Motorcycle camping

How about a section devoted to motorcycle camping.
It’s really a cross between car/tent camping and backpacking, but doesn’t really fit well into either category.
It’s best done with backpacking equipment for size and weight savings, but like car camping, doesn’t involve long hikes or necessity to carry everything for several days survival on one’s back.


I do like this idea. I enjoy camping off my dirt bike and I’m also considering doing some camping off my mountain bike as well. These two kind of both fit into the section on Motorcycling.

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I’ve done a bit of motorcycle camping, I started with an REI 2 person tent, then went with just a tarp, then went to a tarp and hammock. I think a hammock is perfect for motorcycle camping because it is also useful on long rides where you just a need a break or nap. It takes seconds to setup and takedown.

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I prefer hammock camping From the bike also. It doesn’t save any real space, it’s just a bit lighter, and it certainly isn’t cheaper.
The only disadvantage is needing trees to hang from.
I’m planning a 5000+ mile motorcycle trip late summer/early fall from NC through Rocky Mountain NP to the Mighty 5 National Parks in UT, Grand Canyon, Monument Valley etc.
I’ll be taking all the hammock equipment and the tent and sleeping pad. I figure my down under quilt for the hammock can double as a comforter to sleep under in place of a sleeping bag when having to go to ground in the tent.
Advantages of a hammock for me are ease/speed of setup and take down, comfort sleeping, not having to crawl on the ground and in torrential rain, you don’t have to worry about deep water.

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We did the WABDR a while back and debated tent vs hammock due to space constraints. The problem we kept running into was a lot of the campsites along the route had no tree tie rules. It’s been a while since our last moto-camp and would love to hear about any tips, tricks and new do-dads that make motorcycle camping easier!

More and more state and national parks are restricting hammock use. Some require 2" tree hugging straps, some ban it all together. I typically bring an air mattress too and just cowboy camp or camp with my tarp when trees are not available.

Canyonlands National Park

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The fire roads up near Crabtree Falls are great for this! Just a hammock, tarp & a back pack. Love it! There is a secret stretch up near Perkins Mill Rd. That is gorgeous! Perfect for fall trips.

Great thread, thats what brought me here. Been camping all my life and turned my kids on to camping a long time ago. Just got back from a 3000 + mile trip in 9 states from PA to MO and back. Stayed pretty much exclusively in National parks, except for one night when bad weather delayed us for so long we opted for a red roof inn (And for the first time in my life got to experience bed bugs LOL) The best part was we built a trailer just for all our gear but had problems at the last minute and could not take the trailer. So we just took what we could strap down to the bike and left. What a blast !!! I had not done Bike camping in almost 30 yrs , it was a bucket list kind of experience. Due to potential for bad weather and liking to take things as they come we did not make any reservations , which in my opinion added to the adventure even tough the virus made things difficult. Planning another trip to Acadia National Park next month(if allowed during the pandemic). Really want to learn more about boon docking and dispersed camping, more for the thrill of it as I don’t mind ponying up the 10 or 20 dollars for the hot showers, water and toilets that most of the National Parks seems to offer. Not bad for a couple in their 50s and 60s :slight_smile: 2016 Harley Davidson Road Glide.

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I also just did my first solo motorcycle camping trip from Seattle down Oregon coast and northern CA / redwoods and had a spectacular trip. My backpacking experience crossed over pretty seamlessly and having panniers vs just a backpack felt like owning a mansion in terms of packing space! I love my hammock but opted for tent, I think it worked out be better. Lessons learned on picking sites. I pre-booked for 1st night at Jessie M. Honeyman S.P. which worked out well, neighboring camper family even cooked me a hot breakfast! For another night I pre-booked at a KoA the day before ($60, ouch) but booked it too far away, as it got dark i happened by anither S.P. (Grizzly Creek) and inquired if they had any spots, I wasnt hopeful since everything showed booked online. Happily they said no problem, they have buffer spots for emergency / travelling through like me. So I paid twice that day, lesson learned. Another night I decided I would try free dispersed roadside camping. I wish I had better map info for this. I got into Lake of the Woods, OR park area where I saw official camping, picked a good pull off area that looked like it had been camped and nervously set up camp. 45 minutes later a park ranger rolled up. “You can’t camp here, sorry”. :frowning: Then he explained this was “improved” nat. Forest - but the OTHER side of the road was “unimproved” - so I could literally drag my tent across the road to legally camp :slight_smile: I enjoyed that adventure but would like to better figure that out on my own instead of guessing next time. I have Dyrt Pro but not sure, can I get that level of detail on dispersed camping areas? If I do more remote exploring like WABDR (which i’d like to) I definitely want to have more piece of mind I will have a place to sleep without prebooking.

