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  1. #1
    New Member
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    Mar 2011
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    Cross-country motorcycle trip in May...

    I'm a complete noob, and would appreciate any recommendations you guys could make to help me out:

    I plan on taking 5 weeks to motorcycle across the country: down the east coast, and then across the south.

    Lowest temperatures I should experience at night would be around 45F in the NE, and it'll likely average in the 60's when I'm in the south. I'll probably occasionally stealth camp as well. I'm looking for the best bang for my buck equipment.

    I'm looking for:
    - a compact and very easy to setup hammock which includes a good rain cover (Warbonnet Blackbird or Hennessy seem to be highly recommended?).
    - recommendation for a compact sleeping bag I should get. Do I need a foam pad?

    Since I am unlikely to experience anything below 40F, will I be warm enough with just a sleeping bag? Or do I need a foam pad for insulation as well?

    This community rocks. Thank you!

  2. #2
    Senior Member Land's Avatar
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    May 2010
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    Abbeville, SC
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    Quote Originally Posted by hohead View Post
    I'm looking for:
    - a compact and very easy to setup hammock which includes a good rain cover (Warbonnet Blackbird or Hennessy seem to be highly recommended?).
    - recommendation for a compact sleeping bag I should get. Do I need a foam pad?

    Since I am unlikely to experience anything below 40F, will I be warm enough with just a sleeping bag? Or do I need a foam pad for insulation as well?

    This community rocks. Thank you!
    First of all, welcome to the forum!

    Motorcycles, hammocks and long rides? You're playin' my song.


    It sounds like you are on the right track. I love my Warbonnet Blackbird for motorcycle travel. The shelf is very handy for storing stuff, and the footbox is a nice feature. There are lots of great options from Hennessy and other makers, too, but I love my WBBB. Travel in the South in warm/hot weather makes a bugnet -- either built in or a separate add-on -- a must.

    I have the stock webbing suspension on my Blackbird, and it is really easy to set up.

    The Blackbird does not come with a rain fly of any kind. If you get one, you'll need to buy a tarp separately. That will be the case with most of the setups. In the South in the summer, you'll want a BIG tarp that you can get out of our gully-washin' thunderstorms. I use a Warbonnet Superfly. Like with the hammocks, there are lots of great options out there. Check out some some of the great gear makers right here on this Website.

    For insulation, you're going to need a sleeping bag or topquilt. I used a sleeping bag for a lot of nights on a few trips last year.

    You will definitely need either a pad or an underquilt to keep your back/backside from getting cold in temps below 70 F or so. Yes, 70 or so, believe it or not. I like an underquilt, but a closed-cell foam pad or a Thermarest-type pad that you may already have can work well.

    I -- and others, I'm sure -- will be happy to answer any other questions you have.

    Ride -- and hang -- safely,
    Chris

  3. #3
    Welcome.

    I ride also, and am in the process of setting up a similar outfit.

    I have several suggestions.

    First, Try out your hammock/pad/tarp/bag with a few nights sleeping in it before you commit yourself to over a month of doing so.

    Second, to repeat the above, you WILL need something under you to keep you warm at night. The last thing that you need is to face a day's riding with your back stiff from being cold all night and your reflexes slowed from lack of sleep.

    Finally, make or buy snakeskins for both your hammock and your tarp. You will be taking it down and putting it up on a daily basis, and skins will make it so much easier. I made my own skins for my hammock, and added extensions on each end for the lines. Instead of a snarled mess of hammock and lines, I have long cloth tube. I walk over to one tree, open one end and fasten the lines, then walk over to the other and repeat the process. When I am ready for the hammock, I slide the skins open and there it is.

    Taking the hammock down is just the reverse. A tarp is much the same, but requires dealing with tieout lines.

    Besides convenience, the skins will keep your hammock and tarp cleaner and protects them from being torn during handling or packing. They are cheap to make and can be replaced every few years.

  4. #4
    Senior Member Law Dawg (ret)'s Avatar
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    Sep 2010
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    Left Coast
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    I'm equipping my motorcycle camp kit and following the lessons learned by others (like Land). You will need to decide how much space and weight you have to budget for. Info like your bike and luggage system can help others fine tune their recommendations. Mine is a BMW F800GS with Happy Trails paniers and BMW tank bag. I intend to mount two Kreiga US-10 packs to the Adventure Spec crash bars.

