Motorcycle camping isn’t for everyone. But if you love to ride and you love the outdoors, it might be an experience worth trying. Lots of motorcyclists do enjoy the combination of riding and camping, but for this simple message, I want to speak to those riders who haven’t.
The term “camping” can be ambiguous, since it can encompass a wide variety of very different experiences.
Similarly, if one says they are a motorcycle rider, that can mean many different types of riding experiences, such as enjoying cruisers, or luxury touring bikes, or sport tourers, pure sport bikes, dual-purpose bikes, adventure-touring bikes, etc. Regardless, it doesn’t matter what kind of bike you have. Any bike can be used for motorcycle camping, even though some are better suited to carrying luggage and/or handling poor roads, if that’s where you might be venturing. The point is, if you’re interested in finding out about motorcycle camping, just go with what you’ve got.
Getting back to the term “camping,” as I was saying, it can mean very different types of experiences.
For some people camping means getting in a recreational vehicle (RV) and enjoying a luxury apartment out in a private campground that has a store, recreational hall, and lots of people. And if you’re a rider who is going camping by meeting someone out of town who has an RV, that’s fine, although not everyone would say that’s a true camping experience. Some riders might go to a National Forest on a dual-purpose bike and take off along a trail and break camp out where there’s no civilization or people nearby. Probably the simplest type of camping for a motorcyclist would be similar to “car camping,” whereby you pull up to a campground and pitch your tent right next to your motorcycle in a spot that has a picnic table and possibly a fire ring. There might even be an outhouse or bathroom nearby.
I’ve camped all over North America on a variety of coast-to-coast tours and have done lots more camping within a few days ride of home. The amenities can vary significantly from place to place. My favorite camping destinations are National Parks, National Forests and State Parks although private campgrounds are favorite destinations for other riders, since they often have more facilities.
Some campgrounds will include a shower with flush toilets and even a store with food you can buy. It might even be near a town and you can eat in a restaurant. Of course other camping experience place you far away from any town or stores and you will need enough food, water and warm/dry clothes for the duration of your stay.
If you’re going to cook over a fire, you’ll need some additional equipment, otherwise if you’re just camping for one night, you might be fine with whatever pre-prepared food and beverages you can stuff onto your bike. By the way, not every campground allows fires, so you might even need a small, gas stove if you want to cook.
There’s a lot that can be said about motorcycle camping but for this message, the idea is to emphasize that it’s not hard and it doesn’t need to take a lot of preparation. Grab a sleeping bag and a tent and strap them onto your bike. (Some riders don’t even bother to bring a tent, particularly if they’re confident about good weather).
The point is to just do it.
If you found the trip enjoyable, next time it will be even better, because you’ll have some idea of what to expect and if there are any specific items that can make the adventure even more suitable for yourself.
I should add that, particularly in my earlier years, it was easy to over-pack. If you make your first motorcycle camping experience a simple, one-night adventure, you can survive adequately with some food, a flashlight, a sleeping bag and a tent.
It’s easy to over-think the experience.
Again, the emphasis for this message is to just get out there and do it.