If you’re on the hunt for a new tent for motorcycle camping or if you just want to develop a better understanding of all the features that work best, this article is going to explain all the features that work best for motorcycle camping so you can filter through all the options on your own and hopefully make the experience of tent shopping a little less daunting.
How To Choose A Tent For Motorcycle Camping
This articles details all the intricacies of gear selection for motorcycle camping as well as our teams best tips for dealing with bad weather, animals, food storage, and getting the most out of your motorcycle campouts so if you’re looking for a deep dive on that information or if you just want to learn more about tents stick around.
Let’s start with what a tent is? A tent is a portable shelter made of fabric that is supported by one or more poles stretched tight by cords or loops and attached to the stakes driven into the ground. It’s pretty straightforward; however tent shopping can be overwhelming.
There’s many features and stats to look at and if you want to avoid buyers remorse on a potentially expensive investment in gear then you want to have a pretty good understanding of what features to look for for motorcycle camping. Weight and bulk concerns are not as much as through hikers and maybe a little more than car campers. There are other aspects and needs that may be more important especially considering we are likely covering more ground than through hikers and will possibly be camping in many different terrains and climates sometimes unpredictably.
So, a good tent should protect you from bugs and keep you dry in the rain and getting a good night’s sleep is super important on a motorcycle trip. So it’s important that you can sleep comfortably and safely.
Things to Consider when choosing a Tent for Motorcycle Camping
So let’s go through the different considerations when choosing a tent for motorcycle camping.
- Season ratings
- Styles of tent
- Pack size and weight
- Livable space
- Rain Flies and Vestibules
- Fabrics and coatings
- Other considerations
Season rating refers to the number of seasons a tent is meant to be used in. Two seasons means spring and summer three seasons would be spring summer and fall
Four season tents will of course carry you into the winter months as well there is a direct correlation between season rating and weight. The more seasoned a tent is rated for; the heavier the material will be and the sturdier the poles will need to be. This means that the whole deal will get heavier and bulkier.
For colder climates it is probably overkill to go with the four season tent as most of us are not winter camping on our motorcycles. The best option will probably be between two and three season options. One to two season tents are going to cover camping needs in spring and summer which will fit a lot of motorcycle camping needs unless you live in cooler climates or if you push the limits of the camping season.
If you’re a cold sleeper or if you know you’re going to places at higher altitude and there may be potential for wintry conditions you may want to consider a three season option as well three season tents will cover almost all needs for motorcycle camping and seems to be kind of the sweet spot next
Let’s go over 10 styles. There are a few to choose from and some that work better than others 10 style will be an important consideration as it will determine livable space and ease of setup as well as potentially affecting pack weight and size. Some tent styles require stakes to set up which can prove difficult in sand or hard surfaces while others require no stakes and these can be set up on any surface but may be slightly heavier in terms of pack size.
The cabin style tent will have vertical straight walls and typically have a peaked roof on top. These tents are good for standing up in but they are not great in the wind. Because of their height and straight walls these are not a great choice for bad weather and they packing size is pretty large.
However, if being able to stand up is a priority then you may want to consider one of these especially if you’re taking shorter trips where it will be easier to predict the weather you might encounter.
A-frame tents are a lightweight and fairly simple option. The major downside is that they are not freestanding and you will need to get stakes in the ground to set these up. It is a big disadvantage in the soft sandy terrain or where the ground is too hard to get a stake in. There are some other options that integrate with motorcycles which cover half of the stakes you would need.
if you’re looking for a simple and lightweight option this is good for you
Hoop style can be lightweight and sturdy in wind or other bad weather they are usually low to the ground which helps them perform better in high wind
Although moving around in one can be difficult depending on the size; hoop style is a semi-free standing tent which is a mix of freestanding and needing stakes on at least one side to fully set up the tent they pack small because they don’t require as many poles for the tent to offer the space that it does but this style also tends to be somewhat small.
If you’re looking for a small pack size with decent livable space this is a great option.
Dome style tents are completely free standing; meaning no stakes required although you will need some stakes to stretch out the vestibular rainfly but if you can’t use stakes for some reason, your tent will still work. They pack pretty small for the livable space they offer and they can withstand heavy winds. They are much better than the cabin style. There are a lot more slopes in the roof which makes them better in the wind but also means shorter height.
Inside you will get some headroom in the middle but they pitch down quickly from the high point. Another advantage to freestanding is that they’re easy to move once you’ve set them up or in the morning when you want to shake out the dirt from inside your tent they retain their shape when you pick them up off the ground which is really nice.
