Motorcycle Camping – A Complete Guide For Beginners

Category: Road Trips

There is probably no better way to explore Vietnam than on two wheels. Instead of taking a classic tour visiting somewhere, dirt bikes allow you to reach every corner, immerse yourself in nature and enjoy the road without any restrictions. So, why break this seamlessness by spending the night in a hotel? Have you ever thought about packing your tent, cooking by the campfire, and enjoying sleep under the starry sky? If the answer is Yes, then a motorcycle camping trip is a great escape.

Motorcycle camping is a new trend but is becoming the first choice of many tourists when coming to Vietnam. Spectacular views of the sky, sunrise, sunset, and stars; simple meals and excellent sleep surrounded by trees, sea, and mountains – All will be an unforgettable adventure in your life. Moreover, camping also saves you a lot of hotel budget, and you can even stay a few more days in Vietnam with that money.

Of course, organizing a motorcycle camping trip is not easy at all, and it would be best if you were well prepared for everything from your dirt bike to things to pack. If you are looking forward to a good motorbike camping trip, here’s everything you need to know.

What to pack

1. Luggage

Motorcycle Camping - Luggage

Motorcycling and camping are inseparable companions. For those who have an adventurous heart, motorcycle camping is a can’t-miss experience in life. Of course, any successful venture requires careful planning and preparation. Leaving the rest behind, let’s talk about luggage first.

For first-timers, choosing the right motorcycle camping gear seems a bit daunting since there are more than enough choices to consider. We have up to 3 popular options in terms of luggage only: Hard luggage, leather luggage, and textile luggage. So, which should we choose? While  keeping your clothes and belongings dry and stable on your motorcycle. But each has its pros and cons and comes in various sizes designed to fit your trip. Honestly, there is not the best nor the worst, only the most suitable. Hence, let’s consider your requirements and purposes, then decide which is right for you.

  • Hard luggage

Motorcycle Camping - Hard luggage

Hard luggage provides better protection and safety for all the things inside. No matter its material, it can hold many items without fear of damage during a fall or getting wet when it rains. Hard luggage is also lockable, so you will not have to worry about valuables being stolen by thieves. Furthermore, most modern sets are quick-detachable or even when you want to use them as a picnic table or a handy chair.

On the other hand, the cost is one of the biggest downsides of this type of luggage. Fitting a hard suitcase set with quality boxes can cost you a lot of money. Their weight and size are also an aspect to consider, and Heavyweight means only heavy motorcycles can accommodate them. Meanwhile, the additional width requires you to be more careful, especially when driving on busy roads.

  • Leather luggage

Motorcycle Camping - Leather luggage

Regarding the most enduring type of motorcycle luggage, leather is the top priority. With a vintage look, it can be used for storage and take the beauty of your motorbike to the next level. Derived from horse tack, the original leather luggage could only be slung over the rear fender and strapped to the frame. However, today’s leather luggage has been designed more modernly to mount to your machine, similar to hard luggage.

The most significant advantage of leather luggage is probably the visual attraction. It makes your motorcycle look more stylish and cool. On the other hand, it requires regular cleaning and good maintenance.

  • Textile luggage

Motorcycle Camping - Textile luggage

Because of its durability, cheapness, and ease of mounting, textile luggage is the first choice of most travelers. It is not as challenging to maintain as leather luggage, nor easily damaged during a fall like hard luggage. Otherwise, protection is their biggest minus. It can cause the items inside to break with a fall and easily slashed or worn down over time.

To sum up, picking the right luggage depends on many factors, like your preferences, your budget, or the types of motorbike you ride. However, no matter which one you choose, safety comes first. Before you hit the road, weigh your luggage and check your motorbike’s payload. You need to keep your motorcycle balanced and do not let it overload. Challenging roads are what we want to go, so riding an overloaded motorbike is extremely dangerous.

2. Tent

Motorcycle Camping - Tent

When picking a good tent, you can be overwhelmed by the many different models and brands. Each model has its pros and cons, so it requires you to consider it carefully before choosing. Not only should it meet your needs, but it also is easy to erect and fit your motorcycle when packing. To keep it simple, we will look at some basic options and see if they are right for you.

