Camping?

Itchytoe

2018
CB650F
Dec 15, 2019
I'm considering an extremely long ride. One that has me stopping just to get off the bike and sleep and head out in the early morning. I don't really want to spend $100 a night if I don't have to. That means I'm considering do the whole moto camping thing. Unfortunately, I know just a little bit more than absolutely nothing about it. Even the basics of how to find places to stop for the night, if you'd actually save much over a hotel, and what gear is actually useful and what would be a waste to get are completely foreign to me. Does anyone have any suggestions?
 

miweber929

2014
CBR650F
650F Alumnus
Staff
Feb 13, 2015
Woodbury, MN
I'm considering an extremely long ride. One that has me stopping just to get off the bike and sleep and head out in the early morning. I don't really want to spend $100 a night if I don't have to. That means I'm considering do the whole moto camping thing. Unfortunately, I know just a little bit more than absolutely nothing about it. Even the basics of how to find places to stop for the night, if you'd actually save much over a hotel, and what gear is actually useful and what would be a waste to get are completely foreign to me. Does anyone have any suggestions?
Tried and not a huge fan:

- most camp sites are reservations only, makes it a pain to find a place unless his know exactly where you are going.
- need electricity? That’s a big hurdle these days.
- camp sites approach $40/night. More some places, less others, around $40 is a average. I can usually find a no frills hotel room for around $85 or so.
- by the time I get there, I’m tired. Setup is last thing on my mind. Have to do it before I sleep and tear it all down when I get up. Wet or dry. Every time.
- gotta grab food before you get there or have to leave once setup to go get it. Most of the hotels in “normal times“ have food available, or you can get it delivered and have a free cheesy breakfast in the AM. Factor in those prices when camping.
- camping equipment isn’t super cheap or it’ll only last a few times. Looking at tent, sleeping bag, pillow, sleep pad at a minimum. Then camp stove, camp chair, lanterns, supplies for showers and cleanup. Few things off my the top of my head.
- if it rains, you get wet. Your stuff gets wet, and it never drys out. End of story. Your helmet stays wet. Your jacket. Your pants. Your gloves.
- my back sucks and sleeping on the ground sucks. Shitty bed sucks but better than the ground v
- the majority of your luggage is devoted to camping.

My random thoughts at least. I have a cargo bag full of a decent 1 man tent (almost a person and a half), camp stove, fuel, sleep pad, lightweight good quality sleeping bag, pillow, camp chair, etc. from my dual sport days. Went a few times, replaced the cheap stuff when it failed, bought good quality stuff and tried it another few times. it was OK but I decided it wasn’t worth the hassle for the reasons above.

Sorry, you wanted info from those that have.
 

JDude

2020
CB650R ABS
May 20, 2020
Ottawa
1979
If you’re not a camper as in you don’t have gear already or have luggage/storage items for your bike to carry said items then go the ”no tell” route. You’ll be much happier.
 

MrFritz86

2019
CB650R
Sep 28, 2019
Spring Hill, TN
Camping is not for "get off the bike and sleep and head out in the early morning", unless they have a cabin ready to use and to be serviced whenever you leave.
It requires light to setup all the gears and if you get there late it would be a pita.
Camping gears take up a lot of space and a lot of time to pack/unpack.
Yes you could always grab some junk food before getting to the camp sites, you would avoid buying cooking gears
You gotta plan it properly bc it's reservation only and make sure you get there on time to set up the site, so you gotta have some time to spend there, otherwise it's not worth it.
Nowadays some of the services are limited due to the pandemic.
I've been looking into it lately, planning on buying the gears needed, but due to the limited services I'm kinda holding back.
 

Itchytoe

2018
CB650F
Dec 15, 2019
That's all good info. Thanks everyone. That's exactly the kind of info I wanted.
 

baugustine

2014
CBR650F
Staff
May 21, 2016
Ventura, CA
miweber929 @miweber929 is spot-on. Camping is fun but requires planning (7 Ps). If you really want to do it, practice in car or van to see what is actually needed. As I get older, the price of a hotel is well worth the $ for a clean, dry bed and hot shower. Try putting away a wet tent after it rained all night and you'll quickly understand...
 

miweber929

2014
CBR650F
650F Alumnus
Staff
Feb 13, 2015
Woodbury, MN
That's all good info. Thanks everyone. That's exactly the kind of info I wanted.
To expand a bit, the biggest issues you will run into today are:

1. The old days of showing up, grabbing a site for $20, having a peaceful sleep and doing it all again the next day are really over. Sites are almost all 100% reservation only and you prepay so the place gets paid whether there’s someone there or not and mist places won’t give them up because you never know when someone may stroll in. I’m camping right now and someone pulled in across from us at 11:30 last night and setup. And most book out months in advance, camping is HUGE business recently and a single traveler isn’t a huge money maker for them so they don’t care about travelers with no reservations.

2. Sites are not cheap anymore. As I said $40 is average, I’ve paid as much as $65/night at private campgrounds. So for less than double the cost I get 1/10 of the issues. I can pull in to a hotel and if they don’t have any they’ll call, I can book online while eating dinner so I don’t have to preplan when having good and bad timed days. Beg for cheap prices, it works, especially if you see a name brand hotel under construction or renovations; I’ve paid like $70/night for a king room at Holiday Inns fairly easily when on the road.

