to camp or not to camp?

Discussion in 'Canada' started by turnitonagain, Nov 19, 2012.

  1. dukedinner

    dukedinner Been here awhile

    Jan 8, 2007
    Northern B.C.
    When I travel to more remote places on my dual-sport bike, I tend to camp more than motel. But when I ride slab for long distances across country on my road bike I camp about 1/2 the time and motel it 1/2 the time depending on weather and how I feel. Its nice to have the flexibility to do either though
  2. Warin

    Warin Retired

    Aug 30, 2012
    I find I don't loose things when camping. Hotelling I leave things behind... could just be me. :D


    Minimal cooking =
    Both camping and hotelling - before you stop for the night - eat or get food. See some place on the way, stop. That can eliminate cooking. For breakfast you can have some muisel bars, bit of orange juice? and be on your way, if still hungry stop at some eatery.
  3. Deadly99

    Deadly99 Fast and Far

    Apr 8, 2008
    Merrickville, Canada
    One motel is just like another. Lie on the bed watching tv :puke1

    Camping gets you out into the environment you came to see :nod

    That being said, I run for cover when it's raining...suppose I'm getting soft :1drink
  4. ScramblerTom

    ScramblerTom Been here awhile

    Jan 18, 2010
    in transit...
    not many have discussed food so i will forego my opinions on lodging.

    i pack a lot of dense calories in my side cases - like Clif Builder's bars. At Costco a box of 20 is $18 and I use them to keep me topped up. i tend to have a stove with instant oatmeal for when I get cold or wet. i then stop for a major meal once and maybe twice a day (rarely). I don't get hungry riding however and eat just because I know i should. Off Road is different - then I eat to keep from getting the shakes after picking the bike up...

    i avoid things like instant noodles - the flavouring is salty and the artificial flavours get burped up for hours when hunched over the bars. I tend to stick to bland foods. i also stopped bring tea and coffee to make on the side on the road. more trouble than it was worth.

    For me the perfect day is oatmeal at 6am n the road with some power bars until mid afternoon and stopping for a big burger or steak, then ride for a few more hours - depending on company I might just skip dinner and reach for a few beers.... that then makes the 6am start a little more difficult but...

    Another great meal is grilled cheese on a camp fire... very luxurious,but i usually only go in for this after 2 too many pops- its helps soak up the juice!
  5. TOTim

    TOTim Been here awhile

    Mar 4, 2012
    Toronto On
    I rode across Canada this summer and was gone a month. I think I camped 10 nights in total. I enjoyed it but in hindsight I would not have taken all the gear needed and just stayed in motels. As others have said camping is $$ in many places and sometimes the places are terrible. I find as well that there are very few tent people around. Many trailers and RVs.
    For me the biggest issue was all the stuff that I had to carry.
    I had 2 panniers, a 65L bag and a 55L bag. The weight wasn't much but the volume was. Without camping just my 2 panniers would have been plenty.
    Lastly, camping in the rain sucks.
  6. africa twin

    africa twin Been here awhile

    Feb 1, 2008
    I did the exact trip two years ago, Toronto to Inuvik in August with a few side trips. I camped about 50% of the time. As I got closer I found I camped more often. My favourite campground was right at the beginning of the Dempster (south end). It was one of those honour system campgrounds and very cheap approx $12. No showers but a nice river runs right thru the campground its a little chilly but really refreshing after a long day in the saddle. If I had to do it again I would probably camp more and motel less. There were only two times on the trip that I really wished I didn't have the weight of the camping gear with me. Once was on a dirt road near a town called opportunity number 17 the road was very soft sand and the additional weight was noticeable. The other time was when I saw a really rocky single track trail running along a ridge parallel to the road I was on if I'd had a lighter load I probably would have run up there for a look.
  7. BTL

    BTL No more snow!!

    Jul 11, 2011
    St Albert. Alberta Canada. IBA Member 50093
    Really!! On 5th fricken Iphone charger left in Hotel/Motels

    However, camping I get all my stuff. Also, I find I meet the nicest folks camping. Weather, can be the real deal breaker for some on the camping scene but I love the sound of rain drops on the tent.
  8. woofer2609

    woofer2609 Less flow, more Gnar

    Sep 7, 2011
    Extreme Pacific SouthWest (of Canada)
    I like to have a campfire sometimes, which is generally frowned upon in a hotel room:D, but when the weather sucks, it sure is great to be looking out on the rain from a hotel room, and maybe catching up with wi-fi, etc. Bit of both I think. I also prefer to cook my own food, so that favours camping. It also save a LOT of money, and allows me to eat healthily. I think it is what you are comfortable with. I just took the bike camping last weekend instead of my truck and camper because I wanted to be in a tent. Admittedly, I also knew it wasn't going to rain.
    As others have said, there are some places to camp that have made my trips; waking up early and sipping coffee beside a creek or river, it truly doesn't get any better. I love the feeling of independence having all my camping gear brings with it.
    Personally, I think that having a dual sport allows me to get to places where I don't think anyone is even gonna know if I camp out there, 'cept the bears, so just hang your food from a tree. There are lots of extremely cool places to camp free in BC, especially the north. That being said, staying with another inmate is probably a great way to get the lowdown on a place.
    I say take the stuff, even if you use it only a few times. It's better than regretting not having it.
    It'll be great either way.
  9. just jeff

