Hauling up a fire-break, getting airborne across a creek and bogging down in three feet of gumbo mud are what make off-road bike riding some of the best fun you can legally have. But sitting around a cozy campfire, reminiscing and waking up amid the morning dew to spectacular vistas of natural beauty has its merits, too. Combine the two activities and you’ll never want to go back home.
Dirt bike camping trips can be loads of fun, as long as you plan well. You don’t have to bury yourself in planning details and researching every possible contingency in order to have a great time. Herein are some simple tips and tricks to streamline your adventure to avoid hassles, to help plan your gear selection and to maximize fun, all the while keeping a keen eye on safety:
How to Get There
Most people have to travel to get to a riding/camping area. There are huge differences from loading up your bikes and gear onto a truck or trailer to riding your dual-purpose bike to your destination with all your gear piled onboard. Taking all of your gear on your bike can be a logistical challenge, but the minimal ethos can be rewarding. Before you start gathering your stuff, think about where it will go within your little microcosm of man and machine. Here are a couple of recommendations for where and how to put things:
- Luggage Racks: Most dual-sport bikes, like the Suzuki V-Strom, come stock with at least a rear luggage rack. The Suzuki comes with detachable hard saddlebags, as well.
- Saddlebags: If your bike did not include saddlebags, the factory may offer them as an option.
- Soft Luggage: Soft luggage can offer more options than hard bags and come in many iterations: bags, backpacks, duffels, tank bags, and fork bags.
- Trailers: Small travel trailers are really cool. Designed specifically for motorcycles, they’re light, compact and the clamshell design lets you store lots of stuff. The more popular ones include a pop-up camper.
- Extra equipment: You don’t want to breakdown or get a flat tire mid-trail. Pack extra parts for your bike, spare tires for your dirt bike, accessories you might need and repair tools to make sure you don’t end up stranded or left at camp while everyone else is riding.
- Tent: The selection of tents are myriad, but one of your main criteria should be compactness. The StanSport Hunter Buddy 2 person model folds up to a 4 x 4 x 24-inch tube and costs less than $40.
- Sleeping Bags: Here again, focus on space. The Suisse Sport Adventurer Mummy Ultra-Compactable Sleeping Bag (under $100) fits into a 12 x 7 x 7-inch Carry Sack.
- Other stuff: You’ll also want a compact stove and a way to get water. A small water filter works great if you are camped near a stream. Don’t forget tools, either.