The ultimate motorcycle camping gear list! At the bottom of this gear list download the PDF or spreadsheets to customize it to your own needs.
There is nothing better than camping in a beautiful spot after a day in the saddle.
I have been motorcycle camping for the past ten years. From weekends away at motorcycle meetups to year-long expeditions circumnavigating the world.
There is a common misconception that camping must but uncomfortable. But with the right equipment, there nights camping can be the most memorable nights.
Let's get into it.
Essential motorcycle camping equipment
- Sleeping mattress
- Sleeping mat
- Cooking set
Motorcycle Camping Gear List
1. Motorcycle Riding Gear
- Helmet - Read my Quietest Helmets article
- Helmet communication
- Balaclava (Warm in winter/wicks sweat in summer)
- Riding Jacket
- Riding Pants
- Summer gloves
- Winter gloves
- Glove Liners
- Body armor
- MX Shirt (For hot climates/off-road riding with body armor underneath)
- Rain jacket
- Rain pants
- Rain boot covers
- Rain overalls (Combination of rain pants and jacket)
- Back protection
- Kidney belt (Stops your insides vibrating around)
- Knee Braces
- Sweat-wicking riding shirt
- Earplugs (So you don't go deaf)
- Hydration pack (Drink while riding, stay hydrated helps fatigue and makes it safer)
2. Motorcycle Camping Bike Prep
- Panniers (Soft luggage)
- Tank bag
- Roll top
- Bungee cords
- Tie down straps
- Cargo net
- Bike lock
- Bike cover
3. Motorcycle Tool kit
- Motorcycle tool roll
- Latex gloves
- Owner’s manual paper or digital version (Download the official manual for BMW R1250 GS/GSA)
- Toolkit - This will depend on your bike
- Tire repair tools
- Tubeless plug kit
- Patch kit
- Spare tubes
- Tire removal tools
- Tire irons
- Air compressor and or Co2 inflators
- Valve tool
- Tire Glue
- Tire pressure gauge
- Chain Oil
- Motor oil
- Spare bulbs
- Spare fuses
- An assortment of nuts and bolts
- Electrical wire
- Duct tape
- Zip ties
- Liquid metal
- Roadside safety vest and/or visibility items if needed where you ride
- Any spare parts that are likely to be consumed or brake on your trip (Bike specific)
- Siphon Tube
- Repair kits
- Sewing kit
- tent pole brace
- Tent fabric repair kit
- Soft luggage repair kit
- Sleeping mat repair kit
4. Motorcycle Camping Gear
- Tent groundsheet/Tarp
- Sleeping bag
- Sleeping bag liner (Good for hot and cold climates)
- Sleeping mat
- Mosquito net
- Camp chair
- Water bottle (Or use hydration pack)
- Water storage container
- Water purification (Gravity feed filter and purification tablets)
- Camp knife (Or use multi-tool)
- Headlamp or flashlight (and a backup)
- Floodlight (12V LED strip positioned on a high position)
5. Motorcycle Camping Cooking Gear
- Camp Stove
- Fuel for the camp stove
- Camping stove wind blocker
- Cooking pots and pans
- Plates and bowls
- Cutlery (spoon, fork, and knife, or spork)
- Cooking utensils (spatula, spoon)
- Chopping board
- Dish soap
- Garbage bag
- Pot scrubber
- Paper towels
- Food storage bags (resealable)
- Cooking grill
- Coffee/espresso maker
- Can opener
- Bottle opener
- Portable Sink
- Sink stopper
6. Motorcycle Camping Clothing Packlist
- Sun hat
- Rain jacket and pants or poncho
- Quick-drying pants
- Quick drying shorts
- Moisture-wicking short and long sleeve shirts
- Warm gloves
- Off bike hiking shoes or boots
- Warm sweater
- Warm hat
7. Personal Items
- Travel toiletry bag with mirror
- Prescription Glasses
- Contact lenses (Case and cleaning solution)
- Toilet Paper
- Toothbrush and toothpaste
- Lip Balm
- Liquid Soap
- Cleaning wipes
- Hand sanitizer
- Toothbrush and Toothpaste
- Microfiber towel
- Insect repellant
- Backup keys
8. Travel Documents
- Memberships (AAA, national park pass, etc),
- Photo Photo ID
- Drivers license
- Vehicle registration
- Money in cash
- Credit cards
- Debit Cards
- Backup list of phone numbers
- Carnet de passage
- Document folder
- Copies of original documents
- Fake documents for corrupt officials (Read my article on Border crossing Tips and Tricks – Corruption and Scams )
- Mobile phone
- Motorcycle specific apps (Read my article on Motorcycle Apps)
- Camera (with memory cards)
- Memory cards
- Chargers for devices
- Backup disk
- Emergency location device (Spot/InReach)
- Extra batteries
- Mace/pepper spray
- Bear Spray
- Extendable Batten
- GPS Tracker
- Quickdraw blade
Check the legality in of these items in where you ride. The extendable batten is the only one I know of that is legal in most countries. In Africa, I had a machete (Everyone did there) quick draw blade and sometimes pepper spray.