3. The gear and supplies are not cheap. If you spend $320 in supplies (which really is maybe A good tent and sleeping bag) and $40 a night to camp it’s almost 8 nights before that’s paid for itself. Spend $200 on each, easy to do and it’s 10 nights to break even.

4. The amount of crap you need to carry is a lot. Takes up a lot of room and the bike isn’t as nimble before it all. That sucks. And makes getting on and off the bike miserable.
 

Dankotaru

2019
CBR650R ABS
Jul 5, 2019
7000' ASL, USA
I take my bike camping whenever I can, but not long distance like you're thinking. I pack for a weekend and head to a trailhead and go backpacking. My buddy has a Tiger, and I always get a little kick out of my lone sportbike sitting alongside a row of adventure bikes at the trailhead. He packs everything in the hard cases on his Tiger, and I just wear a backpack. We split the gear we need, and I typically get everything I carry under 20 pounds, especially if I can get water near the trailhead instead of having to pack it. Then when we head back home on Sunday, I get the added perk of riding my bike instead of suffering all the camper and RV traffic in my truck. I love taking the motorcycle camping.

Based on my experience, I would echo what others have already said. If you are into backpacking and already have the lightweight gear, then camping during a long distance ride could be a viable option, if you can find adaquate locations to camp along the way. As mentioned, most established car camping sites have to be reserved well in advance. If you're riding in a region with lots of backpacking trails and wilderness areas, then parking along trailheads and hiking in to a site could work and be a real adventure, but most sites like this will not have power or water, so you'll need to bring food, stove, water filter, etc.. and replenish between stops if you want to keep the weight down. I know guys who enjoy the hell out of this, but none of them do it as a way to save money on hotels.

I wish I had taken a shot of my CBR and buddy's Tiger at the trailhead this past weekend, but they're parked way down at the bottom of the valley in this picture:
Vista.jpg

And where I spent the night (maybe I'll get a collapsible fishing pole one of these days):
Lake.jpg
 

quigonquinn

2019
CBR650R
Feb 17, 2020
There are a bunch of great YouTube videos out there. Check out RyanF9, motorcyclist magazine, and a few others(just search YouTube)
 

baugustine

2014
CBR650F
Staff
May 21, 2016
Ventura, CA
Dankotaru @Dankotaru you made a great distinction above between ”camping” and ”backpacking”, which us early responders above should have inquired about. I’ve done a lot of both. Last few times I was camping, the “campers” nearby just brought all their $hit from home and pretended they were on an adventure. My last trip to the Florida Keys the site next us brought a TV and had that F’ing thing on until 2am. Soured my whole idea of getting away.

To do American camping, lug your crap from from home. Backpacking requires a very different kit and some careful planning and is well worth the time if you can share the load with some others. I have the John Muir Trail on my Bucket List. (see the Documentary called “Mile, Mile and a Half“ which covers the 200+ mile hike).
 

Jerry

2016
CBR650F ABS
May 18, 2017
The Netherlands
Also make the distinction between camping being the goal and camping being a means.
Most people who go Moto camping do that because they want to go Moto camping. All the gear and hassle and everything is just part of the experience.

If you wanna go riding or actually have to get somewhere, a single night camping sounds like an awful alternative to a hotel or motel.
 

baloo2650

2018
CB650F ABS
May 14, 2019
Ontario, Canada
1998
I'll chime in here. I hiked the PCT in '18 and can tell y'all a bit about camping. I spent a few months living on that trail with what I had in my pack. (was 11lbs all in, minus food) You need to think about every piece of gear you'll bring. Get a kitchen scale, it'll make you think about what you pack.
 

baloo2650

2018
CB650F ABS
May 14, 2019
Ontario, Canada
1998
Dankotaru @Dankotaru you made a great distinction above between ”camping” and ”backpacking”, which us early responders above should have inquired about. I’ve done a lot of both. Last few times I was camping, the “campers” nearby just brought all their $hit from home and pretended they were on an adventure. My last trip to the Florida Keys the site next us brought a TV and had that F’ing thing on until 2am. Soured my whole idea of getting away.

To do American camping, lug your crap from from home. Backpacking requires a very different kit and some careful planning and is well worth the time if you can share the load with some others. I have the John Muir Trail on my Bucket List. (see the Documentary called “Mile, Mile and a Half“ which covers the 200+ mile hike).
baugustine baugustine If you want to hike the JMT, please my friend - do it. You'll likely go north to south, -I came up from Mt.Whitney on the PCT, then north. Hiking those Sierra passes are one of the greatest things I have ever done. You'll spend a couple weeks walking through one of the most amazing places in the world. Camp at 8K then hike over 12K, sometimes twice in a day. IMG_1954[1].JPGIMG_1954[1].JPGIMG_1959[1].JPG
 
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baloo2650

2018
CB650F ABS
May 14, 2019
Ontario, Canada
1998
Here's the gearlist from my PCT hike. I carried 11 lbs. of gear on the trail. There might be some good info here for camping during a bike trip. This stuff would easily fit in a daypack, tank or pillion bag for a bike camping tour. I'm also used to just pulling off the road anywhere that looks nice for the night. Just forget about campsites, reservations, nonsense. -but I'm up here in Canada, where that option works better than in other parts of the world...
 

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