Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Sleeping Somewhere

When motorcycle touring, there is often a choice between motels and camping. I was asked asked the question "Why would anyone ever camp?".

Here are some reasons why you might want to camp.  If you are at a rally where other people are also camping - you can sit around the fire, then go straight to bed without worrying about drinking and driving.  Second reason, obviously the price.  Usually the difference in price range is about $25  camping to $100 motel room - about four times as much I would guess.  I have never had a campsite that smelled bad, but lots of motel room smells that could knock you out.  Sometimes all the motel rooms are fully booked, but there is usually space for one more tent in an overflow area.  When camping you rarely worry about bedbugs.  I always feel that the motorcycle is safe when I'm camping, although I might be in danger of being eaten by a Grizzly.

Motels are better if its raining, or real cold, or lots of blackflies and mosquitoes outside.  By sticking only to motels, you can travel light.  If you like to be in towns or cities, you need a motel because you will not find many campgrounds unless you are in tent city for political reasons.  I am usually nervous about motel security, unless the motel has a central courtyard for parking, and I can park in front of my door.

I love to camp on a beach, although the opportunities are rare on most trips. Grand Isle State Park, Louisiana; and El Requeson beach, Baja Mexico.

What we are planning this summer is a flexible arrangement, some camping and some motelling - because we need to deal with some days where camping is not possible, and some days where motelling may not be possible either.

We bought a good tent years ago, also one good sleeping bag. I have foam mattresses and a Thermarest (self inflating sleeping pad)  but today I got a new self inflating mattress from Canadian Tire that is wider, and thicker than the Thermarest. It's called the Broadstone Self-Inflating Sleeping Pad, 25 x 76-in., and 3" thick, for only $64.99.  I am hoping it is more comfortable than our old Thermarest.  Compared to my 2" foam pad, it's about 20% smaller when rolled up, and more resistant to water.  According to my research, many of these Broadstone pads leak where the valve is glued into the mattress.  When I got mine home, I checked and sure enough there is a slow leak right at that junction. Although any leak in a tire is unacceptable to me, this is just a sleeping pad, so I'm going to try it out anyway.  Besides, I have a one year guarantee of replacement at any Canadian Tire Store, so I'll take along the receipt on the trip in case it doesn't work out.

Next I wanted a rectangular sleeping bag that is warm down to 0c and 30" wide by 80" long, and also packs down to a small size.  This is hard to find in Kitchener, so we may need to make a trip to Mountain Equipment Coop in London next week.

Picture: In case you were wondering, that is not snow on the ground.  It is my motorcycle, against a background I grabbed off the Internet.


  1. Back in my youth hosteling days (around the time the dinosaurs were going extinct) we were required to use 'sleep sacks.' I'm not sure whether this remains a requirement, but it was a good idea, even before the current plague of bed bugs.

    The 'sack' was basically a folded-over sheet, sewn across the bottom and sides, which substituted for bed linen. Much more hygienic than sleeping bags (which might have been who-knows-where ;-)

    And much easier to launder than sleeping bags - just toss 'em in the laundromat washer with your grotty underwear.

  2. Although I prefer camping and motelling, Mary Ann likes hostels, and asks me why I don't try least once. I also avoid B&B's but at least I have tried those.