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Old 08-20-2013, 03:52 PM   #1
tshelfer
 
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MC Camping on the Cheap

OK Thrift-meisters. By popular demand, here it is. A thread for those who like to Moto-camp on a minimalist (aka cheapster) budget. Here's your chance to tell us how you do it. For instance:
- Budget-priced farkles for your bike.
- Budget camping gear that has (or maybe hasn't) worked out for you.
- Camp sites for free or at budget prices.
- And when you really go crazy and spend a few bucks for a night's rest, moteling on the cheap.
How do you do it?

Those of you who sleep in $500 Big Agnes tents are welcome to stand on the sidelines and laugh at us. We'll just laugh back as our 401Ks grow fat on our nurse-a-nickel habits. We're cheapsters, and we're darned proud of it.
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Old 08-20-2013, 04:12 PM   #2
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Re: MC Camping on the Cheap

Well for beginners or cheapskates like me Wal-mart has reasonable gear on the cheaper side of life.

Tent from the Thurber run $25 not a north face or Kelty but shelter.
Just picked up a sleeping bag deal for $14 that is for summer only. Really it is a blanket sewn together with a zipper.
A Coleman auto inflate air mattress for $32 but way better than the blue foam pad that I still have.
I have cooking pans and pots from garage sales.
Craigslist and yard sales for thrifty purchases.
Sales at Academy and on line.
Free curb side goodies and friends freebies that are cluttering their garage space.

For a hundred dollar or less you can get a tent,bag,pad,and misc for starters. Not top of the line but workable.

Individually owned motels seem to be most reasonable and the owners seem more appreciative than chain places.

Trip advisor or word of mouth for food and places to hang your head are normally right on.

Lets see your ideas.
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Old 08-20-2013, 04:23 PM   #3
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Re: MC Camping on the Cheap

Reasonable and clean motels in New Mexico and Colorado:

Here are places that I enjoy.

1. Western Skies Inn and Suites Los Lunas,New Mexico Ask for Brandi
2. Long Holiday Motel Gunnison.Colorado
3. Branding Iron Motel Chama,New Mexico
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Old 08-20-2013, 04:33 PM   #4
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Re: MC Camping on the Cheap

I usually stay at Texas State Parks. About $20. Is that cheap enough? Good scenary, clean, free shower, free toilet, protection by armed guard. Good deal.
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Old 08-20-2013, 04:43 PM   #5
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Re: MC Camping on the Cheap

In Raton, the NRA Whittington Center is cheap. If there are several of you, you can usually get a youth cabin with bunk beds. Clean, dry, warm.
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Old 08-20-2013, 04:45 PM   #6
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Re: MC Camping on the Cheap

My primary moto camping gear:
- Eureka Tetragon 2-man tent. Bought on blow-out sale from Dick's Sporting Goods for $50.
- Swiss Gear mummy bag. K-Mart online had them for $35, but my wife paid $45 on Amazon, for the convenience, as a Christmas present.
- Stansport air mattress. $22 on Amazon. Very comfortable.
- 12V air pump for air mattress. $8 at Walmart.
- Thermarest pillow. $26 on Amazon. Packs small, fluffs big. Well worth the price for a night's sleep.
- 5-piece aluminum cook set. $20 at Academy Sports.
- No-name backpacker stove. $9 on Amazon. Tiny, but packs a bunch of BTUs.
- Thermal cup w/ sippy lid. Donated by a software vendor before I retired. Keeps coffee hot and Crystal Lite cold.
- 5x8' blue plastic tarp for all purposes. $10 at Academy.
- Folding hunter's armchair. $5 at Academy.