- Packsafe net
- Packsafe wire
- Lockable panniers
- Combination padlocks
- Bike Lock
- Bike Cover
12. Motorcycle First Aid Kit
- Emergency blanket
- First-Aid Kit
I have a pretty comprehensive list of the medication and first aid products for long motorcycle trips. I built it with the help of a doctor and the Swiss tropical institute in Zurich Switzerland.
But as I am not a doctor, I don't feel like I have the right to make recommendations regarding someone else's health. If you want more information, email me. I will send you a link to a recommended first aid kit developed by two doctors that have traveled extensively with a motorcycle.
Some tips after getting typhoid and malaria, breaking ribs, getting stung by a scorpion. Then self medivac out of Cambodia after a dirtbike accident and much much more:
- Most medication can be brought on the road, and it's often cheaper.
- Make sure you have extra prescriptions from your doctor at hand.
- Get good travel insurance. Read read read your travel insurance. I have learned the hard way.
- Get your shots before you travel. Do this well in advance as you may need a few
- Download and fill out the Motorcycle First Aid card in the resource section below.
13 Gear for Africa - My Personal Motorcycle Camping Gear List
Here is a YouTube video I filmed in Ghana west Africa. I go through all the gear I took, the things I needed and things I wished I left at home.
Here's my gear list:
Links to Amazon.com
- Camping Chair
- MSR Hubba Hubba NX 2 Tent
- MSR Hubba Hubba Tent Footprint
- Therm-a-Rest NeoAir Mattress
- SteriPen Adventurer Opti UV Water Purifier
- Klim Traverse Jacket
- Klim Traverse Pants
- Sidi Adventure 2 Boots
- Schuberth C3 Helmet
- BMW Rally Gloves
- Dainese Body Armor
Guide to Preparing for Motorcycle Camping
The best way to know what you need is to go camping for a night or two.
Only then will you really know what YOU need and as important what you don't need.
I use the rule (Excluding tools and medication) If you don't use it within a month on the road, you don't need it. This cuts down the inventory quickly and efficiently.
Often, one item has many uses. A good example (And pretty obvious) is a multi-tool, you can use it to eat, fix your bike, open that can. No need to pack a knife, or pliers. Another example is a rope, you can tow the bike or be a washing line.
It sounds obvious, but go over each of your items and consider if you can do without as something else could do the same job.
Some say the best part of the trip is planning and dreaming about it. I don't agree but I can understand, its a lot of fun.
Motorcycle Packing Tips
A simple and effective tip is to lay outlay out all your gear and a half it. It may sound brutal but you and your bike will be forever grateful.
Depending on where you ride, most essentials can be brought on the road. There is no need to take extra shirts when you can hand wash them or buy a cheap one at any supermarket. Only the bike specific gear should be purchased beforehand.
