Let’s take a guess—you’re into ADV riding for the long haul. The choice between adventure motorcycling and all that thoughtless touring or monotonous is obvious.
You want the arduous, dirty miles, which are most often in the backcountry where there isn’t a soul for tens of miles. Exactly how it’s supposed to be.
Escaping to the backcountry, however, comes with a set of challenges that other disciplines of riding don’t face. Namely, motorcycle camping.
Pitching a tent next to, or help from, your motorcycle is an interesting and enlightening experience. Motorcycle-dedicated tents like the MotoTent and ADV Tent tackle the challenges with extra ADV-specific features for safety, ease of use, and a simplified packing process.
Using a motorcycle tent, however, does come with the added hurdle of tent maintenance. In the section below, we break down the basics of properly caring for your shelter before and after your net adventure, so you tent remains reliable when you need it most.
Tent Care on the Trail!
This might seem like the obvious tip, but using your tent with care while on a motorcycle camping trip will add years to its lifespan—ultimately saving your hundreds of dollars.
Number one, be gentle with the zippers. Practicing care with your tent’s zippers seems mundane, yet is often overlooked. Never force a stuck zipper. Instead, hold the zipper track with one hand and use the other to gently pull the slider up, shimmy-ing it until the stuck fabric is free. If a zipper splits apart, carefully slide it back until it reengages.
Leave food and trash outside, especially for your safety. Aside from avoiding harsh smells inside your tent, practicing storing food outside the tent is also a means of safety against hungry critters…especially bears!
Dirty boots and riding gear is a similar story. While not a preventive means against animals, storing dirty gear outside boosts the overall cleanliness of the tent and reduces foul odors.
Packing Your Motorcycle Tent
If you’re ready to set out on your next ADV trip, your tent needs to be properly stowed and ready for the ride.
It’s only more complicated than throwing it in the backseat or trunk of your car because of the potential to damage it while riding. An example? Snagging the tent on a hanging branch or burning a hole through the fabric via exhaust heat.
That said, stow your tent atop the motorcycle’s center pannier, or with enough extra space, inside a pannier.
Placing the tent in the center of the bike prevents any damage in the event of a tip-over or bashing through tight wooded sections of trail, while the rider’s… (cough)… body will shield it from most weather conditions or other obstacles.
As always, practice your packing with care. The balance of weight is key!
How to Clean Your Tent After Camping
We get it: The last thing you want to do is come home from a long adventure with hundreds of arduous miles only to spend hours cleaning your tent! But it’s not that difficult.
Practice cleaning your tent in a very basic process. Our method? A cold water, a soft sponge, and a non-detergent, gentle soap. Scrub the dirty or stained areas with extra care, being especially gentle around seams or delicate fabrics to avoid tears.
- Cold Water
- Non-abrasive, soft sponge
- Gentle soap
- EXTRA Care!
Also, NEVER machine wash or dry clean then tent. The harsh process will ultimately damage its construction. When finished washing, allow the fabric to completely dry before repacking, avoiding any chance of long-term moisture or mold.
We don’t want to clean our tents every time we camp, nor is it necessary. Practice cleaning in routine, or if your trip was especially muddy.
Extending Longevity by Waterproofing Your Tent’s Seams and Coatings
Re-waterproofing a tent is an easy and cost-effective way to increase the longevity of your tent.
Reseal your tent’s seams. Nearly every tent on the market, motorcycle-specific or not, come equipped with seam tape. A number of these seams are in vulnerable areas and should be replaced periodically. If seams need fixing, purchasing a seam sealer to apply to the outside will do the trick. Most sealants, however, require 24 hours to dry completely, so make sure you have enough free space to store the tent without risk of damage.
Additional coatings of sealant will only go so far. There are several signs of a tent that is becoming dating, including the floor layer peeling up, the outer coating becoming gooey, or very foul odors, even with regular cleaning. If you’re running into these issues, it may be time to consider purchasing a new tent