Yesterday we had the first swap meet for our club since I joined 5 years ago. There was an interesting collection of gear, parts, camping gear, and whatever people have had hiding in their garages, attics and sheds. I am not sure how much stuff actually changed ownership, I know I am the new owner of a nice pair of gloves. Gloves are hard to find for me, I have long fingers but rather small hands.
Seeing all the camping gear got me to thinking about our first meeting. We stood out in the parking lot a
and chatted about the pros and cons of lots of different stuff. One thing I do remember is a member telling me that you put everything on the couch you think you want to take, and then put half of it back. I laughed when she said this, but have found it to be true. Almost every campout or rally we have been to in the last 4 years I have taken stuff I thought I needed, but ended up not using or wearing. Although I have heard from a reliable source that you can wear a pair of Roadgear coconut socks in fairly hot weather for 5 days before they start to stink; sufficient clothes is one thing I refuse to go without.
Our first trip to Paonia to the Top of the Rockies Rally was a lot of fun. I had a blast, I met so many people and rode and drank and danced. I did however come to the decision that we needed a bigger tent. We had a small 3 person Coleman tent that proved to be way too small, when you have two people, and all their riding gear and all their camping and sleeping gear inside the tent. During an early morning rain I quickly realized something had to be done. Besides, I like to stand up to put my pants on.
I began looking for a bigger tent, one that warranted the rather large price tag that a larger tent came with. Motorcycle camping is much like back packing, the lighter and the smaller it packs, the better. I finally found a rather large, 6 person tent. It is made of a light weight material and has aluminum poles so that it is very light and packs small. I had some great advice from a club member who helped my shopping. I love my giant tent, even if we do still get a little ribbing about it’s size. We have plenty of room for ourselves, our camping gear and our riding gear, that equals 6 right?
We have had other gear that we bought and used and decided it didn’t work for us, like the self inflating sleeping pads, the folding camping chairs, sleeping bags that were not warm enough, and inflatable pillows. Oh yeah, the huge duffle bags strapped to the bikes were pretty comical as well. Our Helen Two Wheels bags are much better.
All in all we have a pretty good system now and can put up camp in a fairly short amount of time, sleep comfortably and still have the things we really need to take with us. But it has been through trial and error as well as great advice from others that we have found our success.
My advice to anyone just getting started? Ask around, ask fellow riders, club members and sales people. Then buy the best you can afford; if you don’t like it, you can always sell it at next years swap meet.
by Dawn Pastorius