Motorcycle Camping

What is the Best Tent for Motorcycle Camping?

What is the Best Tent for Motorcycle Camping?

Do you need to get away from the hassle of daily life to recharge your batteries? Do you own a motorcycle that is collecting dust in your garage, waiting to be taken out? Well, a good way to fulfill both wishes are to go on your own personal getaway in the wilderness.

Besides being a maneuverable vehicle that can cover great distances, the feeling of riding a motorcycle invigorates you with a taste for adventure. Whether heading to a desert, a forest, or the mountains, your motorcycle becomes the chariot that carries you out of civilization. When you finally reach your destination, you will have the opportunity to enjoy some peace and quiet, your motorcycle standing vigil near your campsite.

But before you can go on your motorcycle camping trip, you need to make the necessary preparations. Because of how simple it can be to get what you need thanks to the conveniences of city life; it is easy to forget that you will not always have everything on hand while spending time with Mother Nature.

As you plan the day when you finally set out, you need to be careful regarding the list of items that will be coming along for the ride. You will have to purchase supplies, essentials, and camping gear. You will have to double-check your belongings and make sure to have everything you need. Be patient and guarantee you are absolutely ready. Because once you reach the campgrounds, you do not have the luxury to turn around and go back for something you forgot.

The most important item to keep in mind is your shelter a.k.a your tent. Your tent will serve as your temporary home while you rough it in the great outdoors. If you do not plan to return home for several days, make sure that the tent you pick is not just functional. Make sure that it is comfortable, reliable, and suited for the environment you have decided. But above all, make sure that it is plausible to have it transported on your motorcycle.

Your motorcycle is not just your mode of transportation, it is also how you will carry all of your luggage. To do so, its sleek chassis needs sizable motorcycle bags on its side or back to house the objects that cannot be tied down. And depending on the size of the tent, it may be the largest item you will lug across hundreds of miles.

If you are a motorcycle rider in need of friendly advice, listed below are detailed tips about the features to look for in your tent, the camping inventory you will need to buy, and the motorcycle bags that are best to attach to your ride. There is further supplementary material in this article that may help give an overview of how to prepare for a motorcycle camping trip.

1. Motorcycle Camping Tent Styles toChoose From

When picking out a tent, there are features that help you make distinctions between advantages and disadvantages. For the most part, all tents are split into two groups: those who need stakes and those who are freestanding. The traditional way is setting up tents via stakes. The downside of using them is that they are less secure on sandy or hard surfaces. The freestanding option is easier to set up as they can be used on any surface. Unfortunately, they tend to be the heavier option. Listed below are the different styles of tents:

  • Cabin style: This tent has high walls with a roof tall enough for you to stand at full height. However, due to its height, it makes it more susceptible to being blown over by strong winds, making it the least good choice to use in harsh weather. Due to its large height, it has a heavy weight range.
  • A-frame style: A tent that requires stakes, it is composed of light materials and is easy to assemble. A good option for beginners who need practice. This tent has a light weight range which can be decreased further with the removal of extra stakes.
  • Hoop style: A tent which combines the use of stakes and freestanding in its setup, it has a low height which helps resist harsh weather conditions. Unfortunately, due to its close proximity to the ground, there is not a lot of room to maneuver within the tent. This tent is of a lighter weight load since it only requires stakes on one side during setup.
  • Dome style: A freestanding tent that can be further secured with stakes, but the use of stakes is optional. With an interior that provides adequate space for you to move while crouched, this tent is able to withstand harsh weather conditions. It is low maintenance as the whole thing can be easily lifted to clean or change their position. This tent is of a lighter weight range.

2. Explaining Season Ratings for Motorcycle Camping Tents

Which time of the year do you want to go on your camping trip? Spring, summer, fall, or winter? Each season brings its own set of challenges that the build of your tent will have to deal with to ensure that you are protected from the elements. Some tents will be tailored for either warm or cold temperatures only. Others would be reliable for use year-round regardless of the conditions.

Season ratings help inform you how many and which seasons a tent can be relied on. A number value is assigned to each season. Starting from 1 which equates to spring, the value goes up while following the changing of the seasons. To clarify the meaning of each season rating, their descriptions are listed here:

  • Season rating of 1: Tent is best used for the warm spring months.
  • Season rating of 2: Tent is proficient in the warm spring and hot summer months.
  • Season rating of 3: Tent includes the previous seasons while being slightly better equipped for the cool fall months.
  • Season rating of 4: Tent can be relied on at almost any time as it can withstand the chilly winter months.

