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Maia Jordan
(maia) - MLife

Locale: Rocky Mountains
Moto-Backpacking on 10/08/2013 17:08:45 MDT Print View

Companion forum thread to:


Ken T.
(kthompson) - MLife

Locale: All up in there
Moto-Backpacking on 10/08/2013 18:28:13 MDT Print View

It's fun.

Not a new concept by any means though.

I'm sure some have scanned their old photographs from their motorcycle forays. I always worried about my ride at remote trailheads.

Edited by kthompson on 10/08/2013 18:38:46 MDT.

John S.
(jshann) - F
Re: Moto-Backpacking on 10/08/2013 18:39:29 MDT Print View

"While some stick to leaving their bikes behind and traveling on foot, others travel the single track trails open to motorized travel and camp beside their bike while exploring the beauty of the backcountry."

Sad to see this kind of article on a backpacking website. I'm glad I cannot read it. Motorcycles probably tear up more trails than horses ; ). When is the ATV-backpacking article coming out?

P.S. I wish the backcountry was closed to all motorized vehicles.

Edited by jshann on 10/09/2013 16:57:42 MDT.

Ken T.
(kthompson) - MLife

Locale: All up in there
Re: Moto-Backpacking on 10/08/2013 18:45:39 MDT Print View

+1 w/John.

Even better comment the second time around John.

Though not the content I'm looking for here. It does fit the broad mission statement.

Our Mission
"To promote multi-day, backcountry travel in a self-supported ("backpackable"), lightweight style."

So as long as you stay out of Oregon so you can pump your own gas, you can call it self supported. :)

Edited by kthompson on 10/09/2013 06:16:47 MDT.

USA Duane Hall
(hikerduane) - F

Locale: Extreme northern Sierra Nevada
Moto-Backpacking on 10/08/2013 19:45:35 MDT Print View

Some of our country is set aside for everyone's likes. I hate to see areas tore up where bikes and atv's should stay away from. Snowmobiles are the way to go, they only leave behind a few broken parts now and then.

Ryan Smith
(ViolentGreen) - F

Locale: Southeast
Re: Moto-Backpacking on 10/08/2013 20:17:33 MDT Print View

I love riding my dual sport on FS roads, to & from trailheads, and it also allows me to shuttle myself if I hike solo. (Thanks to a thread by Dan Durston I think). Would love to see some trip reports involving duals.


Edited by ViolentGreen on 10/08/2013 20:19:33 MDT.

USA Duane Hall
(hikerduane) - F

Locale: Extreme northern Sierra Nevada
Moto-Backpacking on 10/08/2013 21:06:38 MDT Print View

I got a lightly used one a year ago, its still too shiny to get much dust on. :) My friend and I did take our bikes on two road trips last Spring towards the CA coast south of Eureka, one a two nighter even for a bar-b-q put on by some bping friends. The only reason I got it was because I thought I would do some camping with it and could save gas over my small pu, going to places a little further away than just up the hill from my place. So far, just a few road trips and grocery trips to town. It's easier on my neck than my crotch rocket, CBR600 was.

Hoot Filsinger
(filsinger) - MLife

Locale: Pacific Northwest
Re: Moto-Backpacking on 10/08/2013 22:52:00 MDT Print View

In fair weather I use my old reliable 1979 Honda 250 XL to reach local trail heads. I am lucky to live close to many FS roads that lead to many fine day hikes. When the weather is cooler I use my pickup. For me at 75 mpg my bike is a fun option but I do worry it will be stolen.

Honda 250

Edited by filsinger on 10/09/2013 17:31:08 MDT.

USA Duane Hall
(hikerduane) - F

Locale: Extreme northern Sierra Nevada
collector item on 10/09/2013 06:55:52 MDT Print View

That's a collector item Hoot. Park it safe.

Mike Bozman
(myarmisonfire) - M

Locale: BC
Why the hate? on 10/09/2013 07:25:26 MDT Print View

I'm not sure why the first few posters have their underwear in a not about motorcycles and the back country. Jeremy Hanks and the author aren't promoting riding a bike on the JMT. Unfortunately the same kind of mentality is aimed at nearly every user group; hikers included.

