Motorcycle Forums » Biker Chat

Livin Out Of Saddlebags

  • January 5, 2010 8:26 AM PST
    Just to pass the time...

    We plan to do a bunch of over night camping, rally, trips this year.
    I'm looking at a 3 man tent (1 man, 1 woman, some gear actually), double sleeping bag, self inflating pads, maybe a couple chairs that fold up compact.

    It got me thinking, maybe would be cool to have you guys chime in on crap not to buy, crap you wish you had, best stuff, best deals, how to pack it all on, etc.

    What do you think?
    • 517 posts
    January 5, 2010 8:32 AM PST
    When I am going camping it is just a tent, role mat, sleeping bag, leatherman and tooth brush.

    When I have the missus with me it is hotel all the way.
  • January 5, 2010 8:35 AM PST
    Anti Monkey Butt powder. I'm serious. You'll thank me for it after the first hot weekend of riding.
    • 5417 posts
    January 5, 2010 8:45 AM PST
    Jim & Terri,

    Glad to here you are going to do some motorcycle camping. Laura and I do lots of motorcycle camping and we love it.

    For the tent, good idea on the 3 man for the two of you...lets you bring in the gear at night so it stays dry and safe. We use a 12x10 which rolls up nice and small, and gives us a plenty of room on each side of the air mattress for our stuff.

    For the mattress, I would not go with those self inflating pads...they actually take up more room packed then a queen size air mattress, and a small battery powered pump. We use the queen size air mattress, and just this past year we found it much easier and a lot more comfortable to forget the sleeping bags and just use sheet and blanket and make the air mattress like a normal bed. Makes it feel more like home, and takes up less room. We roll the sheets and a light blanket and stuff it in one sleeping bag case, and then a heavy blanket in another case. Both still come out smaller than light weight sleeping bags.

    And of course there is no way you should leave home without your CycleFish Collapsable Cooler (my site, I can add shameless plugs :)


  • January 5, 2010 9:04 AM PST
    We have a three man tent, queen air mattress (my old bones hate lying on the hard ground) with small battery powered pump, two heavy blankets, and a large collapsable cooler which can be rolled up or used to carry items then strapped to the luggage rack. I have tried to take fold up outdoor chairs but they always take up too much room. We ride a Wide Glide w/o saddle bags so we really have to pack light.

    If anybody knows another type of good quality chairs that collapse pretty small, please let me know.
    • Moderator
    • 16975 posts
    January 5, 2010 9:45 AM PST
    At my advanced chronological stage roughing it is a motel room with no remote.....

    • 119 posts
    January 5, 2010 9:54 AM PST
    • 1510 posts
    January 5, 2010 10:05 AM PST
    bike camping is like back packing without the back ache. As a Boy Scout leader I told the boys to make a list of every thing they took with them and after you get back home take out the list and cross of what you did not use cause you probably didn't need it. Don't get no better than this
  • January 5, 2010 10:10 AM PST
    Well, the Hotel is a no brainer. But they don't always have one on the rally grounds, or in the middle of a National Park. I wish they did!

    All great stuff so far! The mattress and bedding stuff especially.

    Will be interesting to follow this one, see if anyone plugs in their war storries, or maybe some of you ladies can chime in on what they need when living out of the bags.
  • January 5, 2010 11:05 AM PST
    Awesome brother!

    I took a few minutes and compared gear on line.
    A guy could go the REI route and drop a minimum of $800 for the basics, or Walmart for about $100.
    I think it would be easier to abandon the $100 Walmart crap and run for the hotel in a hail storm, than the $800...

    I'm likin it!

    So, lets here a camping from the bike story. So far we have only camped at Best Westerns... not as memorable I am sure.
  • January 5, 2010 11:06 AM PST
    Hear,,, hear the stories. Spell master I am knot
    • 1510 posts
    January 5, 2010 11:21 AM PST
    Take it slow, borrow many will lend, be careful you will think you need it when you really do not.

    Try Campmore, Cabela's, Bass Pro, Gander Mountain, Your local Army Surpluss store and U.S. Calvery

    Also look at the boy scout supply shops lot of good stuff better priced than REI (the yuppie store)
  • January 5, 2010 11:27 AM PST
    Good advice Ed. Don't run out and buy evertything too quick. Try to borrow and try it out first. Couple of years ago I had a good friend go out and spend several hundred bucks on camping gear. After the first night, they packed up and went to find a hotel. They never camped again.
  • January 5, 2010 11:46 AM PST
    RexTheRoadDog wrote...
    At my advanced chronological stage roughing it is a motel room with no remote.....
    I'm with you, RoadDog.
    • 6 posts
    January 6, 2010 12:24 AM PST
    Take a Wally-World tarp - big enough to cover either the scooter or the tent - if you have the space bring 2 tarps.
    Sometimes the rain is heavy enough to overwhelm the rain cover on the tent. Sometimes you want to protect the scooter from really, really nasty s***.
    Take LOTS of stong line such as parachute chord & a shank of Ø1/4"nylon rope.
    I just sleep on the ground, gets me up 1st thing AM + any mattress or pad is way bulky.
    +1 on Lucky - Get tent 1 person bigger than the # of people that will be in it.
  • January 6, 2010 2:55 AM PST
    Awesome!

