Packing for a long-term motorcycle trip is not an easy task, especially if you are traveling 2-up. Moreover, every itinerary calls for a different packing list. It mainly depends on which climates you will go through and whether you would be camping or paying for lodging. You might quickly conclude that if you will not be camping much, carrying a stove and a cooking kit is unnecessary. But you should really give this some thought.
When we started planning our motorcycle trip, we decided to carry a tent with us. Firstly, as a precaution in case we encounter troubles during border crossings. Secondly, in case the bike breaks down and we must spend the night in the middle of nowhere. Since cheap meals and lodging are available in Asia, we left the stove and pans behind to save some space. Moreover, in case we decided to camp, we could always do with fruit, snacks, and meals that can be carried.
However, this was a big mistake. We ended up getting a multi-fuel stove after a couple of months.
Here is why
The cost of tea/coffee in touristic areas is triple of what it would cost you to do it yourself. This means that the stove is useful everywhere and often, and not only outdoors.
Moreover, when you eat out, breakfast meals tend to be the priciest in relation to portion. In reality, they are the simplest to prepare yourself.
If you enjoy camping, being able to cook is much more convenient and a lot more fun!
Having more options
When traveling through a continent for a long time, you might start craving food that you were used to back home. After traveling through Asia for more than a year, we really enjoy cooking certain meals, even if it is the simplest pasta or some mashed potatoes with a can of beans. This amplifies if you are sick and you cannot handle the spices or food that likely made you sick in the first place. In India, for example, it is very hard to order a dish without spices, oil, or an overload of sugar. Otherwise, you must stick to plain white rice (boooooring).
Traveling on a budget often forces you to buy street food or the cheapest items on the menu. Most of the time, this kind of food is very unhealthy. Having a stove gives you the option to cook more raw food at the same price or less. Even if you end up eating a carb overload (like I’ve been doing for the past year), you at least have more control on what you’re digesting.
In a situation without drinking water, you can resort to boiling tap water to make it safe. When we were traveling in Nepal, where the further up you go, the water prices double, triple, and even worse, we were boiling water because the purifying tablets we had bought weren’t effective as they should have been. The stove came in very handy.
Choosing the most ideal stove for your trip
If anything happens with the bike and you find yourself stranded, having a cooking kit and an emergency meal will allow you to keep sane in a stressful situation. When it comes to choosing a stove, there are plenty of options in the market. We opted for a multi-fuel stove for one obvious reason: you can find fuel everywhere. Since we travel on a motorcycle, carrying some extra fuel comes in handy anyway.
It might be costly compared to other types of stoves, but when you do the math during long-term travel, you will get a good return on your investment. Before we got the stove, food was the biggest chunk of our budget. We have now reduced this by making smart choices and by cooking most of our meals.