THE COMPLETE PACKING LIST FOR A WILD-CAMPING MOTORCYCLE TRIP
We live a minimalist lifestyle and this flows over into our travel lifestyle as well, but there are certain things that are essential, specifically if you are camping, wild camping or road tripping on a Motorcycle, even if you are on a strict budget and doing everything on the cheap.
If you are road-tripping in a car or van on a budget then it’s cheaper to take almost everything with you rather than buying in any tourist destination but if you are travelling on a motorcycle… then what you can take with you will be drastically reduced so this is a minimal packing list.
The first important point is to have good protective riding gear.
You need to be prepared, as much as you don’t think about coming off the bike, it is something that you have to keep in mind and the more protection you have the safer you will be and the less chance of more serious injuries.
Unfortunately, this is something you have to take into account when riding a motorcycle but thе joy and feeling of freedom you get from travelling across thе country оn а motorcycle, the sweeping corners of mountain roads, the wonderful views and stunning beauty thаt саn bе found іn nature is fantastic. It leaves you with such an amazing feeling of everything being right with the world! When you are flying along in glorious weather with the wind on your face all the smells of nature in your nostrils there is nothing to compare to!
Getting wet is not fun!
However, riding in the cold and wet is not much fun at all and we hate it lol … but it happens and so the other important piece of kit you need is a set of waterproofs, although I have to say that we have yet to find any truly waterproof waterproofs for Motorcycle riding. It’s very different from just walking around in the rain because you are riding into the weather at a speed and the temperature will feel 10-15 degrees lower and any movement you make will let the water in somewhere!
Everything needs to be less and do double duty because you have very little packing space and you also don’t want to load the bike up and make it too heavy… that doesn’t help the balance and then makes for a stressful ride for the driver. As the pillion rider this does not affect me and I back down to whatever Rich says when it comes to packing the bike as he is the one keeping us upright and safe over the miles and miles of wonderful countryside that we enjoy riding through so much.
Remember… the lighter you travel the better your ride will be!
This is what we packed for our last trip and we had an amazing time and didn’t actually want for anything. It’s amazing what you can do without and still have a good time. Keep іt simple аnd carry оnlу thоѕе items thаt уоu аrе certain to use.
There are some things that are mandatory for you to carry to be legal and this varies from country to country with France being one of the strictest in Europe. Click here for a list of must-have items for travelling in France and this list should see you safe and legal through most of your motorbike travels.
SHELTER – a place to sleep and something to sleep in and on.
- A good waterproof tent – a 2 man tent is the smallest I would go as you do need space to fit all the stuff off of your bike in there too. In our case we have a wonderful bike with great storage space in its “boot” and a top box so only what we need for sleeping comes into the tent.
- A sleeping bag – make it a warm one for lower temperatures. You need to make allowance for temperature drops and you can always kick it off if it’s warm… but watch out for the mozzies!!
- You can take pillows or a pillow if you have space but obviously blow-up pillows are the better option. We, however, don’t bother to add those as we use our riding jackets and jumpers to double up as a pillow. Not as comfortable I admit but as we ride a big heavy bike we just keep everything minimal.
FOOD – Depending on your budget and space, you will have to decide how much to carry with you and what you can afford to buy while travelling.
You need to decide on what you want to do about food before packing because you cannot carry enough with you for say… a week but it is a good idea to have something in case of emergencies or if you get stuck along the road without a shop in sight.
So, are you going to cook? Or eat out?
NB: Beware of eating out if you are on a strict budget because that can blow your whole budget in just a couple of days and you may find yourself with no money for petrol to get back home! (Been there – done that!) Hahaha – we learned very quickly after that fiasco!
You can buy your ingredients each day along the way or maybe get take-outs if that’s how you want to do it but again… can be expensive. Watch that budget!
We don’t do take-aways so it’s either cook, which we do if we’re on a campsite but if we are wild camping that sometimes falls by the wayside because it is difficult to do with minimal equipment on the side of the road or in a lay-bye. That means that our healthy low Carb way of eating sometimes takes a knock as we try to keep the entire trip as simple and low budget as possible.
So this is what we take along on a low budget wild camping trip for a week:-
- Coffee – this is a must! We love having our camping coffee when we wake up and before we hit the road for another day of riding!
- Homemade low-carb cereal. Packed in a zip-lock plastic bag – to save space.
