A Beginner’s Guide to Motorcycle Camping
Camping is in style again, but the idea of carrying a tent on the back of your motorcycle might make you think twice about this activity.
It shouldn’t, though. Motorcycle camping is the next big trend. It combines two things you’re passionate about: riding your bike and exploring the world.
Camping with motorcycles is gaining popularity as fuel prices continue to skyrocket. You save money on gas, and since your bike doesn’t take up much space, you get to book the smaller (cheaper) sites.
So the only question is how to carry everything you need for your trip on your bike. We have the answers to that and more in this short beginner’s guide for motorcycle campers.
1. Step One: Get Your Bike Road-Ready
Chances are, you take very good care of your motorcycle. However, before taking a long road trip, you should always give it a thorough inspection.
Check the fluids, brakes, tires, and other essential components. If you’re not a professional mechanic, it’s worth the cost to take your bike to one. If there’s a problem, it will be less expensive to fix it now before you’re stuck on the side of the road or in an accident.
Motorcycle crashes almost always result in serious injury to the driver (you). This article by JT Legal Group shows the statistics and costs of a typical bike crash. Your safety is crucial, and much of it depends on keeping your motorcycle in top shape.
2. Step Two: Pack for Your Destination of Choice
Before you can start packing, you need to know where you’re going. If the destination is cold and/or rainy, you’ll have to bring some extra warmth.
As a biker, it’s a smart idea to learn packing techniques to maximize your space. You don’t want to load up on heavy gear that could offset the balance when you’re riding, but you do want to make the most of what you have.
At a minimum, invest in a compact foldable tent that can fit in your duffel bag. Use compression or vacuum bags to store your clothes, so they take up as little room as possible.
Bring a lightweight hiking sleeping bag designed for heat retention if you’re going someplace cold. They may be pricier, but they’ll be worth it when you’re toasty in your tent. An inflatable pillow is a finishing touch to your sleeping needs.
Finally, make room for your must-have food and drinks and toiletry items. You can pick up a lot of this on the road if you’d rather not carry a heavy load.
3. Step Three: Plan the Route Ahead
Yes, your GPS will get you anywhere you need to go (usually). However, those roads aren’t always suitable for bikes.
Use Google Maps to watch for hazards, flooded roads, or construction. Keep an eye on the weather, too, and try to find routes that avoid heavy rain or snow.
While you’re planning, don’t forget to look for fun stops along your route. It’s about the journey, not the destination. If you’re not in a rush, take some time to explore the sites on the way to the campground and take stretch breaks.
4. Step Four: Plan for the Campsite
Last but not least, make a plan for the campsite itself. Some campgrounds have the basics, like running water and electricity. Others are bare-bones, and all you get is a place to pop your tent.
The campground website should describe what you get with your fee, or you can call them directly and ask for what you’re looking for. It’s important to know whether you’ll have bathroom facilities, running water, and electric hookups.
Storing your bike is another matter to consider. Camping opens you up to bike damage from resident animals or bad weather. Bring a durable cover to protect your motorcycle from potential hazards.
An unlocked bike is an open invitation for thieves, too. The more security devices and locks you have, the safer your bike will be while you’re sleeping or off-site.
Camping with a motorcycle can be a new favorite hobby of yours as long as you plan ahead.
As a beginner, you’ll probably make some mistakes on your first few trips. With this guide and the lessons you’ll learn as you go, you’ll quickly become an expert motorcycle camper.