The rise in popularity of Adventure Motorcycle touring and camping has opened up a whole new way to see the world.
Traveling by motorcycle is a very liberating, exciting and independent way to travel. Our goal should be about having more life in our days, not having more days in our life.
When Ewan McGregor and Charley Boorman traveled 19,000 miles from London to New York in their TV series ‘Long Way Round’ back in 2004, it fueled a whole new wave of popularity, not to mention sales of BMW GS adventure bikes.
For many adventure riders, the series was the inspiration that started their passion to ride Adventure Motorcycles.
It was so successful that they repeated the experience in 2007 with ‘Long Way Down’, this time traveling from London to Capetown.
Of course, they traveled with a cameraman on a third bike, had an office back in London organizing Visas, etc, and had a support crew following them, something the vast majority of adventure riders don’t have. Not to mention their ‘star power’ which enabled them to be given bikes and gear to use.
Adventure riders generally don’t have the budget for the luxuries Ewan and Charley had which were necessary for the production of the TV series.
The whole point of adventure riding is being self-sufficient, a self-contained unit. Minimalisation is the key.
On that note, here are what I consider to be 5 good reasons to go Adventure Motorcycle Camping:
1. A Sense Of Adventure
Adventure breeds personal growth, which leads to a better life and personal happiness. Life is all about growth. Learning how to embrace adventure could be one of the greatest gifts in your life.
Traveling on a motorcycle in itself adds a whole new level of adventure when compared to traveling by car in air-conditioned, sound insulated comfort.
Being exposed to the elements, feeling the wind and the weather, hearing the sound of your bike, smelling everything along the way, it all emerses you in the environment.
Motorcycle camping allows you to extend your trip into the night and next day, or even weeks or months.
Camping out in the elements creates that whole feeling of ‘not being at home’. You’re in unfamiliar territory, the unexpected happens. You might get rained on, the wind might buffet your tent around, you’ll hear animals in the night, it’s all part of the unknown.
You don’t get that staying in a motel. Sleeping in a bed, having a bathroom, a roof over your head, it’s all too much like being at home. The adventure is lost.
Staying in a motel also means you have to unpack a lot of your luggage and carry it to the room for security reasons. If you have soft panniers, there’s no way to really secure them, you have to remove it all. When you camp, your bike is right there in sight. All your gear is at your fingertips.
There are even tents that allow you to park your bike in the tent out of sight, like the Lone Rider Moto Tent, or the Redverz Atacama Tent.
If this idea appeals to you, learn more in my post: 10 Best Tents For Adventure Motorcycle Camping
2. Being One With Nature
There’s something special about waking up in the morning, opening your tent, and the first thing you see is your motorcycle, just waiting for another day of riding.
You see a lot more of the day when you’re camping. From being woken up by the light first thing in the morning and getting organized for the day’s riding ahead, to arriving at your next camping spot that night, setting up your tent, starting a fire, organizing a meal, then chilling for the evening and watching the sunset.
Just traveling by motorcycle is a sensory experience, being exposed to the elements, so camping is an extension of that while you’re off the bike relaxing.
3. Being Self-Sufficient
Part of the challenge of motorcycle camping is being self-sufficient. Being able to stay out in the wild overnight with what you are carrying on your bike.
The adventure starts at home packing before you leave, determining what you really need, and what you can do without. Going through your checklist, what stays and what goes?
Then there is the puzzle of packing it efficiently on your bike. Where are you going to strap things to evenly distribute the weight on your bike?
The simplicity of traveling on a motorcycle forces you to travel light. Even more so with a lightweight Adventure bike, or an Enduro bike with very limited space for luggage.
Being self-sufficient means being able to get yourself out of trouble. In the middle of nowhere, you’re dependent on yourself or each other in the event of injury or mechanical breakdowns to get back to civilization.
Speaking of traveling light, if you own a lightweight Adventure bike or Enduro bike like myself, don’t let that put you off.
You really don’t need a big 1200cc BMW GS to have a good time, in fact, that much weight is more than a lot of people can handle (including Ewan McGregor at numerous times in their journey).
If you need proof of that, Adam Riemann and his mate Mark Portbury traveled from Austria to Egypt on two KTM500EXCs carrying all their luggage, with no backup crew, and filmed it all using a drone. They made two more trips in the following years in the MOTONOMAD trilogy. The cinematography is awesome, Adam is a filmmaker in his own right with Motology Films
To see the trailers of those three movies, refer to my post: Adventure Motorcycle Travel DVDs – A Few To Inspire You
4. Building Friendships
“There’s really something about riding with your friends…a feeling of freedom, a feeling of joy that really can’t be put into words. Can only be fully shared by someone who’s done it”
If those words sound familiar, they’re from Bruce Brown’s classic 1970’s film ‘On Any Sunday’. That about sums it up for me.
Adventure Motorcycle camping takes that feeling and extends it into the night, and the following days. I’ve made lifelong friends through motorcycling.
Even though you might not get together as often as you’d like, as soon as you do, you slip right back into where you left off. The years just melt away. It’s a common bond.
5. Creating Memories
Motorcycle camping trips are a great way to create lasting memories to look back on over the years. Each one is memorable for unexpected events that happened during that trip that set it apart from the others.
One particular trip (the one pictured above) is memorable for being unexpectedly cut short. We met some other riders in the campground and decided to ride with them the next day. It had rained during the night and the trails had become quite slippery. The guys we joined for the ride that day liked to ride fast.
My friend’s wife Beth was fairly new to riding and was on a BMW650 GS. The combination of slippery trails, and riding a lot faster than normal led her to fall and twist her ankle badly. Luckily we were only a short distance into the forest, and able to get a vehicle quite close enough to load her bike onto. It was straight back to town and to hospital for X-Rays. Luckily it wasn’t broken.
It hasn’t deterred her enthusiasm for adventure riding one bit. She and her husband have enjoyed many more trips since then, they’re quite the adventure riding ‘Dynamic Duo’. It’s a lucky guy whose partner shares in his passion.
That’s just one of my memories of a recent trip, even though it was cut short. Adventure riding is all about making those unforgettable memories to look back on.
Stop putting your life on hold. Waiting for the perfect time is just putting it off indefinitely. There will never be a perfect time.
A lot of adventures don’t cost that much if you’re willing to plan for something smaller in the meantime. Don’t put your life on hold waiting for that ‘someday’ big adventure.
Follow the adventure now and see where it leads you. It might just be the best thing you do for yourself.
What’s your inspiration to go Adventure Motorcycle Camping? Is it on this list, or have you found another good reason? Please feel free to share your thoughts.