In Part 1 we covered what to wear on your body while traveling on the bike for 10 days. In Part 2 we’ll go over the essential camping gear to get you through just about anything nature could throw your way as we cover What to Pack for a 10 Day Dual Sport Camping Trip: Part 2 – Camping Gear.
It’s worth mentioning that everything in this post is being packed into an Altrider Hemisphere Saddlebag on my bike, a WR250R (see my full review here). But others in the group will be using similar products from Giant Loop like the Coyote or Great Basin and multi bag setups like Wolfman Luggage so it’s important to think about how your luggage system and bike work together to get an idea of how things should be packed.
What you see in the picture below is what I’ll be living off of (and living in!) for our 10 Day Colorado/Utah BDR Ride this summer.
Shelter and Sleep System
I think this is the single most important part of your kit – shelter being your hammock and tarp or your tent, and sleep system being your sleeping bag, sleeping pad, and pillow. Crawling into your tent or hammock after a long day of riding can be one of the nicest feelings in the world – if you’ve gotten your sleep setup dialed in you know what I’m talking about! On top of that, getting a good night’s rest can be the difference between attacking the next day of riding or dreading it. Not getting enough sleep can leave you groggy and tired making it hard to stay focused when the going gets rough.
Shelter – Hammock and Tarp
- Warbonnet Ridge Runner Hammock
- Kelty Noahs Tarp 12
- Nite Ize Figure 9 Tent Kit
- MSR Mini Groundhog Stake Kit
- Ground Sheet – Tyvek or Small Tarp
- Kelty Adjustable Tarp Pole – this is optional and I typically only bring this when I am on a bigger bike like the Super Tenere but is adds another degree of flexibility.
I’ve been a hammock camper for a few years now (we’ll discuss the pros and cons vs. a tent in another post soon) and I’ve found a really nice and flexible setup and I consider the Ridge Runner to be the flagship of my kit. The Noah’s Tarp by Kelty with a 12′ ridgeline (they also make 9′ and 16′ versions) is very versatile, durable, and provides great protection from the elements. You can pitch the tarp in various configurations and use it for shade, to get several people out of the rain at once, or even as a clean place to change a tube – something you’d be hard pressed to do with a backpacking tent and is a great bonus.
What if there aren’t any trees!?
Site selection is very important but the ability to go to the ground is the main reason I use a sleeping pad as my bottom insulation rather than an underquilt – Get creative! Use tarp poles or string your tarp up between two bikes. Or use one bike to make a lean-to style shelter. Your hammock becomes your bug bivvy. I went accross the country and only had to do this once at Sage Creek Campground in Badlands National Park – and mainly just to test it out as there were other options available.
This quilt has quickly become one of my favorite pieces of gear. It’s warm, very packable, and way more flexible than a traditional sleeping bag. With a zippered footbox that you can undo to turn it into a blanket, it works equally well in a hammock and a tent.
Note that I use the long and wide version of this pad – going back to how important it is to get a good night’s sleep. This pad is insulated to keep you warm when it gets cold, is thick enough to be very comfortable whether in your hammock or on the ground and it’s quiet to sleep on (I move around a lot so this is very important). But the feature I like best about this pad is the quick inflation and deflation. Big Agnes has updated this version with a diaphragm style inflator valve which is much, much faster than the old screw down type and a separate dump valve that lets out a ton of air all at once. No more wiggling around on your pad as you wait for all of the air to escape!
This is definitely a luxury item but it doubles as a dry sack so it’s dual purpose negates it’s extra weight. The sack pump makes filling up the pad a breeze and is much easier than using your mouth to inflate the pad.
This pillow packs down to about the size of a baseball and is inflatable so you can adjust the firmness. The thing I like about this pillow over other inflatables is the outer fabric. It’s very soft and comfortable against your skin. I like this way better than the Thermarest Compressible Pillow that I used to use – which is still a solid option.
