I’ve been a backpacker since I was 15, so moving into the realm of motorcycle camping is an easy thing to consider. So far my multi-day trips have been 100% motels for overnight stays. This year I plan to mix some tent camping with motels perhaps every other night or every third night (for showers and laundry).

I pulled my backpacking gear down from storage and investigated where things stood. My single burner camp stove and mess kit are good to go but my water filter got nasty so that either needs to be replaced or eliminated from the list. I’ll probably replace it because I find them handy in many different situations.

My tent needs help. It’s a two person dome tent but doesn’t pack very small and the poles are far too long to pack on the bike. Plus a couple of them are broken, so a new tent is needed. I ordered the Eureka Backcountry I personal backpacking tent. It’s 3′ wide, 3′ tall, and 8′ long and packs very small, into a roll that’s about 15″ long and 6″ thick including the poles.

I have three different sleeping bags, for three different temperature ranges, plus the necessary stuff sacks that go with them so that’s taken care of. My sleeping pad arrangement leaves a bit to be desired, however. I currently have a standard ThermaRest with a half-length model that includes a blow-up pillow. Together they’re okay but I’ve never been able to get a decent night’s rest on them. Further, when rolled up they’re fairly wide. Doing some research I came across the Big Agnes (that’s a brand name) Insulated Air Core air mattress.

It’s plenty long enough and wide enough, and gives me a good 2″ of insulated and comfy loft above the ground. It came yesterday via FedEx and I inflated it as soon as I got home and tested it out. Very nice! It’s not cheap, at $75 not including shipping, but definitely seems to be worth it. The biggest benefit, however, is that it rolls up into a 9″ x 5″ package, so space savings is a huge plus.

The next step is to find a 12v compact air compressor that will not only fill my tires in case of a flat, but has a nozzle that will inflate my air mattress. It’s got a 1/2″ nozzle that requires you to put your mouth around it, unlike most where it’s a tube you blow into.