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  • Writer's pictureThe Traveling Tortoises

Camping Gear for Adventure Motorcycle Travel

Updated: Oct 15, 2023


Camping site on our motorcycle adventure travels The Traveling Tortoises

Let’s be straight up with each other, camping can be a nightmare! For some people it’s a nightmare either way, but for most, camping can be fun if there is no cold nights on a deflated air mattress in a leaking tent.


So, that brings us to a question that we get asked a lot: "What camping gear do you use on your travels?".


We try to camp whenever we can, mainly to reduce costs! And in some places its for the experience.

Now, we are both not in our twenties anymore and Werner has some old injuries that come knocking on the door every once in a while. For us, camping gear is something we actually spent a decent amount of money on before we left. The idea was that, yes it's expensive, but if we are miserable while camping and end up sleeping in accommodations all the time it will get even more expensive.


We did have a little issue with buying camping equipment, it was just after covid and there was limited choices available due to import problems. Some of these items were not necessarily our first choice.


So, now we are getting to the good part, the reason you probably reading this "What, Why, Where and How the gear is preforming". Let’s get to the point then!


We have included links to all the products we could, just click on the product name and there you go!

First the ‘What’:


House

Sleeping Mattress: Thermorest TrailPro

Sleeping Bag 2: Vaude - Marwees 700 DWN (Not Produced Anymore)

Sleeping Liner 1: First Accent Liner (Not Thermal)

Sleeping Liner 2: First Accent Liner (Not Thermal)

Pillows: Normal Memory Foam pillow, cut in 2.


Kitchen

Cutlery: Standard knife, forks, spoons (2x) that is available in any shop

Gas Burner: MSR Pocket Rocket 2

Folding Stove Bushman - brand is not available in SA, but there are several

companies making them locally.

Can Opener: Old Army Issue

Pig Leather Gloves: For handling anything that is hot

Cloth: Micro fibre cloth, available in any general store (Washing, drying

etc)

Coffee Maker: BrewSpoon

Lighting

Solar Powered Light: LuminAID Packlight

Head Torch: Lomeo Pro



Now the other important part: Why, Where and How the gear is preforming!

We are not sponsored by anyone brand and have bought all these items ourselves. So our review is our honest and direct opinion. Some items I would not buy again, others are OK, and some have amazed us.



The Traveling tortoises motorcycle adventure travel tent

Tent:

The Nature Hike tent was not our first choice… Lets start with that. We were not sure of the quality and if it would last, but at the time there were not many options. Our first choice would have been MSR Hubba Hubba NX-2, but the best of the best was out of our budget and the others was not available. So we opted for a midrange, local brand. So far the tent is holding up very well and we are not considering replacing it. It has survived many days of camping and there is no tears or other damage.


But, there are some instances that you can notice it is not the top of the range.


There were a few nights of heavy rain and we were kept mostly dry. Yes, you read that correctly, mostly. There were some drops that went through the tent at the stitching, but this was mainly with the extension unit. Also, because of the low dome shape of the tent these drops did not end up dripping on us, but rather gliding off to the bottom of the tent cover.

With the extension unit, it is not possible to open up the tent extension without all the water that has build up on the outside falling in. Beside this, there is also the issue with drying the tent out. For some reason it holds on to big droplets on the outside tent material, this causes it to dry very slowly.


There is also some condensation on the inside of tent on cold nights. With big temperature differences you can feel some condensation drops dripping on you in the mornings as you get out of the tent (due to the movement).

Yes the tent vents where open, this is a problem on most tents but we experienced it to be a little more on our tent.

Now, to put the negative in perspective…. This is not a winter tent. We have been using it during cold nights up to -3 C. There is also the fact that this is a midrange tent.

BUT overall we are actually happy with it. This tent has been able to resist constant putting up and taking down, hard winds and rains. It is also quick and easy to set up/ take down. For us the extension unit has made a big difference. We carry our whole lives with us including electronics. The inside of this 2 person tent is small and to have the extra covered space was a must. Another thing we also really like about this tent design is that the tent has two sections, Fly net that is also the structure and then the outer rain cover. With this design we can leave the rain cover off and just sleep in the fly net. With fresh air and a breeze with a million stars above us. This can be a very relaxing and beautiful night with this design.


There is just one last thing we want to mention that might be important to some readers. The tent is LOW all the way through. Which is great for stealth camping and high winds, but if you have a bad back or knees, maybe opt for something more straight up.