  • Family tents

A family tent is probably the most common type you may have used often when camping with your family. You can easily buy them at any retail store with prices ranging from cheap to high. Family tents are available in various sizes, from 2-person to 6-person tents. Depending on your group size, you can pick a suitable tent. However, no matter your choice, quality should always come first. Remember that these tents are usually designed for car campers. Moreover, not all of them work well, as several unstable domes have been produced and marketed.

Motorcycle Camping - Family Tents

  • Expedition tents

Perhaps nothing is better than an expedition tent regarding the most suitable tent for motorbike camping. It offers enough space with two sections, a sleeping area that can accommodate 2-3 adults, and a vestibule used for cooking when it rains, keeping smelly boots, or even your motorbike.

  • Backpacking tents

If you go camping alone and do not plan to stay more than one night in one place, backpacking tents are the ideal choice. It is compact, lightweight, and flexible, and it can easily be packed but does not give you much space inside.

  • Bivy Sacks

Motorcycle Camping - Bivy Sacks

For minimalists, a bivy sack is highly recommended. It is just a big sleeping bag that allows you to put a small mattress inside. It is super compact, so you can put it wherever you stop for the night. Some have a small dome over your head, but that is all you get.

If you do not want to pack a tent, a tarp is everything you need. You can anchor one side to your motorbike and picnic table, the other to a nearby tree, and then sleep under it. Naturally, it cannot protect you in the harsh weather.

  • You may like this post:  Best Motorcycle Tents Tips For Camping On Two Wheels
  • 3. Sleeping bag

Motorcycle Camping - Sleeping bag

After picking a good tent, the sleeping bag is the next thing you need. Even in the summer, the nights can get cold, and you do not want to be huddled in a cold tent. A comfortable sleeping bag is essential for a good night’s sleep.

Don’t forget to consider your bag’s temperature rating and choose one appropriate for the season and climate where you are going. As the saying goes, “Better over than under,” it is best to choose a sleeping bag with a lower temperature rating than the lowest nighttime temperatures where you are going to camp. If you plan to go camping in the winter, sleeping bags that can withstand lower temperatures are recommended. Do not forget to bring sleeping bag pads as they are a must-have if you want a good night’s sleep.

4.  Cooking gear

Motorcycle Camping - Cooking gear

  • Cooking stove

Cooking outdoors is always a fun experience, but many campgrounds do not allow wood burning to prevent wildfires and cut carbon emissions. At that time, bringing a cooking stove was a wise decision. A small, lightweight, packable stove is worth adding to your camping gear. Also, remember to bring cooking utensils. An iron pan and some silverware are all you need to have a hot meal on the go.

  • Ready-to-eat/-make food

Riding on harsh roads is not easy, and you certainly don’t want to go hungry. You can wrap some frozen food in tin foil, and when you arrive, it will be defrosted and ready to enjoy. Plan carefully and determine how much food you need until you reach the final destination. Besides ready-to-make food, you must bring enough snacks before setting off.

5. Clothing and personal items

Clothing and personal items

You can join a motorcycle camping trip at any time of the year. Of course, the best time is in the fall or spring when the weather is most pleasant. No matter what season you go, bring some comfortable and seasonally appropriate clothing. Leather jackets, long-sleeve tops, and pants are recommended as elevation changes can make the nights much colder.

You also need to invest in a quality pair of shoes. They should have a good grip and be comfortable, especially when you have to conquer bumpy passes.

Besides, do not forget to bring toiletries and medication. Instead of getting full-size items, a toiletries kit is preferred. These kits often come in a small travel bag, so you throw them in your luggage and are ready to go. Everything comes in a mini size that saves you a lot of space and makes it easy to get all your toiletries at once.

Riding a motorbike comes with risks, and you will not know what will happen along the way. Packing a basic but high-quality first aid kit will ensure you are safe for any minor medical challenges popping up. It is always better to be prepared, especially regarding health-related things.

