So, I am planning my first trip - Stromtrooper Forum : Suzuki V-Strom Motorcycle Forums
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post #1 of 21 Old 05-18-2014, 06:06 PM Thread Starter
Join Date: Apr 2014
Location: Charlotte, NC
Posts: 49
So, I am planning my first trip

I plan on riding and camping a few days in the NC mountains; probably a 3-4 day trip. I will be caring a tent, self-inflating mattress, some cooking supplies, tarps, first aid kit, and an assortment of other smaller camping items, along with a changes of clothes. I have stock panniers, a tank bag, and camping back packs.

My question is, what is the best way to load the bike for a 3-4 day adventure? Do I need a tail pack (I was looking at the Nelson CL-1040, but do not know if I even need it.

What do you guys think. With this being my first motocamping trip ever, I am wanting some pointers. Thanks!
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post #2 of 21 Old 05-18-2014, 07:22 PM
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Congratulations! Might be the best 3~4 days of your life so far...

Sorry, I don't have any specific advice... I've only done a few extended rides, and in general I took more than I really needed. Try a search on what to take camping and you'll probably get a boatload of info.

Seems like everything breaks down into one of two categories: Stuff you KNOW you are going to need, like food, water, etc, and stuff you hope you NEVER need, like tire repair, chain repair, etc.

The one thing to be sure to take plenty of is water. Take two or three times as much as you'll think you need.

Have fun!

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'06 KLR650 - Well armored and filthy!
'11 DL650 - Dearly departed 8-12-17, RIP
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post #3 of 21 Old 05-18-2014, 07:36 PM
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I have a top case and side cases. However, I use the large Firstgear Torrent waterproof duffel in which the tent, sleeping bag, chair, sleeping pad, cookware, food, and other things go into. I then put this across the passenger area, and strap it to my racks of passenger handles with Rok straps.

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post #4 of 21 Old 05-18-2014, 09:20 PM
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Tail packs are really handy when touring. It's nice to keep the stuff that you tend to need to get to more often in the tail pack, like a map, or water, or whatever. It's easier to open the tail pack than to open a side-opening case and root around for something while it is attached to the bike (or trying to find something that's buried at the bottom of a top loading pannier). Between my rear case and my tank bag, I never have to open the side cases when I'm on the move.

And don't forget a flashlight when you're camping.

"No matter where you go, there you are."
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post #5 of 21 Old 05-18-2014, 10:31 PM
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The real deal......and it can hold more than you can imagine, and it compresses down to make more compact as well. Will be 110% waterproof, well worth the coin and will last a very long time.

BRIAN "GO Buckeyes, GO Wildcats"!

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post #6 of 21 Old 05-18-2014, 11:05 PM
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My experience is that two side cases and a top case will do just fine, with the tent strapped across the seat. You'll be surprised at how little stuff you actually need for a trip like this, though. I did a 30 day trip in October and sent two packages home along the way because I found that I needed very little, other than two day's worth of clothing, my camping gear, and a few essentials.

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post #7 of 21 Old 05-20-2014, 10:00 AM
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Like a lot of questions that come up on here, this one is subjective. Some guys pack a ton of stuff while some pack very little. I feel as though I am on the "minimalist" end of the spectrum, so YMMV from mine...

Backpacks: are you meaning you have a pack you would deploy when you are off the bike hiking? Or do you mean you would be carrying some gear in a backpack while on the bike? If the latter, ditch it. You don't want to be wearing extra weight on a longer trip, especially if you will be getting on and off the bike a lot at stops and shedding your jacket. The backpack is uncomfortable in the long run and is inconvenient.

Oral intake: I personally never pack food, with the exception of a little bit of trail mix as an energy boost. In the eastern US you are never far from a gas station, restaurant, Quickie Mart, etc. If you get hungry, stop and buy something. If you are nearing your destination for the night, stop and get dinner before you arrive. I do have water though, always. Either a few bottles or a Camelbak bladder in my tank bag with the tube secured to a retractable ID lanyard.

Gear: I like to use a small sleeping pad, a bag, and if I need it due to weather or bugs, a 2 man Eureka tent. I generally just sleep without the tent and have gotten lazy lately and often don't bring it along, but I recognize I'm in the severe minority in this regard.

Clothes: on shorter (3-ish day) trips, I usually only bring one change of underwear, tee shirt, and socks (other than what I am wearing), a pair of flip flops, a pair of basketball shorts (which double as a swimsuit), a pair of long johns, a liner for my jacket, a neck gaiter (that doubles as a beanie hat) and a heated vest. The long johns, liner, and vest are for any colder unexpected weather. I wear riding pants, riding boots, and a riding jacket; with just my socks, underwear, and t shirt underneath. I change underclothes every other day, which may sound nasty, but who really cares? You don't really sweat a lot on the bike and even if you do, the funk stays bottled up in the riding gear anyway. And even if it doesn't, you are supposed to be a grungy, smelly bastard; you are on a motorcycle trip.