  1. Do folks find that they are able to reliably pull into parks (nat/state) in an evening and get a camp spot for one night without prebooking?

  2. I know some parks have hike/bike spots, have they allowed a travelling motorcyclist to use those?

  3. Tips on finding roadside / dispersed free camping?

Motorcycling (Street bike) camping is similar to bikepacking, but only in your limited selection of gear to pack…and both have their place in my camping experience. Obviously, there are positives and negatives. If you are a motorcycle enthusiast, the positives are apparent. Negatives? Read on…

Things to consider:
•If your bike didn’t come with bags or hard cases, that expense can really set you back. I would not recommend cobbling backpacks to your bike for long hauls, nor consider wearing said backpack while riding. (Made that mistake in ‘80 on a KZ750 as a young pup)
•Inclement weather adds another expense for a dry suit, gortex Footwear and gloves (possibly even heated in shoulder season…$$$. Much like bike or backpacking all gear is individually dry bagged or in zip-locs to stay dry.
*Adding to the weather prep…Nothing adds a sphincter pucker like a freak Easter snowfall while motorcycle camping in Michigan and necessity demands you must travel in it on two wheels…in traffic…to make it back to work. Laying it down over the Titabawasse River at slow speed and spinning through the intersection red light like Muppets Christmas penguin annual skating party will make you rethink your cool idea. High mountain passes offer the same possibility year round.
Or Florida rain so intense that it hurts beating your body, you can’t see the taillights of the car 20’ in front of you and you start hydroplaning.:flushed:
•”Loud pipes save lives” works on the roadways but not in campgrounds or in nature.
•You make the decision to go remote to get far, far away from folks with backcountry dispersed or boondocking motorcycle style. Better have the knowledge, experience, tools and materials to fix a flat or replace a trashed tire with tire spoons. Do you leave your bike$$$$$ and perhaps an attached pull behind$$$$$? That’ll help your night’s sleep as you put miles between your bike and assistance.
•On that note, when leaving your exposed bike anywhere while you go off hiking or extended backpacking always remains in the back of my mind…is some kid climbing all over my bike while mommy takes a cute photo? Did weather knock it over? Did it get stolen? Maybe I’m the quintessential pessimist, but those things run through my mind…seldom when leaving my car/truck.

I’ll refrain from going on, but you get the picture. Motorcycle camping can be a great experience and most often is…but like all things you must honestly think through all the +/-.

From ‘79 to ‘19 I’ve used a ‘71 Honda CB350, a ‘79 Kaw KZ750, a Honda CB750 complete with Windjammer and hardbags, innumerable HD and Buells, and a hard bagged BMW R1150R. So you use just about anything you can swing a leg over with some creativity and $$$.

Graham, I wrote an article about this topic a while back. It covers more about established campgrounds than dispersed camping, but it might help.

I disperse camp too and find it even easier to find a camp. Once you find an area you simply set up camp. If you’re new to dispersed camping you might feel more comfortable setting up closer to the road in an openly visible area. Other times you might feel more comfortable deeper in the woods where you will not encounter other people. And the sometimes you might want to stealth camp if an area feels sketchy.

I have motorcycle camped pretty much from the first time I started riding a couple decades ago. A section for it would be good.

For me things change from bike to bike and year to year but I pretty much use a three bag or case system all the time.
One side case/bag contains my tent and sleeping gear (bag/pad/or quilt). The other side case/bag holds clothes, rain gear, toiletries, a small backpacking cookset and stove, some camp shoes, flashlight and headlamp. My trunk holds a small soft sided cooler, food/snacks, extra water, and and small extras like a camera, spare gloves, hat, ect. I will also typically have a tank bag on the bike that keeps daily needed items like a microfiber towel for cleaning a face shield, cords for charging devices, maps, gps, pen and paper, sunglasses, gum or hard candy, and other “pocket” items.

I have done many multi day 4000+ mile trips with this basic configuration.

I actually mounted a small rod tube to my motorcycle so I can store two multi piece travel fishing rods and some tackle on the bike. This way I can follow some nice stream side curvy roads and stop a promising looking spots to chase smallmouth and trout as well as camp.

Watch for rattlers. Thems unfriendly fellers

Hammock don’t have to be expensive :wink:

Sometimes it can feel like a big cost if you start getting under/over quilts, new tarps, etc because you already have the cost of a sleepingbag and tent.

Pine Creek Adventures

Motorcycle Camping Checklist

  1. Use this as a baseline to get started. Add or remove items to suit. …
  6. MOTORCYCLE . TOOL KIT (VARIES BY BIKE - be sure to include a good knife and multi-tool such as a Leatherman) …

But first thing first, you need to have a motorcycle, such as Kawasaki klx L .