Going camping with your motorcycle? This guide will make sure you fit everything you need to have a great camping experience.

Nothing allows you to pack up and go like a motorcycle. They get great gas mileage and allow you to take a minimalist approach to your camping trip. In fact, the only downfall of taking a motorcycle camping is that you lose space when packing. With this guide, I will look at all the things that will allow you to maximize space on your bike to make sure your trip goes as planned. I will look at:

  • The types of storage compartments your bike can have and how to pick the right one
  • Easy to pack items that offer the maximum bang for the space they take up
  • Tips to remember when choosing to camp with your bike

1. Storage and Luggage on your motorcycle

Motorcycles offer a wide variety of storage options when it comes to packing up to go. These range from a simple saddle bag to decking out every possible place you can hang something on a bike. I will explore some of your options to make sure you can carry everything you need.

Saddle Bag

These come in a soft and hard shell variety and fasten to the side of your bike. One of the most common ways to carry items on a bike, these are a must have if you are going camping with your motorcycle. They offer unmatched space and are easy to install.

Sissy Bar or Tail Bag

This is a large bag that can attach to the backrest of your bike. Having one of these ups your cargo capacity, and they are available in hardshell, as well as soft case format.

Bar Bag

A small bag that attaches to your handlebars, this would be perfect for all the little items that are a must have during a camping trip.

Tank Bag

Attaching to the top of your gas tank as you might have guessed, this will allow storing somewhat larger items, though it doesn’t have the capacity of saddlebags or tail bags.

Fender Bag

The smallest of all the attachable bags, this bag doesn’t add much storage space. Could be used as an emergency storage case for valuables.

Bags are not the only way to carry things on your motorcycle. You could also spend the money to get a nice pull behind trailer. In fact, if you want to go all out, there are even campers that you can get for your bike. All of the trailers also allow you to store an extra bag on the front part of the trailer itself.


This trailer will not have a cover on it. While this will allow you a little more freedom to try and pack everything that you will need, you will lose the protection that a trailer with a hardshell cover offers. You could use a tarp to cover your belongings, but if you encounter severe weather, a tarp will provide limited coverage.


Covered trailers are made in a variety of materials including aluminum, fiberglass, and plastic. Sturdy and able to withstand strong rains, the loss of flexibility in packing is made up for in added durability.

Pull Behind Camper

The two above trailers are designed for cargo, but why not bring a camper right on your motorcycle? Specially designed, pull behind campers allow you to have a tent where ever you ride.

If you pack appropriately, then you will be sure to have an easy time in the outdoors with this handy trailer. They allow you to pack items inside while in the fold down position. When you open them up, expect to sleep anywhere from two to four people.

2. Items fit for Motorcycle Camping

The challenge of having significantly less space can be daunting, but luckily there are items designed to be as space efficient as possible. There are variations of tents, sleeping rolls and other items that are made just for bikers.


There are tents designed with your bike in mind. With a small covered area where your bike can rest, they usually sleep two. If you have another cover for your bike, then I would recommend a tent that is designed for backpacking.

It may lack the amenities of larger tents, but will allow for you to save vital space in your packing and can sleep more then the motorcycle tent, if needed.

Cook Stove

Be on the look out for an all in one, nesting cook stove. With this variety of stove, you will be able to save space because it will contain your pot, burner, and fuel, all in one small canister. This is the most efficient combination, but there are other types of cook stoves including;


All in one pressurized fuel canister stove. Small and convenient, just make sure you bring enough fuel canisters.

Liquid Fuel

Larger than the canister stove, a liquid fuel stove is perfect for cooking larger meals. Its fuel supply will also last longer than the canister stove, in most cases.


Light and easy to pack, alcohol stoves are excellent for space efficiency. With slow cooking times and less efficient fuel, they will not give you the cooking power of others on this list.

Solid State

Using solid fuel pellets to derive heat, these stoves burn hot but tend to burn fast as well. Make sure you have enough fuel pellets, or you’ll be eating cold food during your trip.


