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General V-Strom Discussion Talk about all things V-Strom not limited to just one of the above models

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post #1 of 27 Old 06-14-2010, 01:13 AM Thread Starter
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Camping

I want to grab a tent and air mattress and just start riding East for as long as I can take it. I've never done this before. I envision riding around towns aimlessly at night looking for places to set up camp in the dark. I want to stay out of hotels as much as possible. I'll probably grab a room every couple of days for a shave and shower.

Does anyone know of a book or resource that lists places for people to camp? I'm hoping I can travel from campground to campground, stringing my way along the country. Any tips appreciated. Thanks.
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post #2 of 27 Old 06-14-2010, 02:23 AM
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Check out this thread - https://stromtrooper.com/forumdisplay.php?f=30
Most states have tourism websites and state/municipal campgrounds are usually much cheaper than commercial ones. They often have showers as well so you don't need to pay motel rates just to shave and shower. On my 1-2 week trips I camp every night, often find a place with a beach - a swim at the end of a hot day of riding does wonders. Look for tourist info office as you enter areas - they can be great sources of camping (and other) info (hence their name).
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post #3 of 27 Old 06-14-2010, 02:47 AM
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Quote:
I want to grab a tent and air mattress and just start riding East for as long as I can take it.
...In a really structured sort of way.
Hey, you have a tent and an air mattress (lose the air mattress, they leak) ride East, camp where it suits you. Adventure awaits. Plan all you want. It may happen the way you expect.
Hint: read Jupiter's Travels
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post #4 of 27 Old 06-14-2010, 02:50 AM
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Originally Posted by OompaLoompa View Post
I envision riding around towns aimlessly at night looking for places to set up camp in the dark.
Yup.

I feel your pain. Travelling with camping as your bedding plan is tough. You do have to devote a significant portion of your daylight to finding an appropriate spot, and that means you'll get a lot less riding in.

When I did my Seattle-Illinois-Texas-Seattle trip, I had the best of intentions; had my camping gear with me, but I never once used it. The couple of times I tried, I spent so much time trying to find poorly marked campgrounds in rural areas that I gave up and rode into town to a motel. I ended up doing motels for the whole trip.

I think you pretty much have to plan ahead to do this, and resign yourself to slower travel.

Use state, USFS, and NPS websites (or KOA, if you're into amusement parks) to find spots along your route, and pick them close enough together that you know for sure you can make it each day, and reserve a site. If you're going to do this, you can't take a chance on getting to some remote location and having nothing available -- a real possibility in summer. Do NOT put yourself in a position where you could end up pushing a ride beyond your safety margin to make a reserved campsite, or to find an alternative when the camp is full.

Personally, I don't combine camping and travel for its own sake. When I'm camping, that's my goal and it's all I'm doing when I get there. When I'm on the road, I like to ride from dawn till dusk, and shack up before Bambi comes out each night. Yes, finding motels with vacancy isn't always guaranteed either, but in my experience, it's a safer bet than trying to find camp.

Last edited by dtalk; 06-14-2010 at 02:54 AM.
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post #5 of 27 Old 06-14-2010, 04:56 AM
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Air matresses don't leak in my experience. Mine is a cheap queen size with built-in manual pump (a spring with a check valve thingy).
They do lose pressure after you set them up, that's true, but I think it's due to the temperature drop between noon-time setup and bed-time.

Air mattresses however suck, and that's because they have nothing in them to absorb your heat and radiate it back to you. On my first night on one, I was cold, from underneath. After I realised that the blanket had to be undeneath my sleeping bag, and not on top, I was fine.

Here's the advice I can think of right now (I'm by no means an expert, and I'll probably remember a thousand things I forgot right after I post this):

- Buy good quality camping gear (as long as you know you'll use it more than once)
- Build yourself a tarp system that's easy to set up and take down as soon as you get to the site (sucks to setup/takedown a tent, or cook in the rain)
- Plan on having two tarp systems, one near your tent, and one for your cooking area. Siltarps are grat, they pack into the volume of a can of coke, and while you do not need poles per se, I like to have them and have made my own out of 1/2" aluminium tubing (they collapse into 18 identical 1' sections that can be assembled into any configuration I need and take up little room in my sidecases)
- Get a propane/butane/isobutane stove; the fancy multifuel ones are only useful at high altitude (or for looking cool) and expensive for nothing (as well as being high-maintenance)
- Pack dehydrated meals (some are quite good in taste/quality/nutritional value/price), water purification tablets, a collapsible water container, and small cookware. Get a water filtration system if you can.
- Get a drip coffe maker that fits inside the bottom of your 225g stove canister (it's easier to pack 2 small fuel canisters than a large one). Good coffee is worth it; I drink instant at home, but when camping, I like the real stuff.
- Always have bear spray on hand, and don't carry food (other than sealed dehydrated meals).
- Keep your garbage at least 100m away from your tent (and pack it out with you). Same goes for your latrines (the 100m, not the packing out).
- Do NOT keep any food in your tent, and do not sleep in the clothes you cooked in.
- Set your cooking area up at least 100m from your tent (in the opposite direction from your garbage; I usually set them up in a triangle), and never cook on a campfire (which should be near your tent); do all your cooking in pots and pans that you will wash with biodegradable soap before packing them into your sidecases. Wash at the cooksite, pack at the bike near your tent.
- Get yourself a good LED headlamp (with adjustable beam intensity), and plenty of spare batteries.

