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How to plan your first motorcycle camping trip

Motorcycle parked next to tent on the edge of the woods

First, make a list.

The natural tendency is to list everything you could possibly need. Resist the temptation. Experienced motorcycle campers take a different approach. Their lists include only the stuff they absolutely can't do without. It's the only way to keep your load within the realistic limits of what you can actually pack on your bike.

Decide to cook or not to cook.

Think about whether or not you want to cook during your camping trip. Seasoned campers boil it down to one word — don't. Cooking requires some of the heaviest and bulkiest gear you can carry, so skipping it your first few times out makes the whole process a lot easier.

Some campers pack MREs — meals ready to eat. They've come a long way in both flavor and convenience since the field rations you may have had in the service. You can even heat them using an FRH — flameless ration heater. It takes about an ounce of water to activate the heating compound and in just a few minutes you have a hot, tasty and nutritious meal.

Other campers compromise their wilderness adventure long enough to eat at a restaurant. No muss, no fuss and you may be able to chat with some locals about nearby attractions, history and other local points of interest.

Figure out how to pack your gear.

How to pack the gear you've decided to take generally involves some hard luggage like panniers and some soft luggage like dry bags. Many biking campers use both, especially for trips of a longer duration. Hard-sided panniers that straddle the rear rack hold a ton of smaller stuff. Dry bags can be strapped on top across the width of the panniers. Make sure they're waterproof so your tent, sleeping bag, sleeping pad and extra clothing can all stay dry, even if you're caught in a sudden rain shower.

Enjoy motorcycle celebrations even more when you camp.

Camping is often less expensive than motel stays and will let you travel to even more motorcycle rallies. If you can't make it to those events, you can still experience them when you like and follow the AARP® Motorcycle Insurance Program from Foremost Facebook page. Foremost just brought you the action from Americade in Lake George, New York earlier this month. You can still see amazing photos and videos from the trip on our Facebook page. Starting August 7, Foremost will bring you more motorcycle excitement from Sturgis, South Dakota.

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