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Choosing Your Motorcycle Camping Gear   by Ian Molloy

You do not have as much room on a motorcycle to pack your camping gear as you do a car, so choose your camping gear very carefully. A lightweight one or two person tent with a waterproof floor is best. These are relatively light and will not take up all your storage room. Some tents have a side annex for covering the motorcycle at night. An inflatable mattress made of rubberised canvas is bulky so for short trips, a lightweight inflatable plastic mattress could be carried.

Take a light sleeping bag and add an aluminised survival blanket for use in cold weather. If you do not have a survival blanket and the weather turns cold, try putting a dry towel between your sleeping bag and mattress. The cold will creep up from the ground to the lowest part of your mattress (this obviously being the heaviest part of your body) and that will be you hips/buttock area. By placing a towel here it will give you an extra layer of insulation the cold must get through. You will also lose the majority of your body heat through your exposed head. By wearing a woollen cap you will keep this heat in and keep you warmer during the cold nights.

An easily inflated pillow should keep you comfortable at night.

Lightweight cooking systems are available and the better ones have a single container which unfolds to reveal a small gas bottle, stand, burner, wind shield and cooking containers. Large plastic garbage bags are ideal for holding your motorcycle camping gear while you travel. Pack the tent separately; in bad weather you can erect it and then take other gear inside and unpack out of the rain. A haversack is ideal for carrying light personal gear and clothing. Carry tent poles and heavy equipment on the bike's rack, not in a haversack. Have a look here for what bags you need.

Don't forget your saucepan, crockery and cutlery. Again there are some excellent lightweight non-breakable plates and bowls about.

Buying and carrying food

Always carry some food and water, plus a plastic sheet. A plastic sheet can be used for a multitude of things. If the ground is wet in the morning when you are packing up it is great to place your sleeping bags and clothes on prior to packing and can also be used for making a distillation plant in an emergency. Supplies can be bought before the trip from a scouting, army surplus or camping store.

As a rule, buy your day-to-day requirements in small amounts at frequent intervals. It is only necessary to stock up food when travelling through country where supplies are scarce. Choose high food-value items which are dehydrated - they are light and compact. Use plastic bags to hold food; they are lighter and less bulky than rigid plastic containers. But remember that fresh food stored in plastic sweats - deteriorating quickly. Supplement your diet whenever possible with fresh food. Foods which should be refrigerated will spoil more quickly. Make sure food is eaten while it is safe.

Wash and dry utensils carefully as equipment enclosed in plastic can become unhygienic.

This is one of a series of information pages relating to motorcycle camping. Have a look here for all the related pages.

About the Author

Ian Molloy is the owner of Crikey Adventure Tours. Visit his website for more information about this article and other related topics. His site is full of very helpful travel information including tips on motorcycle travel, driving cross-country, travelling with a caravan and other camping and travel information.

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