If you are staying at populated campsites, some safety precautions are less necessary, as other campers will probably be more sloppy than you and "distract" the wildlife.

My wife and I go camping on the wee, and we fit everything in the 2 sidecases except the tent, the tarps and the air-mattress. The sidecases are givi e-36. I waterproofly roll the tent and air mattresss into the tarp and strap that to my luggage rack with simple nylon non-ratcheting tie-straps (I normally have a givi topcase there, but it's better to strap the tent on it; the rolled-up bundle fits nicely ontop of the givi mounting plate)

I'm not going to go into the list of everything we carry, but it's quite adequate, and it all fits neatly onto the bike.

This forum actually has a pretty good camping section. I'm thinking of posting pictures of my tarp setup in it (maybe).

Oh yeah, one more thing: last time I went to a campsite, They didn't charge me anything. I went with friends who had cars, and we got a double site, 3 cars and one bike; the cars had to pay but the bike was free. Maybe if you can hook up with people that are coming in they might let you setup on their site if you offer to pay half their fee. Who knows, you might even make some friends...

Last edited by SittingDuck; 06-14-2010 at 05:03 AM.
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post #6 of 27 Old 06-14-2010, 11:18 AM
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Woodall's North American Campground Directory is a good resource. Either in local book store or on Amazon.

http://www.amazon.com/Woodalls-North...6524961&sr=8-1

Hope this helps.

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post #7 of 27 Old 06-14-2010, 11:21 AM
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Keep the air mattress, (I have a twin size one that just about fills up my small tent) and buy the air pump walmart sells for about 10 bucks. It uses 4 d-cell batteries and they last a long time. Nothing beats a nice comfortable mattress after a long day in the saddle. Another point is don't pass up a campground around 4-5 pm thinking you can ride a couple more hours, you may not find one when it gets late. just my .02

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Last edited by roninwva; 06-14-2010 at 11:25 AM.
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post #8 of 27 Old 06-14-2010, 12:08 PM
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Last month I went on my forst solo overnight camping trip, just to test my set up. I am glad I did, as a number of things went wrong for me.

First, I will be looking for an air matress. My foam roll up pad did not cut it for me. The only reason I slept well was because I was so physically wore out from my day.

Second, as someone mentioned above, if I want to get more riding in, I would get a motel. I spent too much time and energy in the hot sun setting up camp. After setting up, I hit my camp chair and beer and was done for the day riding.

Third, personally for myself, I have no intentions of dragging a bunch of stuff to cook. I am not good at cooking or cleaning at home, so this part went really bad for me. I am more of about convenience. My next trip will consist of:
- Granola bars or pastries and instant coffee for breakfast.
- Soup (cooked right in the can for easy clean up).
- Sandwiches for dinner with something in a can to heat up.
I will heat stuff such as water for coffee and canned foods, but any thing that requires actual real clean up afterwards will stay at home. This will give me more room to store other things as well.

Lastly, I believe on another site, I once read "don't bring anything that doesn't fit in your lugggage". That may be not be practical, but I think something to shoot for. Being new to having ATGATT, I found it very hard to get my leg over the bike with my heavy boots, wide boxes and all the crap I had strapped down to the front of my top box and tops of my side boxes. At more than one stop, I provided entertainment for people watching me try to get back on the bike. I am going to make a better effort to find smaller gear and create more space for swinging my leg over the bike.

I guess each trip you learn something, but it was nice to figure out some of this stuff on an overnight trip vs a multiple day trip. I would recommend a practice run if you have time.

Jim
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post #9 of 27 Old 06-14-2010, 12:43 PM
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At more than one stop, I provided entertainment for people watching me try to get back on the bike. I am going to make a better effort to find smaller gear and create more space for swinging my leg over the bike.
Don't swing your leg; slide it over your seat. You get used to it -- just don't forget when you dismount to do the reverse. If you forget your pillion seat has stuff on it and you swing your leg behind you, you will be picking yourself up and others will be laughing. :biggrinjester:
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post #10 of 27 Old 06-14-2010, 12:49 PM
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Originally Posted by SittingDuck View Post
- Get a drip coffe maker that fits inside the bottom of your 225g stove canister (it's easier to pack 2 small fuel canisters than a large one). Good coffee is worth it; I drink instant at home, but when camping, I like the real stuff.
+1. Camp coffee is not optional! But you don't need to get fancy with a coffeemaker; a simple plastic filter holder that sits on top of your mug is adequate.

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Originally Posted by SittingDuck View Post
If you are staying at populated campsites, some safety precautions are less necessary, as other campers will probably be more sloppy than you and "distract" the wildlife.
The best bear defense is to just carry a can of spam. Before bed, open it and place it next to someone else's tent. :biggrinjester:
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