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Hi, is it less expensive to motorcycle camp instead of hotels? Might be a silly question but looking at some of the rates at a KOA has me wondering if it really is cheaper. Live in Ohio so unless it's an epic journey will probably want to camp in the North and South of the Eastern side of the lower 48 states. Is it cheaper?
 

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If you are on your motur-psykle and tent camping, you can find a lot of very inexpensive camping, sometimes FREE! In the US, just find the city you are interested and type in city camping, and often you can find very inexpensive campsites. KOA is a premium type facility, usually WiFi, swimming pools, a camp store and other amenities.
 

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Federal parks are cheapest or free. Most except reservations, but they always leave a couple spots open for first come late arrivals arrivals.

Dispersed camping is almost always free. BLM or national parks typically.

State parks are usually much nicer than Federal, offering more ammenities. Some have an entrance fee, and then camping fee on that. Primitive lots are cheaper than RV lots. You can run into some people who want to run the 3000w air conditioner and generator all night though.

Private bigger commercial campgrounds tend to be the most expensive. And the shittiest for tent camping since they target RVs.

Small town / tiny town muni parks sometimes offer free camping for 24 hrs max. Usually hard to determine without calling or visiting.

Families than run airbnb type campground are middle of the road in price- higher than you expect but lower than koa.
 

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In my experience, camping is cheaper overall, but of course, it depends... I suspect that where you're traveling has a lot to do with it. In the West, there's lots of
BLM and FS land that's free. I've stayed in KOA's, and though they're expensive I've noticed that state and federal campgrounds have become
more expensive as well. The availability of really cheap motels depends on where you are and the general trend seems to be those places are
disappearing as the chains get bigger. And, it depends on what you want. Sometimes I'm happy sleep in the woods, and sometimes I want a shower, or need to
do laundry, or don't feel like setting up the tent in the rain.
 

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Forest Service, state, county and city campgrounds are all nice and cheap. The ones designed for RV's with playgrounds and showers and the rest not so much. If I need a shower, I just stay in a cheap motel instead.
 

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I camp at something like a Red Roof or the local Rose-Budd motel. I'm not a morning person, so figuring out where I'm going to get good coffee and breakfast is all I want to do then.
The Speed Triple might not be the best choice for real camping, but I'm sure that it can be done :) .

If you factor in time, the cost of buying and maintaining good kit, my math says motel is cheaper and easier.
If you are an avid camper, I'm sure that you'll tell me just how I'm wrong
 

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I motel more-and-more. I still carry my camping gear though, just so I have the option. Last time I was out for two weeks I camped exactly once. I should probably not even bring the gear anymore. If I was on a speed triple, I certainly wouldn't :)

Last summer I got a room up in Paradise, MI for $35. And it was a nice one. I'd certainly never camp if there were more of those!
 

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We are avid KOA people but we also travel in a motor home. When I did a cross country trip in my truck with my dogs, I stayed at KOA cabins because hotels are real hard with them. If you’re interested in meeting other people, having a fire in the evening, etc, I’d plan on KOA’s first and then tents or hotels after that.
 

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We are avid KOA people but we also travel in a motor home. When I did a cross country trip in my truck with my dogs, I stayed at KOA cabins because hotels are real hard with them. If you’re interested in meeting other people, having a fire in the evening, etc, I’d plan on KOA’s first and then tents or hotels after that.
When my kids were in high school there were about 6 families with RVs that would spend a lot of summer weekends parking in a KOA or similar and just socialize for the weekend. Every once in a while my wife and I would join them, but we'd just pitch a tent in one of their sites. It was great fun. I do think they were a little envious when we just threw our tent in the trunk and left. Seemed like they had more work and maintenance to do before and after :)

Sorry to be off topic, but I have to agree KOA's do have their place.
 

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I'm a full time RVer and travel a lot! If you are going to camp nightly at a KOA, it will take you a very long time to start saving money over hotels. KOA is a camping destination, not a base camp for the surrounding area. It's very expensive because part of the fee goes to paying for the camp store, the pool, the little game room, the WIFI repeaters, the dog park, the kid's playground equipment, etc. etc. etc. They are set up to maximize profit for the owner, which means the sites are packed in as close to each other as possible. That's great if you and a buddy are taking the families camping for the weekend in your RVs. They are wonderful for that! They aren't so great for saving money while traveling.

If you plan to stay in places like KOAs, you'd be better off just skipping the tent and getting a hotel room. There are $50 a night hotels/motels practically everywhere if you just need a place to shower and sleep. Going with tent camping means you'll need a tent, and sleeping bag, etc. Those costs add up. They also take up room on your bike, which is at a premium already on a Speed Triple.

You certainly can go motorcycle camping if you want, but do it because you want to go camping, not to save money.
 
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If you are brave enough to take the chance you can just pull off the highway into a wood line and pop a tent for the night. Avoid posted property and try to find open national forest land. Truck stops have cheap showers or if you are going to be out for several weeks joining a nationwide gym is an easy way to shower. Anytime fitness has 4000+ locations all across the country and they are open 24 hours a day.
 

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I motorcycle camp a lot also with my friend. We will stay anywhere. Rest stops with trees are great. We use hammocks because theyre immensely more comfortable and keeps you off the ground and also packs SMALL.

This is what a 4 day camp looks like at Lookout Mountain in Chattanooga Tennessee
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And this is what 4 months in Texas and Mexico looks like. This is camping some and staying at my girlfriends apartment in Laredo, TX. This is riding from Alabama to Mexico/Texas and back.
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I ended up riding around 6k miles in the 4 months.

Camping isnt about staying in luxury its about finding the scenic and serene spot. as long as youre not on someones property I have always found it completely fine to camp at. I have even had cops pull up close by and watch my little spot almost all night on their patrol. In the mornings they almost always tell me they were making sure no one messed with my stuff. But thats been at rest stops.

But the real reason I love motorcycle camping is because its cheap and I can go places no one else camps
 

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I love it. I am all meticulous and have lists and "proper" gear. (Now, not when I started.) But other guys just strap a bunch of stuff on and just do it. I admire it.

Here's my favorite trip report. Man loses job, decides to ride across the country, despite "I've never done more than a couple hundred miles at a clip". No fear, no drama, forget that winter's about to set in. No overthinking it, just go. Adventure without all the fanfare. Cool. NY to CA on a Scrambler

I won't share a picture of my first trip on the Bonnie. There was a mountain of stuff strapped to the back. Although to be fair, I was smart enough not to bring a kitchen sink. The bathroom sink I brought was so much smaller ;)
 

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I've never cycle-toured the east coast but I did ride my bicycle down the west coast in May/June of 1994. There was plenty of free camping available in little tiny towns. Many times I would just find a discrete patch of ground and pitch my bivvie sack after supper and then pack up and leave before 7 am and nobody gave a hoot. In the big cities I stayed in youth hostels but with a motorbike, you may need to find parking elsewhere because hostels generally have none.
 

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This is how I pack for three nights of tent camping...BRING IT ALL! Weighs less than my girlfriend, includes 23" high mattress, mosquito gazebo tent for drinking beer in the evenings, and a tent big enough to stand up in so that you can put your pants on in the a.m. like a man!
 
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