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The Rider Workshop | Motorcycle Camping In Alberta

Posted By on 02-09-2016
The Rider Workshop | Motorcycle Camping In Alberta

Motorcycle Camping Checklist:

With the last of the warm long weekends approaching you, most definitely want to get out and ride if you have the time. Better yet, pack for a motorcycle camping trip! It may seem daunting at first, but we assure you, it can be done with a little practice and careful editing.

  • Travel Bags
  • Equipment
  • Clothing & Toiletries
  • Food
  • Essentials


Within each of these categories are must-haves, and those you can indeed leave at home. Stick to the basics, and you’ll have an easy trip, and won’t overload your bike in the process. Just remember, you don’t need to bring everything, and start out modestly.

Your first trip doesn’t have to be a week-long excursion, try it out for a night or two. Also, don’t go overboard buying a bunch of camping equipment you may never use. Borrow, and keep it light for your first few rides. You can decide then if motorcycle camping is really for you.

Motorcycle camping is essentially backpacking on two wheels; so going through a carefully thought out checklist is essential. You can find some great lists online to help you pack your bike. Full Checklist Here or The Credit Card Camping List Here.

how to camp with your motorcycle

Travel Bags:

Because a motorcycle has limited carrying capacity, take everything you will need but nothing more. You don’t have to spring for the most expensive travel bags. Take into consideration how often you’ll use it, and the elements you’ll be facing.

  • Lockable Hard Case
  • Leather Travel Bag
  • Water Proof / Water Resistant Duffle Bag

As a rule, heavier items should be stored as low as possible and forward of the rear wheel. Ziplock freezer bags will be your best friend. Pack them and remove all air, to keep your items separated, and dry. If you do not have a lockable hard case, make sure your items are strapped down securely and use locks if necessary. Especially if you’re traveling alone, keeping your bike insight when possible, and locked up to deter would-be thieves.

camping with your motorcycle and tent


This list can grow, all depending on the type of campground you choose. For your first few rides specifically, take it easy. Choose a place that has showers, washrooms, and a store where you can buy firewood. No sense in really roughing it, and being ill-prepared. Cooking at your actual campsite can be tricky too, stick to items easily prepared on the fire with minimal equipment, or ride out for your meal. By all means, plan for fire top cooking, but with this in mind know that you’ll need to pack more equipment.

  • Tent
  • Sleeping Bag
  • Tarp
  • Lantern
  • Matches / Lighter
  • Small Camping Stove with a Cooking Vessel (only needed if you can realistically pack it)

Tents have come a long way and are quite compact when not in use. Spring for a tent that is one size bigger than the individuals traveling. This way you can fit yourself, and equipment within the tent comfortably. Wrap your tarp and sleeping bag together tightly and they should fit snuggly to your bike. Safely secure all of your items with straps to the motorcycle or inside of your hard cases. They even have options that can house your entire motorcycle, which is pretty amazing!

Clothing & Toiletries:

I know my first instinct when going on a trip, regardless of how short is to bring too many items. I know I’m not really going to wear 10 shirts in 2 days, but what if I do? You need to put those thoughts out of your head, and the packing process should be a breeze. Packing for a motorcycle camping trip is different.

In fact pack for your planned off-bike activities, like hiking, or eating at a nice restaurant, and the range of temperatures expected during your trip. Also bringing shower shoes, and a light windbreaker is always a good idea. Synthetic materials are generally better for camping and riding than those made from cotton. Light synthetic materials dry quickly, compress easily for packing, keep you cooler on hot days, and can be layered for warmth when the weather turns cold. Motorcycle rain gear is usually sufficient protection for rainy weather in camp, but some type of waterproof hat might be added to your wet weather gear.

Use small travel-sized items for your toiletries, and bring a quick-drying towel. Seal them all in a large ziplock bag and they should fit nicely into your packing routine.

motorcycle camping


Before leaving home, it’s smart to plan which meals you expect to prepare versus those you’ll eat in a restaurant. In reality, try something simple and compact like hot dogs. Although there’s no need to pack the trip’s complete food supply before first setting out, anticipating and bringing the cooking equipment, condiments, and other related items needed is good planning. Instead, for your first trip, keep it simple and add as you go.

camping hotdogs for a motorcycle trip


  • First Aid Kit
  • Motorcycle Tools
  • Solar Powered Charger
  • Phone
  • Map
  • Passport (who knows if you’ll cross the border on a whim)
  • Insurance Cards and License

Again the items above are a pretty basic guide to what should already be on your bike. A solar-powered charger will keep your phone juiced for the trip, if for any reason those items fail, you have a map. A first aid kit and your tools should always be on your bike, you never know when you might need them. Make sure your insurance is up to date and grab your passport too in the event that your ride takes you somewhere unexpected.

Above all, before setting out make sure that your motorcycle insurance is up to date, and covers you properly for your next excursion. If you’re curious about what your policy actually covers, or you’re looking to change things up check out our motorcycle insurance offerings, or contact one of our brokers who can help you out in real-time.

Now go have fun on your own motorcycle camping trip! Remember this is just a guide to get you started. If your first few trips aren’t all you thought they would be, don’t worry! It’s important to realize that with more experience, you’ll learn to relax and get a routine that works for you. More motorcycle camping information can be found here: Road Runner and Revzilla.

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