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Old 12-08-2012, 10:30 AM   #1
Joined: Mar 2012
Location: UK
Oddometer: 76
What camping gear you got?

Hi all,

Just interested in what camping gear you all have for all weather camping, especially cold weather, rain etc.

Ie. cooking, tents any handy gadgets you've found etc.

I seem to end up buying stuff sometimes which isn't all its cracked up to be. Think I have most of the stuff I need but unfortunately I seem to have the gadget man syndrome!

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Old 12-08-2012, 11:49 AM   #2
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Great thread, I am looking to buy all the same gear myself.

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Old 12-08-2012, 12:26 PM   #3
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Location: Northeastern CT
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I have accumulated a lot of camping gear. Below is the stuff that gets used time and time again. Every motocamping trip I took last summer was in never ending, frog-strangling rain and my gear choices served me well.


-25 degree down bag or 45 degree synthetic bag, depending on conditions. I forget the brand names.
-Kelty Gunnison 2 tent, or Hennessy Hammock Expedition Asym. I rarely use the tent since I got the Hennessy.
-Thermarest pad
-Thermarest compressible pillow
-truck-sized windshield sun reflector (this is for insulation in the Hennessy)
- 5'x7' nylon tarp
-fleece hat


-Coleman 533 dual fuel stove (can run on bike gas)
-homemade alcohol stove
-Nesting MSR stainless steel pots with lids and pot grabber
-Light My Fire spork
-GSI French coffee press
-several 2 liter Platypus bladders for water.
- food is mostly dried, just add water side dishes from the supermarket.
-small folding grill for more interesting food


- hatchet or large knife for processing firewood
- Petzl E-lite flashlight
-cotton bandanas
-folding chair (totally worth the bulk)
-comfortable shoes or sandals for in camp
-several 55 gallon size thick trash bags. 1001 uses.
-travel pack of baby wipes
-decent knife. I like the Benchmade 556 Mini Griptilian
-a bunch of 550 para cord and bungies
-umbrella. Seriously
"You wouldn't be riding a motorcycle if you weren't an optimist."
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Old 12-08-2012, 03:48 PM   #4
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For 'cooking' I like the Jetboil. I have a pot and frying pan made for it but its strength is in boiling water fast, and since I don't much like to cook I eat mainly freeze dried food or dried stuff from the market that you add boiling water to. That and a spork pretty much makes up my cooking kit.
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Old 12-08-2012, 04:51 PM   #5
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Joined: Apr 2012
Location: Seattle, WA
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Tent, sleeping mat, sleeping bag, ... : I really like the EXPED brand for camping gear. All their stuff is very high quality; not cheap though. It's a European company but they have excellent US support. I own one of their tents and a sleeping mat (Downmat). The Downmat in particular is just incredible :).
If you want to spend less, I would go shopping at REI. Their house brand is reasonably priced for good quality (there's much cheaper stuff still on the market, but less reliable), the stores have knowledgeable and helpful staff, and they have an incredible no-questions-asked return policy if you find out you don't like the gear you originally bought.
Bring the repair kit for your bag/pad/tent in case of tears and leaks. Add some duct tape to your kit, too - duct tape holds the universe together :).

Any small headlamp. (I have a Petzl Tikka XP - I like it because you can switch between diffuse (wide) and focused (narrow) beam.) Carry spare batteries.

Stove : I've sold my fancy stoves and now just have a PocketRocket. Supersmall (nice if you go backpacking) and works just fine. PocketRocket + pot is more versatile than one of the integrated JetBoil setups for dehydrated food, and only a little bigger.

Cookwear : if you have $$ to spend, Titanium stuff is nice because it weighs nothing (again, good for backpacking). But it loses heat faster and it really is 2-3 times more expensive than regular steel (heavy!) or aluminum (decent compromise).

Water Filter : a good old filter is more reliable than the UV pens and whatnot if you're going to be camping by / drinking from streams.

Stuff sacks : make sure you have enough of these so you can wrap everything in a waterproof layer.

Ten Essentials : you know ... compass, first aid kit, sunblock, knife, ...

Water : I hate bladders so I use good old fashioned stainless steel or plastic bottles.

Clothing : enough layers to stay warm. Use materials that keep you warm even when they get wet, and that dry reasonably fast. No cotton or jeans. Quick-dry shirts, wool, ...

If you are motorcycle/car-camping rather than backpacking, you can afford some luxury extras. Especially if you're bringing a girl - make her comfortable. It'll pay off :).

