If I don’t camp am I not a true ADV rider??????

I find there are three sides to the concept of camping while traveling on a bike. 

  1. Stealth Camping:  Living temporarily in a location, usually for recreation, in a covert or secretive fashion.  Stealth camping is also referred to as wild camping, ninja camping, or free camping.  (source:  stealthcamping.com)
  2. Tent Camping: Enjoying the great outdoors living in a tent usually in some sort of park or campground
  3. No way tent camping: Enjoy riding a bike from hotel/motel to hotel/motel

Cheryl and I are mostly #2 and #3.  Our theory about riding and camping/tenting is this…..If it’s not raining when we stop for the day and we are not too tired, we camp.  Our definition of camping can be setting up our tent or staying in a cabin.  We usually don’t mind if it rains on us after we get camp set up but truly dislike breaking down wet gear and having to pack it.  If it’s raining, we are tired we might still cabin it or hotel/motel.

We have foam pillows 😉
camping gear can pack small

When we travel it’s a holiday for us.  We do not feel pressure from the ADV gang to do anything we really do not want to do.  I know and have heard some conversations between ADV riders that if you do not stealth camp you are really not an adventurer.  There can be a lot of judgement out there regarding who is defined as a true ADV rider. 

We think everyday you ride, no matter where it can be defined as an ADV.  No matter what bike, size, destination…being on two wheels is MUCH better than 4 and the smell of the outdoors, the feel of the sun, rain, dirt on your face is adventurous in itself.  Having said all that I have to be honest, riding a cruiser on the pavement for thousands of KM’s seems a bit one-dimensional and perhaps a little boring but hey this post is about not passing judgements rather encouraging all who ride to vary their accommodations.  😉

Presently, we use a BIG AGNES Gore Pass 3 Tent.  BA no longer makes our tent but we got it to be a true 3 season tent, more floor square footage, big vestibule and inside height.  If we are going to be in a tent neither one of us want to feel too cramped, need room for gear and a vestibule that we can actually use to stay dry or for privacy.

Waterproof Fly and decent packing size
Good ventilation too, like the option of fly on fly off

We always bring camping gear, pots and pans, cooking tools, stove etc.  Most of the time we camp in secure areas but we like it that way.  Sometimes we cook out, sometimes we just stop for food before we stop for the day.  We may bring food to the site as well.  In any case, we do LOVE camping when we both feel it.  If we need a break, a nice air-conditioned or heated hotel does the trick as well. 😉

The Series II Expedition Tent, the only adventure motorcycle tent you will ever need.

Now, while talking about tenting, some swear that the Series II Expedition Tent makes life all that much easier when tenting.  Made by REDVERZ sure looks tempting.  Other than the 13 lb packed weight which might deter many riders (NOT US), this seems almost ideal to use at the end of a long day.

Enough room?
Enough room?
Would you really park your bike here?


Almost could be used as a tarp from rain
Almost could be used as a tarp from rain

So, this tent looks impressive but is there enough room for two people inside to really justify the expense over $400 and enjoy the size?  Not sure. Our tent has a floor diagram similar to the next picture.  This is the Copper Spur floor plan but very similar to our Gore Pass 3 tent.

Lot’s of floor space for TWO

No matter what you choose to have a roof over your head when traveling it’s all good.  But everyone who rides should bring a tent as a back up just in case you can’t make it to a campground or hotel.  Bikes have a funny way of breaking down at the most inopportune times. 

Makes for a good shelter no matter what

Knowing how to set up your tent and use before going away is a good idea.  Practice setting up even if you never plan on using your tent.  For those who only use hotels or cabins again, traveling with a tent is probably in your best interest for those just in case moments.  A recommendation we are making for when you travel roads like this


or this

dirt better

You at least know you would have a place to sleep if the road never ended. I guess the point of this post is enjoying the outdoors could include camping or for some just riding a bike does it all.  For us, we vary our places to sleep to add to our trips.  We often embrace what weather and conditions are thrown at us when on our bikes.  Knowing that while taking a trip we have many options where to stay, how much money we want to spend and when, makes our trips unpredictable and that much fun.  Cheryl and I both agree to not over planning any trip we take because there is a part of us that likes to figure things out on the fly. No matter what you do when riding remember this.  “Life is so much better on two wheels”.

If you make it to the end of this post, would love to hear your thoughts on this topic and what do you choose for yourself…camping, hotel, both etc……?  Crap! My own post is making me CRAVE the road less traveled.  I think I just depressed myself.  😉

One last thing…camping can also invite guests that are less than wanted…. 😉

this guy was inside our tent and LESLIE almost flew out the roof

Author: advgrrl

Avid ADV rider! This Blog is all about the adventure in adventure riding. Researching new bikes, routes, accessories, learning about other riders and hopefully a great place for others to comment and explore with me. PLUS, up and down's, wildlife, my dogs, my life!

23 thoughts on “If I don’t camp am I not a true ADV rider??????”

  1. I hear this discussion all the time and like most folks tend towards all three depending on the situation. Camping out when it’s triple digit temperatures (F) or in the middle of a city park make as much sense as not venturing out if you can’t find four star accommodations.

