Camping Gear - What works, what don't?

Discussion in 'Gear & Apparel' started by fortech, Nov 8, 2014.

  1. fortech

    fortech Active Member

    I'm in the process of looking ahead to next summer, hoping to do allot of motorcycle camping in the upcoming year. Currently, it's just as well to say I have zero gear that I would want to strap on the bike.

    Let's start with a tent, sleeping bag, sleeping roll, camp chair, etc. The big ticket items:

    1. Looking for a tent that is moderately priced that packs down relatively small. Performance in rain is important also, the Mrs may or may not accompany me on some of these trips.

    2. Sleeping bag and roll combo. I've never used a roll in the past, are they worth the extra bother to tote around,on the bike? I have a rather large and thick down filled sleeping bag at the moment, overkill for summer camping and rather large to pack on the bike. Any thoughts on a lighter weight bag that will suffice during the summer yet packs down small?

    3. Camp chair. I hear they are a must! Thoughts?

    What do fellow RTR members use/recommend? I'm hoping to gather up some nice items over the coming months...
  2. murph

    murph Well-Known Member

    I picked up a Thermarest and it helps the bones in the morning. It also lets you carry a slightly lighter bag due to the insulation value. I have seen collapsible camp cot used which looks even more comfortable on rough ground.
    I find a 3 man tent is the smallest I can be comfortable in. Who the hell are they measuring anyway? I have to sleep on the diagonal with gear in the furthest corner and stuff I need to put on to go outside closest to the door.
    I have never used a camp chair but I can see the benefit.
  3. gnurob

    gnurob Member

    I don't know jack about biking with tents... but this looked cool.

  4. gnurob

    gnurob Member

    Totally weird not to be able to put to videos in one post... while posting again is OK?!

    ...and another.

  5. Wayne

    Wayne Well-Known Member

    I use the MSR Hubba tent and its the best, easiest setup, driest tent I've even used. Currently shopping for a new stove, and have decided on the MSR Micro Rocket. Or does anyone else recommend a camp stove? For a sleeping pad I love these self inflating pads, I have the Broadstone sleeping pad from crappy tire but it looks like they've been discontinued.
    Last edited: Nov 8, 2014
  6. Wayne

    Wayne Well-Known Member

    I use a light sleeping bag as it is easier to pack and I try to pay attention to the temperatures when I camp. But if it does get cold, it's easier to pack a HH Underwear or a sweater than a thicker sleeping bag. I've never used a camp chair as space is usually limited. But I would be interested in seeing what everyone uses.
  7. fortech

    fortech Active Member

    Nice tents gnurob, but likely a little too rich for my blood!

    I know there are a zillion of these threads on advrider and such, but trying to keep the dialogue going here on RTR. Might be some local options available also!

    Pictures of loaded bikes, past campsites, cooking setups, etc welcome!

    I'm hoping to purchase gear compact enough that I can store the tent, sleeping bag and bed roll in a dry bag strapped to the rear passenger seat. This will eliminate allot of bulk from my side and top cases. Do you think I'll be lucky enough to get those three items in a 50 liter dry bag?:confused:
  8. Denis

    Denis Member

    Last edited: Nov 8, 2014
  9. ProZac

    ProZac New Member

    Eureka sells factory seconds and refurbished tents at amazing prices. If you aren't in a rush you could check with them and I'm sure you'd get the tent you want for a great price.
  10. gnurob

    gnurob Member

    +1! I like to admire cool gear.

    NeverWet fabric spray comes to mind. I think a lot of RTR members would enjoy this stuff.

    This is not was as 100% hydrophobic as the NeverWet primer/finish aerosol cans, but close. It doesn't require a two part, primer/paint application, and it doesn't leave a light white haze, but it is less durable however. I've used both, honestly, they work incredibly well. It may be the cats ass for tents.


    Currently I'm using the fabric spray on the bike seat. Its great returning to a dry seat after a rain. Next will probably be the panniers (nice not bringing soaking boxes into a motel) or the actual 2-part spray for my boots (they're non-black so the haze won't be so noticeable).
    Last edited: Nov 9, 2014
  11. Wayne

    Wayne Well-Known Member

  12. Wayne

    Wayne Well-Known Member

    A good tent is worth the money....I got a good deal on mine used. Nothing worse than getting wet in a tent, but the style I have is completely mesh. The fly drapes over the entire tent, so it's physically impossible to touch a damp surface from the inside.

    Not sure I understand the purpose of parking the bike inside the tent. Seems like a big tent with a small sleeping space.