Overall we are very happy and can recommend this tent as extremely good value for money.


Thermarest sleeping mat for motorcycle adventure travel camping

Sleeping Mattresses:


For us, this was a main concern and something we were willing to spend decent money on. It has gone up in price quite steeply since we have bought them ourselves, but it is worth every cent if you camp regularly or if you have back issues.

We both agree these mattresses are the reason we are still happily camping after months and months on the road. They are insulated, so no cold comes through the bottom (only Cissy felt some cold on a hard concrete surface in -3C). And most importantly, they are super comfortable. Sometimes we even end up sleeping on these mattresses while we are actually sleeping in accommodation with a bed, just for the fact that they were more comfortable than the beds!


It has memory foam build into the mattress with stretch knit top, which is probably the reason why it’s so comfortable.

And they have lasted so far with us! There has not been a night that we woke up because we are lying on the floor due to leakage or something like that. We did have one problem, Werner’s mattress decided to become the Hunchback of Notre Dam at some point. The glue of the memory foam let loose which caused a large air bubble pressing into his back. We contacted the shop were we bought it (Camp & Climb here in SA) and they were on it immediately. Within a few days we got a reply, asking to sent the item back for evaluation and within a week after we sent it in, we got notified that it was a factory fault and they sent us a brand new replacement straight away.

Bear in mind that this was almost a year after we bought the product… !!

Of course there will always be things that we don’t like. So let’s also mention them…

They are narrow! You can order the wider option as well, we got the narrow ones due to space concerns. But if we had to buy them again, we might have gone for the wider version.

They don’t fold up as small as the average hiking air mattresses, but to us this was worth the space it takes on the motorcycle.

So all in all, yes we can highly recommend this mattress if you are just like us and would like a comfortable, warm and decent night sleep and you value your back. But due to the price, I would only buy it if you are planning to do a lot of camping or if you have back problems. For a once a year camping adventure I think it might be a bit too much.

Quick tip!!! Due to the glue and memory foam it is important NOT to let the air mattress stay fully inflated in the tent! Open the valve immediately when you get up. Otherwise the temperature changes might cause damage to the mattress (pressure building) and that will not fall under the guarantee! It is a small, simple and quick thing to do and it can give you years and years of good sleep in return.



Sleeping Bags:

We have bought two different sleeping bags, both are filled with down and are rated around freezing point. The reason for this is that we are planning to use it for a long time and also in cold weather. And boy where we happy that we did this! We had some very cold nights below freezing in the Karoo! In warmer conditions we use either the inner, or we drape the sleeping bags as a blanket, making it usable in warmer weather. I will give you a few points on both sleeping bags, they were around the same price at the time of purchase.


A sleeping bag for adventure motorcycle travel camping

Nature Hike ULG Goose Down Sleeping Bag: This is the sleeping bag Cissy has been using mainly, except for very cold nights. The most positive point is that is goes very very small for a sleeping bag rated below freezing! It barely takes any space! Big points for that.

But… yes there comes the but’s.! The material is not very rugged, this is largely the reason it can fold up this small. I have the idea that this is also the reason for the loss of down. Compared to the other sleeping bag, this one looses substantially more down along the way and I suspect it won’t have the same cold rating anymore then when I first bought it. The material is also very slippery which is not always ideal when trying to stay on a narrow sleeping mat.

Another point that is a negative for me personally, is that the sleeping bag is very wide… This means that there is a lot of space where the sleeping bag gets cold as it hangs over the side. It definitely does not help with the insulation of the down. Furthermore, my specific sleeping bag seems to have a lower amount of down in the middle section at the topside, which causes cold spots in very low temperatures. We have tried to redistribute the down more equally, but due to the stitching you can’t ‘move’ down from the legs to the top part. Our solution was to wear a jersey and a down jacket in the sleeping bag at low temperatures and when it gets to freezing point we switch sleeping bags. Naturally Cissy is a cold sleeper and Werner is mostly warm (as often seem to happen with woman vs men).


Cissy : "Personally I would not recommend this sleeping bag for the price, unless you are a warm sleeper and volume is a big concern for you."


Sleeping bag for motorcycle adventure travel camping

Vaude Marwees 700 DWN: Werner’s sleeping bag, this sleeping bag has surprised us. It is rated just below freezing point and this seems to hold up! Which is why Cissy is using this one when the night temperature drops below freezing. The material feel strong and comfortable and there is a low amount of loss of down overall.

