Author Topic: Motorcycle Camping: Myths and Realities  (Read 5076 times)

Offline Streak

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Motorcycle Camping: Myths and Realities
« on: April 14, 2014, 10:54:44 AM »
Motorcycle Camping: Myths and Realities

I thought the below was an excellent read....

As technology moves forward, past realities about motorcycle camping now become myths. New realities step in to take their place. In many cases, what was true 15 years ago simply doesnít apply today. Motorcycle camping has become the preferred convenience over motels and hotels for many riders because it offers a healthier, more comfortable nights sleep, ease of checking in and out and much more. Donít believe it? Read on.

Myth #1: I donít want to sleep on the hard ground.

 Reality: I gave up camping back in the 1990s. My body was getting too old for the old school Thermarest. In order to keep my hip from pressing into the cold ground I had to put a lot of additional air into the mat. Then that made it too hard to sleep on my back. "Uncle," I cried.

Above - The Outdoor Research Airmat 7.5 Deluxe is ultra light, provides three inches of loft, a built-in pillow, packs up small and runs under $100.

Today I'm camping again because there are mats on the market that make it all better. Outdoor Research makes a number of different mats that all provide 3 inches of loft and pack up about half the size of the old school Thermarest. One model includes down fill, so if youíre as nuts as I am and camp in 30 degree weather the mat will actually keep you warm down to 0 degrees.

Myth #2: At the end of the day I donít want to set up a tent.

Reality: New designs in tents are such that many made by better manufacturers are quick and easy to set up. The thing to remember about the top makers of outdoor gear is they are designing gear for hikers, ice climbers and kayakers who are beat at the end of the day. Like you, they want to get camp set up quickly.

My tent of choice is the Sierra Designs Baku. At 4.5 pounds for a two man tent, itís lighter than any comparable tent on the market, can withstand serious weather and packs up the size of a football.

At right - Sierra Designs Baku tent is lightweight, totally waterproof and includes vestibule space on both sides of the tent for gear storage.

Myth #3: I need to be next to a bathroom.

Reality: If you donít already camp, do yourself a favor and inspect a few modern day campgrounds. You can camp as close to a bathroom as you want and my experience with state and privately-run campgrounds in this decade has been nothing but good. The bathrooms are clean, the showers work and thereís an electrical outlet in most restrooms if you need it. Many have heat, too, for colder mornings.

Myth #4: I need a power outlet for my sleep machine (sleep apnea), laptop, cell phone etcÖ

Reality: Not only do I find power outlets in the restrooms at campgrounds I stay at, most have an outlet at every campsite itself. You can plug in your sleep machine, battery charger, laptop or cell phone charger right next to your tent.

As for items like electric shavers and electric toothbrushes, these are now available in AA battery formats.  Sorry ladies, the blow dryer still needs to get plugged in.

Myth #5: I donít have enough room in my gear bags to pack camping gear.

 Reality: Like many other riders I used to over-pack. Itís why I set out to drill down to what we need to carry and what we can leave home. The final outcome was my book, Packing Light Packing Right. Iíve learned how to pack all the gear I need for multi-day touring (2 days and more) into 100 liters of storage space. You can, too. If youíre riding two up, youíll want about 150 liters of storage. Do people really need trailers? No.

Myth #6: I like a fresh bed when Iím on the road.

Reality: Youíre not getting one at a hotel or motel, but you will in your sleeping bag. I have two words for you to Google my friend Ė "Dust Mites." Learn about them, know they are real and know they are living off of your dead skin as well as everyone elseís who slept in the same bed before you. Thatís kinda gross, huh? Not to mention what other bodily fluids get left behind from past guests in the motel bed.  Even if the sheets are clean, it's what's on the mattress that concerns.

Your sleeping bag is the cleanest place you can sleep each night youíre traveling. The technology is such these days that a good one that will keep you warm into the 30s and packs up the size of about two fists.

Between your sleeping bag and a 3 inch air mat, youíre guaranteed to be sleeping in the same bed every night that no one else has ever slept in.

Myth #7: I don't like the cold.

Reality: Iíve woken up at 6,500í with frost on the tent and my motorcycle seat. Itís rare, but it happens. If your gear is good and youíre not out camping in the dead of winter, chances are youíll be able to beat any typical cold mother nature can throw at you from late spring to early fall. The first rule of thumb is to stop wearing cotton clothing. Your body temperature can regulate far better in synthetics like modern day polyesters such as Intera yarn, microfiber and others.

Myth #8: I like to have my gear in my room.