Tools, etc: I have the stock toolkit with a few tools removed and a few added. Strictly personal preference there. A spare master link. Wire ties. 12V air pump and plug kit. Multi tool in the tank bag. Never used anything in a ton of miles except the multi tool, wire ties, the chain adjustment tools, and the air pump and plug kit.

If you are staying in the US, and especially the east coast US, it really isn't possible to pack 'too little'. If you are on the road and you need something, you stop and buy it. In years past I've bought sweatshirts, a camera, sunglasses, and lots of underwear / tees (on my longer trips I sometimes just throw away the old tee shirts after they get stupid funky and buy a $6 pack of 3 new white ones). I think buying what you might need while on the road is a better option than sending back what you overpacked. Remember, a motorcycle is supposed to be fast, nimble, and light. You are supposed to live off it for a while with minimal equipment - I tend to think of it as an old cavalry horse with a bedroll tied to the saddle. If you find it necessary to have three bags, a trailer, and stuff bungeed to every available space, you are missing the entire point of motorcycle touring.

A fun, quirky resource is a pamphlet Aerostich puts out called "Lightweight Unsupported Motorcycle Touring for the Solo Traveler".

Here's my bike on a basic 2 day trip. Nice and simple, just the necessities:

Totally unrelated, but based on your avatar and your profile, I see you are a flight medic, nurse, or pilot.... could I interest you in trading shoulder patches, if your uniform has patches?

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post #8 of 21 Old 05-20-2014, 11:18 AM
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top box and panniers

This is my setup. You can live out of that for 2 weeks. I had no tent and no camp chair on that trip and there was a lot of spare capacity. Tent and chair go on the back seat as well as the sleeping bag and matress. Makes a good backrest. Top box and tank bag has all the stuff you need to get to easily during the day. Make yourself a set of carrying bags for the panniers. I can unload mine in a minute and have everything neatly in place.
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post #9 of 21 Old 05-20-2014, 04:57 PM
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When i go on long trips, its all about the adventure. Taking pictures and discovering roads i have never been on. I put in a lot of miles each day, and the camping part of it is where i recoup for the next long days ride.

I don't bother with cooking gear, stoves, pots, pans, cups, plates, knives/forks/spoons, spices, sauces etc etc... cans of gas take up a lot of space. I just pick up quick things in the gas station convenience stores, and I always bring along power bars and beef jerky so i have something to eat if there are no stores open when i roll in. I also only buy water from there too. I don't need gallons of the stuff. A couple of small bottles is enough, mind you, when i traveled down South and it was HOT that was a different story.

I love camping, but i hate the setup and tear down, so i bought a popup tent. Now it's literally 1 second to set that up. Self inflating mattress. Anything to speed up the setup/tear down.

You want to keep your clothes to a minimum. 2 pairs of pants is plenty for multi week trips. A few T-shirts. 3 pairs of socks and underwear is plenty. Just wash them every chance you get. A pair of runners is good for walking off the bike.

Be smart about your tools. You want to be able to fix anything on the side of the road, although not really possible, with a bit of thought you can do pretty well. A socket to fit most bolts on the bike, a wrench to go with it. Axel wrench and Torque wrench. Don't forget the front wheel hex nut, its kind of special. Bring along a tire compressor and plug kit. Electrical tape, nylon straps (boatloads of these). Rags etc. Screwdrivers and pliers are a must.

Maintenance stuff includes a can of lemon pledge (cleans bugs off windshield without scratching it), chain lube, WD40. Bring only microfiber rags.

Every trip i have made i end up carting a ton of extra crap i never use, still, better to have it and not need it right...

I have two paniers and a top box, and i add a long bag across the back seat to hold long items like my mattress, tent, tripod etc.

Bring two tarps, one that fits under the tent, and one that goes over it when it rains. It makes the trip a lot more fun if your not cold and wet.
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post #10 of 21 Old 05-20-2014, 06:50 PM Thread Starter
Join Date: Apr 2014
Location: Charlotte, NC
Posts: 49
Thanks guys. This is enough to get me started. I had not thought about all the tools, so that may be a real life saver. Also, I invested in a dry bag; hopefully it will be here before I go, if not I have a couple of tarps. Amazon said it would be nearly a month, so I canceled that order and got one off of I am sure this is enough to get me started onto my journey and I will learn about things that I do/don't need in addition to what you guys recommended, so thank you all.
Originally Posted by MeefZah View Post

Totally unrelated, but based on your avatar and your profile, I see you are a flight medic, nurse, or pilot.... could I interest you in trading shoulder patches, if your uniform has patches?

MeefZah, I am a respiratory therapist and paramedic (we fly nurse/therapist, but most all of us are dual credentialed as medics, and of course at minimum we are all basics. We do not have patches, but I can get you pins, hats, shirts, sweatshirts, if you are interested. What service do you fly with and are you nurse or medic? I am with Medcenter Air in Charlotte, NC. I go to a lot of the national conferences, so maybe I will see you at one one day.
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