Originally Posted by motocopter
My gear collection is starting from scratch. I'm pretty sure there are must-have items at the top of the list. As those become acquired, I'll keep trial fitting into the bags and box.
Acquiring camping gear is a classic catch 22. Once you get out and camp a few times off the bike, you'll pretty much know exactly what you need/want/can get away with. Problem is, you have to have gear to find that out.
My (unsolicited) advise: Get the most awesome sleeping pad or air mattress you can afford. Drop two bills if you have to, but get something you're sure you can live with, sleep on, and pack. A couple brand names come up on this site disproportionally often, so I wont beat that dead horse.
Sure, the tent and sleeping bag matter, but being motorcyclists, we already bring warm gear and rain clothes anyway. If things truly get ugly, anything that keeps us warm and dry at 70 mph should work great in a cold, cheap, leaky tent at 0 mph.