Things to know about your motorcycle

1. Is your motorcycle maintenance up to date?

If you have ever ridden long distances, you surely know how painful it is when your motorcycle breaks down during a trip. Doing some basic maintenance tasks before kicking the kickstand up is the best way to keep you safe and reduce the risk of your ride.

An oil change is a simplest and cheapest method to maintain your two wheels. When taking your motorbike to a maintenance shop for an oil change, you can have a mechanic look at the rest of the motorbike to ensure it’s good enough for a long ride. The role of the oil filter is to prevent grit and bits of engine wear from getting sucked into the system, and changing the oil and filter with a new one will help avoid these problems.

Worn tires, worn or stuck cables, or old brake pads are all things that contribute to the risk of your ride. If they have been used for a long time, it is time to replace them. Make sure everything is in top condition before you hit the road.

And finally, double-check your inspection and registration. These factors need to be valid until the end of the trip.

Things to know about your motorcycle

2. Will your motorbike violate any local law?

  • Customize your motorcycle

It is possible to customize your motorcycle, but each country has laws restricting such modifications. In California, for example, modifications that affect emissions are prohibited. Any codification that aims to boost your motorbike’s performance by sacrificing clean emissions (like fuel injectors or ignition parameters) could penalize you. Hence, check the laws where you’re going and comply with them.

Vietnam, of course, has its law on motorbike modifications. The first thing you need to pay attention to is the exhaust pipe. Although you can replace the exhaust pipe, it is not recommended if this is likely to increase your motorbike’s noise beyond the permissible level. An exhaust pipe with loud noise is easy to attract the attention of traffic police, and you can even be fined sometimes.

The second is the headlights. All motorcycles must have at least one headlight, and you can have a few more, but not too many. Also, it would be best if you did not use over-bright headlights as they can cause problems for other drivers. High beams can overwhelm the retina and cause temporary blindness.

The last one: is the horn. You may want to change to a louder horn to warn people of your location. However, not everyone likes that high-pitched honk, so please consider it carefully.

  • Luggage packing

Tall and heavy luggage will make for a dangerous riding condition. It can affect the driver’s balance that causes many accidents, especially when you ride on challenging roads. Some tips for lighter packing will be found later in this article.

  • Helmet

Wearing a helmet is a must-do for all riders in Vietnam. You may not know that brain injury is one of the biggest causes of motorcycle fatalities, and a high-quality helmet is a worthy investment that can keep you safe in bad situations.

  • Passenger limit

More than two people in transit on a motorbike are not allowed in Vietnam, except in an emergency.

3. Which motorbike should you choose for your motorcycle camping trip in Vietnam?

A motorbike is your companion during the trip, so picking the right one is an essential factor in determining whether your trip will be successful or not. Many motorbike brands are available, but BM Travel Adventure recommends choosing BMW R1200GS or Honda CB500X because of their power, versatility, and durability.

  • BMW R1200GS

Motorcycle Camping - BMW GS 1200

BMW R1200GS is a dual-sport motorcycle that belongs to the high-end off-road segment. Its design is quite extensive, but it can provide maximum comfort for two people on the bike.

When it comes to the pros of  the BMW R1200GS, the most impressive thing is probably its powerful engine. Regardless of easy or challenging routes, everything goes simple with BMW R1200GS. With a capacity of 1170cc, the maximum speed of this motorbike can be up to 201 km/h which helps you reach your destination in the least amount of time.

BMW R1200GS is also packed with top-notch technologies. The most notable addition is the new display with a high-resolution color screen that can be controlled from the handlebar and connected to your phone. Besides, a series of modern technologies such as dynamic traction control, cruise control, smart key, and hill hold control makes it the top choice of many adventure lovers.

Finally, for those who care about its appearance, the BMW R1200GS is offered in various colors for you to pick from. This motorbike may look a bit bulky because of its bigger design than others. Still, the firm and strong frame will better assist you in carrying your luggage.  With all these things combined, BMW R1200GS certainly does not let you down.

