And So It Begins…
The pillion and I have been doing short trips covering 300 – 400km (180 – 250 miles) for a while now. It’s given us the opportunity to see quite a bit of the South East Corner of Queensland (SE-QLD), but it doesn’t leave us a lot of time to explore the town or locality we’re visiting. This is true especially if we are stopping along the way to take in a view or something.
So we’ve decided to start doing some over-nighters.
Some of our friends have bike trailers. Great idea. But I have a few issues with them:
- Trailers are expensive, even a second-hand unit can cost upwards of $1500 in fair condition, new ones start at around $6500. How many trips away would it take before you reached that sort of money?
- Trailers change the way the bike handles, increase braking distance and decrease fuel economy. Not to mention the added stress on the frame and engine.
- If I really need to take all that stuff to warrant a trailer, then why wouldn’t I just hook up a dog box^ to the Rolls-Canardly* and take that?
There are probably more reasons for using a trailer than against, but hey… I just don’t like the idea of towing a trailer behind a bike, and to be frank, it scares me. Besides how do you filter through traffic?
“No worries!” I hear you say. “Just stay in pubs and hotels along the way”
Yep. We could do that, and we have done on a few occasions.
But noooo; We’re both glutton’s for punishment.
We’re going to camp!
I’d say its been close to 100 years since we last used our camping kit, and if I remember rightly, most of it came off the ark.
Yep. we’ve got sleeping bags that compact down to the size of 20 gallon drums and weigh about 30kg (66 lbs) each, and mats that are stuffed with straw (we renew the straw periodically). We also have a tent made from canvas I stole off a mates truck when he wasn’t looking.
Obviously we need to update our kit, and after getting some inspiration from this fine post by Mr DRF over at My Ride Blog, that’s exactly what we have started to do.
I’ve got a 40 litre top box, some soft panniers and a tank bag for the bike; I’d say about 115 litres of storage all up, plus jacket pockets for the small stuff. There’s an added benefit in that the top box has a rack, so I can strap some light weight stuff to it if I need to.
We’d buy food along the way, or at our destination to save on weight and space; If we really want 3-1/2 star dining we can always head down to the local pub or take-away for a meal.
Most camp grounds have amenities buildings where we should be able to clean off some of the road grime. Also, laundromats are common, so washing socks and jocks while on the road isn’t out of the question. Coin operated gas or electric BBQ’s are available as well, so we’ve ruled out taking cooking equipment.
Something to eat and drink out of, some utensils, that’s all we should need.
I reckon that if we were to pack light, and choose what we take carefully, we could easily handle a few nights away, maybe even a week. We’re not going bush (yet), so we shouldn’t need to be completely self-sufficient.
The ever resourceful Jaja has suggested a Hexi-Stove, Dixie tray and kidney cup. At least that way we could cook up a light meal or cuppa long the way if we need to. I’m not sure about the Hexi-Stove; Better, cleaner alternatives are available. The Dixie tray and kidney cup idea has merit though.
And so it begins. I’m looking for a new tent, sleeping bags, mats and other bits and pieces. Everything needs to be light weight and compact to fit on the bike economically and work down to say 0°C (32°F).
Yes it can get that cold in Queensland, especially out west, and if we decide to head south it’ll get even colder than that. So this bit will take a bit of thought on my part… maybe a Reactor thermal liner is the answer?
In the mean time I’m annoying the local camp shop sales staff and asking all sorts of questions…
“Why do dogs sniff each other when they meet?”… No. Wait… Different topic.
So if you have any tips, please share. I’d be interested to hear how you tackled travelling and camping on a bike.
- Dog Box: Caravan: a vehicle equipped for living in, typically towed by a car and used for holidays. Synonyms: mobile home, camper, caravanette.
- Rolls-Canardly: Basically, a piece of crap car. Usually cheap and/or broken down, it can be any size, make or model – A car might be called this because “it rolls down one hill, and canardly get up the next”.