Essential Supplies for Motorcycle & ATV Camping Trips
Going offroad camping in your motorcycle, ATV or side-by-side is one of the most exciting experiences you can use your prized recreational machine for.
But before you hit the road and the offroad, you of course want to pack up some essential supplies for riding, eating, sleeping, sightseeing and survival. What you consider essential camping supplies (besides the obvious like food and water) can be subjective, and these types of lists can go on and on if you try to include everything.
Whether it’s motorcycle or ATV/UTV camping, the one thing you don’t want to do is overdo it, especially on a motorcycle. Packing too much can weigh down a motorcycle and make it harder to shift weight. This might not be as much of an issue with an ATV or side-by-side, but keeping it minimal is still the way to go.
Every once in a while we revisit old blog content, like our Tips for Going ATV Camping and Motorcycle Camping Tips posts, to update outdated product links, and find stuff we missed that we can include in new content. With that in mind, here are some camping essentials for both motorcycle and/or ATV/UTV camping trips we think you should bring along.
NOTE: We’re not including obvious personal effects such as sunscreen, sleeping bags, or even riding gear on this list, and sticking only to camping essentials that can apply to both motorcycle and ATV/UTV camping trips.
Along with bug repellent, you should carry bug remover spray on your camping trips. This stuff won’t keep bugs away, but it’ll remove the ones that get stuck to the glass, chrome and painted surfaces of your motorcycle or four-wheeler while you’re riding into the wilderness. And while it could probably wait until after your camping trip, it doesn’t hurt to do some bug removal before cleaning your machine at the end of the camping trip.
Camera and Accessories
Surely you’ll want to get video of your camping adventures, so bring a GoPro or similar adventure cam with you. To capture your adventures while on the road, a helmet cam and camera mounts are great accessories to have while you’re riding. And a tripod for your GoPro or other camera works wonders for capturing landscapes and ride-bys if filming your trips for social media or video channels is your thing.
Besides the tent you’re going to sleep in, a foldable canopy tent is another great accessory for providing shade and shelter for you and your gear. Plant a chair underneath the canopy tent while you cook, eat, read and relax. Just make sure you get a canopy tent that includes its own carrying case for when you’re ready to pack up and go.
Your motorcycle or ATV’s chain is going to get dirty and possibly wet on camping trips, so pack some chain lube to protect it from rain and dirt. While it might seem like overkill to bring chain lube since you can clean and lube it when the trip is over, it doesn’t hurt to spray some on for added protection before the post-trip cleaning.
Pretty obvious you’ll need a cooler to keep your drinks cold and food fresh. But make sure you bring a cooler that can be mounted easily and withstand being hauled on the road and/or trail. You know, like a saddlebag cooler, not some cheap Styrofoam cooler you bought at a convenient store that’ll fall apart quickly.
For keeping your clothes, snacks, tools and supplies protected from water, mud, dirt and snow, get a 100% waterproof dry bag that easily mounts to your motorcycle, ATV or side-by-side. Make sure you get a dry bag that’s lightweight, especially if you’re going camping on a motorcycle, to reduce the weight and drag of your cargo.
An emergency bivvy is a sack that’ll keep you warm and dry if you get stuck having to sleep outdoors without shelter. Think of it as a heat wrap, as it reflects your body heat back to you to protect you from cold wind, rain and snow. You’ll want to bring a bivvy with you while you’re far away from your campground in case you get stranded or lost overnight.
Fire Starting Kit
If you forgot to pack supplies for starting a campfire, or just need an easy way to ignite a fire, get a resealable fire starting kit that includes waterproof tinders. These kits are also great for emergencies, meant to spark in all conditions at any altitude in case you get lost or stranded.
Never go offroad camping without a first-aid kit. Accidents happen, and you want to be able to provide immediate medical attention in an emergency. You can buy a pre-made first-aid kit, or put together your own that includes essentials like anti-septic, gauze, bandages and burn cream. It should also have your personal medications and medical information (blood type, allergies, conditions), plus emergency contact information.
Your smartphone surely already has GPS capabilities, but that can easily lose battery life, or get lost or damaged, so you should have some backup. And smartphone signals can easily be lost out in the wilderness, so you’ll want a backup GPS navigation system to map out your trail and to find your way back to your campground. As old school as it sounds, it doesn’t hurt to get a paper map of the trail as well just in case.
Also known as a hydration bladder, a hydration pack is basically a backpack to carry your beverages with an extended tube to drink straight out of the pack while you ride or hike a trail. It’s also a convenient way to stay hydrated while keeping your hands free to do other stuff, like set up a tent or chop firewood.
Portable Fuel Storage Cans
You’re not likely to find a gas station anywhere near the trails, so it helps to keep some extra fuel around. You don’t want to get stuck out in the middle of nowhere because you ran out of gas, so get some portable fuel cans for backup refueling.
Portable Power Supply
For charging your smartphone, GPS unit, camp lights and whatever other electronic devices you need for your camping trip, a portable power source comes in handy. Get an all-in-one power source that has multiple outlets for USB, DC and AC current devices.
For heating up and keeping food warm while you’re camping, get a portable stove or food warmer. Or if you want to quickly make some hot sandwiches over an open fire, take a sandwich cooker with you.
To keep your supplies from falling off your motorcycle or ATV/UTV, bring some high-quality ratchet straps on your camping trip. Ratchet straps are an effective means of tying down your machine, and your supplies to prevent them from getting lost while taking sharp turns or riding over bumps.
Bring a portable shovel, which comes in handy for building and controlling fire pits, setting up your tent area, and digging your machine out of mud or snow, among other uses. Some portable shovels are sold as shovel/saw combos that come with a handle that doubles as a saw you can use for cutting rope and wood.
Your motorcycle or ATV might break down at night, and you’ll want to be able to make repairs in the dark if needed. For working on or packing up your vehicle in the dark, get a task light with hanging hooks that light up a work area or campsite. Speaking of working on your vehicle …
Never go offroad camping without a compact toolkit that’ll fit in your motorcycle or ATV/UTV storage compartments. A general tool roll for camping ideally includes assorted wrenches, pliers, screwdrivers, zip ties, a flashlight, spare batteries and a knife. You should also have a separate motorcycle/ATV tire repair kit, since getting a flat tire out in the sticks is very plausible.