Compact, efficient, and durable camping gear are crucial when living off of a motorcycle for an extended period. I have been through several different pieces of gear in the past and during the trip. The below items are what have been extremely efficient for me throughout every possible environment.
Sleeping bags can be difficult to choose from, given the different types and warmth levels. When choosing a sleeping bag, synthetic down is best to prevent mold and increase lifespan. The Kathmandu bag is rated at 32 degrees and packs down to a very small size compared to other bags. Being water repellent is a must as condensation can form inside a tent. My feet still get cold in the bag, so I wear thermal socks.
I am using the Reactor Plus liner, which can add 20 degrees of warmth within the sleeping bag (essentially making my bag 12 degrees), or it can act as a standalone blanket when the sleeping bag is just too warm. There are multiple degree options, depending on your needs. By having a sleeping bag and liner I expand my temperature options and reduce size.
The Bugaboo cooking set is very strong and easily serves one or two people. I recommend bring along the GSI Crossover Kitchen Kit as well. By removing all 4 cups and just eating out of the pans I was able to store the kitchen kit and MSR WhisperLite (without the bottle) within the Bugaboo.
The MSR WhisperLite stove has been extremely effective. Bringing and looking for propane canisters in foreign lands can be very difficult, but by using the International stove you can burn the fuel you have with you all the time, gasoline. This stove has worked in every elevation and still functions after being abused. It can be a struggle in the wind, so don’t discard the shield.
This can seem excessive if you do not camp a lot, but having a comfortable and compact chair to use next to a fire after a long days ride is perfect. It takes up a good portion of space, but the overall material is light. After about 5 uses one of the legs broke in half (expected with my leaning back) but was easily resolved by cutting the other two down to size.
Sil tarps are 100% waterproof and small, compared to traditional tarps. While not the cheapest, these tarps make camping in the rain a dryer experience. Depending on the size, you can cover your bike, tent, and have a dry place to make a fire. Sometimes you need to be creative and mount the tarp to your bike to build a shelter.
Invest in a very high lumen headlamp as you will explore dark nights and possibly caves. If battery power concerns you, don’t worry as you can find batteries in even the most remote locations. Just be careful to not have it stolen when your pannier falls off in the middle of nowhere Patagonia.
While you can use a water bottle and your headlamp to create a lantern, its just not worth the struggle every night. This small lantern doesn’t cost a lot and can withstand bouncing around in a pannier for countless miles. The two small hooks allow you to mount it to the bike for dark repairs.
Concerned about leaving a bag vulnerable on your motorcycle? The Pacsafe has a built in wire mesh and cable lock to safely secure your bag to the motorcycle. It has been beneficial to have during treks, but now that I have reduced items I plan to ride without a bag for my next adventure.
While we all hope it is never used, bring a first aid kit for those emergency situations. I have had to use it once, but it was only to render aid to a car crash that I witnessed on the road. In addition to the standard items, I added some quick-clot, antibiotics, and other small items that I might need. Better to have it, always. IT would also be beneficial to read up on how to render self-aid should you be alone and in danger.
Digging yourself out of the mud, building a fun jump, or even making a proper trench latrine, this small and compact shovel will make quick work. The pick feature is a must as it can quickly dig a trench in rock filled dirt whereas the shovel struggles. The axe and saw features are nice, though not too efficient.
Originally I was very happy with this sleeping pad, but within a week the valve became faulty beyond repair. REI replaced it without issue, but a month later one of the inner walls broke. This caused a large lump in the mat which made it impossible to sleep on. Two failures beyond repair, so I switched. I gave the bad mat to some kids playing in a lake, they found plenty of imaginative use for it.
Eagle Nest Outfitters Inc. make an excellent variety of hammocks and other gear, with the Sub7 Hammock being my favorite product of theirs. This hammock is the smallest and lightest in the offering which was my primary reason to buy it. It works great for a small backpacking hammock, but it can be a little uncomfortable when attempting to sleep in it multiple nights. Unfortunately I did not find myself using the hammock enough to keep carrying it throughout my trip and I upgraded to a tent that gave me plenty of air flow. All three items were mailed home.
During my planning stage and after my trial run I found that if I had used a bivy, rather than a tent, I would save a lot of space in my panniers. This bivy has goretex lining that kept me relatively dry during storms, however in the long run it is inefficient to live in. When storms hit and strand you for a day or two, or you need to eat in shelter, a tent is a must for you and your gear.