- Cooked bacon and boiled eggs – at least for the first 2 days of the trip. Again everything packed in zip lock bags or pound store containers that can be thrown away so our packing gets less as we ride. Remember weight is an issue and lighter is better.
- Cheese – especially if we are going to France – cheddar cheese is quite pricey there. We have a small cooler bag that can be frozen before we set out and by the time it’s served its purpose, the cheese is finished lol
- Biltong – or as some may know it Jerky except its the South African version!
- Water – we always find space for a 2L bottle of water even if we have to carry it inside one of our jackets. Don’t get stuck without water … it’s not fun and how on earth are you going to make your morning coffee?!
That’s it … the rest we decide on and buy daily along the way. This allows us to maintain our low-carb diet for at least a couple of days at the start of the trip before it all goes to pot! Lol
This is a good time to do intermittent fasting because it helps the budget and it will give your immune system a healthy kick as a bonus, so we eat only one meal a day while travelling. If our money is running low, we will skip a day and only have water.
We stick to simple one-pot/pan meals (find some simple camping recipes here) or if we don’t want to cook, our homemade cereal or a baguette with ham and cheese. (Not low carb, I know lol) But it’s cheap and only for a short time and the fasting helps. Then we just jump back into the low-carb regime when we gat back home. Simples!
If you’re not as broke or anal as we are about being healthy and low-carb… You can also take some snack bars, crisps, biscuits etc along as emergency supplies.
You gotta do what you gotta do in the circumstances. Food is just fuel after all.
COOKING EQUIPMENT AND UTENSILS
- Small Camping stove with separate cooker top.
- 2 x camping gas bottles
- 2 x mess tins – these are for cooking in but they also double up as plates to eat out of.
- Insulated coffee mugs x 2… because there’s 2 of us! J
- Small kettle – a fold-up camping one is ideal
- Plastic knives, forks and spoons. These can be thrown away so no need for too much washing up.
- Bottle opener and corkscrew … of course! Actually we carry a swiss army knife with all those things attached including a can opener and sharp knife.
CLOTHES – again you will need proper riding gear but this will be what you wear every day so it will not need to be packed. However, you will need a change of clothes depending on how long you’re away for.
- 2 pairs of jeans each, mostly you just stay in the one pair but you may need a second if you get rained on. Wet jeans are not comfortable!
- A change of underwear each for each day that you are away. If you get caught short you can always go commando. J
- 2 or 3 x tops/ T-shirts depending on available space. You can wear each one for 2 or even 3 days depending on circumstance and BO. Lol
- 3 pairs of socks. You are wearing riding boots so these are essential, also you don’t want to be wearing wet socks. Again not comfortable and also not good for foot health.
- A jumper/ track top and maybe a thermal top for cold weather. Remember you will feel much colder than the actual temperature when riding.
- Something comfortable to sleep in, PJ’s if they can roll up small enough.
- A spare pair of shoes/trainers. These are a pain because of space but not fun to only have wet boots to wear.
- Swimming costume – these roll up really small so you should be able to fit one in.
We came across a wonderful beach on the Mediterranean coast on our last trip, it was a lovely hot day and we hadn’t showered in 2 days. Those cosies came in handy and we felt great after our swim. Plus we got to spend a couple of hours basking in the glorious sunshine to dry off.
We each have a plastic packing capsule that fits inside the boot of the bike and what doesn’t fit in there doesn’t go! It also keeps things dry which is pretty essential when travelling on a motorcycle.
TOP TIP: – Roll your clothes to pack, it takes up loads less space and if you do it right they also don’t get too creased. Obviously crease-free is the ultimate choice.
EQUIPMENT – You will need to carry some mechanical equipment in case of a breakdown so as not to be stuck on the side of the road and some knowledge of the basics to repair your motorcycle in order to get you moving again.
- A basic tool kit – with spanners, screwdrivers, adjustable spanner, – you don’t want to get stuck on the side of the road if you can fix the problem.
- A puncture repair kit
- A mini compressor
- Gaffer tape – it’s amazing what you can fix with gaffer tape
- Insulation tape
- Anything else you feel you need for your particular motorcycle
We had a problem with a leaking clutch seal and suddenly had no clutch. Thank goodness for a small bottle of Brake & Clutch fluid.
