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Bike Camping, Bikepacking and Bike Touring

Bike Touring Bike Camping and Bikepacking and the kind of camping gear you need.

The term “bike touring” can be a little daunting I think. Going bike touring implies selling one's assets, quiting one's job and disappearing for a couple of months, or for a couple of years. Thats just not within the reach of most people. Bike touring for a week or two is a more approachable concept but even that is full of complications: where to go, what to take, how to carry everything, what to expect.

Bikepacking is a term which has been coined recently (note the squiggly red underline when I type the word on the computer) Bikepacking is sort of like backpacking (no squiggly red line) only on a bike instead of on foot. So; bike touring on back roads, dirt roads and trails. Bikepacking has it's extreme fringes though too and is in danger of becoming intimidating to the average person who doesn't consider themselves to be a “real cyclist”

Bike camping sounds carefree and fun and easy. It implies being able to walk out the front door, hop on the bike and go spend the night in the woods. Going out on the bike for one night (Sub- 24 Hour Overnight or S24O is a recently coined term for this type pf behavior) also allows the newbie who might be considering a longer bike trip to sort out all the complications of what to take and how to carry it. One dosesn't need to invest in all the racks and panniers and other gear of the diehard enthusiast. Instead a person can just start with the basics and figure out what works and what doesn't without major suffering or consequences.

What to bring bike camping.

When I go bike touring or bike camping I break things down into what I will need for four main activities:

Riding the bike:

-clothes; depends on weather 

-food; should be ready to eat and easy on the stomach

-tools

-water

Sleeping and shelter;

-can be a tent, hammock or just a tarp

-sleeping bag

-toilet kit

Eating:

-stove; totally optional

-food

-knife and utensils

-water

Entertainment:

-book or tablet

-headllamp

-ipod

-camera or phone

Carrying all this doesn't need to be complicated. I have gone on two night trips with people who have a sleeping bag strapped to the top tube where it hangs just fine. Baskets can be used to carry stuffsacks or other bags held in place with shock cords or Surly Junk Straps. A capacious saddlebag can fit a normal overnight kit.