The term "Weekend Warrior" refers to the Monday to Friday 9 to 5er hustling in the office during the week and tearing up the roads on Saturdays and Sundays. For the sake of this story, the term "Weekend Warrior" applies to everyone trying to jam in a bit of moto-camping in on their two-day weekend.
When I first started riding, "motorcycle camping" seemed like it was this big production that only really experienced and hard-core riders would do. In reality, it's so much simpler and so much more fun than you'd think, especially when we're talking about a two-day moto-camp like the trip my friends and I recently took. (You can check out great weekend routes here.)
The most important part of having a successful two-day moto-camping experience is the destination and choosing great riding roads to get there. You will want to pick a destination far enough that you will feel like you've actually gone on an adventure, but still close enough that it's manageable to get to within five to eight hours of riding. When I say five to eight hours of riding I mean total travel time, including riding, gassing up, stopping for lunch, etc.
For me, the route is a really important part of the experience and spending a bit of time planning a scenic route always makes the trip better than the standard or automatic Google maps directions. Since we're on motorcycles we want to enjoy some twists and turns with some nice scenery along the way. Highway blasting is sometimes necessary in order to get somewhere in time, but on a fun weekend moto-camp you will have a more memorable experience if you wake up early and ride the fun roads with your friends.
For our trip, we chose a campsite right on the lake at Lake St. Peter Provincial Park - a small and quaint provincial park located a few kilometres South East of Algonquin Park in Ontario. The ride from Toronto (if we avoid major highways and stick to the fun roads) is about five hours. With casual stops and a relaxing lunch, our total travel time is about seven hours. So, if you hit the road at 7 am, then you would arrive by around 2 pm, with plenty of time to set up your tent in sunlight, buy some firewood/supplies at the park gates, and jump in the lake for a swim. There is nothing better than jumping into a refreshing lake on a hot day after a fun few hours of tearing up the twisties.
Once you've settled in, you've got some down time with your buds to chill out, chat, catch up, and enjoy the fresh air. If you didn't pack any drinks or snacks then now is a good time to ride into town and get setup for the evening bonfire and maybe even grab dinner. Lake Saint Peter is roughly a 15-minute ride from a town called Maynooth, ON. Maynooth has a gas station, an LCBO, a general store, a library, a church, a fire-hall, a post office and a hotel. Pretty much everything you need. We grabbed a few cold-pops in town for later at night and headed back to have dinner in Lake St. Peter.
We came across a cozy local restaurant in Lake St. Peter called Porterville Diner. It's simple on the outside, simple and cozy on the inside, and it's owned and operated by a really friendly family man who makes some delicious comfort food with a smile on his face for all of his guests. I highly recommend stopping in if you're camping in the area. We had a couple pizzas, some chicken wings and nachos, and were super pleased with our meal and over all visit. Porterville Diner is open from 7 am to 7 pm Sunday to Thursday and from 7 am to 9pm on Fridays and Saturdays. It's the local snowmobile hotspot in the winter as well, so make sure you stop in when you're sledding.
After dinner, we cruised back to the campsite and set up for our evening bonfire. This is always my favourite part of motorcycle camping. Throwing on a hoodie, getting cozy by the fire, and sharing stories and laughs with the buds. Preparation is key to having a successful bonfire, so make sure you either pack or buy a lighter to light the fire. Grab some newspaper in town and buy some designated fire wood and kindling if you haven't already. Most provincial parks in Ontario sell firewood at the gates, but make sure you get there before they close. Provincial parks also ask that you don't bring your own wood from outside of the park.
A little preparation and having the right things on hand is what will make your next motorcycle camping trip better than the last one. Worrying about packing the right gear was one of the few things that stressed me out and held me back in the past, so let me simplify this unknown for you and help make packing a breeze.
Two-day weekend warrior trips should be packed especially light. Don't be afraid to wear your jeans twice and bring just the essentials so you can pack small. Here is a list of pretty much all you will need for a two-day trip:
- sleeping bag
- sleeping pad if you want extra comfort
- 1 pair of undies for the next day
- 1 pair of socks for the next day
- 1 t-shirt for the next day
- a hoodie to stay warm by the fire or when its cooler on the bike
- rain gear
- swim suit
- a towel (camping towels are even better because they pack up small & dry quickly)
- a motorcycle tool kit (just in case)
- a lighter/matches & a knife
- CAA Roadside Membership Card
The clothing should all fit into a 20- or 30-litre waterproof Kriega Bag that will easily strap to your passenger seat or bike frame. Then, you can strap the tent and the rest of your outdoor stuff onto the bag with a bungee net and some straps, and hit the road.
What I love most about motorcycle camping is how low maintenance it forces me to be and how adventurous it makes me feel. I genuinely love the experience of waking up bright and early in the morning, strapping my bags onto my bike and then hitting the road to meet my friends before the city really wakes up. I love the freedom I feel when I get on the road to complete a trip I chose to do. I love the feeling of calming down and getting into my zone on my bike. Absorbing and adapting to all of my surroundings, the scenery, the road conditions, my bike's quirks, and just making the best of everything.
If this sounds like something you would enjoy, then go moto-camping.
Picking up and heading off to one of Ontario's Provincial Parks surprisingly easy to do. Click here for the Ontario Parks Locator Map and get out there!