What Makes a great
RAMBLINGS / 04.10.2020 / Mike
First off, each to their own.
Looking back, we never got a bike and managed to keep it stock longer than a couple of weeks. Whether it's a full on rebuild, or just a simple subtle tweak. There are always things that come to mind to make the bike more our own and well, cutomise it. What works for one person doesn't necessarily work for the next.
Camping gear is no different. Some people love the sense of security that a conventional tent gives them, others would happily trade that for the freedom of being immersed in your surroundings.
I even heard of people who prefer to stay in hotels and BnB's – strange I know.
In the end, whether it's your bike or your tent, it's just gear, and gear has a purpose.
For us though, purpose isn't a matter of just being pragmatic. Much like why you spend hours sanding down your tank and giving it a different paint job. It doesn't change the performance of your bike, but that new paint job will make you feel differently when you look at your bike. It might give off a sense of adventure and get you excited and inspire your next trip.
So let's start with a list of things we were after when developing our dream Moto Shelter.
In our opinion the best camp nights are those when you can leave your tent all wrapped up and just sleep under the open sky.
But the weather can be a dick sometimes, and piss all over your camping dreams.
So the goal was to design a shelter that lets you sleep under the sky and with the pull of one string you can flip over a roof to keep the rain and the wind out.
I never understood why you'd travel to the most stunning places and then spend the night locked into a house of plastic. So sleeping open was key for us to have the best camping experience possible.
Moto Hobo is all about being down with Mother Nature. Spending some time together as you escape the world you're so familiar and comfortable with.
Being adaptable is a natural follow on from the previous point of being immersed. In other words, to fully immerse yourself in your environment you have to adapt to it.
And quite frankly, sometimes you find yourself stranded at the side of the road, and pitching a traditional tent just isn't an option.
Then being adaptable isn't a luxury but a necessity.
So when you unwrap your Rolling Palace you'll find a bunch of extra Anchor points. They allow you to pitch this thing in loads of different ways.
Now that's stating the obvious – but we're on a motorbike here, not a truck. I've seen shelters around that weigh up to 10kg and take up more space than a pillion.
Again, each to their own – for our trips though, that would be a NoGo. Your sleeping gear is just part of your kit. You'll also be packing a cooker, food, whisky, beer, slippers – you gotta pack slippers, a spade to burry your shit, a bag for your empties, swimming pants, your camera, some bluetooth speakers, tools, spare parts, jeez... some even carry chair and table. Granted, some things are more curcial than others, but you wanna take some good stuff with you to have a good time.
Never the less, space is limited. And the lighter you can keep your bike, the more fun it is to ride it. When we reached an overall weight of 2kg and pack size of 35 x 15 cm we knew we had a concept that is perfect for motorcycle camping.
We've got enough landfill. And if we don't take care of the environment we soon will be running out of spots worth camping in, let alone ride through. So where we can we try and avoid virgin materials. Like our reclaimed vintage Swiss Army tent poles for example.
Looking at the bag of the tent we chose a tough plain cotton. The pegs are angled steel, so none fo those flimsy wire hooks that bend out of shape after hitting the tiniest of rocks.
The Rope is paracord. Durable yet thin. It even comes in handy when you need to fix something on your bike in a pinch.
The main piece, the flysheet. It is thicker than your average tarp and has an extra layer of PU coating. Giving it 5000 mm of waterproofness. Unlike cotton, this syntectic material doesn't soak up any water and dries quick. Again this was important to us as we usually don't stay at our camp long enough for our gear to dry up. We wanna be able to hit the road again, and not having to pack a tent that is now twice as heavy because of all the water it soaked up over night.
Another benefit of the double layered PU coating is that this flysheet is now way tougher against stretch, tear and UV rays.
Sometimes all the stars align and my wife can carve out some time to come along camping. So now you got 2 people on your bike. Two sets of slippers. More whisky. More food. See how important it is now, having kept the weight and packsize to a minimum?
The Rolling Palace is a bit like a fat burrito and it straps to the forks no problem. It's out of the way and uses its own straps not just to hold the bag tight but also strap it to your bike. Leaving the back of the bike free for the two of us and our luggage.
Most convetional tents are 50 cm and wider due to their sectioned tent poles being this long. Sure you could strap that to your forks, but it'll catch a hell lot more wind and make your ride super wide up front. Those Swiss Army poles came in super handy here.
Anyhow, packing small was taken care of, but now this thing had to do its biggest magic trick and pop open to a full on 2 person shelter. Plus some addional room for your riding and camping gear.
We ended up getting a footprint of a kingsize bed, 150 x 200 cm and 90 cm height to sit upright in. Plus two compartments either side of the pole to put all your shit.