Although some motorcycle campers choose to sleep under a plastic tarp to keep their equipment weight down, this sacrifice is not necessary. Modern day backpacking tents are both lightweight and small when packed. This makes them efficient in your list of equipment. Choose a tent that will fit neatly on your bike. Road Runner magazine suggests using a tent that can accommodate one more person than will be sleeping in it. This strategy leaves room for your gear, keeping it dry for the next day's ride.
One of the draws to motorcycle camping is that you can see the country from dry, hot deserts to cold, snowy mountaintops. This possibility for drastic temperature differences makes a sleeping bag an important piece of equipment for any trip. Sleeping bags designed for backpacking can be rolled into small, easily packed balls to fit efficiently on your bike.
Spending the night on the cold hard ground can make the long day in the saddle even worse on your muscles and back. Bringing a small sleeping pad along on the trip will prevent discomfort, sleepless nights and injury. Sleeping pads are available in both foam and inflatable designs. Both are light and you can strap it easily to the back of your motorcycle. If you want to cut the weight and bulk of the pad even more, cut it to reach from your shoulders to hips.
Gear bags come in both hard and soft varieties. While hard saddle bags are durable, protective and keep your gear dry in wet weather, they are more expensive and require obstructive mounting brackets that are exposed when the bags are removed. Soft, leather bags are less expensive alternatives that do not require complicated mounting equipment. If you choose to pack your gear in a soft saddlebag you can keep your clothes and other gear safe from water with dry bags, which both compress and protect gear.
Whether you are heading out for a one-night camping trip or a cross-country journey, you should not sacrifice tools for more space on your bike. Basic tools are essential for any trip. Before you leave for your trip put together a toolkit with one of every tool you may need to fix simple problems with your bike. This will save money in the case of a breakdown on the road. Towing and labor costs can be high and a trustworthy garage is not always easy to find on the road.