Few machines are as liberating as a motorcycle. With the right bike and riding skills, you can go where angels fear to tread, and have non-stop fun doing it.
With serious mobility, you can find yourself far from the crowd and in the midst of nature and its splendor. You also will probably find yourself far from the ho-hum motel rooms, tourist cabins, other campers or other facilities that constrain typical motorbike travelers.
You have chosen the road less traveled and that means you have your ultra-lightweight domicile aboard your bike.Thing is, even the best camping gear can come up short in performance if the campsite is stacked against it.
Here are some things to keep in mind when picking your campsite for the night—or longer.
Elevate, Baby, Elevate!
To the extent possible, keep your site higher than the surrounding ground—atop a gentle knoll, for example.
This makes it a lot easier to keep rainwater flowing away from your tent instead of ponding up around or under it.
Think twice about pitching your tent down in creek beds that could be prone to flash floods. Storms miles away that put no rain on your tent could put in the middle of a raging torrent.
Finding or creating a smooth base for under the tent makes camping much more comfortable. Search for ground that’s void of any rocks or roots. Sometimes this is impossible, so spend the time making the ground level or removing any rocks or sticks from your proposed tent area.
On the Level
Find ground as level as possible. But if your choices force the use of a sloping site, situate the tent so your head will lie uphill and your feet downhill in your sleeping position.
On Solid Ground
Being able to keep the bike close is a great feature, such as in the case of the MotoTent, but soft ground or sandy soil conditions that side or center stands can sink into can cause problems if the bike falls over in the middle of the night.
If conditions warrant, augment the side or center stand location to prevent their sinking in. Carrying a couple of small squares of plywood can be very useful for this.
Be a Little Shady
If you plan strictly an overnight stay with early morning saddle time, finding shade may not be a big factor. But if you plan to keep the campsite for a day or two, using available natural shade can help keep your tent cool.
If nothing is available, your own shade cover is a handy thing to have, which can be made out of a tarp. Also, when you pitch among trees, take a look at the trees around you. Dead tree tops crashing down have killed campers, sometimes even in areas without high winds.
On Dangerous Ground
Some terrain may look inviting with soaring escarpments and breathtaking views, but they can present dangers, as well.
Avoid areas with evidence of or potential for rock falls, landslides, tide waters and other naturally occurring hazards.
Odd as it may sound, even the back country can have man-made hazards as well from mining, mineral exploration, logging and other past or present operations.
Water, Water Everywhere...But at the Campsite
Depending on the locale you intend to ride into, the availability of water is a consideration.
On a properly-equipped ADV bike you can bring along a fair amount of H2O for drinking and cooking. But whether it’s enough is reason to think about water sources near your camp sites. Make sure to boil water, and bring purification tabs to kill any harmful bacteria.
Keep the Campfire Burning
If fuel is not available, or ground conditions are wet or even slightly damp, lighting a fire can be tough. It may be necessary to consider packing alternatives to make a campfire, or a compact cooking stove.
If sites on your route include a fire ring or pit, so much the better. But if not, creating a stone fire ring or other containment to make sure your fire stays put is essential.
Keep your tent far enough away from the fire to avoid putting it at risk from burning embers and catching a lot of smoke on the wind. When you break camp, always make sure the fire is dead out—no glowing embers should remain when you leave.
In established park or camping areas, know and follow the rules for campfires. If prevailing weather conditions have caused imposition of a burning ban, observe it.
Leave the Wildlife—On Their Terms
In the wild, you are a guest in the house of local wildlife, which may include meddlesome little interlopers like squirrels, chipmunks, rabbits, and raccoons, along with residents that should command your respect (but not blind, unreasoning fear) such as the wolf, wolverine, bobcat, mountain lion, bear, moose, deer and so on.
Do a little research on who’s likely to be home when you visit and know how to get along; and we don’t mean trying to get close enough for a selfie, attempting to pet or touch and never feeding wild animals where you may encounter them.
Keeping food in your tent is a bad idea; keeping it in sealed containers, elevated, hanging out of reach from a tree limb a way out of camp will keep any stray food scents from bringing local wildlife into your tent. In areas where venomous snakes are common, be alert to their presence.
Of the campsite, that is. Look for a site with enough room for your bike to maneuver easily and for gear you may want to unload and keep outside the tent, as well as with plenty of room for the tent itself and walk-around room outside the tent.
Find a site that addresses all of our top-10 tips and you’ll have a comfortable—and more enjoyable—motorcycle camping trip. Ride safe and see the world!Start prepping for your next Motorcycle Adventure with www.lonerider-motorcycle.com
- September 23, 2017
- Frederic SCHEFFER