With international travel mostly being too much of a faff this year, many people will be looking for somewhere closer to home for their holiday. Camping is a great alternative as it offers plenty of fresh air and the chance to explore parts of the UK you’ve never seen before. Travelling by motorcycle? What could be better? But what equipment do you need, and what’s available for the discerning two-wheeled staycationer?
What do you need to consider when going on a motorcycle camping trip?
The carrying capacity of your motorcycle is the main limiting factor for the equipment you’ll be able to take with you on your camping holiday. As with most things, you’d be better off getting something quite good rather than taking a chance on so-called “bargains,” as something sturdy will usually last longer and give you a better camping experience.
Getting the right tent is the cornerstone of a good camping holiday. One of the key things to look out for when buying a tent is its hydrostatic head rating – or how water resistant it is. The general rule of thumb is that the higher the rating, the drier you’ll be. However, you should also take into consideration the quality of the seams as poorly stitched and sealed tents are more likely to leak. It’s possible to improve your tent with separate seam sealant and tape.
Best camping gear for motorcycle trips
So what’s the best camping gear for a motorcycle trip? Read all about our favourites here.
Wingman of the Road
Wingman of the Road offers two tents designed specifically for use with motorcycles. The one-man Goose or two-man Toucan are bivouacs built with heavy-duty canvas that feature an awning to cover your bike’s fuel tank and seat, which creates a small storage area for your luggage.
The Goose is a rather funky little tent that even has a helmet hook. It’s a compact canvas tent that can be stored on the pillion and unfolds into a compact sleep tube ideal for the lone biking camper. It’s a great option for someone looking to keep their camping load as minimal as possible.
If you’re looking for a tent with more space to stretch out, then the MotoTent is ideal. Designed for two riders and their gear, it also has an awning capable of storing an adventure motorcycle, protecting it against the weather. Lonerider also offers the awning-less 2-person ADV tent if you don’t need to store your bike.
Moving away from tents specifically aimed at motorcyclists, Vango offers a range of tents that use inflatable compartments to help reduce the weight and size of the tent when it’s packed up. The Skye II Air 500 is the smallest model, but it’s capable of sleeping up to five people.
The Denali range is specifically designed for bike tourers of both the pedal and internally combusting variety. They’re rugged yet lightweight dome tents available in a range of sizes and are ideal for campers going further off the beaten track.
MSR Hubba Hubba NX
A lightweight two-person tent was mainly included on this list because of its name, but in fairness the MSR Hubba Hubba NX justifies itself by being a pretty sensible and practical choice.
Eurohike have a wide range of tents available for people on a budget. If you’re looking for something to sleep in on a last-minute weekend jaunt and don’t want to shell out for one of the more expensive brands, then the Ribble 200 only costs £55 and will do the job.
Terra Nova offers high-quality compact tents ideal for anyone looking to keep their luggage as light as possible without sacrificing quality. The Laser Compact 2 is a compact and durable two-person tent. This would be an ideal candidate for seam sealant to improve its waterproof quality due to the lightweight material it’s made from.
If you’ve got space to carry more luggage on your bike and want more room to be able to relax at the end of the day, then a 3m bell tent is actually a pretty reasonable purchase. It might be slightly more involved in terms of putting it up or taking it down, and you will need a bike large enough to carry it, but it’s definitely doable.
Other accessories for sleeping, cooking and relaxing
It’s tough to pick the second most important thing for camping after the tent, but there are a few very close choices that will improve your camping life enormously. First up is a ground cover to put under the tent. While many of the tents previously listed have sturdy bases, getting a secondary layer will help to stop residual moisture and insects finding their way inside. This will make your mornings far more pleasant.
The other important consideration is what you’ll be sleeping on. The choice basically boils down to some kind of foam mat or an inflatable mattress. Both have their advantages and drawbacks, but the main consideration is making sure your bike has enough storage capacity to carry it with you.
Then you’ll need some gear to prepare food. A portable gas stove is vital, but you’ll also need things to cook in. The MSR Quick 2 cooking set gives you everything you could want to prepare the finest meal you can in a field, and better yet, it all packs up compactly into the largest pot. A decent knife will also make things a lot easier. If you don’t want to risk your existing kitchen knives on a holiday, something like the Mora 860 is specifically designed for outdoor activities.
It’s also a good idea to bring a penknife or multitool with you, along with lamps and torches.
A foldable camping chair might seem like an awkward extravagance to carry. But if you’ve been riding for hours, having something approaching normal to sit on at the end of the day can really help unfold the knots and strains in your back. It’s something to consider bringing with you, especially on longer trips.
Obviously, everyone will have different requirements for their biking camping holidays, and if you’re a regular you’ll have developed many great tricks to make the experience as easy as possible. If you’ve got any tips, feel free to share them with us in the comments!
Remember your motorcycle insurance
Wherever the road ends up taking you in the UK, you’ll need motorcycle insurance. As a specialist insurance broker, we offer competitively priced cover that’s tailored to your needs. Whatever bike you have, call us on 0808 503 3782 for a no-obligation motorcycle insurance quote or book a call back at a time that suits you. We do all we can to beat your best insurance quote.Motorbikes