How to plan the perfect motorcycle camping trip

This is a guest post by Caleb Cole, who grew up in Montana, which is where he acquired his love and appreciation for the outdoors. In his free time, you would most likely find him either camping, hunting or fishing. He began writing as a side hobby while camping.

Planning a motorcycle camping trip? Then packing the right gear is the key to make your adventure as comfortable, enjoyable, and safe as possible. Granted, having a quality bike that’s fully up to date with maintenance is Step 1 to any trip, but your packing list is equally important! That is why we’re sharing our tips on the must-have essentials for any motorcycle camping trip, helping navigate you towards the best gear on the market: 

Determine what resources you’ll have available at the campsite

The first step to creating the ultimate motorcycle packing list is determining which resources will be available to you at your intended campsites. Will you have access to drinking water? Are there going to be shower and/or toilet facilities? How about camping grills or a camp kitchen? If there are certain facilities available at a campsite, you could potentially scrap some things of your packing list. For example, if there are kitchen facilities or grills, you probably can get by without a gas burner. That said, determining the available facilities can also help highlight what items you’ll need to pack. For example, if there are no kitchen or grill facilities, bringing a gas burner or wood-burning stove could be the key to enjoying a hot meal.

Bring only the essentials

Once you’ve determined the facilities available at your intended camping spots, you’ll be able to create a basic packing list of the essentials. Below, we’ve listed the most common essentials for a motorcycle camping trip. Review them, and only highlight the ones that will apply to you. Try to be a bit spartan about your choices, because you’ll need to bring it all on the road. Don’t get weighed down by unnecessary equipment, and only choose the essentials that you can’t go without: 

  • Motorcycle Camping Tent or Hammock Tent
  • Sleeping Bag (with adequate temperate rating)
  • Sleeping Bag Liner or Quilt (when cold weather camping)
  • Camping Mattress or Sleeping Mat
  • Pillow
  • Ground Sheet or Camping Tarp
  • Folding Chair
  • Flashlight or LED Lantern
  • Camping Stove or Gas Burner
  • Cookware (pots, pans, kettle, etc.)
  • Mess Kit and Utensils
  • Compass or GPS
  • Powerbank or Solar Charger
  • Outdoor Knife or Multitool
  • Lighter or Matches
  • First-Aid Kit
  • Shovel
  • Rope

Invest in high-quality gear

Once you’ve settled on your basic packing list, it’s time to gather your supplies and gear. When it comes to outdoor gear, the better the quality: the higher the comfort. We’re not saying you’ll need to spend top dollar and blow your entire budget on equipment. However, we do recommend investing in some extra-durable, premium basics, for example, your tent, sleeping bag, and camp stove. The quality of your mess kit (plates, bowls, cups) is not going to make a massive difference to your camping enjoyment. Neither will the quality of your flashlight. That is why we advise you to put your money towards the few items you’ll get the most use out of, and which directly influence your camping comfort. 

The best tent for motorcycle camping is lightweight, yet sturdy and durable. It should offer sufficient space to keep your motorcycle sheltered and protected from the elements, whilst also packing down to a neat bundle with compact dimensions for transport. Don’t settle for a regular tent that leaves your bike exposed, when there are specifically designed shelters to keep you, and your motorcycle, comfy and secure. The same goes for a sleeping bag. Don’t just buy the first sleeping bag you see on the shelves, but do a little bit of research and determine which will give you the most comfort. Oh, and don’t forget to double-check whether the sleeping bag has the temperature rating needed to keep you warm at night - because not all bags advertised as ‘3-season’ actually have the needed insulation to keep you toasty when temperatures drop.


Don’t forget about your protection essentials!

Another important factor to consider when creating your motorcycle packing list is adding some essentials for personal protection. No, we are not talking about weapons: we’re talking about key products to keep pests and animals at bay. If you plan a trip in warm, humid conditions, chances are you’ll get plagued by mosquitos at some point. Whether it’s when you’re riding or settled down in your tent at night: bringing high-quality bug spray is always a great idea. For adventures in bear territory, a can of bear spray is another must-have to add to your packing list. Though we hope you won’t have to use it, it’s always better to be prepped for the worst. A potent bear spray can help deter a bear from attacking and could be an actual lifesaver in times of need. Trust us: if you have to choose between packing non-essential gear (like a pillow) or bear spray - always bring bear spray, because a pillow won’t save you from angry paws. Besides protection against animals and insects, you’ll also need protection from the sun - especially on summertime adventures. Don’t forget to bring a high-factor sunscreen with UV-protection to keep your skin safe, and prevent nights of discomfort because your skin is glowing as red as the ambers in your campfire. 

Are you a camping enthusiast? Read here about how to plan the perfect campervan trip in Iceland.

13 thoughts on “How to plan the perfect motorcycle camping trip”

  1. Camping and biking together is a fantastic idea. I have motorcycled to Mumbai and Hampi from Goa. But did not camp on those trips. Must do this someday. Thank you.

  2. Feels like I’m 23! Haha. Reading it made me remember the motorcycle trip we’ve done in Vietnam. True, you have to prepare your “weapon” against mosquitos and other attacking insects, especially in Asia! Hehe. But actually, a knife will also do.. it has many uses! Motorbiking camping is the thing I miss – now we can’t do it anymore but a van camping with kids! Thanks for sharing!

  3. Wow, you are brave! Not sure I would dare go camping on a bike. I would be too worried that I could not pack all I need and carry it on the bike 🙂 Nikki

  4. This is a perfect post for first timers headed out on the motorcycle. Not only have you given the basic list but explained the various scenarios as to why one needs what you have suggested. I have only been twice or thrice for one of these and thankfully with pros who had it all packed. I guess that is why I did not realize how exhaustive this list can be.

  5. I’m not a motorcycle fan, but I love camping. That is why your tips are fascinating and helpful in planning each camping trip, I think. Your essentials list is so practical and thoughtful, which is great. I also like to pack only essential and ultralight items with great quality.

  6. Never done a motorcycle camping trip, but can resonate well enough with the post. I agree, when it comes to camping in the outdoors, one shouldn’t compromise on the quality of gears. The better the gear, more comfort one has during the trip !
    Going to keep this list handy and will be forwarding it to my friends who have such motorcycle camping trips on their radar.

  7. I have never done motorcycle camping. Though heard of it. Here, in India, the Leh-Ladakh motorcycle trip is something I would really like to do. I am sure your tips will come handy then.

  8. I am doing this in March! It is actually my first time doing a motorcycling trip and I haven’t even thought about the camping part. I guess I will have to play it by ear since my chosen route is just 2 hours max drive from each other. I am doing this in Mexico alone so I’m quite nervous! I am checking your “essential” list and I have honestly no idea how I will be able to carry all that. It looks like it’s a lot. Do you have a bag recommendation? I am guessing not even a backpack works! Perhaps, a duffel bag? Thanks for your post, Medha! It’s really very helpful.

  9. Medha, your post reminded me about my first trip on a motorcycle, when after 3 hours of riding with a heavy backpack I thought I was going to jump off. That’s how tired I was! You make some good points here, but I would also ad to them “don’t do too long stretches of road without a break.”

  10. I have a moped which wouldn’t really work, but doing a motorcycle camping trip sounds exciting. What a great way to be outdoors always, enjoying the fresh air! Thanks for the tips.

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