Bike Camping 101: Getting Started

Thinking about bike camping? If riding through beautiful landscapes during the day and sleeping under the stars at night sounds like your ideal weekend getaway, camping by bike is probably for you.

While similar to bike touring, bike camping is more about the final destination and what you’re going to do once you arrive. Whether you’re an avid mountain biker or you just enjoy the freedom that comes with riding in wide open spaces, bike camping is the perfect outdoor adventure.

Here are some tips and ideas to make your bike camping trip a success.

Bike Camping Gear

Lightweight and compact is the way to go. What do you actually need to be comfortable? If you’re planning a weekend trip, all of your gear should fit in panniers and a bike rack. Longer trips may require a trailer.

What to pack for camping: Lightweight tent, sleeping bag, sleeping mat, clothes for riding, off-bike clothing, towel, toiletries, first aid kit, headlamp, single-burner stove (if you’re planning to cook), bowl/utensils, and food.

What to pack for biking: Map, repair kit, pump, spare tube, patch kit, tire levers, and a bike tool.

Choose Your Destination

First things first, decide where you want to camp. Are you going to take off from your driveway and ride two hours to a nearby campground? Is your final destination half a state away? Driving part of the way isn’t cheating if it’s not feasible for you to ride 100+ miles.

If you want to stay at multiple campgrounds, plan ahead and be sure to make your reservations in advance.

Looking for the perfect campground? Head over to Camp Native and explore thousands of campgrounds nationwide, many of which are located on or near some of America’s best bike trails.

Plan Your Route

When it comes to mapping your route keep in mind that the most direct route isn’t always the best route. Make sure you’re comfortable, safe, and have time to enjoy the beautiful scenery. Google Maps, Bikely, and good old paper maps are all great resources for planning your route. Ideally, you want to find off-road trails or old railroad beds so you can really enjoy the peace and solitude of the great outdoors.

Start Your Adventure
Whether for a night or a week, bike camping is an experience you won’t soon forget. Searching for a new place to explore? Check out these camping adventures.

Tony Cain title: Author