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If you are interested and new to motorcycle camping, there are some essential things to know to enjoy camping in the great outdoors on your motorcycle. When planning a motorcycle trip, some of the first questions you'll want to ask yourself should be how long does it take to get there, how long you plan on being gone, where you intend to go, where will you stay for lodging, where are the fuel and rest stops and what will the weather conditions be. Proper prior planning, having a primary and secondary plan can mean the difference between a good trip and inconvenient one. Also having a route mapped out can make a trip much easier. Taking along a GPS and paper maps with directions and info for camp sites work well.

Some things to consider before going camping on a motorcycle

There are many different options for this. If you aren't riding a full dresser or a new touring style motorcycle with hard bags already on it, you'll need to figure out your own method for storage. Saddle bags are the most common, and can be used on almost any motorcycle. With a little customization all bikes could be fitted with a pair of soft saddle bags. Tail & Tank bags are a great way to hold more gear, and are easy to use. Racks and boxes are even available for motorcycles. Check to see which application works best for you bike. They come in various sizes and can be applied to many different bikes. Back packs can also be used, but can be limited. For some riders they can be good for others they can be a bit of discomfort after a while, but it all depends on the bike and the rider. Straps and bungee cords are the most common ways of carrying luggage . Practice packing you gear on the bike few times prior to your trip. Always remember, never leave any straps hanging, ensure your load is tight and secure, the bike and load is balanced, and remember your bike is going to handle different just like when you have a passenger.

Camping Gear
Depending on where you are going, the season and the amenities available to you will determine what you will bring on your camping trip, so proper prior planning is essential so than you can adjust accordingly. Doing this, will help keep you form carrying a lot of gear.
Some items on a Basic Gear List would include:

o Tent
o Ground cloth
o Sleeping bag
o Sleeping pad
o LED headlamp, flashlight(s)
o Maps
o Water
o Non-perishable food

Miscellaneous Gear:
• First Aid kit / Necessary medications-A small pre-assembled kit, which will ensure that key items are not missing. Kits should be based on type of traveling / adventure is being done.
• Water containers
• Hand sanitizer (or soap)
• Thermometer
• Compass/GPS
• Knife/ Hatchet
• Cord
• Duct tape
• Sunscreen
• Bug repellant
• Shovel
• Hand Held Radio
• Extra Ziploc bags/Small trash bags
• Camera, batteries and extra media cards
• Small sewing kit

Clothes: (amount depends on space available, season and #of days )
• Underwear
• Socks
• Shorts
• Shirts
• Pants
• Light jacket
• Bathing suit
• Hat
• Sandals
• Towel/ Toiletries

Cooking Gear:
• Waterproof matches
• Stove/Fuel/ Cooking kit
• Cooking utensils/ Eating utensils
• Cleaning supplies

Basic Food Items:

• Water
• Food bars
• Nuts
• Coffee/tea
• Dehydrated items
• Pita bread (or any food that can be readily stuffed into motorcycle bags)

Motorcycle Gear:

• Helmet
• Sunglasses
• Ear plugs
• Hi-Viz Rain Gear
• Motorcycle jacket
• Motorcycle pants
• Motorcycle boots
• Motorcycle gloves
• Tire repair kit w/ Tire pressure gauge, Pump or CO2 cartridges for tire inflation
• Tool kit (Most bikes come with toolkits, but you'll want a few extras for quick repairs or adjustments.)
• Chain lube (No need for shaft or belt-drive bikes)
• Cell phone and charger (I will plug a charger in at a restaurant while traveling on the road)
• Key Mechanical Spares & Lubes (Bring extra fuses, bulbs, cotter pins, fasteners, screws, spark plugs, a spare key)
•Spare Fuel Line w/hose clamp
• Extra bungee cords or polyester rope
• Cable or Disc Lock
• 12 volt outlet -Can be permanent or portable. I made one so that it is portable. I can remove it when not in use and use my battery tender for my battery charger, jumper cables & portable air pump as well.

Other nice to have items;
• Spare Clutch Cable
• Replacement Levers
• Lightweight Bike Cover -A nicely secured light weight cover can reduce exposure to the elements (dust, sun, rain, frost, snow, dew, blowing debris, etc)

Of course there is your motorcycle.

Using the acronym T-C-L-O-C-S from MSF, you can do a basic inspection of your motorcycle to prepare for your camping trip.

• T: Tires.
Make sure both tires are properly inflated, using an air pressure monitor that you bring with you on rides. Adjust the pressure for carrying extra weight. Check for tread wear, damage and balancing. Don't risk riding on tires that might need replacement; if you suspect a tire will not last long enough for a ride, have it replaced.

• C: Controls.

Are your cables (clutch, throttle and brakes) and controls intact and working? Are your grips in good shape? All gauges functioning properly?

• L: Lights.
Make sure your headlights (high & low beam), turn signals, tail and brake lights work. Also ensure your electrical system/battery is working properly.

• O: Oils & fluids.
Check everything from engine oil and coolant to brake fluid. If you are close to your next service, go ahead and change it. Also make sure your chain is properly lubed. Repair any leaks and replace any low fluids. Also visually inspect and make sure the radiator and fan are in proper working order.

• C: Chassis
Ensure that the frame, suspension (shocks and forks), chain, bolts and fasteners are all secure and intact and/or adjusted. A clean chassis will quickly indicate a leak. Cleaning will also remove grease and oils from areas where traction is necessary (foot pegs, tires and brakes).

• S: Stands.
Make sure the center stand and/or side stand isn't cracked or bent, and that springs properly hold the assembly away from the pavement when stowed. Lube if needed.

Lastly and most important is an assessment of yourself. Your own physical and mental condition will be important to a successful and enjoyable camping trip. There’s nothing worse than being stuck in the saddle of a bike when you’re not comfortable for any reason. Riding a motorcycle on a long trip can be exhausting both mentally and physically. You’ll want to be physically able to handle the ride, and the rigors of camping, so you need to be somewhat physically fit. Riding requires a more physical input and reaction than it takes in a car because you have to physically control yourself and the bike as opposed to simply steering a car. To help avoid mental and physical fatigue, take breaks, stretch, relax and refocus, and enjoy your motorcycle camping experience.

This is also a good tutorial; Motorcycle Touring For Beginners-http://www.visi.com/~dalebor/index.html#contents
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