Moto Camping Gear List 2020
Seems a little strange kicking off the new blog which centers around adventure during the middle of a pandemic, but maybe that's why it's happening - I have time. So I wanted to get you guys a list of all the gear I take for my road trips on my 1993 Harley-Davidson FXR. This list is based off of a solo, multi-week camping trip, but a lot of this gear is great for shorter trips too.
First things first - I hate when bloggers get all wordy and make you read through four pages of sentimental moments before even getting to the goods, so here's the list with links below. You can continue reading after for detailed descriptions and all that fluffy shit.
Big Agnes Tiger Wall UL2 Tent (UL3 for two people)
Big Agnes Skyline Chair (optional)
Goal Zero Lighthouse Micro Lantern (optional)
Outdoor Tech Buckshot Mini Speaker (optional)
There's a lot of options out there for luggage, and depending on your bike, this category will vary. I've had hard bags and soft bags on the FXR, but the combo I like the most is the Biltwell Exfil-80 sissy bar bag with the Biltwell Exfil-11 magnetic tank bag. For shorter trips I'm able to pack everything I need in this system. For longer trips, I put a Sea to Summit Big River 35L dry bag behind the sissy bar and strap it to the many loops on the Exfil. I'm sure there's specific bags out there for this, but honestly it's a cheap and easy fix for additional room. Plus it packs away if you're not using it and it comes in various sizes so you can find what works for you. I highly recommend this specific model because there's a ton of different styles out there which can be either too rigid or too thin.
Pro Tip: The Exfil-80 does have a handy tool kit on the front, but I highly recommend having a full tool kit using the Grim Parts Co. tool roll that mounts to the front of your bars. I keep 80% of my tools in there, and just handful of tools I might need in a pinch in the Exfil-80. It cuts down a lot of weight in the bag, which is especially nice if you're not camping and having to haul it back and forth to hotels.
My background stems deep into backpacking, which a majority of this list is inspired by. A lot of this gear is ultralight and extremely packable - hence the higher prices but also why it all fits on my bike so easily.
If you're just getting gear purely for moto trips, then you can afford to cut some cost by buying heavier gear, but I can't stress enough to make sure it's packable. A backpacking tent breaks down substantially smaller, has lighter materials, and is easier to setup. Sleeping bags and pads are another space killer if you go cheap. I highly recommend a down sleeping bag and inflatable air mattress. Down bags pack up significantly more and are also a good investment. My dad still has his from the 70s! We're also in a golden age of sleeping pads. No more thin foam and rocks jamming in to your hip, now you can sleep on 3-4 inches of comfy air that rolls up smaller than a Nalgene bottle when deflated. There's a lot of good brands out there, but Big Agnes is a company out of Colorado I've been using for almost ten years and really stand behind them.
Pro Tip: Don't put your f*$&#*% air mattress directly on the ground. I've had people complain their air mattress popped first time using it and I'm like - yeah Gary, because you used it as a chair without anything underneath it you unbelievable idiot.
Ok, so not all my moto trips involve cooking, but it definitely always involves coffee, so I bring my Jetboil, Java drip, and mug no matter what. You can also get away with some basic meals with just the Jetboil like soup or simple pasta, but for longer or more remote trips, I bring the skillet, plate/bowl, and pot holder. The plate and bowl collapse and act as a cutting board, and the entire kitchen system and utensils nest together in the skillet while the stove
pot holder nest in the Jetboil.
Some favorite meals are Mac n Cheese with sausage and onion (make sure it's the kind with the cheese sauce thats already made!!), pesto pasta with chicken and sun-dried
tomatoes steak tacos, or flavored couscous with vegetables and sausage.
Another great addition is the Platypus Plus bottle. It's a soft water bottle so it packs down to the size of a candy bar when you don't have liquid in it. I found this incredibly convenient on the moto because it doesn't take up room when it's empty, and when full it's wide and flat making it much easier to just slide into your bag.
Pro Tip: Bring a mini spice shaker and a mini bottle of oil. You can find these at camping stores that way you can avoid bland meals and your food sticking to the skillet, plus they also nest right into cook system.
Last but not least - the tech. Once again, this will vary from person to person depending how much you bring, but part of my job is to document and share these trips, so I always have a few gadgets on me. A great system I've found for keeping my things charged is combining the bike and my Goal Zero Sherpa 100 battery pack as one charging unit. While I'm riding, I run a USB charging cable from my battery into my tank bag where it's charging my Sherpa 100. Plugged into the charging Sherpa is my USBC iPhone cable, which then runs out of the magnetic tank bag and plugs in to my phone which is securely attached to my Rokform handlebar phone mount. In addition, I have two extra USB ports on the battery pack so if I need to charge other things like my camera, GoPro, lights, or speaker, then I can. Then at camp I simply unplug the Sherpa from the bike and I have a battery pack charged and ready for whatever.
I also found the mini lantern and mini speaker to be nice creature comforts while on the road, especially by yourself. Playing some music while cooking or reading under a nice light instead of your bright ass headlamp makes the time at camp that much better. Small but impactful pieces of gear.
Pro Tip: Just be gentle with the cables and bring extra, I always seem to break one USBC every trip from smashing or bending it. You can also find the the USBC tips that pop on to your micro-USB head if you find yourself in a pinch without an extra USBC cable.
Hopefully this list helps you on your way to your dream setup. Every person is different so it's up to you to fine tune your necessities. There are some trips where I don't want to deal with anything but the bare minimum amount of gear, other trips (especially multi-week) it's nice to have all the little necessities for being totally self-sufficient. Either way these are a lot of tried and true items that have served me well on and off the road. It's worth the investment and makes a big difference in making your next road trip comfortable and successful.
Good luck out there everyone. Hopefully catch you on the road once we get through the pandemic!