Going on long bike trips can be a very adventurous experience for anyone. However, it also gets pretty pricey if no one knows exactly how much money they should spend on hotels and eating out at restaurants. This type of riding and stopping is not for everyone, which is why bike packing is now so popular.
A good trade-off to make it both enjoyable and affordable is to spend nights camping. It might be a little tough for people to get used to it first, but it is very beneficial for those wanting to save money and still explore as much as possible.
There are some essentials for cycling and camping that every rider should invest in. When bike packing, the essentials should be at the top of any person’s list. After that, some optional solutions will make life easier for a lot of people out there.
Ultra-Light Camping Tent
Everything starts with a quality camping tent that will be relied on each and every night. It makes sense to invest in a quality tent (Amazon) for this reason. It needs to be able to hold up against many different types of weather, and many different areas of the world as well.
Durability and the quality of build should be the highest priority. Look for options that say that they are built for different types of weather conditions, and have high-quality materials so that they are not going to break.
Not only will the tent be used a lot, but it will be broken down on a pretty consistent basis. All of that putting up and breaking down can wear out a tent that is not made of quality parts.
It is also important to have an option that is pretty lightweight and folds up as small as possible in a pack. Since this is one of the biggest items a person is carrying with them when backpacking, they want to make sure that everything is as easy to move around with as possible.
Tents that are very versatile such as freestanding or half freestanding are generally considered the best options for backpacking as well.
This way, a person does not have to find a spot that a stake can be planted in. It can be very annoying to find a camping spot that has the type of ground needed for pitching a tent every single time.
Something that is freestanding will just increase the opportunities of getting a safe place to stay.
Lightweight Sleeping Mats
The tent becomes a rider’s house, while the mats become the bed. Having a quality sleeping mat (Amazon) can really help out in getting quality sleep so that a lot of mileage can be accomplished the very next day.
Most cyclists are going to opt for self-inflatable mats that break down pretty easily and are small when not in use. They do not weigh much at all, and there are quite a few brands that offer options in the industry.
The one drawback that keeps some from using inflatable mats is that they can be punctured a little bit easier and then be tough to use at all.
A more rigid camping mat is bulkier, but it can generally be a little bit comfier and not hard for people to keep safe when not in use.
But the tradeoff is that the bulkier mats will be heavier and in the way so they are not recommended for bikepacking.
Lightweight Sleeping Bags
Some people like to combine sleeping mats and sleeping bags, and there are certainly options that provide both.
However, some people are going to realize that an Ultra Light Sleeping Bag (Amazon) is only really necessary in certain temperatures. If it is going to be a pretty warm adventure overall, skipping out on a sleeping bag might save some weight overall.
A sleeping bag will fold up pretty easily, and it is going to provide quite a bit of warmth overall. Campers also feel pretty safe and secure when they are in a sleeping bag, which is always a nice benefit overall.
Having a versatile sleeping bag in less than ideal weather can really save a person from having to spend more money to stay in warm areas along the way.
Generally speaking, the higher quality and warmer the sleeping bag is, the more expensive it ends up being.
Since it is such a crucial part of the recovery process, many are just fine spending a little bit of extra money in hopes of getting the right type of setup overall. Skimping out on sleeping equipment usually comes back to bite a lot of riders in the end.
Sleeping sheets (Amazon) are versatile enough that they can be used for other problems that might pop up as well. It is just very difficult to ride anywhere and feel uncomfortable because of a lack of warmth.
Sheets could theoretically be worn during the day if a person really needs to, and they are big enough that they can cover multiple people as well if not everyone has enough layers.
There is always a need for sheets that have various uses while on a long bike packing tour. Even if they are used as a dry piece of land to sit on, they are usually sufficient in a crunch.
High-Quality Helmet Headlamp
Lights for the bike are always important, but beyond that is some type of flashlight or headlamp (Amazon) that can go on the helmet.
This is to help see in the dark and make progress in less than stellar conditions. There are going to be times when people need to ride in complete darkness, and this allows it a little bit better.
No one should make a habit of riding in the dark all the time, but it will really come in handy to see around and not be fearful that something bad will happen.
People can also use that same flashlight for other purposes beyond riding. Something that detaches from the helmet might be the best way to go.
Cyclists can go one of two ways with a knife that they bring with them on any ride. For starters, a simple lightweight carbon handle folding knife (Amazon) can get so many different things done without taking up much space at all.
Others will opt for a classic Swiss knife that has a few different options built-in. Anything works, but having that amount of sharpness can be crucial for those trying to survive on their own.
Repairs might become easier, cooking needs a sharp edge at times, and so much more. Some people believe that just by having a knife with them, they feel very safe when they are riding in more remote areas.
