If you think that weight is not an issue in motorcycle camping then think again. Any unnecessary weight on a motorcycle is a problem. It doesn’t matter whether it is on a smooth surface or off-road, too much weight can be dangerous. It’s also much less fun, hard on the tires, hard on the suspension, slows the steering response, impedes balance and eats up fuel.
The solution for this is to carry only what you need and nothing more. It doesn’t mean you can’t carry luxuries but it means that you only carry them if you’re going to use it. Light hikers know this and there’s much more you can learn from their approach to lightweight backpacking. Another way to lighten up your load is by using lightweight backpacking equipment.
The equipment used by lightweight backpackers are suitable for adventure riding. This includes tents, sleeping bags, sleeping pads, clothing, cookware and emergency equipment. The ten essentials applies in adventure riding too though it’s not as much critical.
Backpackers start with their sleeping system, tent and backpack to reduce their load but since we don’t use backpacks, we’re going to focus on sleeping systems and tents only.
Your sleeping system consist of your sleeping bag and camping mattress. Some like to use hammocks because they don’t need to worry about what’s crawling on the ground but it may not be comfortable for everyone because your back won’t be straight when you sleep on a hammock.
Down sleeping bags are warmer and lighter than synthetic sleeping bags. Down is such an efficient insulator and for the same weight you get more warmth compared to synthetics. They’re also very expensive but you usually get what you pay for. They are also more compressible so you’ll more space on your bike.
Down is a good choice but remember that it can get a little too warm in a down sleeping bag so if you still choose down sleeping bags, make sure that it has a zipper that goes all the way down so that you can ventilate on a hot night. The problem with down is that when it gets wet, it loses its insulation and drying them is close to impossible given the conditions outdoors.
A synthetic sleeping bag may be heavier but they can still keep you warm even when wet and they dry pretty easily. Some people prefer synthetics because they don’t want to deal with the fuss of maintaining down.
However, most heat is lost through the ground when you sleep in a sleeping bag. This is mainly because your sleeping bag compresses under you and this reduces the effectiveness of the sleeping bag insulation. It’s going to get cold if you don’t have a camping mattress especially in winter.
There are two types of camping mattresses. Foam mattresses are lighter and smaller but they’re very effective for cushioning and warmth. If you want comfort and warmth, go for inflatable camping mats. They may be heavier than foam mats but they’re well worth the extra weight.
A tent is crucial for your survival and comfort. Fortunately, tents are getting lighter and stronger and with more space. Choose one that will keep you dry in the worst possible conditions. Try to get a tent that weighs two pounds per person. Good tents are expensive though.
You should be aware that getting stuck inside a tent for a few days because of bad weather is a possibility so choose that tent that is comfortable as well. Ventilation is important because trust me, you won’t want condensation to form.
As for three-season or four-season, just go for three-season because they’re enough for your purposes even in winter. You only need four-season tents when you’re in a blizzard with winds as strong as 60 mph. It’s really not worth the extra weight to get the four season tent.
Jonsky is a writer for Hiking-Camping-World.com. One of the things people who are used to sleeping on a bed could never be without is a camping mattress. If you’re looking for a tent that’s lightweight and packs to the size of helmet then check out the NEMO Nano Elite 2 Person Tent.