    I use a Watershed duffle bag that's 100% water and air tight.
    Last edited: Nov 9, 2014
  13. Denis

    Denis Member

    Great thing about this stove though is you do not have to worry about carring extra fuel.
  14. sleepyhead65

    sleepyhead65 Member

    I'm a bit of a gearhead when it comes to camping. I've read a lot of reviews and tried a lot of different equipment over the years. I'm very happy with the equipment I am using now and have opinions on a lot of other gear. I can talk about gear for hours so here's some tried and true gear off the top of my head:

    I also have the Hubba tent and can't say enough good about it. I got it more for backpacking as it weighs only 1.29 kg. If I was buying for motorcycle camping I would get the slightly larger "Hubba Hubba" which is the two man version. also very light weight at 1.79 kg. Set up is a breeze and there is a "shed" option if you need it that doubles the vestibule space. The Hubbas are a little pricey mostly because they are so lightweight.

    I can also recommend the Tarn series from MEC. Similar to the Hubba but heavier, less expensive and more durable. I have had good luck with Eureka tents for winter camping but since I pull everything on a sled behind me weight considerations are less important. For this I use a Eureka 3 man (everything comes inside in Winter). I recommend you make sure your tent is freestanding without pegs. While travelling this year my friend couldn't use tent platforms because of this and I see that as a serious drawback.

    For sleeping pads I used various thermarest type mattresses for years. I have never been truly comfortable on them. A few years ago I bought an "MEC Reactor Summer Pump Pad" and I have never looked back. The advantages of an air mattress are numerous. Not only are they waaaaaaaaay more comfortable but they weigh nothing and pack down small. Mine packs down to the size of a slightly large coke can. The weight on mine is 600 gms. They now have insulated air mattresses if you intend on camping in near freezing temps. At temperatures above 5c you really don't need insulation in your pad if you have a good bag IMHO. Almost all of them have the pumps built into the mattress so huffing and puffing is not needed.

    Among my friends I was the last to retreat from carrying multi fuel stoves that usually meant carrying around coleman fuel. I liked that I could burn almost anything (great for international travel) and didn't like the idea of packing out empty cannisters. If you like this kind of stove the MSR WhisperLite International Stove is the bomb. I grudgingly have converted over to the butane/isopro cannisters because they don't flare on start up which allows for easier lighting and vestibule cooking in shitty weather. They also don't require pumping or refilling which some people hate but this never bothered me much. I'm using the MSR SuperFly Stove which I like a lot as it simmers well and weighs nothing. I would avoid the MSR rocket series as I don't think they simmer well ( they may have improved on this by now).

    Sleeping bags are the hardest to recommend because there is so much variation on price and materials. I like down due to it's lightweight and extreme packability. It really sucks if it gets wet though so a water proof compression sack is a must if you go that route. MEC has detailed descriptions and their temp ratings are fairly close so it's a god place to do research.

    I was thinking about carrying a chair on the bike but it was big and bulky. I opted instead to sit on my aluminium panniers and this seemed to work well unless you really need a backrest.

    Other things that work: compression sacks can store your tent (minus poles), your clothes, laundry, as well as your sleeping bag. Sporks, those multi spice shakers from CT, the MSR Dromedary Lite Water Bag is very useful, always carry some 50 feet of para cord for tarps, clotheslines, food storage in trees etc, the leatherman "Wave" is a multi tool that has proven itself over and over, I always carry polysporin for cuts, moleskin for blisters, antacids, aspirin. Finally and most oddly I always take a couple or three of onions. They keep well don't take a lot of room and almost every meal can be made great with some fried onions added to it.
    Last edited: Nov 9, 2014
  15. HerrDeacon

    HerrDeacon Active Member

    Nice post sleepy! I've never been a camper but have been thinking about it lately, one of these days maybe.

    What do you guys do for pillows? I have some serious neck issues and even sleeping in a regular bed is hard for me.
  16. Wayne

    Wayne Well-Known Member

    I use a self inflating pillow, same principle as the self inflating sleeping pad. It's great in that you can adjust the firmness of the pillow. And packs very small.
  17. fortech

    fortech Active Member

    Thanks all for the reply. Maybe a RTR camp out somewhere on the Island for a night this summer? Somewhere Centrally located like between Gander and Clarenville?
  18. Wayne

    Wayne Well-Known Member

    Yup, we've already been chatting about this idea. Over the winter we should all talking about some locations and dates.
  19. gnurob

    gnurob Member

    Cool idea, been thinking the same
  20. Bob

    Bob Active Member

    Like others say, is a good place to look at what's available, how much it weighs and how much it costs. We just use our backpacking stuff when we camp off the bike. You have some good suggestions on bags, tents and sleeping pads already. We find that waterproof compression sacks are really practical as well. Also we take the bike cover when we can fit it in. I'm in the market for a new stove, so I'll follow this thread and see if you post anything on gear. Enjoy;)

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