A knife can certainly be used as a weapon if necessary, and there is no telling what can be encountered once going on bikepacking trips.
General lightweight cooking supplies (Amazon) will not only save money but allow people to be pretty creative in how they get the food they need. Camping out requires some basic essentials that can cook a lot more items than some people realize.
Having at least a cooking stove and a cooking pan will make a pretty big difference overall. There are actually some do-it-yourself cooking stove options out there for people who want to save a lot of money.
Those who want the more traditional type of setup can make a small purchase and carry it along with them.
Putting a cooking pan inside a cooking stove is pretty easy to do on the go. Make sure to remember a windscreen of some sort so that cooking outdoors is not just a frustrating issue overall. Too often, people do not think about the wind and the impact it has on cooking in general.
Less is more with kitchen tools, but most are going to have at least a few utensils to count on. One way to cut down a bit is to use something like a spork instead of individual forks, spoons, and knives.
It might not seem like much, but when hauling around a lot of tools, cutting back just a little bit matters.
Finding a ready supply of water when on a longer ride is not exactly difficult. The more difficult thing is finding water that is actually consumable on a regular basis.
People who want to make sure that they have everything covered should bring a water filter (Amazon) with them so they stay as safe as possible.
This is mostly reserved for people who are going on rides that are pretty remote overall. Some of the water found out there can be pretty tough to deal with, and the only way to get around it is to have a water filter that is easily packable.
Use that water with a foldable sink or a bowl as well, and everything will fall into place.
Spare Parts And Bike Repair Tools
Accidents or breakdowns with the bike can happen at any point. There are a lot of people out there who believe that they need to be pretty self-sufficient when it comes to any breakdowns that might occur.
This means knowing some basic knowledge on making fixes and having the right tools (Amazon) along the way.
Basics that should be covered by any rider include fixing a flat tire, a broken spoke, or general gear regulation.
For more advanced work that can still be done by an individual, look at wheels turning, brake fixing, pad replacing, and the tightening of bolts. The more all of this is checked on and repaired when necessary, the better.
Anything more than that it is probably going to need a mechanic to look at and get it fixed as quickly as possible. The hard part is finding somebody to help with the repair, since a lot of bike expeditions can be pretty remote.
Individuals need to get creative in how they get a fix done, and that could mean getting help driving into a city.
It is definitely a setback whenever something happens to the bike, but during longer rides, it is inevitable that some small fixes are needed. Work this in as part of a rest day, and the minor setback will not be that big of a deal.
Some riders love the primitive feel of going on a long ride without relying on technology. At the same time, it just makes sense from a storage standpoint to rely on electronics for some basic information.
Starting with a smartphone, these are essentially cheat codes for those who can remember the tougher times when riding.
A smartphone is a lifeline, a navigation guide, and so much more. Other electronics that riders should consider as something that comes along for the ride include cameras and individual GPS devices (Amazon).
The camera allows riders to document the entire experience, while individual GPSs are sometimes better to mount and utilize during a ride.
Having these devices available is one thing, but they do need to be charged up from time to time. Make sure that nothing ever loses power by traveling with packs for batteries, cords for charging, and so much more.
Cyclists must not only bring the right amount of clothing but proper clothing for temperatures. It makes a huge difference overall. A lot of it depends on not only when a person rides during the year, but where they are located as well.
The biggest threshold as far as temperature is concerned is freezing. Generally speaking, as long as the temperature stays above freezing, people can get by with a minimal amount of clothing.
Remember that when cycling, people are going to stay pretty warm in general, so even if it is a little bit chilly, they can get away with not wearing a ton.
It does not always have to be bike shirts and bike clothes in general to keep warm during a long ride.
Some will just wear regular sports gear that is often cheaper. There will be opportunities to clean clothes as well, so having a couple of changes will be sufficient enough.
It is almost always going to rain at some point during bike camping, so make sure to be prepared for that.
This is a good time to mention that there can be rain protection for the entire amount of supplies as well, so feel free to invest in some full coverage that goes beyond just the body.
Why So Much Gear Is Needed
No cyclist likes to carry unnecessary gear, but sometimes it is just part of the steps along the way. Everyone wants to be as protected as possible, and that means bringing a few essentials so that the riding experience goes better than ever.
When everything is packed together, it actually is much easier to travel than a lot of people realize. This is good news for many overall, as they do not feel like they are burdened by any means.
There are obviously many other items a person can bring, but that comes down to personal preference more than anything.
The more riders there are to a group, the more likely that some people will divvy up what is being carried by certain individuals as well.
With more people along for the ride, the packs can actually shrink a bit since people can share some of the supplies. All in all, it takes time to plan out a pack for going on longer rides like this, but it is certainly worth it in the end.