Motorcycle camping gear

The type of motorcycle camping gear is crucial and will affect your touring experience in the same way as the type of luggage you’ve chosen for your bike. As you may guess, weight and volume are the keys here.

If you stuck with the soft luggage, place it at least at the back behind you on the pillion seat. Fasten it securely with some elastic bugees or even with some tie down straps so it will not move. Placing it behind you will make it less likely to bounce. If you have red the motorcycle luggage section, you know that I am not a fan of the soft panniers that hang on the sides. Good options from soft luggage though are the spacious dry bags. You will fit plenty of stuff in them.

Choose your luggage wisely

I must have red in the past or heard somebody saying that you can fit more in soft luggage as it can stretch. I think it’s a complete nonsense. Imagine soft panniers each of ~40 litres volume, hanging from the sides of your motorcycle?

So for the purpose of this article I will use the example with two 41 litres side cases and one 46 litres top box as on the photo below. I reckon if I can fit that much in them the soft luggage option with the dry bags and hard panniers will give you even more space.

Motorcycle Camping gear – the secret of packing it

My experience is that I pack all the motorcycle camping gear in the top box. Even when going with a pillion. I try not to attach anything to the bike with bungees or straps unless I have something wet and don't want to pack it with dry clothes.

Normally I leave side cases for clothes and other stuff. The tank bag is always for the most used items on the short breaks. 

As mentioned above whatever you choose for the camping gear, make sure it is light and take as little space as possible. My example for the top box in the packing order is:

  • A three person tent like the Vango Banshee 300. It’s light and fairly compact. Most importantly it’s roomy enough for two with your riding gear when pitched.
  • Two slipping bags; Hi Gear 2 season Horizon Mummy. Light and one of the smallest when packed I could possibly find. 2 season means that they’re not the best in places where temperatures go below double figures (Celsius). The secret with packing them is to use the vacuum storage bags or the so-called volume reduction bags. With these, they squeeze to a very small volume, this is imperative when you travel with pillion.
  • Two self-inflating mattresses from Thermarest – life time guarantee ensures that you can replace them everywhere you are on your trip. Again, light and compact.
  • Vango Compact Gas Stove (much less expensive than the outdoors petrol stoves)
  • Small gas cartridges like Coleman Micro 100 Gas Cartridge (175g); it’s better to fit more small ones than fewer big ones
  • Other smaller things to squeeze between: plastic plates & cutleries, plastic cups, tee, torch and a map at the top so it can be easily accessed on the your breaks.

After packing all that you will still find some extra space for little things like high visibility vests that are good to have if happens to ride in the rain. All in all this is only an example for the 46 litre box and a set of my favourite motorcycle camping gear.

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