Lightweight Camping for Motorcycle Travel


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To stay warm on cool nights, you must assemble a good sleeping system 

The best sleeping bags for motorcycle camping are synthetic-filled bags rated down to about 20 to 25 degrees Fahrenheit. Down filled bags compress into a smaller space but will lose their warmth when wet - and they will likely get wet on several motorcycle trips. Mummy bags may feel more confining than rectangular bags (especially for big men) but compress and pack into a small  space. Look for a bag that fits your body type and weighs less than 4 pounds.

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The newer bag (bottom) packs into a much smaller space than the older bag (top)

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The Kelty Adirondak and Sierra Designs Rosa bags are synthetic bags rated to 20 degrees

In addition to your sleeping bag, you will need a mattress or sleeping pad. Many novice campers buy small, inexpensive foam pads that pack small. But, most veteran campers (including myself) know that self-inflating, insulated air matresses such as the ones sold by Therm-a-Rest pack small and will keep you warmer on cool nights. 

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The Therm-a-Rest Expedition (left) is more comfortable but the Prolite 4 (right) packs small.

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Robin was reluctant to get up one cool morning

You will also need a pillow. You could use a daypack, a stuff sack filled with clothes, a dirty clothes bag, or a small pillow cover stuffed with clothes. I bought a flannel pillow cover from a sporting goods store and replaced the stuffing with clothing for one day (T shirt, underwear, socks, thermal underwear, long sleeve shirt, and a pair of swim shorts).
To stay warm on cool nights, you must also wear long pants, wool socks, and a hat.

This book lists over 50 sleeping bag models and gives lots of information that will help you select the sleeping gear that best suits your needs.

Learn more about sleeping systems in chapter 3