If you are camping in the woods you’ll never have to worry about fuel with this kind of stove. Just hope it doesn’t rain. Otherwise, you will have a very hard time getting a fire going.

Ground Cover

Since you will be utilizing your tent a lot, make sure that you have something to put underneath it to keep the floor of your tent in prime shape. One angry root or rock is all it takes to turn your shelter into swiss cheese, so take care of it.

Motorcycle Tool Kit

you should be taking this on any ride, but you will especially want a complete toolkit as you will be relying on your bike as your sole mode of transportation. Some useful items to include;

Travel Socket and Wrench Set

If you have any actual mechanical repairs to do, you will be happy you have this with you.

Fix a Flat Kit

Nothing will slow you down like a flat tire. Until you can get a permanent replacement, this temporary solution will at least get you to a town in the case of a manageable puncture.

Work Gloves

Nobody wants to be repairing their bike on the road, but if that is the situation you’re in, a sturdy pair of gloves will keep your hands from getting damaged and allow you to handle hot parts.


A good multi-tool is handy in any situation, and this is no exception.

First Aid Kit

I’ve talked about the importance of having a first aid kit in other articles, and I feel it’s something I should reinforce here.

Duct Tape

Great to have along for a multitude of situations, including hose leaks.

Portable Air Compressor

This will come in handy to make sure that your bike’s tires are at the right pressure level. It will also help out if your tire develops a puncture that is slowly losing air.

3. How To Pack

So, now you have everything you could need for your trip, but how do you pack it? There are a couple of ways to save space, allowing you to bring everything you need.

Roll Your Clothes

Sounds simple enough, but doing this will maximize your ability to fit clothes in a small space.

Vacuum Pack

If you pick up a vacuum packer, it will allow you to suck out all the extra air that is just taking up space in your luggage. This can also come in the form of a compression bag, which allows you to release any excess air out through a valve.


When packing a motorcycle, balance is key. You do not want to load your bike unevenly as it can create a hard to handle the bike. Distribute weight equally to make sure that you are not causing unnecessary wear on your tires or brakes.


You have to be neat and tidy when packing for a motorcycle camping trip. If you just throw everything together, most likely you will not fit everything. If you do manage to fit it all, you will be losing things. Packing smaller totes of like items and then place those in larger bags.

Pack Light

Just because you can fit it, doesn’t mean you should provide it. The more efficiently you pack your bike, the better it will handle the light load. Make sure you have what you need and plan a route that will allow you to make stops on the way to resupply.

Easy Access

Your tank bag is the easiest to access while on the ride, so pack things that you will be utilized more often. It is a safe place for your wallet, a LED light or any other items that are handy to be able to get to easily.

4) General Tips

As with any camping trip, there are certain precautions that you should take to make sure that your motorcycle camping trip is a successful one.

Plan for the Weather

Pertinent in any situation, but especially when you will be exposed as you travel, make sure you bring the right gear for your trip. If there is a chance it’s going to be cold, then make sure you have the gear for it. A good pair of warm gloves and a jacket that meets the demands of your trip will make it an enjoyable one.

Plan Your Route

Whether you are a meticulous planner or a fly by the seat of your pants road warrior, it is a good idea to know which campsites you’ll be staying at. Is there electricity? What is the water situation? Knowing these things will let you ride at ease.

Be Safe

I shouldn’t have to tell you this, but wear a helmet and the proper riding gear. Don’t let one nasty spill end your trip or result in something far worse

Clean Up

If you like to camp in the outdoors, make sure you help keep it clean. Bring out what you take in and bring some plastic bags. Not only can you keep things dry in them, but you can also bag up any garbage you create.

If you like to camp in the outdoors, make sure you help keep it clean. Bring out what you take in and bring some plastic bags. Not only can you keep things dry in them, but you can also bag up any garbage you create.

    Alison Lawrence

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