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With the end of summer rapidly approaching, we are trying to pack in as much outdoor time as possible. What better way to experience the outdoors than to combine biking and camping together? If you are planning an end of summer or Labor Day camping trip, go green and try hitting the road on two wheels rather than four! Here are a few tips to help you get ready for your first time camping with your bike!
What bike do I use?
Leave the road bike at home and opt for a hybrid! This will give you the sturdy tires and frame that you need to do some light off-roading, while still letting you have a high number of gears that will make it comfortable to pedal longer distances. A mountain bike will work as well, but note that fewer gears will mean that it may be a slower ride for you between campsites.
What should I pack?
Less is definitely more when it comes to bike camping. A few extra pounds may not seem like an issue when you are planning your trip, but once you have spent a full day tugging that extra weight, you will be looking to shed anything you can get by without. Here are a few suggestions:
For a 7-day trip, pack only 3 days worth of clothes. It is easy to rinse out an outfit and let it dry overnight. Besides, what is camping without a little grit and grim anyways? If you will be doing a longer ride, plan a brief few trips back into civilization to wash important items rather than packing more.
Tents / Sleeping Gear
If you are riding with a group, use a multi-person tent and divide the items of the tent amongst each person so you each have a lighter load. You can still carry your own sleeping bag, but again, try to use the lightest weight option possible. If you are riding solo, use a bivy sack or lightweight, one-person tent as your shelter.
While you want to bring the minimal amount of supplies possible, you also need to ensure you are self-sustained. Make sure you have the equipment necessary to be able to refuel after a long day on the trails. There are many lightweight cooking sets designed for minimalist campers. Grab one of these and a titanium spork (plastic breaks!) to ensure you can enjoy a warm meal at the end of the day. It will do wonders to keep your energy and spirits up so you can enjoy your trip!
Bike Repair Equipment
If you bring anything with you on your bike camping trip, let it be this. Make sure you have an air pump, extra tubes, tire levers and a patch kit. The last thing you want is to be stranded due to a blowout. These kits are small and inexpensive so grab one and make sure you know how to use it. Many local bike shops will be more than happy to show you how to change a tire or check out our favorite how-to resource, YouTube.
How should I carry my stuff?
The best way to haul your gear when bike camping is via a pannier bag or saddle pack. You can also install a rack on the back of your bike that can then hold your backpack, sleeping bag, etc. using tie downs. Do not plan to wear a backpack during your ride. Your back will thank us!
Love unique camping experiences? Check out our post on camping at the Sasquatch Music Festival!