If you’re looking for an option that’s always easy to set up and offers good livable space with decent pack size; this is a great option and seems to be ideal for motorcycle campers that aren’t concerned with shedding every possible pound or ounce.
Pack size and weight
Depending on your setup and style of riding, this may be one of the biggest factors in choosing a tent but you will likely not find anything that weighs less than two pounds without spending a lot of money.
Anything in the two pound range is considered ultra lightweight and will probably be semi-free standing so that means it will require stakes. Usually lightweight tents are also pretty delicate and require a bit of finesse to avoid damage and tears and to get the most out of the life of your tent. At about two and a half pounds, options will increase and prices drop to a much more reasonable level.
The balance between weight and comfort rises along with price so you will need to determine the value of shedding a pound or two without sacrificing too much space as far as pack size and pole length is a determining factor.
If size and weight are not important factors for your setup then there are tents that offer all sorts of features sizes large enough for parking your motorcycle in and plenty of luxury options to enjoy your time inside your tent.
Livable Space is another factor to examine. First you need to know how many people will be sleeping inside the tent because tents are sold by body capacity in one two three and up whatever the number is you should purchase a tent, there should be enough space for one extra person.
In other words if you travel solo you Should be looking at a two-person tent to avoid feeling cramped and to allow for some gear storage inside your tent. Two people should be using a three-person tent for maximum comfort as you might want some gear inside the tent such as a jacket helmet and possibly boots and if you want to keep bugs out of them and keep them dry overnight.
If the weather gets bad you may be spending more time in your tent than you expected it’s nice to be able to stretch out a bit and move around and if you’re sleeping two up in a tent the number of doors is also important if someone has to get up in the middle of the night it’s much easier to have your own door and not have to crawl over someone else in the middle of the night to get out of the tent.
Rain Flies and Vestibules
Rain flies are related to space because these create your vestibule but there is more to them than that. A rainfly is the fabric that goes over the tank creating a weather barrier and helps keep the warmth inside the tent. There are two styles to choose from: roof only and full coverage.
Roof only style is exactly what it sounds like: only the upper part of the tent is covered and the walls of the tent itself are the weather barrier. This means that the tent will not be made of mesh panels and the airflow will be restricted because of this though most have a double panel door that allows you to open the door with a screen or mesh panel to help with airflow. We don’t recommend these for motorcycle camping; they are really only good for fair weather camping and don’t save all that much weight.
Full coverage will cover the entire tent from the roof to the ground and these styles offer extra space in the form of a vestibule. A vestibule is the storage space created by your rain fly. It’s the area just outside of your tent but still covered and a great place for storing gear that doesn’t need to be in the tent with you but that you still don’t want exposed to the elements.
A vestibule can be on either one side only or possibly on each side of the tent depending on design and how many doors there are, how much area you will need depends on what you want to store in it.
Fabrics and Coatings
*Denier is a measure used in fabrics to define the linear density of a particular fabric.
Fabrics and coatings briefly denier is a word you may see which is a measurement of the density of fibers and basically the higher the denier, the denser and more durable the fabric will be and also heavier. When shopping for tents, you’ll find linear ratings for different fabrics: the tent rain fly and floor of the tent may all have different denier ratings for the floor.
You should look for the higher denier fabrics to make sure you’re buying a durable tent. The flying walls of the tent are less critical.
If you’re looking for ultra lightweight tents, deniers will be lower and therefore fabrics less durable. Thread count is another term you might see. This is the number telling you the number of threads both vertical and horizontal within a one inch area that means that 300t will have 300 individual strands in one inch of the fabric. This number does not directly relate to strength of the fabric as denier will also play a part in that equation
A higher thread count is referring to a tighter weave of strands and therefore creates a denser fabric if you don’t want to geek out on all these numbers just feeling the tent will give you a pretty good idea on its durability and comparing that to the weight of the tent you should be able to tell if it’s worth the price tag.
The bottom line is that the heavier the tent fabric is the more durable it will be.
What is more important than these stats is to look at what coatings are used on the fabric; coatings come in waterproof and or water repellents nylon and polyester are not waterproof fabrics which poses a major problem in the rain and condensation. A waterproof coating will be measured in millimeters and is a measurement of how much water the treated fabric can hold before it leaks through
This rating can range from about 800 millimeters to 10 000 millimeters to be considered waterproof for a rating of 1500 millimeters or higher. Tent floors also need to be looked at. You want to make sure that the tent has a bathtub style floor.
