Iron Roamer, Brian Thiessen, tenting at the KOA campsite in St. Petersburg Florida.

19 Items to Take Motorcycle Camping.

Thinking of Motorcycle Camping?

Below are the 19 camping items I am taking on my round the world motorcycle adventure, and one item I am surprisingly not taking!

Unless you are wealthy, camping is a necessity when riding around the world on a motorcycle. North America, Western Europe, Australia and New Zealand, are all too expensive to exclusively stay in hotels or even hostels. Couch surfing is an option, but this may not be readily available.

In many other countries, the only option is camping. And numerous motorcycle adventurists prefer to stay out of the cities and ride the roads less traveled in secluded areas of the country. They want to camp!

Regardless, taking camping equipment along on is essential on a ride of this magnitude. Here is my list:

1. Big Agnes Fly Creek UL1 Ultralight Trail Tent

I love this tent. It is feather light, packs up small, and it is free standing. While it isn’t huge (dah), I sleep comfortably in it along with the clothes and toiletries I will need the next day. For hotter climates you can remove the waterproof tarp and sleep under the mesh body to keep cool.

Best of all is the service of Big Agnes. While doing my 6 month motorcycle trip around the USA I broke the mesh zipper when crawling out one morning. I emailed Big Agnes and they responded right away – the first hallmark of quality service.  They told me to send it in and they would repair it free of charge, and send it back to me in 2 weeks. An awesome offer, but this wasn’t going to work out too well as I was riding from city to city and needed my tent to make the trip affordable. The free repair job would cost me a lot in hotels. After explaining my situation, Big Agnes, without hesitation, told me to tell then where I would be at in a week and they would send me a new one! It worked out perfectly! Service like this is a rarity. I have lots of stories where brands haven’t really cared about me as their customer.

A great product and outstanding service has made me a Big Agnes loyal customer!

2. A Mountain Equipment Co-op random sleeping bag – what?!

One of my philosophies for this trip was to take what I have and spend money on the trip rather than on equipment.  I have this sleeping bag that I have no idea where I got it from. I took it on my 6 month USA motorcycle trip and it was fine. So I am not buying a new one.

3. Thermarest  NeoAir XLite air mattress

This is another camping product that is light and packs up small. But it still takes the edge away from sleeping on the bare ground. I used it for 6 months on my USA trip and it is still keeping the air.

 4. Helinox Chair One

I have never used this product before. When bush camping, it is a lot nicer to have someplace to sit rather than lying on the ground or in the tent. So I decided to splurge and purchase a chair. Light weight, small and durable were musts. Not sure how much I will use it though. I’ll let you know how it turns out.

5. Mountain Equipment Co-op Silicone Scout 2.9m x 2.1m tarp

Another bit of a luxury item. But I found it was useful on several occasions during my USA trip. I used it as a ground sheet for my tent, as a tarp over my tent for extra protection against torrential rain, to wrap around items in the tent vestibule for added protection, to cover a rip that developed in my motorcycle cover, and as a tarp to sit under outside. At only 515 grams, it is light and packs small.

6. A Pillow Case

While I am taking a pillow case, I am not taking a pillow. I fill the pillow case with a clothing bag or my packsack and use that as a pillow. Saves some space while giving me the illusion of a pillow 🙂

7. Nalgene Travel Toiletry Bag & Contents

One thing I learned on my USA test trip was that a traditional cardboard toiletry bag wrapped in simulated leather just doesn’t stand up for adventure travel. So I thought I would give this a try.

Inside I have the usual hygiene products – toothpaste, toothbrush, dental floss, Gillette Fusion shaver and blades, shave cream, brush, deodorant, soap, shampoo, nail clippers, scissors, Vaseline, and some medications.

8. Black Diamond headlamp

This has been good to me over the years and very practicable. Like everything I purchase, it is light and small.

9. Clothes pegs

Just 4. Sometimes you just need them to keep clothes in places when drying them.

10. Mountain Equipment Co-op light weight cord

Cord comes in handy to tie up things, tie down things, tie things together (you get it) and to use as a clothes line.

11. Seattle Sports Solar Camp Shower

Ok . . . let the mocking begin! We all have our needs and luxury items we want to take. I need to have a shower, or at least have a good bathing at the start of each day. I hate just wiping my body down. I don’t like the feeling. So I need to be near a lake, river, shower, tap, shower, bath tub, or something like that. Wet wipes just won’t due. Soooooo I’m going to try this for when there just isn’t anything else. It is light and small. I actually have never used it yet. I’ll let you know how it turns out in my gear reviews.

12. MSR Dromedary 2 litre water bag

This has multiple uses. Water for my shower ha ha. Water to drink. And if need be, emergency gasoline.

13. Bath Towel

This is made mostly of polyester and as usual, is light and packs small.

14. Thermos

Something to keep fluids cold or hot. The top also acts as a cup and has a small spoon in it.

15 Titanium Spork

A light weight spoon, fork and sort of knife all in one.

16. Swiss Huntsman Army knife

I’ve had this knife for longer than I remember. Mostly handy as a beer bottle opener! I don’t like cans.

17. Coghlan’s Can opener

For reasons that will become apparent, I need a can opener. I saw the tiniest one I have ever seen at Mountain Equipment Co-op. I need to test it out. I’ll let you know how it works in my gear reviews.

18. Collapsible Food Storage container

A nice little container for food that collapses almost flat.

19. Last but not least – toilet paper.

The 1 Camping Item I am NOT Taking!

You’ve probably noticed one glaring omission from my list. That’s right, I am not taking a camping stove. Not am I taking anything that goes along with it, like pots, utensils, and spices.

So what am I going to cook with?

I’m not!

One thing I have noticed attending various motorcycle and overland traveler events is that if you are into mechanics, you take enough tools to rebuild the engine; if you are into first aid, you take enough supplies to do open heart surgery; and if you are into cooking, you the supplied to cook a five course turkey meal. Of course I am exaggerating here, but you get the point.

I just don’t want to spend the time cooking and cleaning up after. Plain and simple. Plus if I take a burner and cooking supplies I won’t have enough room for my shower!You were thinking that.

When I wake up in the morning, the last things I want to do it get a burner out and make coffee or breakfast. Once I am up I am impatient to get on the road. After an hour of riding I am ready to stop for some coffee and breakfast at some local spot. And for dinner I don’t want to cook something. I am tired and just want to read and go to bed.

I would much rather eat at a restaurant, relax and people watch.

So what do if I am in the bush, or camping and no restaurant is near-by?

I make sure I am prepared with ready to eat food that I can dig into. It maybe bread and spread, or yogurt, a can of beans, fruit, or whatever else I have packed. I also carry emergency meal replacement bars should I find myself stranded.

I know this sounds gross to many of you. If you like the hot meal under the stars, or a cup of coffee first thing in the morning, then go for it! This works for me and saves me space.

My travel philosophy is to do what fulfills your adventure dreams. Don’t let anyone else tell you what is “right” or “wrong.” It is your adventure. Check out my travel philosophy page.

There you have it, 18 things I am taking camping and 1 thing I’m not. I’ll let you know how it works out and review everything in my gear review page.

Happy camping.

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