My 2 sheckels worth...use your ratchet straps for now...you can worry about better suspension in the spring.
At the moment, you need some insulation. I have to agree with the CCF pad from WallyWorld. One option no one has mentioned is watch the WallyWorld and catch a sleeping bag for $10 and change with free shipping. I for a 40 degree bag last week and modded it into a top quilt. If you don't sew just unzip it about 3/4s of the way down and pull it over. A safety pin can hold the zipper slide in place if it moves too much. The $10 bags are heavy but if you're car camping and weight and bulk aren't an issue...they'll work just fine.
I'll also agree with a cheap blue tarp from WallyWorld...I've modded a few to make them a bit more robust but its not absolutely necessary.
Sounds like for about $25 give or take a couple of bucks you could set yourself up with insulation and cover then save up for suspension later...
Well, I took the advice of a few of y'all and removed the hardware from the ratchets, and they are working great for suspension. Looks like my focus has shifted to insulation. Off to WallyWorld!
Oops, I caught this thread too late. I was going to suggest dual-purposing your straps. Since you'll be motorcycle camping, use the ratchet straps to tie your gear down, then when you arrive, use them for your suspension. I find ratchet straps much more secure than bungies...
This forum sure is an eclectic collection of folks when it comes to budgets. Some threads talk about electronic devices and phones that cost hundreds of dollars as though they are buying a candy bar. Then there is this where it is very limited. Just an observation about the diversity of the group.
If you can make your whoopies, you will save a bunch of $. Without the sewing machine, straps will be difficult to make. Get a cheapo foam pad for some insulation under you or the dollar store windshield reflectors for the interior can make a big difference. The k-mart blue tarp as well offers some inexpensive protection. Occasionally you will find a sleeping bag to use as a TQ at Goodwill or some other variation there of.
Site selection will be important as the tarp will not take a lot of wind. Most importantly, just do what you gotta do to get out there. We all start somewhere.
I remember fondly my early canoe trips 40 years ago with my gear in garbage bags as my "waterproof" packing. It truly is the journey.
This is a nice suggestion for a budget set up. I don't have a ton of dough to spend either since I am a grad student. DIY what you can!!