We left home for our two-up adventure with a fully packed motorcycle. Here is what we learnt….
When it comes to camping gear, we packed up the following stuff.
- 3-man tent + extra pegs for rock and sand
- Ground sheet
- 2 yoga mats
- 2 sleeping bags (44.6°F comfort temperature)
In Iran, there was one time where we slept wearing our full riding gear; with as many layers underneath as possible, and the motorcycle overalls on top. Daryl also wore his riding boots wrapped in a garbage bag. Oh well, at least we didn’t sleep with our helmets on! The temperature was coldest at around 37.4°F and it was a nightmare. So what did we do wrong? First of all, the choice of mats was a disaster. We took basic yoga mats as before we started, we were still unsure on how often we would be camping. Our reasoning was that we could easily throw away yoga mats without guilt if we were not using them (plus they’re light!). In fact, that’s what we did, but only because they were close to worthless.
I remember a friend we met on the road saying “Air! It’s all about air. There is no better insulation”. Prior to replacing the sleeping bags, we managed to get two inflatable mats and they made a HUGE difference in comfort and insulation.
The photo shows three sized mats: A very basic yoga mat, a self inflatable mat that we used for camping weekends back home and the air-mat that we got during the trip. As much as we loved the self inflatable mats we had back home (which we feel are also more durable), they were bulkier for us to carry on a two-up motorcycle trip.
We started with sleeping bags that were small and compact to save space.
Comfort temperature rating: 44.6°F | Low temperature rating: 35.6°F
Even though after changing the mats, we saw a huge improvement, we were planning to visit the Himalayas and we felt that we still needed better sleeping bags. Therefore, we switched to sleeping bags which were bulkier to carry but were more adequate for lower temperatures:
Comfort level rating: 32°F | Extreme temperature rating: -7.6°F and they were perfect.
Our tent generally worked well for us whilst camping in Asia, however, in hotter and more humid months (around 80.6°F at night), it lacked ventilation. We are currently looking into a better all-rounder for resuming our trip. In terms of size and weight, we would love it if we could have a lighter and more compact tent, but when you’re traveling on a motorcycle and you need to get most of your belongings inside, in our case we believe a 3 man tent is the smallest we could opt for (keeping in mind that we could not afford to buy a very expensive tent, that is spacious, light and compact at the same time. This applies to all our choices of camping gear in general)
The ground sheet protects the bottom of the tent, adds waterproofing (yes, it made a big difference to our tent) if used correctly and adds a little more insulation. Moreover, there were times where we had to stop to rest during a long day of riding, and the ground sheet came in handy as something quick to spread and lie on.
A Big Fat Mistake
Do you see a stove and a cooking kit on the list? That’s another mistake. Check out another article that we had written on whether it is worth carrying a stove during long term travel.
Another item that we would have loved to have but were a bit limited as we could not afford to carry more stuff is a camping chair. I always used to get back pain whilst cooking, and having a small chair can help you relax more and spend your time in the wild more comfortably.
We love camping and as we progressed into our trip and were more comfortable with the gear we were carrying, we camped even more. Equipment makes a big difference. Keep in mind; temperature (according to your itinerary), comfort and durability.
Moreover, keep in mind that comfort is different for every individual. It doesn’t make a difference to Daryl if he’s got a pillow or not but it surely does to me! There were times were it took me quite a while to position my bike jacket and soft clothes underneath my head to feel comfortable and actually manage to sleep. What I mean by this is; know your needs and pack accordingly. After a long day of riding, especially off-road and many others to follow, everyone needs a good night’s sleep.
There are no rules except those that keep you comfortable, sane and happy.
Do you carry anything else? What is your opinion on this?