INSURANCE AND PAPERWORK – always a good idea to have additional cover for the country you’re travelling in case of breakdown or (heaven forbid) an accident.
Besides the fact that it is illegal to travel on the road without vehicle insurance, it would be silly to go off on a trip without making sure you have insurance on your bike, anything could happen. Make sure though that you are covered for the country you are going to be travelling in. It’s a good idea to have a complete cover that gets you and your vehicle home too in case of a serious problem.
Also, don’t forget travel insurance and if travelling in the EU make sure you have you EU medical card. It’s simple enough to get. Here’s the link and details to apply.
Keep your important documents in a plastic document folder so they stay dry and keep them inside a lockable top box/ saddle-bag, whatever you have on your bike.
TOP TIP: Take a photo of your documents as per the list, with your phone so you have a copy should anything go wrong. You can also scan them and send yourself an email before you start out so that you will always be able to get a copy should the worse happen.
MISCELLANEOUS – all the small bits and bobs that you need to make the trip easier and that you would be stuck without and tech stuff.
These are the little things that often get forgotten, yet are actually very necessary. As you get more experienced with travelling with only the bare minimum of essential items, these things will be automatic. In fact, you might, like us, have them all together in a small pack that you simply pick up to take with because it’s always sorted and ready.
- Torch – a head torch is the easiest as then you also have your hands free.
- A lighter or matches for your gas stove and for burning your loo paper if there is no garbage bin where you stop.
- Mobile phones which takes care of satnav, compass, music and an additional torch. Don’t forget the charging leads!
- Powerpack – we carry one but have a 12v power socket in the bike so our phones can charge while we are riding. I can’t tell you how handy this is. We are never in a situation where have an uncharged phone. I can even use my phone for directions while it is on charge in the bike.
- Paper Towels:- what an amazing invention. The simple paper towel is not just for soaking up spillages although that is how they are marketed. I would not go camping without a roll of paper towels, I always find a space to squeeze it in.
- Wet Wipes or baby wipes:- another item I never go camping without. Again these are not just for wiping babies bottoms at a nappy change! These can be used for keeping clean when there are no shower facilities around. There is no need to be dirty or smelly even when camping in the wild. They also will magically wipe away spillages on clothes. They take out stains on fabrics! Seriously… they do. Any difficult to remove marks are dealt with efficiently with a baby wipe or two. Perfect for a quick refresh on a hot day. Great for wiping hands if you’re snacking along the route.
- Mosquito repellent:- of some sort. We went off on our last trip without this and boy did we suffer! The mozzies had a feast and we were not happy!
- Tick repellent:- If you are going to be in an area where these little devils reside, a deterrent is a plus. The last thing you want after a glorious relaxing holiday with mother nature is to come back with Tick Bite Fever or worse… Lyme disease.
- Bungi cords: always helpful for tying things to your bike if needs must.
PERSONAL ITEMS – well, because you have to, don’t you?
- Toothbrushes & Toothpaste
- Shower gel or soap – just in case you find a place to have a shower lol
- A facecloth or scrunchie – we share so we only have to pack one.
- A towel – preferably a micro towel like one of these. Normal towels are too bulky.
Wild camping on a motorbike is not for everyone.
You need a spirit of adventure and you cannot be faint-hearted. After riding all day, you then have to look around for somewhere to pitch your tent and you can’t do this until its dark because you are in a farmer’s field or in a lay-bye or picnic eating spot.
It’s an arrive late and leave early kind of situation mostly. There are no facilities for toilets or shower and sometimes no rubbish bins either usually. If you’re a female, then you need to find a place that gives you some privacy for going to the loo. Like a bush to hide behind or a ditch to hide in perhaps. Remember to not leave your loo paper around. Either have a bag to put it in and then bin it when you get to a bin or burn it before you leave. Make sure the fire is out too!
You also need to make sure that it’s a safe area. That is sometimes difficult to know until you’re set up and so you have to be prepared to move in a hurry as well. We have never had that situation but we have had some very noisy places where we got no sleep at all and when we first did this we got no sleep because we kept listening to every little sound in case some wild animal or rowdy gang was coming along to attack us! Hahaha
You do get used to it and it makes for a super cheap holiday so well worth it if you are on a strict budget.
Use some common sense, enjoy the ride, make awesome memories and leave only your footprints behind!