Motorcycle Camping Gear Buyer's Guide - Beyond the Basics

Evans Brasfield
by Evans Brasfield

Some extra items that can increase your moto-camping fun

In our Motorcycle Camping Gear Buyer’s Guide – The Basics, we gave you some ideas as to what you need to start camping on a motorcycle. However, we only scratched the surface. Like with riding gear, you really only need a few things to get started, but once you’re hooked, a whole world of gear options becomes open to you. Now, you don’t need all of this stuff to have fun out in the mountains on your bike, but they all serve an important purpose. With a little thought, you can pack your bike with gear that makes your camping experience even more fun.

When shopping for camping gear, most people think of the big chains, like REI, Eastern Mountain Sports, or similar outlets. However, these places are directed towards backpacking or car camping, and while you can find gear that applies to motorcycling, you have to figure out what will work on your own. If you want to shop from a vendor that has a motorcycle-centric approach to camping, you should visit the Aerostich website (yeah, that Aerostich, the home of the Roadcrafter riding suit). Here, you’ll find a wide array of camping accessories that have been pre-selected for use on motorcycles.


I tend to carry freeze-dried backpacking food when I moto-camp. It packs easily, and it tastes pretty good considering the packet you’re eating will stay fresh until roughly 2048 if you don’t break the seal. Some even come with self-heating packets that boil the food packet once you add water. Still, if you get into camping at all, you’ll eventually need a stove. Even if you don’t need to boil water for dehydrated meals, it’s much easier to heat a can of Dinty Moore Beef Stew on a stove than on a campfire.

This GSI Outdoors Glacier Camp Stove is as basic as it gets. It packs small and uses commonly available gas canisters as its base. (Get yours here.)

Today, you basically have two choices when it comes to stoves, those that use butane/propane canisters and those that use white gas. When it comes to convenience, it’s hard to beat the canisters. They’re small and easily available. Also, you can buy a basic canister stove for as little as $20. In my experience, however, they tend to run out of fuel at the wrong time. So, I carry an extra canister. With white gas stoves, you can actually look into the can to see how much fuel is left, which is why I prefer them.

If you’re looking for a compact camp stove that will work forever and burn practically anything, the Svea 123 is the stove for you. My single-owner Svea 123 has been going strong for over 45 years and has only needed a gasket replaced. Lighting it is a ritual that I have come to love. (Available here.)

Pots, pans, and espresso makers

Even if you’re just boiling water, you need a pot. So, why not get a set of pots and pans that nest inside each other for easy packing? In my motorcycle travels, I’ve prepared countless meals on my beat-up old pots and pans. Now, you can get a similar set for less than $30 – and they have insulated handles so you don’t burn your fingers taking the pan off the stove!

This Stainless Solo Cook Kit only costs $27, and it contains two pots, a frying pan (to be honest, I always use my frying pan as a plate or shallow bowl), and an 8 oz. plastic cup. They pack up into one convenient nylon pouch. If you want to do more than basic cooking, you can get a non-stick aluminum set of pots for $20 more. (Available here.)

Then there are the little luxuries. My beloved camping espresso maker was originally purchased as a joke, but I had no idea how much I would love a good cup of coffee when traveling. It always has a space in my saddlebag for moto-camping.

Oh, how I love espresso at dawn at my campsite. This little stainless steel gem only costs $39.95 and comes with a cup and a carrying case. I’m seriously considering replacing my beat up old aluminum one with this. (Available here.)

Water filtration

If you ever venture beyond campgrounds on your motorcycle adventures (and even in some campgrounds the water is not potable without treatment), you’ll need a way to purify your water. Yes, you can boil it, but then you have to wait for it to cool if you want to do anything other than cook with it. So, that leaves chemical treatments or filters.

Although I’ve never used this specific treatment, I’ve used a variety of similar products over the years, and they work. Aquamira Water Treatment Drops treat drinking water using chlorine dioxide and does not leave a funny taste, like iodine tablets of old. (Available here.)
I’ve used an older First Need purifier for more than 20 years, and aside from an occasional filter replacement, it’s performed flawlessly. That said, pumping water through a filter for more than a canteen-full takes some time, leading me to search for a reliable alternative. (Available here.)
I purchased the Platypus GravityWorks Water Filter System 4 liter system for our MO Adventure Tour and have been impressed with how quickly it filtered water. Each rider had a minimum of 2 L capacity in their hydration packs that we needed to fill, and that was before we started boiling water for dinner! If you’re traveling solo the 2 L version will be sufficient, but for groups, the 4 L setup is the bomb! (Available here.)


