Motorcycle camping. I love it but the older I get, the more difficult it is to be comfortable in a tent in which I cannot stand upright. So when I began planning for a 5-week exploration of Eastern Montana last year, I also began looking for a tent that I didn’t have to crawl into, that could house all my gear AND my motorcycle, but wasn’t monstrous. I didn’t know if such a tent existed, but when I Googled “tent with motorcycle garage,” I found the Lone Rider and it looked perfect.

After a cozy night at the Silos Campground on the Missouri River.

 

Enjoying the surreal beauty at the Medicine Rock State Park in southeast Montana.
Camping in lava rock at the Craters of the Moon State Park in Idaho.

This is a tent for living in and if the photos of it interest you I encourage a lengthy visit to the Lone Rider website, where there are videos, testimonials from riders who actually have lived in it for months, and a whole lot of information about the tent itself. It’s built for that kind of longevity and I can testify to its sturdiness. Not only has it withstood a night of 50 mph wind gusts, but I once dropped my bike into its side after hooking a tent pole with a pannier as I rode into the garage. The only damage done was three or four small cuts in the tent fabric in a place where a few leaks don’t matter. The pole that took the weight of my bike survived in great shape! My ego, not so much. 

I am 5’7″, and am able to stand in the garage part without slouching. In the sleeping compartment I can do so when near the garage, but not the other end. The sleeping compartment has plenty of room for me, my riding gear, and the duffel I carry my bedding and clothing in, but I found it more comfortable when I stashed the panniers in the garage. The garage proved more useful as additional living space than a place to house my bike because very few of the tent pads in the campgrounds I stayed at were positioned so that I could ride in one door of the garage and out the other. I suppose I could have ridden the bike in and rolled it out backwards, but it was just easier to leave it outside and use the garage for cooking, doing laundry, or just loafing…especially when it rained.

While I do love this tent when I’m staying put for several nights, I must say it’s not quite perfect when I have to pitch it and take it down every day. On the website, a lot is made of how fast and easy this tent is to put up…and I suppose it would be if you were pitching it on soft soil, when there was no wind. That was never the case in Montana. I once got it up in 20 minutes, but to achieve that, I had to learn how to keep it from flying away the minute the first pole was arched in place. And the guy in the demo video didn’t have to drive 17 stakes into Montana’s rocky soil and fasten 6 guylines to keep the tent grounded. So while this is still my tent of choice when I plan to stay put for a spell, I carry one with only two poles and 8 stakes when I know I’ll be in a new place each night.

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