    just jeff Long timer

    Nov 7, 2012
    LacLaBiche Alberta Canada
    One option I didn't see mentioned is "Bed and Breakfasts". Once when my brother and I were Biking around Glacier National Park we ended up staying at a B&B when all the motells in a hundred mile area were full. It was great! The room was setup like a hotel room with its own bathroom, TV ect. The breakfast was an excellent smorg with all the trimmings included in the room fee. the cost was less than what a motel would have charged for just the room. I would have no problem staying at one again!!
    Regards...just jeff
  10. GreatWhiteNorth

    GreatWhiteNorth Long timer

    Dec 2, 2009
    Winterpeg - site of flatness beyond belief
    I'm not a fan of hotels during a road trip. I want to be immersed in the outdoors, and have had many unique and memorable experiences camping. Regarding meals, one thing I/we've done occasionally, is stop at a Subway before hitting a campground and buy a footlong sub... eat 1/2 there and the rest at camp. I don't like separating myself too much from the gear on the bike - I've never had anything stolen at a campground. One thing about camping I've noticed - I don't like to really plan everything out in detail, just kind of have a general idea of the route and possible campgrounds to overnight at... popular Provincial & National campgrounds are getting harder and harder to get in to last minute without a reservation. This is one reason why, for my annual trip to the Rockies this next year, I'm shifting to backcountry routes and camping (long overdue)... to get away from the tourists and change things up. Sucks camping in the rain, but a light overhead tarp can improve that experience too.
  11. Maggot12

    Maggot12 U'mmmm yeaah!!

    Feb 21, 2010
    Canada's ocean playground
    I travelled across the country using hotels and I also crossed the country in a motorhome and im talking St. Johns's NF to Victoria BC and back to Halifax. The hotel way is a little more efficient and you obviously wont carry as much stuff. Camping will offer a much more memorable experience though. Sitting around a fire with a beverage and sharing stories cannot be over stated.

    The cost of putting up a tent can be free if you so desire.

    +1 on the ft long chicken breast sub. Youll have two pretty decent meals in that thing.
  12. teamgrizzly

    teamgrizzly Even more advanced n00b!

    Jan 12, 2006
    British Columbia
    I usually prefer to camp. On longer trips though I do tend to stay in a hotel if the weather is crappy.

    One thing that I have learned camping and backroad riding is to pack as lightly as possible. I usually shop for gear as if I'm going to pack it on my back. If you need it, it goes on the bike. If you only think you need it, then it stays at home. I would look at a small tent with vestibules to keep gear dry, lightweight sleeping pads and bags. You can roll up clothes in a stuff sack to make a pillow. Also keep in mind that you'll be in riding gear all the time so don't bring too much clothes. You can get sample sized stuff from Wal-mart for hygene. For cooking I have a MSR Pocketrocket butane stove, a pot, bowl and some utensils. I also take backpackers freeze dried food. For a longer trip I would do a mix of cooking and eating out. "Lightweight Backpacking" by Mike McClelland might give you some ideas too.

    Also don't fret about taking everything. If I'm missing something I can always get it on the road. And if I have too much I can always stop at a post office and ship things back home. I did that with a pile of souvenirs from my cross Canada trip.

    Don't be afraid to practice and modify your setup. If someone compared a picture of me and my setup from my first trip to today, there would be a noticeable difference.

    So go out there and have fun.

  13. BenZens

    BenZens Adventurer

    Sep 13, 2012
    lost in Saskatchewan
    I definitely agree with the mailing home option. I have done that on numerous trips. Where rather than stopping to do laundry I have just bought new clothes on the road and mailed the dirty stuff back home. I usually get home before the packages do. I will say you can get some interesting smells opening dirty laundry that is two weeks old.

  14. turnitonagain

    turnitonagain Been here awhile

    Aug 6, 2012
    definitely agree on mostly everyone's posts. I will say that for the most part I'd like a good night sleep especially after riding say 8 - 10 hrs a day. Given any opportunity I'd try and stay within a hotel/motel setting only to really get myself, my gear, and my clothes a good rest/wash/recharge. Camping would suffice if I don't have the option to hotel it, and camping is great but not in the wet I've had bad experience with that already.

    the problem I have is sticking to a set route because you come across things or hear things on the road that you automatically get sidetracked and want to go take a look at. So, there will be TONS of opportunities to do both given the chances to do so (Weather permitting of course).