Try getting a rear tire for an R1200 GS in Ghana West Africa… Trust me, it's hard.
When packing, organize your items by value, cleanliness/smell, and weight
Weight: Pack all heavy item at the bottom of the luggage system. This gives you better motorcycle handling (More on that later) and moves the center of gravity lower. Packing heavy items at the bottom cant crush food and lighter more fragile gear.
Value: Pack fragile items like computers between cloths and not in panniers, one crash and your believed computer could be damaged.
Depending on the item, more expensive or important items should be packed where they are harder to access, this could stop opportunist thefts.
I built two secret compartments on my bike, one was for money and backup fake documents. Just be careful not to put them under the battery or your stash of money may erode away if the battery leaks. It's happened before.
It's advised that valuables are well packaged and in a waterproof bag. Vacuum packed kitchen bags work well for this.
Cleanliness/smell: Dedicate one drybag to your cooker and tools. Once aggressive smells impregnate into the get it's extremely hard to remove.
The Danger of Overloading a Motorcycle
Overloading your bike can be outright dangerous. Motorcycles are built to tight tolerances and if you research a bit, you will find that most bikes have a max load bearing the weight of 10KG per pannier.
This is including the weight of the pannier and most weigh around 4-5kg.
That gives you only 5 kg to pack.
Most people will exceed this limit, just be sure to confirm with your bike manufacturer or read the documentation to know the limitations of the sub-frame and max load bearing weight.
Adding excess weight to the bike can drastically affect the handling and cause the rider to lose control that can cause injuries or worse. Read the owners manual for your bike and find out the max payload for your specify bike.
Add weight gradually and ride to confirm the weight don't affect the handling of the motorcycle. Adding to much weight at the rear can offset the balance of the bike and case speed wobbles. Tests braking, full motion of controls, and optimize tire pressure.
Don't overload your motorcycle!
What is the Best Tent for Motorcycle Camping?
Shameless plug. The best tent for motorcycle camping is the ADV Tent from Lone Rider. It's a two person tent specifically designed for motorcycle travel.
I designed and manufactured this tent. It has been developed from all my experience from thousands of nights camping built into it. From breaking down on the road, to security to storage and traveling in a variety of climates, this tent is the swiss army knife of motorcycle camping tents.
To check out all the features, check out the product page for the Lone Rider ADV Motorcycle Tent
Also, I have written a post about the Best Motorcycle Tent
Best Motorcycle for Camping?
Getting straight to the point, any motorcycle is the best for motorcycle camping. You don't need the latest or greatest bike, and you definitely don't need to spend a lot on money.
But if you want to know my picks, check out my article Best Adventure Motorcycle.
Motorcycle Camping Gear Starter Set
If you are just getting your toes wet and don't want to fork out to much cash, this is a motorcycle camping starter set to get you going at cheaply and comfortably.
Links go to Amazon.com
Motorcycle Camping gear
8.6lb - 3.9kg
3.5lb - 1.5kg
14.5oz - 0.41kg
3.4oz - 100g
4oz - 113g
1.2lb - 0.54kg
1.6oz - 725g
15.6lb - 7.2kg
Resources and Downloads
Motorcycle Camping Checklist PDF
Microsoft Excel Checklist Download
The above list is not what you must take, but rather all the item you could take.
As I said at the start the best way to know what to pack is to start with the basics and add thoughtfully. Go on a short trip and test out what are must haves and nice to haves.
Weight and space is an issue when motorcycle camping and the less weight and clutter the better.
Download the motorcycle camping gear list and customize it to your needs. Enjoy the adventure and leave a comment with your MUST HAVE when motorcycle camping.
See you around the campfire!
Rider, designer, and hustler. Adventurer and vagabond. Beer connoisseur. Conqueror of Africa, a survivor of bandits and anti-malaria crusader. I have been on the road for 15 years, traveling to far-flung lands on bike, horse or backpacking. Today, running a number of online ventures in the motorcycle industry. – Currently, Traveling in Asia.