Cooking is one of those things you’ll have to decide if you want to do and is really going to be dependent upon where exactly your travels will take you. I think it’s important to have the ability to make some grub in the backcountry as riding into the nearest town for breakfast or dinner isn’t always feasible and sometimes stopping midday for some chow when you’re in the middle of nowhere can give you the edge (and calories) you need to keep going. A minimalist cooking kit like the one I usually bring is really only good for boiling water. This is good for rehydrating freeze-dried meals or making ramen based dishes and can also make your morning coffee. You could also bring a pan for cooking eggs and meats or even cook directly on the coals of your campfire. I own a couple of different setups for various purposes but for ease of use and it’s all-in-one style, I highly recommend the Jetboil Flash System and it’s worth picking up the coffee press as well for a few bucks more as this makes it easier to make a great cup of coffee without getting grains in your teeth.
This small kit of camping items I’ve thrown together is an assortment of essential items – some used every day and others that are nice to have that I break out in various situations – stored in a small nylon dopp kit bag. Here is a quick rundown of the essentials that I always have with me.
- Petzl Tikka Headlamp – It took me wayyy too many years of camping to figure out how useful having a bright, reliable source of hands free lighting could be! I really like this headlamp for its versatility, several different brightness and light settings and a red light as well to keep the bugs down and preserve night vision.
- Black Diamond Moji Lantern – This is a great light with infinite brightness adjustments between minimum and maximum and the diffused globe makes a nice, even light pattern that is very evenly dispersed.
- Light My Fire Grandpa’s Fire Fork – basically an adapter for campfire cooking to be used with a stick you find and whittle down to fit – it’s great for cooking brats or dogs over the fire and packs so much smaller than any other fire fork or skewer.
- Epiphany Outdoors Bellows Fire Starting Kit – This is such a neat little kit, I really like these fire starters, they’re long lasting and catch very quickly. The pocket bellows is one of the coolest accessories that allows you to direct air directly where you need to get your fire going in no time!
- Military Can Opener
- Battery Tender to USB for charging phones, batteries, and Sena Communicator
- Nite Ize Small Figure 9 Carabiner – these are great little versatile rope tighteners. They can help you string up or pitch a tarp or even just make a clothesline.
- Dynaglide Rope – very versatile, holds a knot well and can be used for nearly anything. Very low stretch unlike cheap paracord.
- Spare Metollus Carabiners – again just nice to have, very versatile.
- Spare batteries, charging cables, spare lighter, sleeping pad repair kit
My toiletry kit is pretty small and, like my camp kit, is also packed in a small dopp kit. It contains a few essentials for maintaining hygiene and keeping clean while on the road and in the backcountry. Here’s what I’ve always got with me:
- Travel size shampoo, face wash, and conditioner – I’ve recently started using reusable squeeze bottles so that I can just refill from the big bottles at home.
- Travel size deodorant
- Hand Sanitizer
- Toothbrush, toothpaste, and floss – you can find travel kits online or at drugstores or build out your own kit.
- DEET bug repellent by Repel – they make a nice travel bundle that has wipes which are nice to use.
- SPF Lip Balm – choose your favorite but I like to make sure that mine has sunblock.
- Wet Wipes – I use these all the time, and not just for when I have to poo. They’re great for cleaning up before eating or wiping dirt and dust off your face and neck! I will usually carry these in cinjuction with a face scrubbing wipe like the ones from Olay. These are great for really scrubbing the crud off of your face at the end of a long day, and sometimes campsites don’t have showers and aren’t near a stream to bathe in.
- Sea to Summit Pocket Laundry Soap – this stuff is great! I use it to wash clothes at camp and then hang them to dry and, in a pinch, you can even wash yourself with it.
On offroad and/or camping trips I always carry with me a way to filter water. This is great because there isn’t always a store near by to purchase water to refill the hydration pack and staying hydrated is vitally important. I store everything in a mesh stuff sack. The water kit consists of:
- Sawyer Squeeze Filter – A little bigger than the popular Sawyer Mini but a much better flow rate and still very small and performs well as a gravity filter when used with the optional kit.
