What’s in your panniers?
A guide to motorcycle camping for poshies
We’ve put together a camping kit guide where budget isn’t the main consideration but weight and style is. And the best bit about packing light and paying more for it? You don’t need panniers! A kit bag or a rucksack will do the same job... thank god, I hate panniers!!
Whether you have a luxurious comfy adventure bike or simply like to strap what you can to your GSXR, camping and bikers go together and it really doesn’t matter what you ride. But, if you’re posh and/or budget isn’t that important then you have no other choice but to pick a bike that could but probably never will take you around the world and back. The Honda Crosstourer is my choice for today, great wind protection, lots of comfort, spotlights that can light up the channel tunnel and a flappy-paddle fancy-dan gearbox thing. The Crosstourer is a bike for life.
Price – £13199 - Buy it from Honda
It weighs 5.5kg and packs down to 20cmx60cm. The Mototent is built for bikers. Stand in it, sleep in it, dry your gear in it, garage your bike in it or prep your dirt bike for a race in it. The inner tent is removable and the whole thing takes one man less than 10 minutes to put up. It’s proven to withstand high winds using a clever guy rope system making it completely solid in the highest of gales. It’s waterproof and it’s made from cool top spec components like aircraft grade aluminium tent pegs and the best thing is it will garage the biggest of Adventure bikes with room to spare. Lonerider say "The Mototent is the fastest to erect, lightest and most compact biker tent on the market"
Price - £349 - Buy it from the Lone Rider Mototent UK distributor – Twistmoto
The Hellinox Chair One weighs a superlight 850g and packs down to 35cm x 10cm, its positively tiny but thanks to the structurally sound frame construction when it’s up it’s strong and will take a load of 145kg. It’s as comfortable as any other camping chair I’ve sat on...but for half the size and weight.
Price - £75 - Buy it from Helinox retailer Twistmoto
Here’s where you can make some big weight and bulk savings. Invest in a compact, all-in-one cooking stove. This is the Primus Eta Express which weights 420g and packs down to 12cmx15cm. It has a non stick cooking pot that you can fry and boil in along with a bowl and a built in lighter system. The gas canisters can be detached at anytime without leaking gas and with a simple wipe the whole thing is clean to use again. But, the best bit is the gas jet it heats with, it will laterally boil 3 mugs worth of water in less than 4 minutes.
Price - £90 - Buy it from UK Primus retailers
Buy fresh food from a local supermarket if you have the luxury of a cooler, if you don’t, then Beyond The Beaten Track manufacture posh long life, compact nosh with all the taste... and most of the consistency of the real deal. In these little bags of “Lamb Hotpot” and “All day breakfast” you’ll find real carrots, chunks of lamb, whole sausages and beautifully formed baked beans. You even get Tabasco sauce, hand wipes, salt and pepper sachets and if you pick up a 24 hour ration pack some mints for after, Oreo cookies and a selection of nuts! Some of the packs even come as self heating!
Price – From £4 per meal - Buy it from BTBT
It’s all about ‘seasons’ one season being just for Summer, Four seasons being for summer and sleeping rough in Antarctica. Opt for a sleeping bag that covers you for three seasons and that will keep you warm in spring summer and autumn. The more the seasons the bulkier and heavier the bag so stick with two or three seasons and buy a lightweight liner which bumps you up one more seasons when inserted. Pictured is the Snugpak Softie 9 Hawk. Aside from sleeping bags Snug pack also manufacture tiny inflatable pillows and air mattresses which pack down to less than 10cm x 3 cm combined and they are one of the best at making camping gear from sleeping full stop, but the best bit? They are a UK company through and through. A total weight of 2.2kg here.
Price - Bag £119, Pillow £19.95, Mattress £39.95, Liner £39.95
Buy it from - Snugpak
It’s a personal thing really, shower in waterfall, swim in a river or simply dig out the wet wipes like a girl. Either way you’ll probably want to dry off and these Antibacterial towls weigh just 120g and pack down to 10cm x 10cm, they come in different sizes and dry in no time at all. Think Chamois leather and you’ll get the idea.
Price - £14.95 - Buy it from Snugpak
The other bits and bobs
I took a basic Hydration pouch that carries 3 ltrs of water, a Gillet and jogging bottoms from home to keep me warm and out of my wet bike gear. A good old fashioned set of cutlery from the kitchen draw along with my favourite glass and cup from the cupboard, some luxuries just aren’t worth going without. I took a Pen knife, my headphones and small bottle of Jack Daniels. And just encase you can’t find a toilet, a portable spade and some loo roll. Total weight 4.5kg.
Total Weight minus the bike – 12.8kg,
Total Cost minus the bike - £847 + £50 food, drink & discretionary
And if you are going to head out camping then consider using a satnav to get around stress free
The Garmin Zumo satnav range is design for bikers The Zumo’s are waterproof, rugged and the touch screens work with gloved fingers. The Zumo 350 I went for is loaded with maps that would take me right down the south of Italy and it will select twisty road routes for me if I fancy it using its “Curvy Road” feature. The system is simple and easy to use and with Bluetooth connectivity you can choose to hear all the audible instructions instead of taking your eyes off the road to look at the screen. For 5 years I lived with the 350 predecessor the Zumo 550, it was a useable reliable system and travelled around Europe with me in that time but I can hand on heart say that the new 350 is 50% better again.
Price - £350 - Buy it from Garmin
Photos by Dave Jackson at The Bike Insurer, they love camping over there!