A typical kit for me :
* Tent (Exped Venus II if sharing or if I want space ; MSR Hubba if it's just me and I'm going lightweight) + repair kit
* footprint for tent if I expect bad conditions
* Exped Downmat 9 (sleeping pad)
* REI Zephyr 15deg sleeping bag
* headlamp (Petzl Tikka XP) + set of spare batteries
* compass
* whistle
* maps (in waterproof sleeve if they're not water-resistant)
* sun protection (e.g. sunglasses, sunblock)
* mosquito repellent (e.g. lotion, or mosquito coil)
* fire (e.g. lighter, waterproof matches, a little bit of fire starter)
* water filter (I have the basic MSR model, forget the name)
* Pocket Rocket stove + 1 canister of fuel (2 canisters for longer trips)
* aluminum pot with lid. Spork. Titanium cup. (Optional - bowl)
* Pocket knife (I think it's a gerber - spend slightly more than minimum for something that won't break)
* Optional hiking (e.g. trekking poles), snow (e.g. shovel, ice axe, ...), or climbing (harness, rock shoes, ...) gear if that's the purpose of the trip
* first aid kit, including blister protection, which I always seem to need on hikes
* Some cash for emergencies
* Rain protection : I have a Northface shell, a goretex hat (Outdoor Research Seattle Sombrero) which doubles as a sun hat, and generic Northface rainpants
* Entertainment : I usually bring a book and a notebook, even when backpacking. If you're camping with friends, bring a board game.
* camp shoes (nothing is as nice as getting out of your hiking boots or riding boots at the end of the day! If it's summer, I bring my sandals as camp shoes)
* if hiking, hiking boots
* If I could afford the space, I would totally bring a foldable camp chair. Don't buy these online without testing them in-store first - some are terribly uncomfortable
* Clothing : layers! Make sure you'll be warm and comfy in the evenings. Put everything in waterproof bags. Don't bring too much; use laundromats on the way instead. Smartwool socks are the best thing in the universe.
* extra plastic bags (trash bags are strong and reliable). duct tape. some rope. A waterproof little bag for cell phone and wallet.

That should get you started :). If you have the option, start by borrowing stuff from friends. You'll quickly find out what you like.
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Old 12-08-2012, 04:53 PM   #6
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PS I love pulling into a parking lot with an ice axe strapped to the back of my bike. Makes me feel totally badass :-).
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Old 12-09-2012, 01:08 AM   #7
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Tent is a MSR Bug hut, with a homemade full coverage fly, made from silicone coated nylon. This tent is no longer in production, but the MSR Huba Huba is a similar size and weight, and saves one the trouble of making the fly themselves.

Pad is a Downmat 7 deluxe.

Sleeping bag is a Marmot Helium 0 degree down bag.

I don't usually cook when camping off the bike. That's what Cafes are for. If I carry a stove, for emergency cooking, it most likely will be my Optimus crux, because it is small and compact. If I really planned on cooking, I would take my Campingaz turbo 270, (At least as long as I have fuel for it), because it cooks better.

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That has been set to roam
Excels a dunce
That has stayed at home."
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Old 12-09-2012, 01:11 AM   #8
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Credit card and cell phone.
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Old 12-09-2012, 02:00 AM   #9
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For all weather camping (presuming you're talking the colder end of the spectrum):

A lot of people swear by freestanding tents, but I've never found them to be that big of an advantage and IMO they're not worth the extra weight/bulk. If you learn to make "deadmen" from your kit/stones/sawn up branches for most 3-season tents will work fine in all snow that you could still ride in. Large nails made into pegs for frozen ground are similarly useful if there is unlikely to be thick snow, but the ground will be frozen.

In terms of specific brands, Exped 9 DLX is a superb mat for winter camping. Really worth the minimal weight/size penalty for the warmth it gives. A good sleeping bag is a must. A lot of people swear by down-filled bags for very cold weather. Generally I'd agree, but I prefer the Mountain Hardware Lamina range. They pack down as small as equivalently warm down bags, yet retain all the advantages of synthetic. Until recently, they didn't offer models that go down to *really* low temperature ratings (although a colleague still managed to use the Lamina 0 on a successful Kilimanjaro ascent! They aren't "cheap", but they're about half the price of equivalent down bags too! Only slight disadvantage compared to the real "money no object" down bags (that have a waterproof outer layer to keep the down dry) is a slight weight penalty. Weight isn't as a big a deal on a motorbike as hiking, IMO.

For a camping pillow, the Exped inflatable pillow is the best compromise between pack size:comfort/a good sleep that I have found. It's smaller than fist sized packed up and weighs nothing.

It's more important than usual to take an emergency orange bivvy bag and space blanket when you expect it to be cold. Between them, they can add a few degrees of warmth if it's colder than expected in your tent/bag and will usually ensure a basic level of "survival" if your tent and/or sleeping bag are damaged/lost.

As cchoc says, Jetboils are great. I've never had problems with the gas itself in cold weather, but the piezo (lighter) that is built in stops working at high altitude/in really cold conditions. Carry a firesteel/bic lighter as a backup. Dehydrated food makes more sense in cold weather where snow/water is more prevalent. The weight:calories ratio is great too, which is really important when it's very cold (as you'll burn a lot more calories). There's a particular brand I use for cold weather (comes in orange packets) that are about twice as calorific as the next competitor. Damned if I can remember the name now and I'm overseas so can't check, but will edit this post if I remember when I get home.