- Platypus GravityWorks 4L Kit – This is a really nice setup with easy to use clean and dirty water bags and 4L is a nice capacity for refilling hydration and using water for cooking and cleaning. I choose to use the Sawyer filter over the one that comes with the kit because it is more versatile. You can screw it directly onto other water bottles or bladders which is a nice bonus.
Clothing very much comes down to personal preference but when you want to go light and fast try packing as few items as possible (you don’t really need those jeans and t-shirts) and don’t be afraid of washing things in a river and hanging them out to dry! I pack a pretty minimalist kit when it comes to clothes but I’ve learned what I do and don’t need after several years of getting everything dialed in.
- 2 Pairs ExOfficio Give and Go Underwear – These are the best underwear for motorcycle riding I’ve found. Excellent ventilation and super quick drying. Wear one, wash one!
- 2 Shirts – I prefer a lightweight wicking shirt to wear under my armor and lately I really like the Nike Combat stuff. I typically wear long sleeves for sun protection or no sleeves at all.
- 1 Pants – I bring an ultralight pair of Columbia convertible nylon pants so I’ve got shorts and pants all in one
- 4 Pairs Smartwool Socks – This is really the only area I pack more than I probably need. I always have extra socks. It’s important to keep your feet dry and comfortable – “The Mekong will eat a grunt’s feet right off his legs.” I really like having lightweight wool socks. They keep my feet drying and more comfortable than any other wicking fabric and the fight odor as well.
- 1 Layering Shirt – I will usually wear this on chilly nights around camp or put it on as a warm base layer if needed on a cold morning. Again, merino wool is the fabric of choice here. Lightweight, packable, warm, and doesn’t lose it’s insulating properties when wet. My favorite is Ibex or Smartwool.
- Camp Shoes – Camp shoes are another item that varies greatly for different people due to personal preference. Personally, I like to be able to swim and shower in mine as well as wear them for short hikes and just hanging around camp. I’ve tried a bunch from Crocs to New Balance Minimus and other lightweight shoes. My all-time favorite is the Keen CNX. They are less bulky than the super popular Keen H2 but still have toe protection and are very durable. I usually strap them to the outside of my luggage for quick access.
Other Camp Sundries and Comfort Items
- First Aid Kit
- Tool Kit – Always. Carry. A. Tool. Kit. What I tool I carry really deserves its own post. I recommend storing your tools in the Wolfman Tool Roll.
- Chair – You have lots of options. But having a place to put your bum after sitting on a bike all day is a great feeling. I prefer the versatility of the two-legged Monarch from Alite Designs. Sit on a hill, rock in it, etc. it’s just comfortable!
- Bucket – A folding bucket has many uses from cooking and cleaning at camp to doing laundry. I use a 10L Sea to Summit Kitchen Sink.
- Poo Trowel – If you don’t know how to shit in the woods, pick up this book. Seriously though, leave the place better than you found it and bury your poo using a trowel. I like the model from GSI Outdoors as it has serrated edges good for cutting through roots and it’s sturdy.
- Knife – A good, sturdy fixed blade is super versatile and can be used for various camp chores and cooking to even processing firewood. The Morakniv is a great fixed blade that’s extremely sharp and can be had for under $20! Amazon has various styles which you can look through here. I prefer bright orange so it’s easy to find and I like the carbon steel version.
- Camp Towel – I always carry a camp towel or two. Usually a large one for drying off after bathing or wiping off my feet to get them dry before changing socks and also a wash cloth size for other various camp chores. I currently carry one from REI but you can find various sets and sizes on Amazon for less money.
- Backup Battery – I like anker as they’ve always been reliable for me and I find that a 10,000 mAh is a good size for carrying while also being sufficient capacity for multi-day adventures. I use it to charge camera batteries, cell phones, and helmet communicators.
So there you have it. All of the camp gear for a 10 day outing. It takes some time to get your gear dialed in and pare down your kit so that you’re not carrying too much so get and and take some test runs – somewhere close to home. That way you’re less stressed and if you find that you’ve cut something out that you really actually needed you won’t be in too much of a bind.
How’s the kit look? Do you have any must-bring items to add to the list? Let us know in the comments below!