The Brain Bucket

The Great Outdoors: Motorcycle Camping Tips

Apr 21, 2018 3:00:00 PM / by Logan Reed

I don't always go motorcycle camping, but when I do, it's "intense"...

A huge perk of riding is the sense of adventure and being at one with nature. There is no feeling like removing yourself from the hustle and bustle of city life, only to end up in a remote setting that allows your heart to slow down for a bit. 

This season's rallies that are coming up are sure to be a great time, but you know what isn’t enjoyable? Paying an insane amount to hunker down in a hotel at the end of the night. 


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The prices of hotels usually fluctuate, but even outside of prime-time rally season, booking a stay can get expensive. So, when you’re just looking to make a spontaneous escape on your bike, factoring in the hotel costs can make you feel like you’re not escaping at all. Sure, you might be laying on that comfortable king mattress and smelling the miniature soap bottles that the room provides you with, but is that worth the $200 plus that it will cost for one night? We think not, which is where camping comes in as a huge tip.


While camping can seem a little intimidating to those that haven’t done it before, in current day society, it’s much easier than you’d expect. It’s the easiest option for accommodation when riding motorcycle cross county. It’s cheaper, more relaxed and calm, and an actual escape from society. Don’t believe me that camping is better than a hotel stay? Check it out.

It's cheaper than staying in a hotel.

With the average hotel cost at $200 a night (not during prime-time rally season), it’s not rocket science to see that camping is significantly cheaper than staying in a hotel. Some campsites are free to setup, but they can sometimes range from $10 to $20. Regardless of which you choose, it’s going to be significantly cheaper. 

You won't have strangers banging on your wall.

Even if you’re in the most luxurious hotel, you’re still going to hear people above you, below you, and next to you. But when you camp, you get to dictate how close your neighbor is. You don’t even have to have neighbors anywhere near you if you don’t want to, and that silence is golden.

You can keep your bike close.

Remember how we were talking about how some people can be asses? That’s especially true in hotel parking lots. People drive around like they’re in a Mad Max movie, and the more reckless drivers there are, your chance of your bike being hit increases. But when you camp, you can usually keep your bike with you, which means right up next to your tent. 

motorcycles and tent

The sound of a highway won't keep you up.

Most hotels are located on the side of a busy highway. So when you’re laying down for the night and want to drift off to sleep, odds are that the nearby highway sounds are could keep you from getting the sleep you want. Camping spots are usually very removed from populated roads like highways and interstates, which means you might be able to experience the most silent night you’ve ever had in your life!

You can relax and enjoy nature.

Nothing says "nature" like a hallway lined with a ton of different hotel rooms, children potentially screaming above you, a maid knocking on your door to see when you’re leaving, and crowded elevators, right? No. Nature is something often silent, visually beautiful, and thought-provoking. You get to hear the sounds of animals you wouldn’t usually hear, maybe a creek running, or a breeze brushing through the trees. It’s so calming and grounding, and there is nothing like being at one with nature.

You can get a clear view of the stars.

Have you ever seen a perfectly clear sky? Camping is your chance to do just that. The night sky manages to make all the problems in your life smaller and easier to handle because, basically, you feel so small. It makes you realize how big life, and the world, actually is. But you can’t get that in a hotel, or even outside a hotel, because of light pollution. Nope. To experience that beauty, you have to venture out. But it’s worth it.

camping under stars

And trust me, camping isn’t as hard as you think it is. Here’re some tips to consider and motorcycle camping gear reccommendations:

1) Do your research ahead of time.

Yeah, we know, being spontaneous and doing research are the opposite of each other, but it’s important. Visit the campsite's website or call ahead to get a feel for the resources they offer, so you know what you do or don’t have to bring. To pack smart, you’ll need to know what’s necessary and what isn’t necessary. 

2) Pick leather, hard, or textile luggage options.

This is self-explanatory, as you never know what kind of weather you’ll deal with on the road. Make sure you choose luggage options (especially if you don’t have a touring bike to put everything in) so that your clothes and necessities stay dry.

3) Get an expedition or backpacking tent.

When you’re considering the best tent for motorcycle camping, these two sleeping options will be large enough for you and a friend, but also light enough that you should be able to easily pack them on your bike. They’re the best motorcycle tent options. If you’re looking to get a family sized tent, it’s best to split the items among various different riders to handle weight distribution. But if it will just be you or one other person, these two are the best motorcycle camping tents that will be relatively easy to ride with.

expedition tent

4) Synthetic sleeping bag.

This type of sleeping bag will hold up the best and keep your warm. But don’t forget a motorcycle bedroll that’s easy to pack on the bike, as just the sleeping bag and the ground might have you waking up with backaches. While goose down sleeping backs will keep you very warm, they don’t handle water well and are very pricey. 

5) Pack an extra pair of shoes.

When you’re wearing your riding boots, it’s easy to forget that, at some point, you’ll want to take them off. So be sure to pack a comfortable pair of sneakers or flip-flops for you to wear around the camp.

6) First Aid kit.

It seems obvious, and while most popular campsites will have that for you, it’s better to be safe. You never know what can happen when you’re camping, so it’s best to bring along a small first aid kit stocked with painkillers, bandages, and gauze, disinfectant, scissors, medical tape, etc.

 first aid kit

7) Water bottle, sunscreen, flashlight, and bug spray.

These are really, really important. Investing in a water bottle that has a built-in filter will make life, and the taste of water, that much better. Don’t forget your flashlight just in case you need to make a quick nighttime visit to the bathroom or behind a tree. And for the love of all that is holy, bring enough bug spray. It is not fun to deal with bug bites and is easy to prevent.

8) Don't forget a towel or two.

This seems like an obvious thing to bring along, but you’d be surprised how many people forget a towel. There’s a chance your campsite might have some to use, but give yourself a little more piece of mind and pack a couple of towels to use after showers, swimming, or potentially getting stuck in the rain.

Sure, things might be a little more simple to just crash at a hotel. But when you’re riding the road and embracing your surroundings, there’s nothing that ruins that moment more than pulling up to a crowded and expensive hotel. And with a basic idea of a motorcycle camping gear list, you could be saving money and experiencing what it really means to be one with the road and yourself.


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Topics: Articles, Motorcycles, The Brain Bucket

Logan Reed

Written by Logan Reed

Rider. Writer. Harley life-r. Follow my coverage of everything from tips for motorcycle riders, to motorcycle humor, and everything else to do with living life on two wheels.