You’ve done it. You’ve made the decision to hop on your ADV motorcycle and take off to explore, to wander, and to get away.
Your destination? Who knows. But one thing’s for sure: adventure awaits.
Before you get too whimsical in thoughts of beautiful sunrises and sunsets, majestic mountain views, and clear, gorgeous waterfalls, let’s take a step back and remember a major trip like this requires some serious planning.
There are lots of things to think about when planning a long-distance motorcycle trip, not least of which is your route and the status of your motorcycle.
Those things are clearly important, but for now, we’re going to focus mainly on the camping gear you’ll need on a trip like this.
If you’re going to be on the road for a while then you need to be smart about the items that you pack.
You can’t strap everything and the kitchen sink to your motorcycle, so start with the mentality that everything you bring has to serve more than one purpose, or is important enough that its singular purpose is worth it.
And since you’re packing things on your motorcycle, keep it light, and be sure to distribute the load as evenly as possible–whether that means packing the saddlebags evenly or strapping things on top.
Now to the task at hand. What do you pack? Our guide below should put you in the right direction with seven things we think are crucial.
First and foremost is your tent, and excuse the shameless plug, but here at Lone Rider, we’ve developed two different kinds of tents depending on your needs.
The MotoTent is on the luxurious end of the spectrum and even features a canopy “garage” for your motorcycle and vestibule for your gear. It can sleep two people, keep all their gear away from the elements, and it weighs in at 12 lbs.
Lone Rider’s other tent is the ADV Tent. Basically, the ADV Tent packs most of the features of the MotoTent but without the canopy or “garage” to keep your bike tucked away.
It still sleeps two and has the vestibule to store their gear, including both panniers, top case, roll bag, and tank bag. Again, it keeps everything tucked away except your bike–and it weighs in at 7.38 lbs.
2. Sleeping Bag/Sleeping Pad
Instead of calling this number two, a proper sleeping bag and sleeping pad can be considered number one and a half.
A good night’s sleep is important for a successful day in the saddle, and after a long day of riding, you’re going to want a comfortable spot to sleep.
There are several options out there for both. The majority of tents are constructed from one of two main materials: feathers or synthetic materials. Research the weather conditions you’ll be facing and choose appropriately.
Most sleeping bags are rated down to 15-degrees Fahrenheit, though if you think you’ll be in conditions colder than that, options are available for those climates, too.
Like sleeping bags, sleeping pads are available in a couple of different styles– mainly inflatable or foam.
Both have their pros and cons; an inflatable one will pack smaller, but a foam pad is arguably more comfortable. It doesn’t pack as small, but it’ll still fold up fairly small. Only you will know which is right for you.
Newsflash: it’s dark at night. Inevitably, one day you’ll ride well into the night before finding a spot to stop and set up camp. Even if you plan ahead and set up camp in daylight, you’re still going to need to see at night.
The headlamp will be an invaluable tool. LEDs shine bright, are easy on batteries, and pack really small. Like the tent and sleeping bag/pad, the headlamp will be the unsung hero of your camping kit.
4. Bug spray
This one is also self-explanatory but maybe not something you initially think about. Being one with nature is one of life’s great pleasures, but you really don’t want nature, in the form of bugs, to beone with you. Bug spray packed with DEET will be key, and it packs small enough to tuck away easily in your luggage.
5. Pocket stove
You gotta eat, right? Sure you could build a fire and cook over that, but it’s much easier to bring along a pocket stove.
They pack small and light and are invaluable for getting water up to a boil to rehydrate your camping food or to make a cup of coffee. There are several different kinds out there, but they all serve the same basic purpose.
6. Water storage
For long-distance travel to destinations unknown, it’s not a bad idea to have a form of collapsible water storage with you. It could very well be the difference between life and death in the most extreme cases.
But having extra water on hand serves many purposes, from cooking and drinking to doing a little washing on the road. Fill it up again from a freshwater stream, boil it, and you’re good to go.
This is the “catch-all” for the items that are still important for your camping gear list, but maybe not deserving of their own categories.
There’s some leeway here as you can choose the items that are right for you depending on the trip and experience you’re trying to achieve.
Some of the more important items we highly suggest taking include the obvious like food and cooking utensils. Other must-haves in our opinion are a pocket knife or Leatherman-style multi-tool, and a first-aid kit.
In this new world, we’re living in a global pandemic, hand sanitizer is also a good idea. This one may not be important for some, but a ground cover under the tent is not a bad idea.
It makes sense to bring some level of toiletries like a toothbrush, toothpaste, and a roll of TP. Inevitably, you’re likely to have some sort of electronic device (or two) with you, so unless you have a way of charging devices from your motorcycle, a solar charger is going to worth its weight in gold.
From a convenience standpoint having normal clothes to wear once you get to your campsite is nice.
If you’re going on a truly long haul, pack a minimal amount of clothing made from synthetic material. They pack small and light and dry quickly–ideal for moving away sweat or on-the-road clothes washing.
There you have it. These seven categories should cover the things you need for a long-distance bike trip. It may sound like a lot to some of you, but you’re essentially trying to survive on the road for a long stretch of time.
These items should help make that as easy and comfortable as possible. Did we forget anything? If so, tell us your favorite things to bring for long-distance travel.