The only negative point is that the sleeping bag stuffs away about twice the size than the Nature Hike. Mostly due to the more heavy duty outer material and the reused down that is being used.

When we would make the choice again, there would probably be two of these sleeping bags in our bags. I am sure it will last for as long as we are happy to camp…. Which will probably say everything you need to know.


Sleeping Bag Liner:

We have two different sleeping inners, both are just the regular cotton sleeping inners you can buy at any outdoor store. Personally, if we had to buy inners again, we would have gone for the thermoregulated inners that you get now days. Might be slightly more expensive, but they fold up just as small (or smaller) and you can use them comfortably as a sleeping bag in summer. But they do their thing and we wash them regularly, so they keep the sleeping bags clean!


Pillows:


I can’t say much about them as I can’t remember their brand at all! We had them for years before we set off on our journey. We talked about buying actual blow up pillows, but we found out that these memory foam pillows can actually fold up very small when you put them in an airtight bag and squeeze the air out. So we cut one big pillow in half before we left and travel with them in an airtight bag (so they don’t suck in air again) and use them as protection between the bottom of the duffel bag and the laptop! Works like a charm.


Now we have a comfortable pillow that doesn’t make weird sounds while moving (yes, a concern for Cissy..), doesn’t leak and has a multiple function.


Chairs:


Camping chair for motorcycle adventure travel camping

Nature Hike Howling Moon : This might be a controversial subject for some. We carry 2 fold up chairs with us! After a lot of contemplation and trying out, we decided it is worth it. And it definitely has been worth it, they are going with us wherever we go!

That extra comfort it brings is unbelievable.

Both chairs are the same and are from Nature Hike. Cissy is carrying them on top of her pannier bags. They clip on with carbines and have traveled there throughout everything. Surprisingly the original bags are still in one piece, even though we don’t expect that to last forever.

The chairs itself are quick and easy to set up and pack up, and super comfortable. They have a weight rating up to 100kg which is perfectly fine for us.


Kitchen Setup:


pots and pans for cooking on a adventure motorcycle camping travel

So we have basic, light, stainless steel pots with us. One bigger one and one smaller one, both with a lid. They don’t have any rubber/plastic bits attached to them, so we can put them directly in the flames or on coals. For us this versatility was important as we never know where we going to cook on. For the two of us these pots are more than big enough to cook a proper meal. The lids of these pots serve as both frying pan and plates/bowls, so we are not carrying any of those. Once the smaller pot disappears into the big pot, we have ample space to fill the small one with the gas stove top, cutlery, cloth, herbs, can opener and other small things.



motorcycle adventure camping gas stove

For cooking fuel, we have a small gas canister and a small gas burner. This we mainly use to boil water for morning coffee or if we have a quick dinner such as 2 minute noodles or Couscous. For dinners with a longer cooking time we often use our little foldable stove, also sometimes referred to as a fire box. It is not the fire box brand, it is something we got as a present and is not available in South Africa, but the workings is the same. It folds up flat and is only a few mm thick. We only need some small sticks, something that is always available, to make cookable heat. Often campsites do not want you to go and collect wood around your tent and offer wood for sale. Unfortunately that becomes expensive very quickly once you need to do that every day. This way we can make a proper home cooked meal without having to pay for wood or gas canisters! And we can cook anywhere we decide to stop.


brew spoon making coffee on a adventure motorcycle camping trip

Further we have some small items with us such as a can opener, pig leather cloves to handle hot pans (and sometimes working on motorbikes) and of course the Brew Spoon! A small little sieve that we use to make fresh brewed coffee in the morning. No need for a plunger or another big setup and still a nicely brewed coffee.


Lighting:

solar powered camping light for motorcycle adventure camping

Last but not least, our lights around the camp. We have a …head torch, which is absolutely awesome. It has different settings, which includes a red light. The beam is super wide and it is always with us in the tent for the nightly errands. Beside the head torch we have a waterproof blow up light. We can literarily drop it in a river and won’t sink or break. It has a small solar panel, but we have always charged it with a USB, so no idea if that actually works properly. But it is very handy and our main light that we hang up in/around the tent.


And we have come to the end of our list… we hope this was useful to you!


Happy camping!


The Traveling Tortoises.

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1 commentaire


edna.schoeman
18 oct. 2023

Great idea for a pillow - cutting a memory foam in half - would never have thought of that! We have been using baby pillows which we put on top of an inflatable one - both inside a small pillow case, but I can see the memory foam taking up much less space.

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