Self-sufficient touring: Best motorcycle camping tents

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We said it recently when we looked at the basics of motorcycle camping but it really does bear saying again; your tent is perhaps the most important element of any off grid trip. It is your only shelter from the elements and if it lets you down, you have nowhere to hide. Our guide to the best motorcycle camping tents should help

Of course, tent technology is much better today than it was even a few years ago. Material and design advances have meant that tents can be larger when in use yet fold up smaller and are lighter than ever.

The first thing to decide when looking at motorcycle camping tents is how much space you want when it is up. Many mountaineers and hardcore campers go for the smallest tent possible, working on the basis that the less space it takes up on the bike, the better – this can be particularly true if they are on a huge overland trip where they will be carrying everything to be self-sufficient for weeks at a time.

Related: Best universal motorcycle panniers

However, for a weekend or a week away around the North Coast 500, for example, you can probably afford to carry a bit more luggage and not have to worry about carrying 1000 miles’ worth of petrol with you.

So while a tent barely larger than a sleeping bag will keep the rain off you while you sleep, it doesn’t offer much protection for your kit or space to try to dry it after a long, wet ride, for example. Of course, you could get one with all the space you need but the pay-off is weight and space on the bike when packed.

Here is a selection of motorcycle camping tents that could work, depending on your requirements.

Price: £155.63
If minimal packing space and weight are what you're after, then this solo 'one person' tent could be for you. It gets great reviews on Amazon and will accommodate one person while reviews suggest there is also a decent bit of room to house some kit as well. It pitches inner first, so be quick if it’s raining but if not, then you can leave the flysheet off and sleep in the mesh inner, gazing at the stars.

Sleeping area: 225cm (l) x 80cm (w) x 75cm (h, tallest point)

Packed size: 44cm x 14cm x 14cm

Weight: 1.53kg
Sleeping area: 225cm (l) x 80cm (w) x 75cm (h, tallest point)
Packed size: 44cm x 14cm x 14cm
Weight: 1.53kg
A lightweight two man tent that can be pitched in a matter of minutes, inner and outer together. The low profile design keeps it stable when conditions are less than ideal and the three door option porch provides versatility for when the wind changes. It's approved for the Duke of Edinburgh award expedition kit list so should be outperform cheaper alternatives.

Sleeping area: 225cm (l) x 130cm (w) x 95cm (h)

Packed size: 48cm (l) x 16cm (ø)

Weight: 3.02kg
Sleeping area: 225cm (l) x 130cm (w) x 95cm (h)
Packed size: 48cm (l) x 16 (ø) cm
Weight: 3.02kg
Moving away from tunnel tents and into dome tents, this one from Slumit is described as an 'instant erect' version and apparently, goes up in less than a minute - useful if you're touring an area notorious for rain. The quick-erect framework provides a taller sleeping area with a useful porch area too, for storing gear or simply a bit more room. It packs up relatively large – a function of the ease of putting it up – and it isn’t light but it is waterproof and quick.

Sleeping area: 200cm (l) x 135cm (w) x 110cm (h)

Packed size: 70cm x 17cm x 17cm

Weight: 3.6kg
Sleeping area: 200cm (l) x 135cm (w) x 110cm (h)
Packed size: 70cm x 17cm x 17cm
Weight: 3.6kg
Vango is one of the most well-respected names in tents and outdoor equipment and this Duke of Edinburgh-award approved tunnel tent is classed as two-person though as we know, it's more appropriate for one person with some gear. Sleeping area: 225cm (l) x 120cm (w) x 90cm (h)

Packed size: 47cm x 18cm x 18cm

Weight: 2.6kg
Sleeping area: 225cm (l) x 120cm (w) x 90cm (h)
Packed size: 47cm x 18cm x 18cm
Weight: 2.6kg
Price: £94.84
Not particularly designed for motorcycle touring but this three-person example from Coleman (there are smaller and larger versions) offers plenty of space for one or even two people comfortably. It has a decent-sized porch to store riding gear, camping gear or just take shelter from the elements if it's raining. It pitches inner first and gets good reviews online, saying it is waterproof in heavy rain yet allows good ventilation when warm.

Sleeping area: 210cm (l) x 180cm (w) x 120cm (h)

Packed size: 50cm x 19cm x 19cm

Weight: 4.9kg
Sleeping area: 210cm (l) x 180cm (w) x 120cm (h)
Packed size: 50cm x 19cm x 19cm
Weight: 4.9kg
Tents that house both you and the motorcycle are not new but this particular design, that sites the bike alongside a sleeping compartment, is new to us. It looks interesting and allows you to work on your bike in the dry if needs be. Sleeping area: Unknown

Packed size: 36cm (l) x 30cm (w) x 18cm (h)

Weight: 3.1kg
Sleeping area: Unknown
Packed size: 36cm (l) x 30cm (w) x 18cm (h)
Weight: 3.1kg

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