While you may want to pick a tent that matches the right season, make sure that your motorcycle would be able to carry the weight without throwing off your balance. The higher a season rating is, the heavier the weight of the tent will be as well. During winter, you may see heavy snowfall and strong winds, thus the tent’s frame will need to be sturdy enough to resist wear and tear. You are free to camp out during the winter if you enjoy the challenge, but it is recommended you head out during warmer climate.

The best tents to use will be those with season ratings of 2 or 3. Tents with a season rating of 2 are made of lighter materials which allow better ventilation to keep you cool. They are able to deal with light rainfall as the moisture will be able to runoff the surface. Tents with a season rating of 3 are more well-rounded due to being suited for both warm and cold environments. They are able to maintain a balance between keeping in heat and letting it escape. Due to being made of more durable materials, they are able to withstand moderate rainfall.

3. Fabrics & Coatings to Look for In Motorcycle Camping Tents

The materials that make up the composition of your tent are factors that determine its weight, durability, and functionality. Browsing through the racks of a camping supply store, do not just take into account whether your motorcycle has enough room to fit the tent. Your tent also needs to be built to last and be able to endure whatever nature throws at you.

Denier is the term used to describe the thickness of fibers in a tent’s fabric. This helps you determine how durable a tent is. The higher the thickness of the fibers, the heavier the weight of the tent will be. Each part of the tent from the floor to the roof has its own assigned denier value. If you are on a budget, make sure that the floor at least has a denier value that you deem acceptable. You will have to deliberate the ratio of durability and weight in your tent.

Coatings are responsible for preventing water from entering inside your tent. As they are measured in millimeters to signify the volume of water they can stop, the best tents are the ones equipped to deal with about or above 1,500 millimeters.

The seams are what hold your tent together so make sure to check the ones running along the floor, walls, and corners before purchasing. Ensure that they are held together by tape and that none of the fabric has any tears.

4. How Pack Size & Weight Affect Motorcycle Camping Tents

Based on what you have read, the majority of you must think that the lighter the tent, the better. While that is certainly true when you finally get out into the wilderness, it may not do any favors for your wallet.

The lighter the tent’s weight is, the larger its price tag will be. Any tents that are less than or equal to two pounds will be made of lightweight materials. These tend to be a combination of stake using and freestanding tents. Because of their light weight range, they are in high demand.

If you are willing to search for tents that are about or more than two and a half pounds, then the prices will begin to gradually lower as you begin to hit the heavier options. As the weight range of the tent increases, the level of comfort it will provide you will also increase.

5. Preferred Living Space in Motorcycle Camping Tents

What kind of camping trip do you want to organize? Is it just a solitary venture or do you want to bring company along with you? Depending on the  number of people that will be going on the camping trip, you will need to make sure that the tent is big enough to house enough bodies.

Tents will have labels that state how many people it would be able to fit. If you only use tents solely to sleep and hide out from the weather, pick the tent with the exact number of campers. Keep in mind that you will be sacrificing comfort over functionality as it may be a tight squeeze.

If you need to house gear with you in the tent, do not settle for the tent that matches the number of people going on the trip. Instead, choose the one that will be able to accommodate the number of campers plus one. The extra room will allow you to set aside an area dedicated to storing your items while not overcrowding your sleeping space.

If you are unsure about how much living space you would prefer, here is an example. Say you plan to go alone on your Harley to a forest camping ground. All you are bringing with you is enough supplies that would be able to fit in a large backpack. You do not want to leave it outside and risk your things getting wet in the morning dew. Your best option would be to buy a two-person tent. It would be large enough to give you decent leg room and keep your supplies safe.

Keep in mind that the larger the living space in the tent, the heavier its weight will be. Besides how much of a pain it would be to set up a bigger tent, it would be cumbersome to strap to your motorcycle. It is recommended you pick a tent that can easily fit your straightened body, allow enough room so your limbs can maneuver with minimal difficulty, and stay on your motorcycle without fear of it falling off.

6. Camping Gear To Bring Alongside Your Motorcycle Camping Tent

Now that you know the parameters for picking out your ideal tent, you have to lay out the camping supplies on the table. What do you absolutely need to bring for emergencies? Which items could be brought as conveniences without using vital space in your luggage? Here is a basic checklist of potential items to get you started:

