Motorcycle Camping Trip Essentials

Motorcycle camping is a great way to escape your daily routine and enjoy some quality time with your bike. Preparing for a motorcycle camping trip is all about packing efficiently, and only bringing the essential supplies and tools to make your adventure a success. 

Motorcycle camping at night

Motorcycle camping essentials are best kept lightweight to pair well with most common bikes. Here are some tips on how to plan a motorcycle camping trip and what to bring. 

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Choose a Lightweight Tent

Tents come in all shapes, sizes and colors. Although there are endless options to choose from, it's easy to get caught up on price and get stuck with a bulky dud. When prepping for a motorcycle camping trip, it's very important to not throw the balance of your bike off with a heavy tent. 

Motorcycle camping trip tents

If you're riding solo, a one-person ultralight tent is all you need. However, if a partner is coming along for the ride, try to find a lightweight two-person backpacking tent. Either way, look for a covered front entry tent to keep your most important gear protected from the elements. You'll also benefit from a fly that offers controlled ventilation for warmer nights and cooler mornings. 

Choose a Comfortable Sleeping Bag

Once you have a solid lightweight tent for shelter, it's time to plan for comfort while sleeping. Lightweight is also the key to choosing the best sleeping bag. Look for a bag that's easy to carry and packs down tightly. Stick to backpacking sleeping bags over standard camping sleeping bags, as the latter tends to be too heavy and won't compress to the appropriate size. 

Motorcycle camping trip sleeping bag

Find a quality mummy style bag that comes with a full zippered opening and stuff sack for travel. If you can't adjust to a slim mummy bag, look for one with a large footbox design for extended movement. A good rule of thumb is to choose a sleeping bag that holds a temperature rating 10 degrees below the expected low of your camping destination.  

Choose a Motorcycle Luggage System

Before you even start thinking about what camping essentials to bring such as cooking items, tools and toiletries, think about your luggage. No matter what type of bike you ride, choosing the right luggage based on weight and carrying needs makes a world of difference. 

Dry Bags

Soft dry bags are a great alternative to aluminum boxes, especially if you want to spend less money and reduce the overall weight of your cargo. Dry bags are more of a universal fit accessory than an application-specific item. Along with sturdy mounting straps, dry bags can be stuffed and squeezed together while holding an impressive amount of gear. 


Panniers (or saddlebags) are integrated luggage pieces that fit onto the rear and sides of a motorcycle, usually by way of a rack or straps. They come in soft and hard varieties, and each type has its pros and cons. As you test out your optimal pannier system, keep an eye on the added bulk to your motorcycle. Your riding experience level and trip demands will determine which type of panniers to use.

Motorcycle camping trip luggage

Soft Panniers

  • Lightweight and inexpensive
  • Easy to remove and store
  • Can take a fall without breaking

Hard Panniers

  • Strapless and easier to organize
  • Integrated rack system
  • Safer from road debris

Aluminum Carry Boxes

Aluminum cases are great for longer trips that you can't realistically pack light for. In terms of volume, aluminum carry boxes offer some of the best storage capacity. They also conveniently load from the top, which is great for packing smart. 

Motorcycle camping aluminum luggage

Even though aluminum boxes tend to be a bit heavy, they can serve multiple purposes, including providing seating and a surface to eat on. Plan ahead when setting your machine up with heavy gear like this to ensure that you still feel in control as the rider. Also, think about the route you'll be travelling, and make sure that hard aluminum side cases won't be a hindrance.

Miscellaneous Riding Accessories and Camping Essentials

A great way to prepare for a camping trip is to create a checklist that incorporates riding essentials, as well as food and shelter. For good measure, here are some items to add to your motorcycle camping trip essentials list.

  • Headlamp
  • Bike cover or tarp
  • Portable burner stove 
  • Fire starter 
  • Camping cookware set
  • Backpacking food 
  • Multifunction pocket knife

We hope these motorcycle camping tips serve you well for your next and all future trips, and check out our motorcycle camping gear for essential camoing supplies.



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