Testing winter kit before you need it is ten times more important than summer stuff. Try it out in your yard, or within 10 miles of home before using it in anger. When it's several degrees below freezing at high altitude, in a foreign country, in the pitch black and you have damp clothes is not the time to find out you don't know how to put your tent up, or that your optimistically categorised "four season" bag has only been designed to withstand the rigours of a Jamaican winter.
I like my bike because I can overtake 4x4s down farm tracks with a week's worth of shopping on the back.
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Old 12-09-2012, 05:08 AM   #10
Travels With Barley
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I also love my Exped pad, especially in cold weather! I have two sleeping bags depending on the time of year: a goosedown Marmot mummy for cold or a synthetic for summer. For a tent I use a Nemo Losi 3P. Plenty of room for me, the dog, and all our gear. I need the extra room because Barley's paws twitch when he dreams.

JetBoil. Couple of headlamps. Battery powered tent fan in extremely hot weather to keep Barley cool in that fur coat of his. Spork, Camp Suds, bear spray, kibble and a few dog toys.

The item that has come in very handy on several occasions is a 16x16 Noah's Tarp. If it's raining I set that up first, then pitch the tent underneath it. That way all my gear stays dry and more importantly, so does Barley. It's no fun sleeping with a wet dog!

Oh, and a bottle of 15 year old Glenfiddich for my nightly toast to a late great dog by the same name.
I got a sidecar to travel with my dog. He never complains, is delighted to be with me, approves of my dietary choices, is a social butterfly who helps me meet folks, appreciates a good beer, snuggles better than my wife, and hangs on my every word as if it's the most profound thing he's ever heard.
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Old 12-09-2012, 12:00 PM   #11
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I have a couple of tents that I choose based on the situation. My go-to travel tent is the Redverz. Great people to work with and a great tent. It is huge, not big, freakin' huge. I am 6'4" and I love being able to get all my gear in the vestibule--the GS as well if I feel like it--and be able to stand up to get suited up. It is great if the weather is at all questionable or I am going to be traveling for an extended period. I have a Big Agnes Copper Spur 3 as well. Another great tent if I am counting ounces and space. A great backpacking tent for two people or motorcycle tent for one. The Redverz is my One-Ton truck, the BA my Porsche.

A couple sleeping bags as well. A Big Agnes 20 degree "Park" Series poly bag, and a Big Agnes 15 degree "Mystic SL" down bag. The poly bag is my summer bag--very comfortable, but it packs big. The down bag is slimmer cut and is 800 fill down--it compresses down to nothing and is very warm. An Exped DM9 for the Park Series Bag, a BA Insulated Q-Core for the down bag. Love them both as they inflate to 3.5" thick and will keep my big carcass comfortable. A Nemo "Fillo" pillow rounds out the sleeping gear. Comfortable stuff and a great night's sleep.

I don't cook a lot when on the motorcycle. I have a MSR Reactor that is a great piece of kit and has been reliable from the low desert to 12,000 feet. Boils water fast and is great for dehy meals when backpacking, warming up a can of soup at night, or making coffee and oatmeal in the morning. Simple, reliable, packs light and small.

Its the little things that make a difference. As mentioned before, a Kelty Tarp (I have the 9x9) packs down to nothing and has a thousand uses. A good headlamp--I have a Black Diamond Storm, a good Multi-Tool--I like my Leatherman Wave, compression bags to pack and store the sleeping gear and a change of clothes--I like the Sea to Summit eVents, an IPad for reading, music and email when in range, Makers Mark 46 in a flask...and most importantly, an empty Gatorade bottle.
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Old 12-09-2012, 02:45 PM   #12
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Location: Seattle, WA
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Wow, I never realized Exped Downmats had gotten so popular! I got my first way back when almost nobody knew about them ... Glad to see they're doing so well!
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Old 12-09-2012, 02:46 PM   #13
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Originally Posted by Boondox View Post
Oh, and a bottle of 15 year old Glenfiddich for my nightly toast to a late great dog by the same name.
Your dog was called Glenfiddich? Love it.
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Old 12-09-2012, 03:21 PM   #14
Travels With Barley
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Originally Posted by kevinj View Post
Your dog was called Glenfiddich? Love it.
We name all the males after booze cuz they drive you to drink with their antics: Molson, Killian, Tetley (the Brit Ale, not the tea), Tadcaster (Brit Porter), Glenfiddich. Currently we have Tullamore and Barley.

Glenfiddich was an excellent dog. Tadcaster was phenomenal.

To keep this on topic, Barley has 24,000 sidecar miles under his collar and serves as my pillow when we camp.
I got a sidecar to travel with my dog. He never complains, is delighted to be with me, approves of my dietary choices, is a social butterfly who helps me meet folks, appreciates a good beer, snuggles better than my wife, and hangs on my every word as if it's the most profound thing he's ever heard.
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Old 12-09-2012, 08:58 PM   #15
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I have a lot of similar gear to that which has been mentioned here (or the girl version of said gear) and the only thing I want to add is that I LOVE my MSR Dragonfly camp stove. I don't have to buy cans of fuel. I have an MSR fuel bottle, and it will run on just about any type of fuel I put in it. It's nice when I'm riding out. In the middle of nowhere and all I have is access to low grade gasoline. I went through 2 bottles of fuel (one 875ml bottle filled twice) on a 6 1/2 week trip to and from Alaska. Packs super small too!
Love is the feeling you get when you like something as much as your motorcycle. Have you ever been in love?

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