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Considering bike camping but still trying to figure out where to begin?
Being uncertain about what to bring makes sense — bike camping means limited supplies you can carry and less access to amenities for all you car campers.
Whether you’re an experienced or beginner cyclist, bike camping provides a unique adventure to traditional camping that will refresh and energise you.
From must-have gear and supplies to tips on making your journey successful, this guide will provide the information you need before embarking on a bike camping trip. So, hop on your saddle and start pedalling. We have a lot of ground to cover.
What Is Bike Camping?
Bike camping is a combination of cycling and camping. Bike camping trips usually involve pedalling to a designated location, pitching your tent, and camping outside at night.
Unlike traditional backpacking, bike camping allows you to cover greater distances quickly while still soaking up the outdoors. Bike camping is easier on your feet, but your legs and heart may need to work harder as you pedal through uphill areas and rough terrain.
But, having a means of getting around beyond walking enables you to see more and go deeper so you can experience a truly off-the-grid adventure.
Why Go Bike Camping?
If you enjoy camping or biking individually, there’s a good chance you’ll love combining them for a fresh experience outside. There are many benefits of bike camping, including:
- Increased mobility: With your bike, you can cover more ground than if you walked (or even drove, since cars are limited to roads while bikes can take trails or even explore off-trail.)
- Flexibility: You can adjust your route as you go, making it easier to explore off-the-beaten-path and more remote camping locations.
- Physical activity: Bike camping is a great way to stay fit and increase your heart rate for good cardiovascular health.
- Low impact: Biking has less environmental impact than other modes of transportation, so you can do your part in protecting the environment.
Essential Gear to Bring Bike Camping
There are a few essentials you should always bring with you for any bike camping adventure.
At a minimum, bring all your camping basics, adequate clothing for the climate, and essential tech to keep you powered, even off-grid.
- Tent: If you need to familiarise yourself with setting up a tent, practice in your backyard before heading out. Bring one big enough to fit you and your sleeping bag and not much bigger so you can conserve precious cargo space on your bike.
- Sleeping Bag: Bring one appropriate for the climate you’ll be camping in. A lightweight one works well for summer bicycle camping trips, while a down sleeping bag will keep you warm on cold winter nights.
- Sleeping Pad or Air Mattress: This will provide cushion and insulation from the ground. Place this underneath your sleeping bag.
- Camping Stove: Bring a small camping stove if you plan to cook your meals while camping and have the space to pack one. Otherwise, bring the below cookware and prepare to cook over a fire you build.
- Utensils and Cookware: Bring the essentials for cooking, such as a pot or pan, plate, bowl, spoon, fork, and knife.
- Water Carrier: Bring enough water with you for your entire trip. You don’t want to be off the grid without water to stay hydrated,
- Food: Plan your meals ahead of time and bring enough food to last you.
- Flashlight: You’ll need portable light at night, so remember a headlamp or flashlight.
- First Aid Kit – Bring a basic first aid kit that includes items such as bandages, gauze, tweezers, and ointment.
- Sun Protection: Always pack sunscreen and sunglasses to protect your skin and eyes from the sun’s rays.
- Bike Repair Kit: No matter how well you maintain your bike, it’s always good to have a basic repair kit on hand, just in case.
- Bike Lock: A bike lock is crucial for a bicycle camping trip so you can secure your bike if you decide to leave your campsite for a bit or explore deeper on foot. Pick a sturdy lock that won’t easily break.
- Rain Gear: Bring a raincoat or poncho to stay dry in wet conditions.
- Layers: No matter the weather, layers are always a good idea, as you can adjust your clothes as needed. Even warm temperatures may get cooler if you cycle up in elevation, so you’ll want to keep extra layers handy.
- Socks: Bring warm socks to wear with your biking shoes and at night.
- Biking Shoes: Pack the right shoes for biking — if you’re using cycling shoes, bring another pair of regular sneakers or hiking boots you can use off the bike.
- Hat: Bike camping trips can get sunny, so in addition to sunglasses, consider bringing a hat for extra protection and shade.
- GPS Device: A GPS device will help you stay on track in the wilderness.
- Phone Charger: Bring extra charging cables in case of emergencies.
- Portable Power Station: Bring power with you thanks to EcoFlow’s smallest and most lightweight portable power station, the RIVER 2. It’s compact, ideal for backpacking or hiking, and powering your essential devices (phone, GPS, rechargeable flashlight) for a short trip.
- Small Tent Fan: If it will be hot where you’re going, invest in a small tent fan to help keep you cool.
How To Carry Camping Gear on Your Bike
The key to biking with camping gear is in the packing. You must pack efficiently to carry all your items while maintaining balance and proper weight distribution. Here are some tips for packing your bike for camping:
Spread the Weight Evenly
Place heavy items on either side of your bike to create a balanced load. Use a basket in the front or back (or both) to distribute weight evenly. A bike weighing more heavily in the back will be challenging to take uphill, whereas one with more weight in the front can make it harder to control your speed going downhill.
Use racks and panniers to keep your cargo secure or bungee cords or straps to attach items directly to your frame. Some biking storage containers may also include lockable or closable lids.
Make Sure Everything’s Secure
Before leaving home, ensure everything is properly attached and secured so nothing falls off while pedalling. Give your bike a test ride before hitting the trails.
Frequently Asked Questions
What to Do With My Bike When Camping?
Ensure your bike is always locked. Use a sturdy bike lock when leaving your campsite or parking your bike. You can lock it to a tree or another permanent fixture, such as a gate. Some trails even have bike racks to lock your bike up when it’s not in use.
Bike camping is a great way to explore the outdoors and get away from it all. You’ll enjoy your bike camping experience in comfort and safety with proper preparation.
Plan for the weather conditions and pack accordingly for an enjoyable experience. Remember essentials such as camping basics, adequate clothing, and essential tech like the EcoFlow RIVER 2 portable power station to keep you charged while on the go. After you’ve prepared everything, the most important part is to have fun.