How to Stay Warm and KISS while Motorcycle Camping
We as motorcycle campers are always looking for that balance in our setups of comfort and pack size and weight. The reality is that comfort is inversely proportional to pack size and weight. Generally speaking, the more comfortable the gear, the larger the pack size and weight, especially colder weather gear. Of course this is all relative to you and your style of camping and riding in specific climates.
That said, camping in the colder weather from fall to spring means it's time to bring layers and bundle up at night. I tend to approach problems from a process improvement point of view, mostly due to my years in manufacturing. The simple solution to the root cause of being cold outside would obviously be to go inside where it's warm, duh. BUT we like to challenge and punish ourselves being outdoors, so the next step is finding the best way to keep warm outside.
I've heard about people taking portable gas heaters into their tents, which screams HUGE SAFETY RISK and I highly advise against this, plus it's way more gear to carry. A customer once mentioned battery powered heated sleeping bag liners, but again, the failure point is keeping batteries charged in an already cold environment, and remembering to charge them. Is your sleep system built to keep you warm without those added accessories? If they fail will you still be warm and avoid hypothermia?
The KISS solution is properly rated gear and clothing. Good base layers, a good insulated pad (R6+), and well rated sleeping bag will treat you a lot better than a heater, or electric sleeping bag liner. We are an advocate for do what works best for you, but we are also educators in helping better your camping experience and build that system that works best for you. Remember to KISS. Whichever your preferred acronym variation is.
Check out our cold weather gear collection for the best bags and pads to keep you warm from fall to spring.
Additional Pro Tips
Build a consistent and reliable sleep system. A high R value sleeping pad paired with a properly rated sleeping bag will be your best bet. You can get to colder temperatures by utilizing a sleeping bag liner, or even an extra blanket or quilt over your bag
Keep your phone, electronic devices, and batteries in the sleeping bag with you to get the optimal performance from them. Cold batteries don't perform well or last very long due to the low temperature slowing the chemical reaction within the battery.
Condensation is inevitable. It sounds counter intuitive, but make sure your tent vent is open and you may even slightly open the door enough to get the air to circulate. This will help reduce the condensation build up within the tent that could dampen your gear and freeze over night. Wet + cold = bad
There's no debating that merino wool and synthetic base layers are better than cotton. Synthetic as in polyester, polypropylene, nylon, etc. Some of these will have better insulating properties than others but where they shine is the ability to wick away sweat from your body preventing you from cooling too fast. Cotton is fine until you sweat, or it gets wet, and that's where the saying "cotton kills" comes into play. That wet cotton shirt will cling to you, and won't dry out fast enough causing you body temp to drop. Be aware of the temperature and what your body is doing so you know how to react properly to not over sweat. Again, wet + cold = bad.
Here at Moto Camp Nerd our goal is to make sure camping is the easy part of your adventure. Quality gear that's easy to use after a long day of riding is key. Feel free to call, email, message us on social, or even come to our store for any questions you may have about building your camping setup. We cater to all riders and all camping types from minimalistic light weight dual sport setups to everything comfortable AND the kitchen sink for big bikes.
11651 N Main St, Suite S
Archdale NC, 27263
Hours Mon-Fri 10a-2p
(sorry for the limited hours, I still have another job)