by Eric Vann (Photos: Jeremy Hanks)
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Sought after by adrenaline junkies and outdoor enthusiasts, motorcycles, dirt bikes, and all things two-wheeled (preferably powered) have been used for years for entertainment, for cruising around the US, and even for hunting. A new faction within the lightweight community is brewing - taking this mindset of accessibility one step further - to access the backcountry. They are paving a way for a new sport known as moto-backpacking.
The online forums, especially those that focus on Adventure Rider (ADV) or Enduro type touring/riding are filled with motorcyclists constantly managing the equation of saving weight and space while bringing enough stuff. A few are even managing the backpacking equation as well. Some riders are wondering how their compatriots manage to secure their motorcycling gear from theft as they travel through the backcountry. 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. While the number of those trying moto-backpacking isn't too large there are certainly a number of people looking at their bike and looking at their pack and wondering how effectively they can combine the two.
Many motorcycling campers note how weight isn't a factor; how as long as they have the space it doesn't matter. They contrast themselves with backpackers who have to not only manage the space conundrum but also weight concerns. While their assertion that weight isn't a concern may be correct, for those of us who enjoy a minimalistic approach to our camping experience and do not enjoy wading through a sea of unnecessary items just to make a meal or build a fire know that there is something empowering by limiting the number of things you bring and trying to cut down on the weight. It is a game that we play and moto-backpacking can jumpstart that mindset by forcing you to account for space and weight the moment you step from your front door.
As the lightweight backpacking movement grows so does the number of people who are trying creative ways in which to access the remote areas. A few are using their motorcycle as means to do this. In writing this article, I interviewed Jeremy Hanks, an avid backpacker and co-founder of Doba "a leader in providing product sourcing services for small businesses and entrepreneurs" who also happens to use his motorcycle to gain access to the backcountry. He is a moto-backpacker. Visit his site.
He has used his BMW F800GS to access all kinds of terrain and has traveled to the following locations with his bike (and his backpack):
- Mount Moriah Wilderness, NV
- Timpanogos Wilderness, UT
- Deseret Peak Wilderness, UT
- San Rafael Swell, UT
- High Uintas Wilderness, UT
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