Rex Sanders
(Rex) - M

Locale: Central California Coast
Motorcycle better than truck/SUV on 10/09/2013 09:57:03 MDT Print View

Getting to the trailhead lighter and more responsibly on a motorcycle seems completely in line with BPL's mission. Much better than a solo backpacker in a Ford Excursion!

I like the idea of starting lightweight from the front door. I've done too much ultra-heavyweight whitewater raft camping. One reason I downsized from a Ford F-250 4x4 to a Toyota Tacoma 4x2 was to make it harder to take more crap. I rarely miss the Ford's ability to get stuck 50 yards further down a bad road.

-- Rex

Eugene Smith
(Eugeneius) - MLife

Locale: Nuevo Mexico
Re: Moto-Backpacking on 10/09/2013 10:17:49 MDT Print View

Some of the posters clearly didn't read the entire article; I'm guessing they saw the word 'Moto' and their heart skipped a beat, causing every matter of selfish dogmatism to surface.

Let the first one who has never flown half way across the country in a jumbo jet just to walk in the woods, cast the first stone. Do you ever gas up your vehicle to haul your wee little SUL pack to the trailhead?

I thought so.

Sam Haraldson
(sharalds) - MLife

Locale: Gallatin Range
Moto-Backpacking on 10/09/2013 10:58:27 MDT Print View

Eugene, I've never driven or flown to a trailhead ever. Ha! Yeah, right! My Landcruiser gets like 11 mpg when it's in 4WD. The use of public transportation, bicycles, or high-mpg vehicles (such as motorcycles) is an awesome and extremely responsible way to access trailheads and every time I've managed some combination of them it's a very rewarding feeling.

It's on the edge of BPLs mission to do an article like this but on the edge is still clearly within and I greatly respect Eric and Jeremy for sharing their insight. Maybe it's because I live in a state with a low population and the trail users groups have really good respect for each other but whether I'm encountering motos at the trailhead or even on trail proper I'm not in the least bit bothered and find that they (just like me) just enjoy being out in the mountains and woods.

Edited by sharalds on 10/09/2013 10:59:34 MDT.

James Rusk
(Eljimador) - M
This is about using a motorcycle as an approach vehicle on 10/09/2013 11:45:23 MDT Print View

Just to expand on what a couple people have already said: I don't read this article as suggesting that people ride motorcycles on backcountry hiking trails. The article seems to be more about riding on things like forest service roads, fire roads, jeep trails, etc., which are used to _access_ the backcountry. These are vehicle routes, where it's common to see trucks and 4x4s used as approach vehicles. For the most part, they are not places you would hike (unless your truck broke down). I don't see it as destructive or inconsiderate to ride a motorcycle on these routes, any more than it is to drive a truck on them. As the owner of an F800GS (same bike as in the article), this type of use is exactly why I bought the bike: so I could enjoy riding, instead of driving, to destinations where I can then hike or climb.

The article also is not about OHV areas where concentrated use by dirt bikes, ATVs, etc. has destroyed the environment and rendered the area incompatible with other uses such as hiking. These tend to be destinations for OHV users, not access routes. (I am not going to argue about whether such areas should even exist.)

There are some undeveloped areas (i.e., no roads) where motorized vehicles are allowed and where people ride motorcycles (and ATVs, 4x4s, etc.) off established routes and pretty much go where they want. Certain high desert areas on BLM lands come to mind. I think this type of use has the potential to be very destructive, and to conflict with other, "lower impact" uses such as backpacking and camping. Thankfully it is either not feasible, or not permitted, to ride a motorcycle into most of the places I enjoy visiting. But in some areas that is not true. Personally, I would not ride into these areas even if I could. I know some people feel differently, and to me that is where the real conflict exists.