For about $200, I'm outfitted for eating, sleeping, and lounging. This gear has survived multiple trips over three years and is holding up quite well. I had to replace the air pump in New Mexico this past June, but hey - there's always a Walmart somewhere.
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Old 08-20-2013, 04:51 PM   #7
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Re: MC Camping on the Cheap

Not sure these ideas belong on this thread, but I'm still using much of the backpacking and climbing gear that I bought in the 70s and 80s as motorcycle camping gear. It was all top dollar equipment at the time and is still as durable and functional as ever. As a student of Colin Fletcher I tend to leave more at home than bring with me. Trips of two or three days generally means no cooker and unless I'm sure it is going to rain or might be cold the tent and sleeping back may stay at home as well, replaced by a blanket and a plastic sheet. I did buy a cheap stool from wally world for the F1 race, but I doubt that it will ever get a ride on my bike.

TPWD parks pass is $95 for me and the wife for a year.
http://www.tpwd.state.tx.us/spdest/parkinfo/passes/

The Corps of Engineers has some camping too.
http://corpslakes.usace.army.mil/vis...s.cfm?state=TX

One thing I never do is hop a fence and make a camp site on some rancher's property. That's asking for trouble.
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Old 08-20-2013, 05:02 PM   #8
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Re: MC Camping on the Cheap

http://www.sierradesigns.com/p-120-g...ps-4-pack.aspx

Cheap method for adding guy lines to flys on inexpensive tents. Often flys will have no guy loops. Guy lines add stability and ventilation by pulling the fly away from the tent.

http://equipped.outdoors.org/2009/07...lines.html?m=1

Last edited by kojack06; 08-20-2013 at 05:05 PM.
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Old 08-20-2013, 05:04 PM   #9
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Re: MC Camping on the Cheap

I love state parks, but they're kinda pricy these days if you don't have the annual gate pass.

I'm a fan of Corps of Engineer parks. A water-elec site at Navarro Mills is something like $14 a night.

And when in the mountains, you can't beat the National Forest system. NF campgrounds aren't the $2/night bargain they once were - actually, about $14-17 is pretty typical these days. But that's still not bad. And if you're 62, you can buy a senior discount pass - good at all National Forest Service and National Park facilities - $10 for a lifetime pass. That gives you 50% off on NF campgrounds, 50% off (or sometimes free) on NP entrance fees, and 50% off on NP camp sites. And that, my friends, is some pretty cheap camping.

As Danny (Redpill) pointed out, New Mexico state parks are still very modestly priced. I believe Hyde State Park outside of Santa Fe is still $12 a night, and no entrance fee.
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Old 08-20-2013, 05:14 PM   #10
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Re: MC Camping on the Cheap

Quote:
Originally Posted by Meriden View Post

TPWD parks pass is $95 for me and the wife for a year.
http://www.tpwd.state.tx.us/spdest/parkinfo/passes/


One thing I never do is hop a fence and make a camp site on some rancher's property. That's asking for trouble.
Why buy the extra card for $25 for the wife if she camps with you?

Do they require one per MC?
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Old 08-20-2013, 05:15 PM   #11
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Re: MC Camping on the Cheap

Aren't the BLM lands free camping?
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Old 08-20-2013, 05:28 PM   #12
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Re: MC Camping on the Cheap

Quote:
Originally Posted by tshelfer View Post
As Danny (Redpill) pointed out, New Mexico state parks are still very modestly priced. I believe Hyde State Park outside of Santa Fe is still $12 a night, and no entrance fee.
The Whittington Center isn't a state park. It's owned by the NRA. Still very nice.
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Old 08-20-2013, 05:29 PM   #13
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Re: MC Camping on the Cheap

I remember sleeping on one of the tables at a roadside park when I was in high school. I wouldn't dream of doing that now.
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Old 08-20-2013, 05:47 PM   #14
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Re: MC Camping on the Cheap

Quote:
Originally Posted by SL350 View Post
Why buy the extra card for $25 for the wife if she camps with you?

Do they require one per MC?
The wife's an outdoors woman in her own right and she'll camp without me in a heart beat. I carry one pass in my jacket pocket so I can take Park Road 1 between Smithville and Bastrop. She keeps one in her purse so that when she and her friends are birding they don't have to pay to visit a park. Anyway, I'll donate $25 to the State parks. I like the cause.

