As we approach the second instalment of the AMCN Adventure Issue, we’ll let you in on some of the tricks of the motorcycle camping trade we’ve learnt over the years.
1: Water bottle + phone = lantern
The key to clever compact packing is including items that can be used for more than one purpose. There’s the Doritos as firelighters, or the squashed beer can under your side stand trick, but if you get to camp late and find yourself setting up in the dark with your phone as your only light source, fill up your transparent water bottle and lean your phone against it, torch-side in, and it’ll emit more than enough light for you to erect your tent with two hands in no time at all. It’s a good trick for when you’re cooking at night time, too.
Where permitted, a campfire is a must at any adventure riders campsite. The bush telly, the place to dry your wet gear, to warm your bones, to sit around and share yarns from the road with your travelling companions. But getting the thing started can be harder than it should be, especially of there’s wind or rain thwarting your best efforts. Store bought firelighting options are bulky and often smelly, which manages to find its way into your bedding and clothing, there are a few compact and failsafe options worth remembering. As well as the aforementioned Doritos (it’s true, they’re highly flammable), cotton wool soaked in Vaseline is excellent option, as is make-up removing pads soaked in candlewax and solidified.
3: Tic Tac vessel
The difference between am really enjoyable camping trip and an okay one can be a few creature comforts. But when space it at a premium like it is in motorcycle luggage you might think you have to go without your pink Himalayan salt flakes for a few days, or do without herbs and spices in your camp stove coking. Tic Tac containers make the perfect container for these items that are sturdy enough to keep them from spilling through your things and small enough to take up virtually none of your precious packing space.
4: Spare key
Here’s a trick that isn’t restricted just to adventure riding, but can be applied to any long- (or short) distance motorcycle travel. One thing that often plays on my mind when I’m a long way from home is what I’d do if I lost my bike key — something that’s far easier to do in a grassy campsite than in a hotel carpark. A great and discreet place to keep a spare is inside your tail light lens (granted, it’s easier to do on older bikes than modern ones), and that way all you need to do is grab a small phillips head screwdriver and you’re back in business. Not only will you never run the risk of losing it, it’s always with the bike and no one would ever think to look there!
5: A small blue tarp
If there’s one thing that you’re better off looking at than looking for in a campsite, it’s a small tarp. Probably the piece of equipment with the best price-to-practicality ratio you can own. It’s cheap, folds up to almost nothing in the bottom of your luggage, and has so many uses in a campsite. It can be used a groundsheet to protect the floor of your tent. It can be used as a tent if campsite shenanigans renders yours useless, it can be rigged up as shelter for cooking if the heavens open, it can be used to protect your bike from rain, bird shit or fire ash, and it’s a softer ‘shed floor’ than a dirt one in the event of any roadside repairs.