Reality: Most modern day tents worth their salt (and weíre not talking $29 tents from Kmart) have vestibules that allow you to store your gear right next to you while protecting it from the elements at the same time. If you have hard bags on your bike that canít be removed, start stowing your gear in large dry bags or stuff sacks so you can grab it out all at once.

Myth #9: Good camping gear costs too much money.

Reality: Purchasing quality camping gear is an investment in savings for later. My tent, sleeping bag and air mat have a combined store value of about $700. Iíd spend that much at $70 a night motels over 10 nights. Instead I pay about $15 a night for a tent space and pocket the savings into the new bike account.

Myth #10: All tents leak.

Reality: That was true for most tents 15 years ago, but today good quality tents live up to their worth by keeping unwanted moisture out and your gear dry.

Taken from
Streak (Graham)
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Offline Wombat

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Re: Motorcycle Camping: Myths and Realities
« Reply #1 on: April 14, 2014, 11:12:57 AM »
Excellent read except the cost of unpowered tent sites. On the trip to Ballarat, the Nullarbor roadhouse tent site was $20 but allowed Hoffy and me to share  :eek
Port Augusta BIG 4 or 5 was 35 but they allowed us to share as well.  :eek :eek :eek :eek :eek
The bush was free

Must note to spread myself around a bit or someone might comment   :think1

on the way back three of us shared a donger at 90 - 95 so it was cheap beds and Port Augusta was 40 for two in the backpackers donger so this was cheaper than the dirt. different park though.

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Offline Lionel

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Re: Motorcycle Camping: Myths and Realities
« Reply #2 on: April 14, 2014, 11:18:12 AM »
All good points, Streak.
There's always a "but".
I have trouble (age and kneemonia) getting up and down off the ground. If I have to camp I tow a trailer and pack one of those garden kneelers.
I carry a good air compressor and tyre repair kit but I dread the day when I'll have to use them.

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Re: Motorcycle Camping: Myths and Realities
« Reply #3 on: April 14, 2014, 11:28:35 AM »
They are all good points Streak.    I would add that a tent with enough head room to kneel up in, makes it far more user friendly, and on an extended trips, the extra space is appreciated.
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Offline Shiney

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Re: Motorcycle Camping: Myths and Realities
« Reply #4 on: April 17, 2014, 09:01:30 PM »
If you want a tent you can stand up in have a look at my tent...
Redverz Gear Series 2 Tent  :grin

It takes up a full pannier...

But if you want a great tent you can stand up in it's well worth it :thumbsup

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Offline Diesel

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Re: Motorcycle Camping: Myths and Realities
« Reply #5 on: April 06, 2015, 06:29:35 PM »

Wondering what all the hoop-la is regarding the butane camp stove (lunch box) burners is about?

Apparently, first and foremost - it is about user MISUSE AND MISHANDLING. That said - the butane cans themselves had no safety device in such circumstances and explode, causing substantial collateral damage. This happened when they overheated due to trying to heat camp oven type pots or other items which caused EXCESSIVE heat build up around the aerosol can (which could not stand this for too long).

Some stoves are approved for use by the AGA, whilst most manufacturers have withdrawn their products from shelves to avoid litigation situations I guess.

However - like me - if you LOVE these stoves and want to continue using them - then make sure you purchase CRV (Countersink Release Valve) butane aerosol canisters that incorporate the safety device built-in (as shown in the video link below).

Hope this helps.

Cheers, Diesel

« Last Edit: April 06, 2015, 06:40:19 PM by Brock »
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Offline alans1100

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Re: Motorcycle Camping: Myths and Realities
« Reply #6 on: April 06, 2015, 06:42:57 PM »
I have one these (my second) and have never had a problem with it other than the gas (freezes///) not working to well on cold mornings
1999 :bl11  2004 :13Candy

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Online Marcus

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Re: Motorcycle Camping: Myths and Realities
« Reply #7 on: April 06, 2015, 07:11:27 PM »
I may or may not have once started a medium grass fire with one of these things.

Offline jimwilly

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Re: Motorcycle Camping: Myths and Realities
« Reply #8 on: April 07, 2015, 10:09:01 AM »
Do 7 days away camping with bike every year. K mart tent sprayed with scotchguard works and small enough to go on pillion seat of bike. stretcher sized inflatable mattress in top box, inflatable pillow in top box, sleeping bag also fits in top box. small 3 leg stool from k mart, all set to go. We stay at caravan parks, just pull up somewhere when we feel like it.