The title to this post sounds like a croc o' poo. I get it… but it isn't. When I set out to see where this camping gear research could end up I really had no idea that I would be lightening my final packed motorcycle load this drastically. I just knew I could cut weight and went from there.
As for costing so much less. THAT was the real shocker.
About that and these particular motorcycle camping gear selections note that I am not saying any one piece of equipment is better than another nor that everyone out there needs to do what I am doing in order to be properly equipped for motorcycle camping. You can look for yourself and make the decisions as to what gear would be better or worse or to what advantage or disadvantage it might be to you. I'm just excited to share the findings.
I'm sure it's the same for all we who do any sort of backpacking, adventure riding and motorcycle camping...
Before the trip we all lay those items out on the table without a real concern in the world about their individual weight. The next thing you know these 100 pebbles became a boulder that you are dragging through a 10 mile sand trap at dusk trying to make camp. And every time the bike goes down... as you 'hernia grunt' it right side up again... you are thinking...
… how in the hell did this thing get so heavy.
Well, Im about to show you how along with some possible solutions to cut some of that weight out of your motorcycle camping gear list.
These numbers are going to blow your mind...
This core gear list consists of Panniers, Tail Bag, Tank bag, Tent, Sleeping pad, Sleeping bag, Camp Stove, Cookware, Utensil and Headlamp. I'll be comparing the Weight, Liter Carrying Capacity, and Liter Volume along with a couple other comparative metrics of interest in the conclusions.
FIRST UP: A RUN OF THE MILL MOTORCYCLE CAMPING GEAR SET UP:
Area / Volume (Pack Space Required): 8.6L
$139 •4.6lb •8.6L
These preceding numbers represent the running total as we go through the list.
$219 • 8.2lb •27.4L
$299 •12.2lb • 39L
$379 •13lb • 42.2L
$402 •13.3lb •42.2L
Carrying Capacity: 74L
$802 •50.3lb •118.2L •74L
Carrying Capacity: 40L capacity
$892 • 55lb •128L •114L
Carrying Capacity: 4L
$1036 •56.4lb •133L • 118L
WEIGHT: 56.4 Pounds
VOLUME: 133 Liters
LOAD CAPACITY: 118 Liters
( A side by side comparison follows the next section )
NEXT UP: THE LIGHTER SIDE OF MOTORCYCLE CAMPING GEAR SET UPS:
( You might want to go ahead and take a seat for this...)
$48 • 2.8lb • 4.4L
$85 • 5.4lb • 5.3L
$121 •7.2lb •12.8L
$137 •7.26lb •12.85L
$173 •7.8lb •13.7L
$182 •7.82lb •13.7L
$205 •8.1lb •13.7L
Carrying Capacity: 48L
$295 •13.1lb •24.9L •48L
Carrying Capacity: 6L
$354 •14.9lb •36.1L •54L
Carrying Capacity: 30L
$394 •16.9lb •42.1L •84L
WEIGHT: 16.9 Pounds
VOLUME: 54.45 Liters
LOAD CAPACITY: 84 Liters
SIDE BY SIDE COMPARISON:
COST: $394 vs. $1036 = Total Savings $642
In perspective: This is a huge margin in which a person can decide what of this sort of gear suits there riding / camping style and still save money in many areas.
WEIGHT: 16.9 vs. 56.4 = 40 Pounds Less Gear Weight
In perspective: This is the equivalent of dropping a 5 gallon water jug from your motorcycle camping gear set up. Pause here and let that sink in for a minute.
VOLUME: 54.45 vs. 133 = 79 Liters Less Gear Volume
In perspective: This is the equivalent amount of gear occupied or overall ready to roll motorcycle footprint space as 2 motorcycle engines. While not an entirely accurate or fair comparison because the VUZ panniers volume is a collapsed measurement and the TUSK volume measurement is not collapsible it still harkens to wildly different footprint throughout a range of comparison metrics that frankly I'm not qualified to tally. LOL
LOAD CAPACITY: 84 vs. 118 = 34 Liters Less Capacity
In perspective: While the lighter setup does measure out to 34 less liters of hauling capacity it is also carrying less. The math there comes out at length to the lighter gear set up having 7 liters more carrying capacity. This perspective in perspective... roughly one canned ham. lol.
ADDITIONAL PROS & CONS:
Tail Bag Doubles as a Backpack
Tail Bag Includeds Free Touchscreen Sensitive Waterproof Device Holder
Titanium French Press ( add $26 to Jet Boil Pkg. )
Titanium Pot can be used to cook on fire and Coals
Less convenient / stable cook system
No hard protection for electronics
More challenging organization in soft pannier
INTERESTING PERSPECTIVES FOR SHITES AND GRINS:
The lighter gear selection in total is still 2X lighter than many empty hard case set ups
Dropping forty pounds on the trail is equivalent to leaving a 7 year old kid out there. Of course that is without all the child abuse ethical, moral, and legal ramifications factored. lol
At 40 pounds heavier you are effectively carrying at all times the equivalent weight of food it would take to feed 40 people for a 24 hour period.
The list goes on of course. LOL
WORTHY ALTERNATIVES TO THE LIGHT WEIGHT MOTORCYCLE CAMPING GEAR OPTIONS FEATURED ABOVE:
Hows about dem apples huh? Wow.
This post is meant to get you thinking in the way that led to our research if weight has been an issue in your motorcycle camping gear set up. This is not to say that each of these products are the answer for YOU. You may adore the Jet Boil. You may enjoy a larger camping tent even if you are adventure riding alone. You may LOVE to camp cooking and need a larger pot. Whatever it is or isn't for you I hope this research causes you to consider that if you need to make some changes in your overall gear approach there's a whole big ol world out there. Let me know if we can be of any help and if you come up with anything to add to the research shared here I am always very grateful to hear it.
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Stay safe out there. Story Moto Out.
Billy J is co-founder of Story Moto ADV, a dual sport / adventure riding brand with strategic initiatives serving the health of the adventure touring community in order to develop a unified voice for speaking resolution into motorcycle land closures in the U.S. due to overcrowding and other public land use conflicts. He has been a rider for 45 years, an extreme adventurer for 31, and an avid dual sport adventure rider for 20. His first time living on a motorcycle for more than a year was in 1988 and most recently for 16 months living and riding full time with his wife Bonnie J and their kids on a tour that wrapped up in the summer of 2019. The are plugging away at the Story Moto ADV compound for another round set to commence in the Summer of 2020.
CONTACT BILLY J: STORYMOTOADV@GMAIL.COM
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