    I definitely am not planning on hauling everything and the kitchen sink NOPE. Not happening. Pack with what I need, and the occasional "what may be needed" but nothing more nothing less. Besides there is plenty of things to grab out there we are living in the 21st century 2012 everyplace, everywhere has stuff to be bought.
  15. alberta bob

    alberta bob Been here awhile

    Jan 2, 2008
    Camping cause i love it , but on road trips i only bring a therma rest mattress, tent and sleeping bag so i can stay overnight camping, when i feel like it.and stay at motels as well when wet . shorter road trips I bring all the cooking stuff and flyfishing gear and camp in the back country .
  16. Timo Explorer

    Timo Explorer Trail Wizard

    Mar 8, 2008
    Newmarket, Onterrible
    We camp for the most part. Always bring camping gear and hope for the best. Nothing like sitting around the campfire shooting the breeze with your buddies after long day of adventure. Usually plan to cook our own, but sometimes the Mom and Pop diners are hard to resist.
    That being said, after several hours of wet weather and a complete soaking, the motel is a nice option.

    One of the problems we are finding, especially on long weekends, is that you have to reserve months ahead for a campsite in any National, Provincial or State park, and you have to pay for all three nights otherwise you won't get in. A total rip-off for travellers. When the weather turns bad and we decide on a motel (plug for the Wawa Motor Inn and their life-saving motorcycle friendly policy), we have no trouble finding a room for the night, as even the motel crowd heads home if the weather gets bad enough to give up the campsite.

    As for price, yes camping is getting more and more pricey, but given the choice and all costs being equal, I would rather camp. Check out any good backpacking equipment place for camping equipment, loads of great stuff out there at good prices.
  17. rtw02

    rtw02 Been here awhile

    Apr 2, 2005
    Lots of good advice here, BUT the real question is how do you Really feel about camping.
    You have to be honest with yourself.
    Do you want to camp or do you just think it would be nice to camp and maybe save some money.
    Do you have enough room on your bike for all the gear?
    Motorcycle camping involves a bit of work and preparation.
    It is easier here in North America as there are campgrounds with basic services like water and toilets, but they come at a price.
    Most will not have food available or close by so you will need to plan when and where you will get that organized earlier in the day(like when you stop for lunch).
    Does your partner Really enjoy camping?
    Weather is also a big factor.
    You say you plan on riding 8-10 hours a day...that is an awful lot, even when ripping across the prairies. That wont leave much time for camp setup and cooking.
    My wife and I like to camp and are probably more comfortable in our tent than a motel room.
    We have evolved a routine and each have their own duties and so things "Usually" go fairly smoothly, but we have a huge topbox with all the gear which makes things easier.
    About every third or fourth day you will need to motel it any way to clean and dry your stuff.
    Having said all this, waking up in a wild camp somewhere up the Dempster and having the whole world to yourself is priceless...
  18. turnitonagain

    turnitonagain Been here awhile

    Aug 6, 2012
    To me personally, camping gear is necessary in the event I can't find a Hotel/motel... do I like camping, I can tolerate it. I'm not against it IF I cannot find a motel/hotel/b and b .... I've been camping a few times and found myself enjoying the sleep but not the work involved in making my own lodgings but if i need to I will do so. If there is a hotel yes we will definitely stay.

    besides I plan on riding a lot of the northern parts of the provinces once I hit Manitoba... I heard that a lot of the good stuff isn't until you reach Northern B.C., the Yukon, or NT. Isn't there something nice to see in Manitoba up until Alberta?
  19. GreatWhiteNorth

    GreatWhiteNorth Long timer

    Dec 2, 2009
    Winterpeg - site of flatness beyond belief
    Lots of cool things to see along the way... here's a few suggestions (listed east to west):
    - MB - Whiteshell Prov Park, Lower Fort Garry (near Selkirk - ) , Spruce Woods Prov Park (sand dunes!), Riding Mountain National Park (Duck Mountains/Baldy Mountain... the highest point in MB).
    - SK - Qu'Appelle Valley ('Appelle_River ), Cypress Hills region ( the highest point in SK).
    - AB - Dinosaur Prov Park (northeast of Brooks), Writing-On-Stone Prov Park (east of Milk River), Drumheller, Head-Smashed-In Buffalo Jump ( ), Frank Slide ( ). Good camping at or near all these things.
  20. DaveBall

    DaveBall Long timer

    Sep 30, 2009
    Vancouver Island
    I have done the total camping thing going across Canada and all over the USA and Mexico.Nowadays, I prefer to take a small tent and sleeping bag and will camp on occasion. But find that the costs involved quite often are very similar (within a few $) and camp grounds. Plus, my back prefers a good bed and a nice hot shower each morning.

    I think one of my concerns these days would be the amount of people in the group. 3 or more, camping is great. Also, the time of year will make a difference. I do not enjoy camping in major bug season. Heck, I don't really like riding thru an area during a major bug outbreak. Spring thru Lake of the Woods is real pretty, till the bugs come out. Took a long time to wash the bugs out of the fins on the engines, Didn't even bother trying to clean the face shield on the helmet, it was so scratched up. Just bought a new face shield.

    One thing to think about is camping in out of the way areas can lead to rude awakenings. 2 years ago, camping just off the Dempster Hwy, woke up to 2 bears snuffling around the bikes. We were very glad that we had NO food around the campsite.As soon as those bears were out of site we packed quickly and headed on our way.