7 Essential Tips for Bicycle Camping

Advice on preparing for your first bike camping trip

Bicycle camping is becoming more and more popular around the world. It’s affordable, versatile and a fun and simple way to see the world. Whether you are hitting the road for a long distance bicycle tour, or simply going a few miles to a local campground, riding your bike to get there is a rewarding experience everyone should try.

Generally, there are certain things to keep in mind when going camping. Make sure that you’ve packed all your essentials. But with bike camping, it becomes a bit more complicated. Unlike car camping, you do not have a large trunk space to store your extra goods. Bike camping becomes more similar to backpacking where lightweight options are key to a successful (and comfortable) trip. Here we’ve compiled a list of essential tips for your first bike camping trip.

  1. Bring your bike to the mechanic
    Like making sure your hiking boots fit, your bike should be in tip top condition. Take it for a tune-up or do it yourself. Make sure to check your tire pressure and brakes.

  1. Get some storage
    Whether you have an attachable trunk to trail from behind your bike, or an array of panniers, determine how you are going to store all of your essentials. Panniers come in different sizes and are positionable on front and back racks.

  1. Organize your camping gear
    Lightweight is the best option for bike camping. We’ve previously published The Car Camping Checklist, which includes all of your essentials for a weekend camping getaway. When bike camping, getting down to the necessary essentials and what you can carry on your bike is important.
    - A lightweight tent that folds up for easy bike rack storage
    - A lightweight sleeping bag, and sleeping mat if necessary.
    - First aid and toiletry products (packed in a pannier)
    - Clothing layers (be prepared for cooler temperatures at night)
    - Cooking supplies (a lightweight plate set, or foldable cooking supplies)
    - Water bottle
    - Swiss Army Knife
    - Bungee cords (to attach gear to bike rack)

  • Organize your bike gear
    If you are heading out on a longer tour check out our packing guide for bike touring. Otherwise remember to always have these essentials.
    - Patch kit
    - Small bike pump
    - Multi-tool
    - Bike lock
    - Bike lights

  • Know your site
    The best sites for bicycle camping have running water, outdoor grills and a nice camp shop set up in case you need to buy food essentials. Obviously eating is essential, so pack food if there will not be a shop, or ways to find your own food on site.

  1. Plan your route
    Whether you have a phone, GPS or map, make sure you know your route before you hit the road. Check in on the weather conditions and any wildlife warnings.

  1. Be safe.
    Try out your bike packed up with its essentials. Know that you are going to ride a distance, so be prepared if the pack is heavy. Wear a backpack if you need extra storage, but make sure you can ride with ease.