Adventure Motorcycle Camping Gear
Initial Post - 25th June
Months of refinement...pretty much packed, it all started with last year's list, adding and replacing a selection of items, removing some that were overkill.
Over time, we've selected and acquired better gear. A mixture of watching reviews, trial (and error), it soon becomes apparent that you get what you pay for. Certain there are cheaper variations, possibly some that improve on space-saving; it's important to note, however, that a degree of comfort after 400 miles in the saddle is worth every penny, especially when there's another 400 miles planned for the following day!
Great to bring the GS in over night, though it's also having the space to stand, hang gear from the bike, as well as shelter from the weather in relative comfort - practical reasons for the extra space the Redverz takes up. Of course, there are smaller tents and we'd be tempted if guaranteed dry sunny days...
Adding a small table to the excellent Helinox Chair, neither item takes up much space. Hammering tent pegs home with the shovel, a hatchet comes in handy around camp also. Weight being less of an issue on a large adventure bike, we can thoroughly recommend both. Still room enough for a ground sheet, small brush and good high vis vest.
All of the above (except the tent poles - stored on the offside) sit comfortably in the larger GS pannier.
Alternative options to the Jetfoil include the MSR system...both receive good reviews and we've had no problems with the former. Supplementing the Flash with the Pot and utensils should hopefully enable a little more versatility this year.
Light my Fire's Mare knife is great and simple to use when prepping items, along with a trusted Spork. Stored around the Redverz tent poles (that sit diagonally), the rest of the pannier is supplemented with provisions, campfire, water storage and washing consumables. There's even room for a spare shield / visor.
Sleep! Whilst it may seem overkill to some, the Helinox cots get you off the ground and guarantee a good night's rest. Sure, the inflatable alternatives pack smaller and keep you warm...great if you're hiking and can't manage the extra bulk. However, they're noisy, bouncy and better suited to floating in a swimming pool! For the comfort they ensure, the cots pack down small enough and I've supplemented mine with an insulation layer that reduces heat loss beneath.
Snugpak specialise in a range of sleeping bags that pack a lot smaller than most. Crazily, not even North Face and Mountain Hardwear come close in terms of compressed sizes. Hopefully a zero degrees bag will prove sufficient in this year's colder climates; we've supplemented with thermal and silk liners to stay on the safe side.
Packing these items in the duffel, along with a clothes, thermals, wash kit, microfibre, shoes and a pair of convertible pants; it's easy and simple to grab this bag and throw it to one side, brining inside when the tent and camp are set-up...nothing needs to be accessed until you're out of the elements and in the dry. For overnights if staying in a hotel, cabin or alternative accommodation, it's a single bag...everything else can pretty much stay on the bike, save for a few higher value items like a pair of shades or the means to charge devices at night.
QUICK & EASY ACCESS TO:
Replenishing power to phones, intercoms, torches, etc, a USB chargable battery sits up front, plugged into the dashboard power outlet whilst riding. A simple solution, no longer loitering in restaurants and cafes with numerous multiple travel adaptors & usb splitters. Sitting in the bar or tank bag, it works, supplemented with other 'easy-access' items such as cellphones, passports or cash.
A number of other bespoke bags sit around the bike. Working on the principle that the contents, whilst vulnerable, is largely replaceable, we are generally happy to walk away from the bikes for a bite to eat without worrying too much.
Up front on the crash bar bags, ready access to bug repellants, ratchet straps, wipes and other items for doing like bear's do! In the tank bag / pannier top bags; along with fresh water, a torch, baseball cap, shades, hemet locks, snacks, headache tablets, suncream - theres still room to store a pullover, buff, alternate gloves and even a small usb speaker for some fireside tunes!
So all cleaned, reordered and packed down, what worked and what didn't? There are only three items I'd seriously debate / lose.
First and foremost is the Redverz tent. My third year of use, it's an outstanding piece of kit and affords the opportunity to secure the bike and to stand up inside an enormous vestibule area, however....size is everything... and it's a monster, both up, and packed away.
We opted to store the tent, inner, ground sheet and pegs in the larger GS pannier (it takes up around two thirds of the useable space); poles however, are too large to fit anywhere easily; mine were placed diagonally in the smaller pannier, PP opting to split them inside his duffel.
This is the key criticism. A couple of extra breaks and the pole lengths could be reduced to sit flat in a pannier. There may be a valid reason for the design, perhaps more divides in the poles would weaken them; though as it stands, everything else has to be packed carefully around the shelter, reducing use of the panniers, ease of access to other camping essentials and gear.
No doubt, if travelling to riskier countries, where a bike is vulnerable a few feet away, there's some sense in continuing this setup. The Redverz takes up such significant space, it's becoming hard to justify. If pitching for multiple nights it's still the likely option. If moving on each day as we did for Scandinavia, I'm investing in a smaller tent that will sit in the base of the smaller GS pannier. Essentially this will free the entire large pannier for items that formerly required a duffel bag; sleep gear, clothing, washout, etc.
Second on the list of things to go is Jetboil Pot. It takes up lots of space and we only truly used it to heat up canned foods that could have stayed in their original container. The Jury's out a little on the Jetboil itself, as there's limited control to simmer (it's either on full blast, or off, no in-between).
We've come to the conclusion that we're never likely to prepare gourmet meals and even if we were to do so, most locations offer great cooking spaces. Therefore, we're pairing back to the Jetboil alone, plus a pot support (or possibly the MSR PocketRocket for its control and simmer capabilities); suitable for coffee, ready meals, canned foods and boiling water for other purposes, this will be more than enough for us when on the trail each day.
Thirdly and regrettably, I only used the Anker speaker once...it's now been gifted to my 20 year old for parties on the beach!
Pretty much every other piece of kit had an outing at some point and will prove useful in the future. The award for the best piece of kit goes to the Touratech Water Transport Bag...hung on the back of the bike it's like having you're own personal tap!!