    The kit right now;
    WBBB 1.7 dbl adjustable webbing.
    AHE New River UQ (too bulky).
    20 degree mummy bag.
    Kelty 12x12 tarp (too bulky).
    BBO

    The kit I am looking at now;
    Staying with the WBBB.
    Incubator UQ (maybe but something less bulky than the NR DW for sure).
    Staying with mummy bag but considering an actual hammock TQ instead.
    Shangri La tarp (or something like it).
    BBO

    The changes are all for reduced bulk and weight. I will most likely carry some sort of ground tarp and pad (just in case) but the idea of ground camping is something I intend to avoid at all costs. Just too beat up to do that anymore. Think minimalist packing to keep your bike more fun to ride.
    Mark is the name and If there is more than one way to understand what I just said....I meant the good one.

    Earth First! We'll dirt bike ride the other planets later.

  5. #5
    Senior Member spklbuk's Avatar
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    Give Molly Mac Gear IX underquilts a look see...perfect for summer mocycle camping, very compact, feather light and way way better than a pad.
    montani semper liberi


    I wish I had a cabin on the top of some big hill
    I'd build a fire every evening and listen to the whipporwill
    Eat my food out of a garden and drink my whiskey from a still

    Darrell Scott I Wish

  6. #6

    Join Date
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    Quote Originally Posted by spklbuk View Post
    Give Molly Mac Gear IX underquilts a look see...perfect for summer mocycle camping, very compact, feather light and way way better than a pad.
    That's a great suggestion. The IX UQ will probably be good enough for the entire trip and is very reasonably priced. If you anticipate a cold night along the way you could always swing by any local Wally World and pick up a $10.00 pad to go with it.

    Take lots of pics and post them here.

    IMHO the Western Mountaineering company makes the best sleeping bags in the world. I have a 32 degree bag (can't remember model) which is VERY warm and packs VERY small. It wreaks of quality.

    Miguel

  7. #7
    New Member
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    Thanks for your replies!

    So basically, I'm looking to get:

    - Blackbird Double Layer (has bug netting already)
    - A tarp (The Superfly looks expensive. Why not get the Big Mamajamba w/panel pulls instead?)
    - CCF pad
    - Snakeskins (any recommendations on best/cheapest?)
    - Mummy bag rated for 35F temps, which I will use as a topquilt?

    Question:
    - Stuffing a CCF pad in the Double Layer hammock seems like a fantastic solution. So why do people still prefer an Underquilt over this?

    - Using a CCF and a Mummy sleeping bag also gives me the option of being able to tent or bivy in emergencies, right?

  8. #8
    Member Dain Bramage's Avatar
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    Feb 2010
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    I envy you!
    "Are you gonna eat that?"

    ________________________

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  9. #9
    Senior Member SamD's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by hohead View Post
    Thanks for your replies!

    So basically, I'm looking to get:

    - Blackbird Double Layer (has bug netting already)
    - A tarp (The Superfly looks expensive. Why not get the Big Mamajamba w/panel pulls instead?)
    - CCF pad
    - Snakeskins (any recommendations on best/cheapest?)
    - Mummy bag rated for 35F temps, which I will use as a topquilt?

    Question:
    - Stuffing a CCF pad in the Double Layer hammock seems like a fantastic solution. So why do people still prefer an Underquilt over this?

    - Using a CCF and a Mummy sleeping bag also gives me the option of being able to tent or bivy in emergencies, right?
    UQ is lighter, less bulk (in compression sack) and warmer.

    Yes with tarp, CCF and Mummy bag you can ground camp if there is no where to hang or hanging is not allowed.

    I do recommend that you camp out with the gear you get before hitting the road, even if it is only in your back yard.

    Remember lots of pictures posted here as the trip progresses. No pictures it never happened.
    U.S. Army Paratrooper, Combat Engineer, DAV (Life Member), American Legion (Life Member)
    NMLRA(1 of 1000[#249] & Life Member), NRA(Life Member)
    Perry Lodge #123 F&AM(Perpetual Member), Perfect Ashlar Lodge #12 F&AM(Perpetual Member)

  10. #10

    Join Date
    May 2010
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    Quote Originally Posted by spklbuk View Post
    Give Molly Mac Gear IX underquilts a look see...perfect for summer mocycle camping, very compact, feather light and way way better than a pad.
    I have one, and it is the vcat's meow for warmer weather camping. Barring that, try a Thermarest Prolite 2/3 pad. For my top, I have also acquired a Molly Mac TQ for summer use. For cooler weather I ams still using a barrel bag as a blanket.

    I have an HH Exporer Deluxe (I am a big guy at 6'2", 230lbs), and the extra room is awesome. If you buy HH, upgrade to the silnylon Hex Tarp. For just a little over 200.00, you will have a nice, large tarp, and a darn fine hammock. Take your pic between bottom entry or side zip. I prefer the side zip.

    Have fun on your ride. COme June I plan on spending 2 weeks riding the Cascades, Purcells, Rockies, Wasatch, The Grand Canyon, the Sierras, Klaths and back into the Cascades for my annual BIG TRIP.

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