For two nights, as we stood around the campfire with nowhere to sit, we MOrons lamented not bringing any chairs. We did have one hammock that proved to be very popular, but we still needed something to sit on near the fire since the picnic table was too far from the fire’s warmth.

The Chair One is exactly what I needed on our adventure tour. Claimed to hold up to 320 lbs., the Chair One sits 20 inches off the ground and packs down into a 14 ×4 ×5-inch zippered stuff sack. (Available here.)
The ENO SingleNest Hammock is for those who take their post-ride lounging seriously. The hammock can hold up to 400 lbs. and packs down to just 3.5 x 4.5 inches when in the built-in stuff sack. (Available here.)


As electronics become more enmeshed in our lives, being able to charge them while traveling on the road is quite important. Similarly, having a light beyond the standard flashlight/headlamp you should carry in your camping kit will make cooking and eating much easier. Here are two products that I’ve found to be quite useful.

The Goal Zero Venture 30 Power Bank is a 7800 mAh lithium-ion battery that I reviewed here with its accompanying solar panel. While I rarely use the solar panel when riding (instead I use USB power from the bike), it has come in handy while hiking and backpacking. It is rugged and waterproof with a handy flashlight function. At night, I use the Venture 30 to recharge my iPhone and Apple Watch while I sleep and wake with plenty of charge left over for other devices. (Available here.)
The Goal Zero Lite-A-Life Mini USB Light is perfect for hanging in a tent or over a picnic table as a space light. Putting out 110 lumens doesn’t sound like much, but works just fine for my purposes. Being a USB-powered device, it can be plugged in to any USB battery pack. Up to four Lite-A-Life Minis can be daisy-chained together. (Available here.)
See you out in the mountains!
Evans Brasfield
Evans Brasfield

Like most of the best happenings in his life, Evans stumbled into his motojournalism career. While on his way to a planned life in academia, he applied for a job at a motorcycle magazine, thinking he’d get the opportunity to write some freelance articles. Instead, he was offered a full-time job in which he discovered he could actually get paid to ride other people’s motorcycles – and he’s never looked back. Over the 25 years he’s been in the motorcycle industry, Evans has written two books, 101 Sportbike Performance Projects and How to Modify Your Metric Cruiser, and has ridden just about every production motorcycle manufactured. Evans has a deep love of motorcycles and believes they are a force for good in the world.

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3 of 21 comments
  • Alaskan18724 Alaskan18724 on Aug 15, 2018

    Really like these gear pieces! Lots of useful info. Most of my camping was done with a pack strapped on my back and ridiculously heavy boots on my feet, so I still have a backpacking mentality when it comes to camping gear. Good points about moving away from ultralight in favor of a little luxury. Sling Chairs! Hammocks! Espresso, for Pete's sake! There are still indentations in my spine corresponding to rocks and roots along the Appalachian Trail. I've outgrown that sort of nonsense....

    • 12er 12er on Aug 17, 2018

      Backpacking gear has improved so much in recent years its not roughing it like it once was. My Nemo Equipment cosmo Air pad, has built in pump, 3.5" thick inflated and compresses down to about a softball. For Motorcycle camping I take the added 1" Pillow top and sleep like a baby. My new favorite tent of all time is a Lightheart gear duo. Its a trekking pole tent that fits my hugeness and gear and weighs 3lbs, can fit in a stuff sack and you could compress it down to about a softball as well (I always take my small camping chair, same length as my trekking poles so they fit in the bag with the chair).

  • Michael Michael on Oct 23, 2020

    Thanks for providing your insights on motorcycle camping gears. I have wrote an article on best healthy dehydrated meals for motorcycle camping if you found this article helpful then I love to have a link on your site so that your readers can cook and eat something very healthy on their next adventure ride.