Jeremy Hanks
(jeremyhanks) - MLife

Locale: Utah
Access & Mentality on 10/09/2013 12:06:37 MDT Print View

Chiming in, since article is about me.... ;)

I am a strong advocate of responsible access and minimal impact. A HUGE fan of Wilderness Areas, and believe we need many many more of them. I'm riding on established and maintained roads, and there are PLENTY of those. And 99.99% of the time, if you access a trailhead to the backcountry, then you are using some sort of motorized transport. I am just choosing one that for me is more fun, and like others have pointed out, less impactful overall to the environment. I also do all my trips with my kids out of the back of my Xterra, and until recently, that was my M.O.

The article covered it out some, but a little more on my mentality, as I think ADV riding and lightweight backpacking are strong cousins. I push them even closer together, because specific to my motorcycle, you could definitely haul some medium gear. But I purposefully don't have the large side panniers, and my strategy has been to only use one tail bag just to store hiking gear while riding, and riding gear while hiking. When I leave home, if it's in my pack, it's coming with me once I hit the wilderness. If it's not, oh well. It maybe seems trivial, but it's been a pretty different approach to having to dial my gear and equipment in so that when I leave my house, I'm set. It's almost like it extends the self sufficiency need of backcountry travel back upstream into my travel to it. Makes is different; fun.

Anyway, just a man and his "horse" and my two feet. Thx for letting Eric share some of the thoughts/ideas!

Ken T.
(kthompson) - MLife

Locale: All up in there
Re: Why the hate? on 10/09/2013 13:08:04 MDT Print View

I see no hate. Why so touchy? A couple comments that the content is questionably suited for a backpacking website. And that the idea of motorcycle camping being promoted as new. What about it being called a sport? Is there a competition?


USA Duane Hall
(hikerduane) - F

Locale: Extreme northern Sierra Nevada
Hike from my door on 10/09/2013 14:00:25 MDT Print View

In the winter when snow is on the ground, I can just leave from my yard, FS lands 5 minutes away to go snow camping. Also, quiet spots for a short drive on FS roads to either bp or car camp, enabling me to use my old stoves. Did you know I collect stoves? :) Thank you Ken for your old 8R, runs pretty good. A motorcycle is just another way to get somewhere.

Peter Treiber
(peterbt) - M

Locale: A^2
Bikepackin'! on 10/09/2013 15:06:51 MDT Print View


Chris Julien
Re: Re: Moto-Backpacking on 10/10/2013 00:29:08 MDT Print View

If you COULD read the article you would see that this is not what the article is about at all. It discusses the riding to the trail head on a bike - packing for both adventures. I've been doing this for years - my favorite activities combined. NOT riding ON the backpacking trails...

Ken T.
(kthompson) - MLife

Locale: All up in there
Re: Moto-Backpacking on 10/10/2013 06:38:04 MDT Print View

People get it. It's just another polarizing subject. Here in Ca. I think the biggest risk is coming back to where your bike was parked and finding much less. After a long, hot or cold and miserable hike, Heat, a/c, plushy seats and a cooler and fresh clothes are easier left in a car. Motorcycle are also only really good for solo transportation. So if you go usually in a group, well, it's not a rally is it?
Back when I lived in SoCal I had an International Scout 4x4. Would go out into the desert until I could go no further then we hike.
Same flavor as the author. It's fun. Like packrafting though the areas appropriate are limited and seasonal. I'm not surprised that this works well up in the desolate western states. There are more vehicles registered in San Diego county than there are in all of Utah. I live in a rural area. Still back and beyond there is another car parked.

Unfortunately this publications editor does not take suggestions well. The only recourse customers have in trying to tell the editor what kind of material we expect and want to pay for is with comments following the article.

Words to the author and Jeremy. Don't take it personally. If you do get something else published here. Just remember that many who can't read the article can and will comment, Especially to the comments made. These may or may not have anything to do with what you wrote. Such is the drifty nature here.

Cars can get the same mileage or better than a fully laden motorcycle at times. I've taken my motorcycle to the trailheads before. Cars are easier to deal with. Any road open to vehicular traffic, can be driven. I've had my Civic on 4wd only roads with no ill effect.


Mike it's spelled knot. Though I like "knickers in a twist" better.

Edited by kthompson on 10/11/2013 21:44:48 MDT.