    Good post…

  2. Loved the read. We like to camp, me more than my husband. Our son brought us a khyam tent from europe. It sets up and takes down in about a minute. Love it. Not fond of packing in the rain either but we added a blue tarp as part of our gear and if the weather looks iffy we string that up so we have a dry area to clean off our gear and pack somewhat dry.

    1. we have a tarp too but if we feel rain we will try to find a cabin at least but we have set up because of no other options in the rain as well. We are prepared for whatever mother nature has in store for us.

  3. Although I haven’t done much adventure riding yet, so far I’ve just spent the night on a concrete bench (in all the gear, it’s quite comfortable and keeps the mozzies out), moteled and hoteled, hosteled and tented. Similarly, good weather = sleep out, bad weather = find a bed under cover.

  4. We’re with you – camp in the good weather, hotel it in the bad. We’ve just come back from two days in the mountains (Gippsland, Victoria, Australia) and it rained all the way up there. Luckily it stopped by the time we found our camping spot on the river. The upside is that the rain kept the dust down. 😉

  5. to camp or not to camp! yeah – we also hear this all the time. sometimes I would kill for a nice warm motel room 9or 5 star hotel!! haha) and to tell the truth it doesnt make me feel any more unadventurous! in most countries you just dont have a choice and have to camp as distances between villages/towns are just too great. however, Simon and I do prefer to camp as our tent has become our home. its nice to have our own stuff around us, be in our own ‘beds’. using our tent has made us feel much less transient than if we had been in a variety of motels/B&B’s etc. over the last ten years. however, surely the adventure part is covered because you are on the ‘bike in the first place!!??

    1. WOW I am honoured that you have commented on our Blog.. 😉 I would imagine your tent has become your home as well as your bikes. After more than 10 years on the road you guys have had to find a way to remain grounded. Plus, if you stayed in hotels all the time I would imagine you may not be able to live this lifestyle. I have to say though you and Simon are in a league of your own…and anyone who would even utter a word that your life is not an adventure would need to have their HEAD checked. Thanks for stopping by…you look like you are enjoying yourselves in NZ….look forward to one day being able to meet you guys. Been following you for years.

  6. The “you’re not a REAL adv rider if…” statements (hearing them more and more often now as more are becoming involved in it) detract from the whole ideal of dual-SPORT riding, IMO. Its not supposed to be a competition! Doing anything that has an inherently higher chance of killing you than say, riding a couch, can be an adventure- so long as it doesn’t kill you (that’s no adventure- that sucks). I guess we need definitions though… so here’s mine- So long as your riding involves a certain level of uncertainty, you are an ADVrider- maybe you don’t know your destination and you ride anyway, or you head down paths that you don’t know where they go, or if you will be able to get back- your are riding the adventure! Its the spirit of Adventure while riding, not where or in what you sleep (so long as you are not sleeping while riding- Now, that would be adventure riding!).

    1. I agree with you in the sense that some make this a competition. I also hear I almost killed myself and it was so cool. We air on safety so we can enjoy another trip not live by some machismo legacy. 😉

      1. totally agree- the “certain level of uncertainty” is a comfort level with uncomfortability that you can live with (live being definitely an operative term), and to coin a phrase.

  7. Great article! Completely with you on the packing wet gear thing… yuck. I managed to find a nice 3-person (HA! they SAY 3 person but they are clearly meaning people in a polygamous relationship, which just isn’t my thing) Vango tent that precisely fits in the bottom portion of my smaller left pannier, poles and all. It is quite home-y even with two of us squeezed in, even better with a couple scented candles going (safety first!) and my spiderman osram dot-it LED light. Had a look at that garage tent, I’d be fine with the bike in there on the side stand leaning away from the sleeping section! But it’s expensive and fairly heavy, and overkill for my needs.

  8. There might be another option: that of staying with friends, family or other supportive motorcyclists. WIMA (Womens International Motorcycle Association), Horizons Unlimited and the like, can often help with this. In the Uk, its mostly too cold and wet to camp (although camping would be preferrable for me) and accomodation is quite expensive, so, its another way of making an adventure affordable and possible! When the weather is good enough for camping, I like a small, lightweight, tent but with a decent size awning for my bike gear and cooking in ( again, thinking of bad weather!). All my camping gear needs to be lightweight and minimalist to reduce weight and pack size on the bike though. Not many places in the Uk for wild camping and I personally feel a bit scuzzy if i can’t get a shower after a day or two!

  9. It really depends on the company I am riding with. I live in tent for a year while serving over seas and found it comfortable with a cot but I hate sleeping on the ground. So for me it is imperative to have a air mattress. Nothing in the world beats a camp fire. The sparks of the blaze allow me to dream of the unforgettable. Just don’t forget your head light.

    1. we use Thermarest pads…they are the best and really work. Compact when folded up and can make any ground comfy. I love campfires and when it’s not too hot out…camping rocks when the feeling is right.

  10. Great post! Ted Simon must not have been much of an adventure rider since he chose hotels for his ride. ADV is simply exploring to me. It could be a trip to the grocery across town (over the hill and through the woods 😉 When I hear “you’re not a REAL adv rider if…” I am thinking… glad I don’t live in your box.

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