In case of rain 10 floors will have to be made of a different material than the walls and you should look for a floor fabric that continues vertically at least a few inches and connects with the wall fabric off the ground as this prevents the seam from being needed at a place that is susceptible to heavy water.
If it rains, seams are another part of the tent you will want to inspect particularly around the floor area and the rain fly or anywhere that may be exposed to rain seams should be taped meaning that after they’re sewn together a strip of tape is applied to enhance waterproofing and prevent leaks at the seam.
If you’re investing a lot of money in a tent you want to make sure that you protect that investment. One of the most important ways to do that is with a tarp on the ground. Underneath your tent you can opt for a footprint designed to fit your specific tent which can be useful but also sometimes an expensive add-on.
You can also save a little money by using a regular tarp that will be both inexpensive and super durable regardless of what you choose a footprint or a tarp, it’s important to have a barrier under the tent that prevents the bottom from rocks sticks and dirt if you’re using a tarp that’s not fitted to your tent you need to fold the excess material under the tent to avoid water from pooling onto the tarp and ending up under your tent.
No matter how expensive a tent is, the stakes that come with it are usually not the most durable option; they tend to bend easily, but there are stakes that can be bought separately from the tent that are much more sturdy and rugged and capable of withstanding repeated pounding into the ground. Look for stakes that are much thicker and sturdier to ensure that they last for a long time
Zipper quality is key; some ultra lightweight tents will have zippers that are a bit more sensitive and will require a bit of finesse to avoid damaging. ykk is a brand of zipper that seems to be the industry standard for most gear.
Ykk zippers are usually well made and typically smooth and durable and less likely to snag or stick than off-brand make sure to test out zippers on gear before you purchase the tent or other piece of gear to ensure that it operates smoothly and doesn’t snag. Some have snag guards for example that keep the fabric from catching in the zipper
Related: Best Tents for Motorcycle Camping in Australia in 2021
Editors Top Pick For Best Tents for Motorcycle Camping (Style Wise)
Our favorite is dome style because it’s freestanding making it easy to set up and making shaking it out in the morning easier. We discussed pack size and weight livable space and remember that you should always add one body to the number of people that will be sleeping in your tent to make sure you have room to move around and store a little gear. Remember to also look at coatings applied to the tent.
Taped seams to prevent leaking and bathtub style floors for the same reason for airflow it’s important to look for mesh panels and vents and we also talked about some optional accessories you may want to purchase like a footprint and better more rugged stakes and finally we went over what you should look for in a zipper so that is my tent purchase guide for motorcycle camping
8 Best Tents for Motorcycle Camping
Any technically any lightweight and durable tent will do the job. If you are setting on a long-distance adventure or choose to use your bike and not only want to shelter yourself from ailments but would also like to take care of the motorcycle storage overnight you should definitely look into these specially designed tents that we’re about to present to you.
Besides providing a sleeping spot they come with extended canvases to cover the bike or even feature separate garage extensions.
Lone Rider Motor Tent
1-2 Sleeping Capacity
75 In-Center Height
Detachable Inner Tent
Ground Sheet Bag Included
Lone rider moto tent during its eight years in the market the lone rider signature motor tent has undergone various modifications but no concessions have been made in terms of safety, comfort and durability.
Built by true adventure riders the motor tents as the color coded pole system wood sleeves closing on one side which requires just minutes to set up. Another key selling point is a detachable design which allows you to use the inner tent separately as a workspace. The inside comfort is ensured by superior water protection, 75 inches central height fire, retardant fly fabric and 18 aluminum banks. Moto tent arrives with a ground sheet and a carrying bag made of water-resistant
Goose by Wingman of the Road
Tent Mattress Sleeping Bag
420G RipStop Canvas
22Lbs or 10 KG in weight
125 Cm wing Length
Goose by wingman of the roads is built for speed, comfort and durability wet an odd selection of adjectives to describe a motorcycle chance. But this is exactly the motto used by wingmen of the roads for the Roku’s camping system. A 22 pounds worth of gear included tents will be fully waterproof and a 420g canvas to cover the bike in yourself. A high density foam mattress and a sleeping bag. The manufacturer rates the tent for four seasons though the bag is a V 2 to 3 seasons kind for lighter weight. Instead of a carry bag there is an exterior waterproof cover that doubles up as an extra 16 square feet tarp to sit on or to provide a floor for your porch area. The goose could be set up in under 5 minutes it is covered by three years manufacturer’s warranty and could be used without a motorcycle.