  • Honda CB500X

Motorcycle Camping - Honda CB500x

Suppose you are looking for the best mid-displacement motorcycle at a reasonable price. In that case, Honda CB500x is best for adventurers without a big budget. Its height and compact design are especially suitable for Asians. However, that doesn’t mean its engine is not powerful. Honda CB500X delivers the necessary power of a mid-displacement motorcycle that all racers desire.

Another plus point of CB500X is flexibility. From flat roads in cities to rugged mountain paths with lots of unexpected curves and bends – the bike can run through changeable terrains in Vietnam without any obstacles. Honda CB500X is a typical example of a durable and fuel-efficient motorcycle that makes you want to ride on it without stopping.

4. Riding gear that adapts to the weather

Riders can cover long distances through a variety of environments. Always check the weather where you are going, then choose the appropriate motorcycle gear. If it’s summer, a motorcycle jacket is a must-have that allows air to be vented easily, keeping you cool. On the other hand, if you take a trip in winter, do not forget to bring a windproof jacket. Also, be aware that temperatures can swing wildly in a single day due to changes in altitude.

 Riding gear that adapts to the weather

Gloves are also an essential item for riders. Not only does it keep you warm or get out of the sun, but it also protects your hands in the event of an accident. In addition, breathable, waterproof, and windproof items are recommended. They can still work well, no matter if it’s misty or light rain.

Finally, as we mentioned above, wearing a helmet is a must for all riders in Vietnam. Make sure your helmet is in good enough condition to protect your head. A high-quality helmet is always a worthy investment for your safety.

Tips for packing lighter

1. Cut the non-essentials

The most important tip:

  • Only bring what you need.
  • Check out the list of everything in your bag and consider whether some of them are needed.
  • If the answer is No, cut it.

Many people carry too much unnecessary stuff just because it makes them feel more comfortable and secure, but resist this urge to be overprepared. Many visitors have wished they only packed half as much.

2. Research the weather before setting off

Make sure all items you pack are appropriate for the weather where you are going. The weather can even change in a single day, so it is best to prepare for both hot and cold weather. Of course, be prepared but minimal. Carrying many layers of clothing adds more weight and takes up precious space in your luggage.

3. Find somewhere to do laundry

Sometimes you will need to do some laundry and ensure you know where to do it. Surf the internet and search for laundromats in the area you are going to go to. If the campground offers laundry facilities, you will not need to worry about this. Remember that laundry helps reduce the number of clothes you must carry, so your luggage will be much lighter.

4. Get lightweight cookware and gear

Carrying heavy and bulky luggage is very dangerous for the driver, so you should invest in the light and highly stowed equipment. Lightweight cookware and gear are highly recommended as they will save you a lot of packing weight.

Make your motorcycle camping easier at BM Travel Adventure

5. Make your motorcycle camping easier at BM Travel Adventure

With extensive experience organizing motorcycle camping trips, we ensure to provide the best memories for adventure lovers. Do not waste time preparing. Motorcycle camping tours at BM Travel Adventure offer everything you need:

  • Motorcycle: You can choose from BMW R1200GS or Honda CB500X. Both are ideal companions that are selected and appreciated by many travelers.
  • Pickup truck: Motorcycle tours in Vietnam are exciting but dangerous. Don’t worry; BM Travel has a pickup truck to accompany you if more than five motorbikes join the trip.
  • Essential stuff: Cooking gear, snacks, hot water, hot shower, pits, or grill for cooking
  • BBQ dinners

We have been at home for so long because of the pandemic, so there’s nothing more exciting than the thought of conquering spectacular roads on two wheels. If you think of an ideal motorcycle camping trip, do not hesitate to contact BM Travel Adventure now. We are here to make your plan come true! Check out  all our motorcycle tours´  itineraries:

Please contact us for more interesting information

Contact us for more interesting information​

  • Address: 3/7/36 Duy Tan Street, Cau Giay District, Ha Noi City
  • Mobile: +84 976 024 986
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