A motorcycle puts you in the zone. When you ride, you’re in the moment. You are part of the scenery, the smells, the weather. It makes you feel free in the way a car cannot.
For many, camping derives its fun by being founded on the same feelings elicited by the motorcycle. You’re not isolated from the environment—you are amongst it. Again, you smell the smells, see the sights, and feel the atmosphere around you.
A favorite pastime of many motorcyclists is to combine the freedom of the two-wheeled life with the freedom of the great outdoors. A perfect way to do this is motorcycle camping.
There’s no better way to see the country than on a bike. Grab your tent and gear, and avoid these mistakes.
- Don’t Pack Too Much
Everybody has their own minimum level of comfort that they will allow for when being away from home.
For a beginner, it may be difficult to determine what is essential and what becomes a frivolous luxury when trying to get away from it all.
If you bring too much, you run the risk of being weighed down both mentally and physically—mentally with anguish as you try to decide what’s important to take, and physically as you bring too much, weighing your bike down and throwing off its balance.
Remember that this is supposed to be fun. Who wants to feel like a pack mule when they’re looking for a good time?
- Don’t Pack Too Little
This is the other side of the “what to pack” conundrum. If you disregard your minimum level of comfort in favor of riding as light as possible, you run the risk of really spoiling a good trip.
You may end up needing to make more trips than necessary for overlooked supplies or have to alter plans as you find you’ve forgotten a critical bit of kit like a tire patch!
- Don’t Forget to Check Your Bike’s Components
As in the example of the forgotten tire patch, care must be taken to address the mechanical functioning of your machine.
- How is the bike running?
- Is your oil topped up and fresh?
- Chain and sprocket adjusted and greased?
- How about your seat?
If your plan is to travel to several destinations with long distances, make sure you have a comfortable seat to keep you from getting fatigued on the journey.
- Don’t Forget First Aid
Getting injured is never fun but we can make it a bit less of a problem when it happens by packing proper first aid. Cuts, scrapes, burns, and bruises can cause additional problems without proper care. If you’re going to be away from civilization for even a few days, don’t forget to pack this crucial item!
- Don’t Try to Cover Too Much Distance
Ok, so you’ve got your bike prepped, checked, and double checked. You’ve decided what you’ll bring with you for comfort and you haven’t overlooked the first aid. Now it’s time to choose a location.
When you choose where you’ll be camping, make sure it’s within a distance that you’re comfortable with on your particular bike.
If you’ve got a serious touring machine, go for that long ride to wherever, but if you’re just getting started and your bike is not known for long distance capabilities, keep the location within reason. A quick Google Map search for campgrounds near you and you’ll be on your way.
- Don’t forget to plan your route
And by this, I don’t mean just the shortest distance from A to B. A basic GPS will get you where you want to go, but don’t rely on it to find the best route for a touring trip.
If you’re using Google Maps to plan a route, try using the “My Maps” feature to create custom-tailored maps that you can send to your phone’s google maps app.
If you’re like me, you spend a lot of time on Google maps getting a visual for which roads offer the most unique experiences.
The more often you do this, the better you will be at determining which route to travel.
For the not-so-tech savvy, there are travel maps available for all corners of the earth. These are always good for a back-up to the GPS.
- Don’t Avoid the Backroads
You may be trying to get to your destination in a certain amount of time and the only way to do this is traveling by major highways.
Despite the all too common combination of roadworks and traffic jams as well as poor drivers, I admit that it can get you where you’re going rather quickly. But if you can divorce yourself from the clock, you can more than make up for lost time on these pleasant and scenic routes that are often more motorcycle friendly.
- Don’t Forget to Pack for Weather/Climate Changes
Something that could spoil a good trip is forgetting your wet weather gear. Even if you’re packing light, don’t skimp on weather protection.
It could take only a minute to become completely waterlogged in a downpour and quite a while to dry out, not to mention the effect it will have on your safety as you ride.
- Don’t be too Rigid with the Plan
So now you’ve got your bike packed, your destination chosen and your awesome riding route planned out—what happens when there is a detour or an unavoidable circumstance along the way?
Well, I’d advise you to make the most of it. If you’ve planned well enough to avoid the obvious mistakes, you’ll also need to plan to make adjustments as necessary.
You may find a new road to travel or a new place to stay that you otherwise wouldn’t have. If it is a mechanical trouble that rears its head, you may find that you are able to fix and overcome this challenge.
- Don’t be Reactive - be Proactive
Many of the items on this list are related to proactiveness and avoiding being reactive. Be prepared for the unexpected. You can’t always plan for the unknown but you can definitely take the sting out of it by following this philosophy.
Now, much of this list is common sense, and yet it is worth reiterating. Any one of these simple mistakes can turn a weekend getaway into a trial, whether it be a forgotten first aid kit when you need a bandage or a poor route to your next destination which puts you amongst the bumper to bumper traffic of all too frequent road construction. If you keep this list of tactics in mind when planning, your trip will be a memorable one and your success will energize you keep exploring the freedom that motorcycle camping has to offer.
Start prepping for your next Motorcycle Adventure with www.lonerider-motorcycle.com