Redverz Atacama and Solo
Sleeps 1-3 People
77 Inch Peak Height
3 Season Tent
Redverz Atacama and solo; the three-person atacama and the one person solo expedition turns by read verse are best known for their spacious garage area and durable three-season capable materials. Both tents can easily accommodate a full size adventure tour with saddlebags while leaving enough space to function as a workshop. The tents feature a peak height of 77 inches and have nearly vertical inner walls providing enough space to stand up inside.
The tents have 4,000 millimeter hydrostatic head rating in the outer fly and 10,000 millimeter on the sleeping wave floor so they can withstand even hours of heavy rains to perform well under terrible weather conditions. The floor is additionally equipped with factory sealed seams and bathtub curves. The company also offers custom fitted ground sheets for the garage and the sleeping areas that are sold separately in some of these tents.
Abel Brown Nomad Tent
30D Ripstop Nylon
PU & Silicone Coating
2 MESH Entry Points
Abel Brown is an American manufacturer of apparel and leather accessories that are suited for traveling and living on the road. The brand carries a selection of high quality camping products including the Nomad motorcycle tent already in its third iteration; the model is a single wall tent that features no poles construction and a snow made from 30 D ripstop nylon. This fabric gets both PU and silicone coating so does 100% waterproof. The Nomad has two mesh entry points secured with YKK zippers and it’s floor area measures 84 by 42 inches just enough for one rider.
KOMPAKT KAMP MINI MATE
118 KG Trailer
LED Lights Cushions
Independent Robber Torsion Suspension
This pennsylvania-based company produces camping trailers for motorbike enthusiasts they could be used to transport 15 cubic feet of additional gear on a tour and transform into a cozy bedroom with 54 by 78 inches bed and 6.4 Headroom at peak the trailer weighs 260 pounds and rights on independent rubber torsion suspension the floor is covered with carpet the interior is led with LED lights and the entire transformation and 3 sleeper takes just 2 minutes.
When equipped with the optional awning package, the mini mates provides heavy UV and water resistant cover to the bike as well.
Exposed motorcycle bivouac
5 Lbs. weight
6 x 18 inches
500 Denier Cordura Classic
Handmade in Switzerland
10 Year Warranty
Exposed motorcycle bivouac launched back in 2016 via Kickstarter campaign; the bivouac is a lightweight but reliable shelter that can be fitted for a variety of motorcycle models from a low chopper to a higher dual sport bike
The bivouac is handmade in Switzerland and it uses 500 denier Cordura classic as its main material. The fabric is processed with a trademark coating ensures high levels of waterproofing in addition to the tent itself. The camping set includes two aluminum poles round backs and some ropes still it was just five pounds and folds down to a cylinder that measures 6 inches in diameter and 18 inches in length.
Our Top Pick for the best Motorcycle Camping Tent: Armas Motorcycle Tents
100% Nylon Fabric
2m x 3m
16.5 lbs weight
Armus motorcycle tents compared to the segment of regular tents or even small campers the market of motorcycle tents is quite limited sell true enthusiasts take on a task of designing a perfect shelter by themselves. One of such Daredevils is Jose Luis Sanchez Armas semanas from Mexico who has been working in the off-road vehicles and gear industry for more than 30 years. His creation is a rather spacious model that accommodates two people and has a garage area for your bike.
The tent is 100% nylon that is waterproof and UV protected plus most people should be able to freely stand in sight due to the Armas internal height of 70 inches.
VUZ Moto and H-D Dome Tent
3+1/3+3 Sleeping Capacity
13.7/12 Lbs. weight
3 Season Tent
Superior Weather Resistance
Vuz Moto and Harley Davidson dome tents not scoring too many sales these two tents are still technically the best sellers in amazon with legitimate feedback from current owners. Vuz has eighteen by eight feet and print sleeps three and has a 12 foot integrated motorcycle garage.
The tent has sturdy aluminum poles and it’s rated for three seasons in turn the Harley Davidson dome that is sold directly by HD accessories is rated for four travelers though customers insist that the capacity is comfortable only for the three plus three combo.
These tents way within 12 to 14 pounds have proven rain and other elements protection and in general or decent ice would you consider paying extra for a tent with a separate garage annex or maybe a regular tent into the chop which one of these is your top pick.