  • Sleeping mat: While the floor of your tent will be much cleaner compared to the hard ground of your campsite, it may still have to contour to the uneven layout of the land. A sleeping mat will cushion the length of your body, providing a barrier between you and the ground. While not as comfortable as your bed, its padding will make it preferable to a rock digging into your back.
  • Sleeping bag: Besides the interior of your tent, your sleeping bag will serve as your other reliable mode of insulation. It will encompass the entirety of your body and can be secured to eliminate openings via zipper. Depending on the thickness of its lining, it may be able to negate the majority of the chilly temperature of your environment.
  • Pillow: If you feel the cushioning of the sleeping mat and bag are not sufficient, you can bring a little bit of your bedroom with you.
  • Flashlight: Not every campsite will have lights to help you navigate the darkness. It may be pitch black where you choose to claim your stake, with only the stars above to serve as dim illumination. A battery-powered flashlight will be a convenient handheld light source that can be carried almost anywhere if you need to walk some distance away from your tent.
  • Lamp: If you want to stay up late to have some evening fun, you will need a stable light source that can be placed on a stable surface. Holding your flashlight will tire out your arms and can only be focused in a singular beam. A lamp encompasses a wide circular area that can be used outside or inside your tent.
  • Knife: You will undoubtedly come across obstacles that may require you to cut things. A small pocket knife should be adequate in cutting wood, bits of foods, etc.
  • Multitool: When there are problems that a knife cannot solve, a multitool may be equipped with better options. Besides having blades installed, they may have heads that serve as a tweezer, a screwdriver, or a bottle opener. Even if no emergencies happen on your trip, it is best to have a tool that has multiple functions just in case.
  • Toiletries: While you may not have access to a conventional bathroom outdoors, that does not mean you have to go without your toiletries. Toothbrush, toothpaste, toilet paper, and soap can be used in conjunction with water sources or restrooms at your campsite. Just make sure that you have ways to dispose of your trash, whether provided at the campsite or that you prepare in advance.
  • Bag: To carry the smaller items you may need with you on trips into the wilderness, you need a bag to transport them. Backpacks, knapsacks, etc. would be sufficient so long as you can secure them tightly on your body.

As capacity on your motorcycle is limited, try to bring as little as possible. It is okay to bring non-essential things so long as they are small enough that they will not occupy space you reserve for necessities. Also, you do not have to limit yourself to bringing just the gear listed above. There are other commodities mentioned in this article that you may want to add to your pile.

7. Motorcycle Saddlebags

  • The most popular way to store all your belongings is a motorcycle saddlebag. From Harleys to Street bikes, there are variations of this item designed for almost every motorcycle model imaginable. Much like the tent styles, each version of the saddlebag has its share of strengths, each tailored to satisfy various preferences. Here are the summaries for the saddlebags that Viking House has in stock:
  • Leather: Made of either pure or synthetic leather, the light materials make it easier to mount onto your motorcycle. Held together by a metal frame and plastic lining in the lid, it is surprisingly durable. The design of its body helps it from being worn down by weather conditions. Thanks to extra internal pockets, it is able to hold more space. The contents can be secured by Velcro straps or put under lock and key.
  • Hard: Composed of fiberglass, its exterior is able to endure a lot of punishment without breaking. The lid has a strong seal that keeps it closed even against water and strong wind. The lid’s hinges are made of a metal that prevents it from corroding. The interior is lined with foam to keep fragile objects from jostling around and breaking while the vehicle is in motion.
  • Universal: Meant to accommodate every possible model, this bag incorporates elements of the other saddlebags. It is possible to mount this version onto the motorcycle in multiple positions. Depending on the version, it is able to be secured with straps and belts or lock and key. The design is streamlined so it can better deal with wind resistance and keeps the interior from becoming wet thanks to being water resistant.
  • Sports bike: Able to remain on the motorcycle despite moving at dangerously fast speeds, the heavy polyester material aids in heat resistance and durability. Padding is spread out its length so that they do not accidentally scratch your ride’s paint. While mounted on the side, its pockets are easy to reach in case you need something.
  • Whichever type of motorcycle saddlebag you pick, thoroughly inspect the extent of what it can hold inside. Which pockets have a tough enough lining to ensure no pointy tools will stab you? Which ones have a larger surface area on the bottom to fill with big objects? Arranging the inside of your bag will come easier to you after familiarizing yourself with the structure of your chosen saddlebag.

8. Motorcycle Sissy Bar Bags

An alternative method to keep your possessions safe is to use a sissy bar bag instead. Mounted on the aforementioned bar, this bag can be placed near the fender to allow for a second passenger or cushioned seating to help support your back. Though not able to be used for all the same models like the saddlebags can, they have their own share of benefits.

Bearing resemblance to a hiking pack, the straps used to secure it on your motorcycle can slip around your arms and back to be carried with you on foot. Your belongings are kept in place thanks to the zippable pockets. Thanks to the leather material it is made out of, it is able to withstand harsh weather conditions. The interior can hold much more than its outward appearance implies thanks to its extra mesh pockets.

If you feel that you will get better use out of a sissy bar bag, then check out this article for further details on the pros and cons.  

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