Quote:
Originally Posted by SL350 View Post
Aren't the BLM lands free camping?
Yes, many are. Some are not. Out in the western states where 50% of the land is federally owned and it's not uncommon to find people just parked out in the desert living in their RVs for months on end.
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Old 08-20-2013, 05:57 PM   #15
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Re: MC Camping on the Cheap

Quote:
Originally Posted by SL350 View Post
Why buy the extra card for $25 for the wife if she camps with you?

Do they require one per MC?
We tried camping in an Arizona State Park. They wanted $20 per Motorcycle!
A family of 4 in an RV towing a car is $20 but bikes..Everybody pays. I attempted to plead my case to the nitwit with the weekend badge and well he basically told me that If I kept talking I was going to make "the list"?
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Old 08-20-2013, 06:09 PM   #16
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Re: MC Camping on the Cheap

My personal advice after lots of camping - actually, if you gave me a free room at a 5 star hotel - I'd still look for a nearby state park and pay.

Bottom line, if you don't get a good nights sleep, you won't be 100% the next day on the bike when it matters.

So don't compromise on an air mattress - there are several nice once - exped dlx9, big agnes core, thermorest neo-something.. they have high R ratings so if it gets cold, they'll shield you from the ground.

That being said, walmart used to sell a 4" air mattress that was pretty comfortable, sevylor also used to sell one - zero insulation but comfortable as long as it doesn't get cold... if you get one of those, get the fleece sleeping bag liners at walmart to put them in and that will help - still not as good as the good stuff but ok for beginners.

Beyond that, you can get a cheap 40 degree bag and tent at walmart, a cheap pillow and an led headlight and you're done.
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Old 08-20-2013, 06:09 PM   #17
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Re: MC Camping on the Cheap

Quote:
Originally Posted by Rainmaker View Post
We tried camping in an Arizona State Park. They wanted $20 per Motorcycle!
A family of 4 in an RV towing a car is $20 but bikes..Everybody pays. I attempted to plead my case to the nitwit with the weekend badge and well he basically told me that If I kept talking I was going to make "the list"?
Wow, that's crazy. I wonder what happens if you get on "the list".

Oklahoma state parks, on the other hand, are quite the bargain. Water/electricity sites are about $18-20 a night with no entrance fee. Last fall, I moto camped at Talimena State Park. Tent sites were only $10 a night. And by simply flashing my drivers license to show my decrepit age, that was discounted to $5/night.
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Old 08-20-2013, 06:11 PM   #18
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Re: MC Camping on the Cheap

BTW - I think Texas does the same thing to bikes. You pay per bike. Within the National Park Service, bikes are given a significant discount. The regular $25/week gate fee drops to, I believe, $10.
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Preach the gospel. And if necessary, use words - Francis of Assisi

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Old 08-20-2013, 06:15 PM   #19
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Re: MC Camping on the Cheap

Pie run camp outs at parks will charge an entrance fee and extra vehicle fee. Even if four motorcycles fit in the space of one regular sized car. The fee is still unavoidable. Seems a tad silly. Camped out south of town in Ouray and it was $32 per night. Nice most enjoyable night of a weeks vacation.
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Old 08-20-2013, 06:27 PM   #20
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Re: MC Camping on the Cheap

Within the National Forest Service system, you can find a number of campsites that are either free, or very cheap. That said, you get what you pay for, and it won't include water. But I've done this multiple times and been quite comfortable.

Example -- When camped at Cloudcroft last year, I used a NF free campground about a mile west of Mayhill. Picnic table, outhouse, but no water. No problem, though. I was carrying a collapsible water 5-gallon water bottle and there were plenty of places willing to let me fill up.

Or this June, there were two different campgrounds just west of Taos for $5 per night ($2.50 with my senior card). Same water solution.

All of these campgrounds were nicely maintained. They just didn't happen to have water.
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