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Outdoor Offroad Camping

Ledlightjeep's guide to off-road camping covers gear, safety tips, and route planning for off-roading with one vehicle.

Even if you don't like camping on a motorcycle, this guide can still be helpful for any off-road camping trip.

Discover Your Camping Persona

Camping and traveling styles vary widely, as do the essentials for comfort. It's pivotal to treat your initial camping expeditions as exploratory missions. Assess what elements were successful, identify areas needing enhancement, and refine your approach for a more gratifying experience.

For us, motorcycle camping is an ideal method to traverse overland and immerse in the beauty of public lands. The remarkable fuel efficiency of motorcycles can significantly reduce travel costs, sometimes by half. The unshielded nature of motorcycle travel offers an unparalleled connection with the environment. While this guide primarily focuses on moto-camping, its principles are adaptable to other vehicles.

The foundation of a successful camping trip lies in effective route planning and site selection, regardless of the plethora of camping gear at your disposal. Let's delve into the fundamentals of off-road camping preparation.

Are you eager to venture off-grid camping but are still determining the starting point? Gleaning insights from an expert is critical. As an experienced traveler who travels across the nation on motorcycles, cooking, and camping along the way, offers a wealth of knowledge. This guide to off-road camping is essential for understanding gear essentials, safety measures, and effective route planning with one Offroad.

While focused on motorcycle camping, this guide is adaptable to any off-road camping scenario.

Route Planning and Campsite Selection

You have two primary approaches to route planning: charting a route and identifying campsites along it or plotting your journey based on successive campsite locations. Flexibility is crucial, as your intended spot might be unavailable. Fortunately, one Offroad assists by displaying campsites on your map, including designated campgrounds and dispersed camping areas.

Choosing a Campsite

A developed campground with amenities like water and toilets is advisable for first-timers. Elevated campsites can relax more at night, so prepare for temperature drops. Camping near water bodies can also lead to more relaxed, bug-rich environments, necessitating bug spray. Open, treeless areas might be windy, requiring secure tent staking.

Adhering to Leave No Trace Principles

Maintain cleanliness at your campsite, packing all waste, including toilet paper. Use a separate bag to pack out used toilet paper in areas without toilets. Consider a backcountry bidet as an alternative.

Essential Camping Gear

The ten essentials for backpacking also apply to camping:

  1. Navigation: Maps, compass, GPS device, or satellite messenger. Pre-download maps for offline use.
  2. Headlamp
  3. Sun Protection: Sunglasses, sun-protective clothes, and sunscreen.
  4. First Aid Kit
  5. Knife & Gear Repair Kit
  6. Fire: Matches and a lighter.
  7. Shelter
  8. Extra Food: Carry additional sustenance like soup or energy bars.
  9. Excess Water: Include a bottle, hydration bladder, storage like a dromedary bag, and water treatment methods.
  10. Extra Clothes

Additional items to consider:

  • Battery Pack
  • Pack Towel
  • Camp Shoes
  • Biodegradable Soap
  • Gallon Ziploc bag for trash
  • Compact Camp Chair

Motorcycle-Specific Tips

Carry appropriate tools for your motorcycle. Even if you're unfamiliar with repairs, they can be helpful to someone who can help.

Planning with on X Offroad

Utilize onX Offroad for detailed trail maps, including campsite information.

Shelter and Sleep System

For beginners, a tent is recommended. Quality backpacking tents around $200 are a good starting point. Consider sales, second-hand options, or rentals. A two-person tent is suitable for solo campers, while a three-to-four-person tent is better for groups.

Sleeping Bags & Pads

Choose between down-filled or synthetic-filled sleeping bags, with a general recommendation for a 20 or 30-degree bag. Downbags are lighter but less effective when wet. Sleeping pads with an R-value rating are crucial, with an insulated air pad being a good beginner choice.


Layering is important. Invest in merino wool or synthetic base layers, fleece jackets, and packable down jackets, avoiding cotton.

Cooking Gear

Start with a compact camp stove and pot. As you become more comfortable, expand your camp kitchen repertoire.

Safety from Animals and Humans

Be aware of wildlife, especially in bear-prone areas. Store food away from tents and keep your campsite clean.

Stay vigilant about your surroundings and personal safety. Choose campgrounds with a camp host for extended stays. Consider basic self-defense classes for added confidence.

This summary covers the basics of camping off-road, providing a starting point for beginners in this exciting activity.