, though I assume I'd be better off with a 2 or 3 person backpacking tent (gee darn, an excuse to buy another tent :D ). I could always add storage by wearing a lightweight backpack, but that would prevent air circulation and my back would probably start to get a bit too warm. For travel, how convenient do you find tank bags? The map pocket would be nice (if I don't just get a motorcycle mount for my GPS). For small bills for tolls I could use a tank bag or a windshield bag (I ride a cruiser and the windshield bag would probably "match" better, but for a trip practicality would matter more).

Does anyone have any tips, advice, good travel stories, etc?

Kenneth_Moore 05-25-2010 06:01 AM

Although you're not carrying the load on your back, weight is still a consideration on a bike. Not just how much, but where you put it.

As far as what to take; it's as varied as the individuals who travel on bikes. I've followed a blog of a guy who rode from Alaska to Tierra del Fuego with so much stuff on his bike you could barely see him in the photos, on ADV Rider there's a guy who did a year in Austrailia with a tank bag and a bedroll.

Tail bags are ok for light stuff. You don't want weight up high. I'd avoid the backpack, or keep it very light. You'll sweat under it. Tank bags are terrific; keep your valuables in it, set in your GPS or map, then take it along when you get off the bike. Windshield bags are mostly decorations; they can't hold much and if you put any weight in one, it could bust the screen.

For more info on camping and riding, try Adventure Rider Motorcycle Forum. There are endless threads on how-to, what-to, who-to, etc.

JMcDonald 05-25-2010 06:23 AM

I haven't ever tried it, but I've heard a lot of people say if you buy a larger backpack, you can have the straps tight so it won't shift, but the weight will sit on the seat / tail behind you. That will make it comfortable to right, but not a huge burden, especially if you pack reasonably light.

seruzawa 05-25-2010 07:15 AM

I find that there are numerous motels near our natural wonders.

Or you can find a motorcycle tent trailer which will carry whatever you need.

pushrod 05-25-2010 07:22 AM

Try to keep all your stuff in the saddlebags, except the tent, bag and groundpad. Those will strap to the pillion seat or sissy bar. Hopefully your tent breaks down to 30 inches or so, so you don't have too wide a load.

High use and valuable items go in a tankbag.

Don't hang anything on your windshield or handlebars other than electronics. The added weight is real obvious, and not in a good way.

The worst thing about camping with a bike is navigating to the campsite. Few of them seem to be on paved roads. So you find yourself trying to get a fairly heavy (and loaded) bike with street tires down a dirt or grass trail.

The_AirHawk 05-25-2010 08:03 AM

I always just tied the tent on to the outside of the bags.

Bungees and those 3"-4" carabiners are your friends. I used to have a few pics of my FZ-6 loaded-down somewhere about the 'net, but dunno what I've done with 'em.

12er 05-25-2010 09:28 AM

go to aerostich and order the moto fizz camping seat bag. I have the Large and Huge is more like it. My buddy bought the medium after seeing mine and is in love with it.

A Star Ride 05-25-2010 08:16 PM

think of it along the lines of backpacking, small & lightweight as possible, but I have to admit to bringing along my air mattress & pump which is alot of weight and bulk

Dr_Sprocket 05-26-2010 03:13 AM


Originally Posted by A Star Ride (Post 242652)
...but I have to admit to bringing along my air mattress & pump which is alot of weight and bulk

Gettin' old, eh?

A Star Ride 05-26-2010 04:34 AM

yeah, pushn 40 now even too old for cowboy campn'

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