6 Essential Motorcycle Camping Tips
Motorcycle camping isn’t too different from your standard camping trip, the main difference is that you are essentially a backpacker on two wheels.
I love camping by bike, and if a delicate flower like me can do it, so can any number of you out there. Most experienced bikers will tell you that their camping mishaps were due to bad planning and preparation. To avoid being discouraged, take the time to prepare properly, you might still make mistakes, but you will learn and do it better with experience.
1. Don’t blow your loot
Camping is not for everyone, so on your first expedition of this kind, it is wise to borrow as much as possible, and buy only what you need. You can blow all your hard earned cash on expensive gear and gadgets later.
Saddle bags are great for camping trips, hard saddle cases are top of the line, which means you pay top dollar, and you’re also stuck with frames and mounting gear on your bike even when you don’t need them. I am a fan of soft luggage as they fully suit my needs; many come with water resistant covers and can handle most things the British weather has to offer. A decent size topbox should fit all you need for a short trip.
Only pack what you need, keyword being need. You will be pushed, be sure to distribute the weight evenly on both sides of your bike, making sure heavier items are at the bottom of your saddle bags to optimise handling. Freeze bags are made out of durable polythene and water resistant; use these for items sensitive to water, such as your camera. Pack your bike at least a day before your trip and go for a short test ride around, making sure all the additional luggage does not affect your ability to ride safely.
For your first camp by bike trip, I’d say you should consider visiting a familiar camp site, as this gives you one less thing to worry about. Not venturing too far from home means you can abort mission and be back in time for dinner if things get a little too primal. There are many motorcycle friendly camping sites around the UK, so get online and find one close to you.
Have a look at an advance weather forecast for your trip/destination, and pack accordingly. If the weather looks bad and you’re new to camping, abort mission and rearrange.
6. Make a checklist
A notepad should be your main companion in the weeks before your trip. Make sure you jot down items you might need and whittle them down to the essentials as your trip approaches and you get packing. Lastly, prepare for the unexpected, most of the fun is recounting your misadventures to friends and bikers you might meet. These always make the best stories; chances are they once made the exact same mistakes.
Image credit: Teosaurio on Flickr