Best Motorcycle Tent – Choosing for Adventure Riding
Choosing the ideal tent for motorcycle camping, is ultimately settling on a compromise between size/weight and cost.
If budget is not a factor, then there are a couple of stand out options. For the rest of us though, it’s a matter of striking a balance between what we can afford, and what we can comfortably fit on the bike.
In every price range, from $100 to $900, there are tents in the 1-2kg range that all pack up to comparable sizes, which makes it seem like the cheaper options might be a lot better value. The main difference however, is the size once erected. A $100 tent might seem ideal, until the first cold and wet night where you must leave your boots and gear in the open to get wet. This is when a bigger tent might be the go. After all, who wouldn’t pay an extra couple of hundred bucks for a bigger erection.
With that in mind, here’s three options for every budget and we’ve tried our best to have options available in most countries.
We didn’t actually use any of these tents mentioned when we went to Peru to follow the 2019 Dakar, but we were quite limited in budget as discussed in our packing list, so these are some of what we will be using in the future based on our experiences in that trip and others.
Budget Tents for Motorcycle Camping (Less Than $200)
From $160 – The Mountain Designs Burrow Bivy Tent is Compact
It is a very viable option for the budget conscious traveller, wishing to keep things light and packed small.
The compromise is that it has the least amount of room out of all the tents listed here, by a significant margin. It could probably be best described as a structural sleeping bag with no room for anything other than the occupant. You’ll need a solution to keep your gear safe and dry, whereas some of the other tents have compartments that cover this.
From $140 – The REI Co-op Passage 1 Balances Space and Weight
It’s not large enough to store boots and gear while sleeping.
From $90 – The Denali Kakadu Hike Tent is Very Cheap
At 2.7kg the extra weight or so may seem insignificant, but weight savings for adventure riding and motorcycle camping are always the aggregate across many items. Every item must be as light as possible.
If you’ve already got everything else packed and sorted, you can afford the extra 1.3kg, but it should be a careful consideration.
A very small amount of gear, could maybe be stored out of the rain with this tent, but not kept away from animals.
Mid-Priced Tents for Motorcycle Camping ($200 to $400)
From $250 – The Big Agnes Blacktail Hotel 2 is Heavy, but Deluxe
The tent itself is reasonably spacious, but the standout feature (optional upgrade) is that it has a covered area at the front which is almost a staggering 1.5m. Not only could you keep all your gear covered and safe, you might even be able to fit your bike, if you’re on a smaller model.
It’s not tiny when packed, nor is it obtrusively large. If you have enough free space and weight capacity on your bike, or heaven forbid you’re a GS rider, the Blacktail Hotel 2 is the dream tent for motorcycle campers on a budget.
From $299 – The REI Co-op Quarter Dome SL1 is Featherlight but Minimal
This tent is light-on for features but is a great option for most motorcycle campers.
From $360 – The MSR Freelite 2 is Big and Small
The standout feature of the Freelite 2 is the amount of space under the side, where you can keep your gear dry. At this weight and price, there’s no match for the amount of covered space outside of the sleeping area of the tent.
High-End Tents for Motorcycle Camping ($400 or More)
From $600 – The Redverz Atacama is the Ultimate for Slow Moving Camping
The Atacama is an almost incomprehensible 6.5kg which means that not only does it way as much as a GS, but that a GS is one of the only bikes suitable for carrying one. The crazy part is, that the GS will probably fit in the tent with sleeping room for 3 people.
Travelling with one of these tents and calling yourself and adventure rider would be a bit like someone with a fifth wheeler caravan describing themselves as roughing it and camping. That’s fine however, it just means this is more suited for big bike and cruiser based motorcycle camping.
The final caveat on this mobile hotel is that it is time consuming to erect and dismantle. It’s probably not best suited to people who are moving every day.
From $750 – The MSR Hubba NX 1P Will Get You All the Way Around the World
The main selling point of the Hubba NX 1P is not quantity, but quality. At a miniscule 1.1kg and an equally impressive packed size, this tent provides more space than what competitors can offer for the same compactness.
The canopy has enough space to keep all your gear dry. With the canopy half open, there’s enough space to sit in the tent with your cooker outside but sheltered from the wind.
I strongly believe that for 90% of all people intending to travel around the world by motorcycle, this is the tent.
From $499 – The Redverz Hawk II is Your Cold Weather Saviour
It is a great all-rounder and really comes into its own in very cold climates. This is a great tent with lots of covered space to keep your gear dry.
If you’re mainly going to be camping in warm climates, you might be better off spending the same amount of money on a larger tent that weighs the same, but isn’t as designed for the cold.
The Best Tent?
As always, if you agree or disagree, please let me know in the comments.