    Last year we were bragging that we only camp in hotels, but we are wanting to get back to old school a little bit this year. Hard to dance naked around a bohn fire in a Best Western...
    • Moderator
    • 1507 posts
    January 6, 2010 3:47 AM PST
    Well we cheat and added on a trailer behind the bike. So even though we have the extra space, we still have to be careful not to over pack. Ok not we, but me!

    I have a little compact fold up stove/grill and a flat lite weight non stick gridle, a coffee pot, two ice chests that fit nicely on the front of the trailer.

    I am going to forgo the sleeping bags, and do what Lucky was talking about this year. I hate sleeping bags. We also have some cool folding chairs that we picked up from Longs a couple years ago.

    Personally I think it is fun to have the trailer and all the stuff. Makes it easier and you have what you really need. 

    Oh yeah, I forgot to mention the little inverter to charge the camera and cell phones..

    What me spoiled? You will only call me that until you go camping with me and I make you a killer breakfast!!

    "Happy Campin!"
  • January 6, 2010 3:55 AM PST
    After years of backpacking in the mountains of Washington, Oregon and Idaho as well as a trip to the Boundary Waters in Minnesota, I packed for the bike-camping the same as I would for one of those trips. Others have listed 'do's and donts' as to gear. I would say do not skimp on the quality of the tent or sleeping gear, nothing is worse than being cold and wet! As mentioned, go with at least a 3 person tent, whether you ride alone or with a partner or want to share sleeping space. You can be as minimalist as you want with clothes. 2 or 3 pairs of pants/jeans (one pair for riding & one for change off, third pair if you need to dress it up a little) same for shirts. Underwear as you see fit, same with socks. Toilet articles can be kept to a minimum. The usuals for riding: jackets, rain gear & a pair of camp shoes ( a must when you are off the bike). I manage to get this all into two saddle bags, bed and pad roll, tent roll, one round bag and a small tail bag/trunk. I love getting ready and then taking a short ride to see everything is balanced! My first trip was a disaster when it came to the packing as I did not have saddle bags. Thought I could use my backpack, knowing it carried everything I would need! WRONG! Try riding with a cross-country, frameless backpack (on your back) on the bike!! I had to stop after the first hour and tie the backpack, horizontally to the pillion seat behind me and hope I did not lose it on the road! The first thing I added to the biking gear was a set of softside saddle bags with an integrated round bag, then the sissy bar and rack! Life has been much more enjoyable, bike-camping since then!
  • January 6, 2010 4:08 AM PST
    Sweet. I can just see that!
    Anyone do any camp trips through National Parks? What is that like? Any suggestions?
    We are doing a two week loop this summer which was originally mapped out for hotels near the NPs but now I am thinking that camping IN the NPs would make more sense and give you the full experience.
    • 119 posts
    January 6, 2010 4:42 AM PST
    The one thing I haven’t seen anyone mention is a tarp or plastic to put under tent.
    Just something I do. Helps keeping water out.
  • January 6, 2010 4:48 AM PST
    Anyone watch the Dave Mann hunting from a Harley video in January Easyriders yet?
    AWESOME! Reminded me of the old instructional movies in school.
    I would like to see someone out on their Ultra hoppin over stumps and hauling out a deer on their luggage rack.
  • January 6, 2010 5:02 AM PST
    Debra Jo, we will be over in the morning for breakfast.
    • Moderator
    • 1507 posts
    January 6, 2010 7:35 AM PST
    Harleysmoke - lets just get on the bikes and ride.. then we will have the best breakfast ever!!!
  • January 6, 2010 7:38 AM PST
    I like the idea of getting a tent with room for the extra person. You never know who might drop by out there.
  • January 6, 2010 7:46 AM PST
    When Motomalissa goes with me we bring sleeping bags and pillows and stay in KOA Kabins.For rallys and stuff we like to send a big tent,air mattress,folding chairs,tarp and stuff ahead through the mail or Fedex or whatever then we dont have to bring it with us.All else fails I have a two person tent complete w/ little camp stools I can bring,air mattress I cant live w/o any more,sleeping bags and pillows.Some gear fits in tent with us too but it is close.Usually just bring 2 jeans and 1 shirt...buy more on the road and try to clean some stuff in camp or just be dirty lol!