Today’s post comes from Ryan Hawkins, owner of Canuck Powersports.
My wife and I are avid campers and have always loved the outdoors. When we first started staying in provincial parks, we camped in tents in the back of our car. As we grew older, we opted to upgrade to a pop-up caravan and now enjoy all the comfort of “glamping”.
As a motorcycle enthusiast, I began researching how I could combine my love for two wheels with my passion for camping.
Of course, there are restrictions when camping with a motorcycle compared to a trailer, the most obvious being the amount of gear you can carry.
My first motorcycle camping experience occurred in the fall of 2018 at Arrowhead Provincial Park in Huntsville, Ontario.
The colors of the leaves were beginning to change, the days were getting shorter and it was starting to get cooler, especially at night. I packed light for an overnight trip that would prove to be a memorable experience, to say the least.
I arrived in Arrowhead early in the afternoon after riding in the rain for the last hour of my trip.
The friendly park staff greeted me with a smile and looked outside to see that I had arrived by motorcycle on what was described as a “less than ideal” day. They quickly checked me in and showed me where my campsite was located.
Lighting the fire was a priority to warm up and get rid of the cold.
Once the firewood was purchased, a couple of campers offered to carry the firewood to my site to save me carrying it on the back of my bike. You’ve got to love the camaraderie of the camping community, yet another reason why our Ontario parks are a fantastic place to visit.
Arriving at my site, I placed my ticket on the site post and proceeded to light a fire that would hopefully continue to burn despite Mother Nature’s rainy schedule.
With only a medium-sized rear bag, I had enough room for a change of clothes and my Hennessy hammock, my overnight accommodation. Luckily, my sleeping bag was tied to the top of my back bag and managed to stay dry.
He also carried a lighter, a small pocket knife, and a quick meal that he could heat over the fire.
The rain stopped about an hour before sunset, giving me just enough time to set up camp. Two trees that were the perfect distance from the fire pit turned out to be a great spot to set up my hammock.
I used tree straps to minimize environmental impact. In no time, the hammock was up and the rainfly secured. With more inclement weather in the forecast, it seemed appropriate to sit by the fire and enjoy the beauty of my campsite while I could.
Shelter from the storm
When it started to rain, I placed the last pieces of wood on the fire and climbed into the hammock.
Lying in complete silence and watching the glow of the fire burn was a great way to end the day. Around 3:00 am I was woken up by a storm. The light show lasted about an hour. Seeing the silhouettes of the trees illuminated was quite an experience.
The morning came with a spectacular sunrise and a sense of accomplishment after surviving the night despite the weather.
A few vehicles drove by my site that morning with a look of amazement that I was motorcycle camping and made it through the storms. With the sun warm and the sky clear, it was time to stretch our legs with a hike to Stubb’s Falls.
The water flowed fast for the time of year, making for some great photos. Ontario Parks has many points of interest (POIs) to visit. Whether it’s hiking trails, beautiful rock digs, or waterside explorations, there’s plenty to keep anyone entertained for days, if not weeks.
Goodbye for now
Returning to camp, it was time to pack up and take in some of the views of the park before heading out. The beaches were quiet this time of year, but the colors attracted many people to enjoy the fall season.
Other essential elements that make Ontario parks ideal for motorcycle camping are the facilities. Modern comfort stations, covered accommodation if required and a store in the park for anything left behind.
When camping early and late in the season, having the right gear is essential. I brought my winter sleeping bag, a hat and warm underwear. They were easy enough to carry on the motorcycle and without them I could have gotten into trouble.
When I left camp, I can honestly say I had a great time. Motorcycle camping is something I’ve never done before, but I’m glad I experienced it. The whole way home I thought about which park I was going to visit next season. Multi-day trips to various parks?
I think I found a reason to pack up the bike.