Motorcycle camping or putting up in your choice of Motels, B&B's, Hostels or couch surfing by way of friends or one of the many forums that list space for traveling bikers are the two basic Road lodging options for riders that are Motorcycle Touring.
Each has its own merits and liabilities.
The two major attributes of Touring by Motel is weather and cargo load.
No matter what the weather might be, you can look forward to a warm, dry bed, and a hot shower at the end of the days ride. If your Motorcycle touring goes from motel to motel, all you need do is fill your saddlebags with sufficient clothes for the trip, put your credit card in your pocket, fuel the tank and ride.
Hell, if you're flush enough you don't even need to pack much in the way of clothing. Just buy what you need new along the way!
Motorcycle camping on the other hand requires a good bit of preparation. The Key to a successful run is that old, worn, slang term... the 7 P's... P-roper P-rior P-reparation P-revents P-iss P-oor P-erformance!
Why a rider should bother with all the effort is a more difficult thing to pencil out.
The draw of camping with your bike is one of those more subjective things that's hard to put into words. For a lot of riders there is no attraction at all. The idea of not having a hot shower every night, having to walk through the rain, in the dark, in the middle of the night... to an outhouse is a deal breaker.
For others, like myself, listening to the gentle rattle of a light rain on the canvas in the middle of that same night, and the simple act of brewing my coffee in the chill of a breaking dawn, in a quiet camp, the fresh scent of the air out there in open country... somewhere along the Alcan... or in an Idaho County park is a simple, fulfilling pleasure I can't describe except to say; "If I have to explain the pleasure I find in Motorcycle camping, you won't understand." ;)
The first thing I can say about getting outfitted for Motorcycle camping is; This is another of those times you really need to know where you're goin', how long, and HOW you really want to roll.
The second thing I'll say is; This is NOT the time to be stingy. Buy the best equipment you can find the cash to load on your bike.
rate, discount equipment might have you leaving with more coin left in
your pocket... but you won't be quite so happy when your savings leaves you with that junk tent collapsed in the wind, and cheap gear leaking in the rain... splitting its low quality seams in the middle of nowhere in the Sierras... or leaving your breakfast half cooked when the junk stove blew up after using it twice.
Cutting corners on your Motorcycle camping equipment is no savings.
Setting up a quality outfit to go Motorcycle camping is going to cost a good bit of cash. Setting up with junk is going to cost you more in the long run, as well as the lost opportunities that junk equipment will consume.
If you want to give it a try, but are unsure if it's something you truly want to pursue I'd look into renting or borrowing the gear you'll need, before you drop a lot of coin on buying all the necessary hardware.
There are a lot of different ways to go and renting camping gear at REI or some other shop, or borrowing from riding friends that are already equipped will save you a lot of money and heartburn as you work out what sort of outfit you want for yourself.
Plus, their experience and knowledge will be invaluable not only in choosing what gear to acquire but also how to secure it on your bike as you tailor your own personal outfit.
Without knowing those facts... It's gonna be almighty hard to set up the outfit that is going to suit your yondering in any sort of a proper way long term... and there's no limit to the variations a person can make to their Motorcycle Camping 'way of going'.
You might camp six nights and motel one. If you're young and strong... I can see you wandering for weeks at a time, Motorcycle Camping every night. Plenty of State and National campgrounds have shower setups for Camping Travelers... not to mention KOA type private campgrounds.
If you're a bit more 'weathered'... camping half of the time, on a long trip... and using a motel the rest of the week... to catch up on hot showers and laundry, and soft mattresses, strikes a sweet note with me... Though... weeks in the woods still rings sweet as well... What can I say... I'm fickle!
The point is... before you can do the job of setting up your Motorcycle Camping outfit... you really need to spend a goodly bit of time... pondering just what it is you want to do.
Do it right the first time and you'll reap the rewards on a ribbon of highway.
It might help if you break your thinking up into the assorted "Rooms" of your Motorcycle Touring "House".
***I am in the midst of a major rebuild/reorganization of my sites. (June '13). each of these categories should be gaining articles over the coming weeks*
A Motorcycle Touring Road House
Misc. Camp Furniture and Accessories
A Trail Chair is perfect for Motorcycle Camping
Put a Good Motorcycle Sleeping Bag in Your Tent
Motorcycle Boots that Function Well and Fit Your Style
*Update* Three Years of Motorcycle Boots
Motorcycle Chaps... a part of My obedience to ATGATT
The Nolan N103 - A top notch Modular Style Motorcycle Helmet
***An Update on my Nolan N103 after three years of riding
Your Motorcycle Jacket - Style and Function
Protective Motorcycle Clothing... Yes or No?
Winter Riding Gear (Cold Weather Gear)
Motorcycle Overalls for Winter Riding that Save You Money Too
Motorcycle Rain Gear to Keep You Dry and Riding!
A couple more Ideas about Hygiene while Camping
Hunting down a New Camping Stove
MC Hobby Shop
MC Tool Shed
MC Mobile Garage
Return from Motorcycle Camping to Motorcycle Touring on Freedom Road