Camping and motorcycling just seem to go together.
Moto-camping is a popular pastime for riders who enjoy the freedom of arriving on two wheels and pitching their tent in a shady spot. Each year rallies are held across the country that create temporary tent cities filled with bikers congregating for open-air camaraderie. Whether you enjoy large gatherings or a more secluded campsite on your own, you'll want camping gear suited to your needs. So we created a guide to camping gear best suited to the motorcyclist.
Our intention was to find products that were useful, rugged and reasonably priced. We've all heard the old computer hardware adage; better, faster, cheaper: you can only pick two. Camping gear seems to follow a similar pattern of better, lighter, cheaper. The hard-core hikers and backpackers want the lightest possible gear they can find, and have to be willing to pay handsomely for that weight savings. Moto-campers have different priorities, but can still benefit from all that technology.
Since we're packing our gear in saddlebags or panniers, instead of on our backs, we can save some bucks and pass up the latest ultra-light gadgets. Compact size and rugged functionality were higher priorities for us than shaving off a few grams. Another feature to consider is storing our riding gear. The best tents for the two-wheeled camper have vestibules to keep boots or luggage safe from the weather. And of course there's sleeping. Without a comfortable night we're not going to enjoy the next day's ride. And once again, we want something smaller than an army cot— but we're probabaly not scaling Mt. Everest.
So with that, we introduce our new (drum roll, please) top ten list of motorcycle camping must-have gadgets, gear and tools.
Camping gear for bikers has special requirements. The best tents for moto camping have large vestibules where riding gear can be stored and kept out of the rain. Sleeping bags need to roll down tight to take up as little room as possible. Tools that have multiple purposes are best. It's usually best to stick with well-known brands like Eureka, Thermalite, Kelty, Big Agnes or Marmot.