Here are bicycle camping trip tips for beginners.
Rules to find and keep a good camp, what to look out for and what not to do.
Just read and enjoy your prep time!
Table of Contents
- 1 Bicycle camping trip tips for beginners: Introduction
- 2 Bicycle camping trip tips for beginners: Tent or wilderness camping?
- 3 Bicycle camping trip tips for beginners: The rules of a good camp
- 4 Bicycle camping trip tips for beginners: How to find a good camp spot on a bike trip?
- 5 Bicycle camping trip tips for beginners: Conclusion
Bicycle camping trip tips for beginners: Introduction
When planning a long-distance cycling trip, either because it’s cheaper or for the fun of it, you may want to camp too.
A campsite is often a guarantee for some quiet down time and respects better your cycling schedule.
Over the years, I have developed little tricks to help me find the best places.
So how to go about it? What equipment do you need? Is it safe?
Read on for answers to these questions and more.
Tip: While this article focuses mainly on the camping side of things, you’re also advised to get good bicycle equipment such as a quality saddle from this list with best bike seats for heavy people.
Bicycle camping trip tips for beginners: Tent or wilderness camping?
They are similar enough, but to our mind, there is a world of difference.
The bivouac type tent is a temporary camp that is set up at the end of the day.
They’re very popular with bikers as they are easily packed up early the next morning
This is exactly what this article is all about.
According your trail of thought, camping in the wild may be a little different.
Camping seems to feel a little more settled, less temporary.
Bicycle camping trip tips for beginners: The rules of a good camp
Respect the place
Keeping a good camp and respecting the environment is the basis of a good bivouac.
The locals wouldn’t like to see you making a huge mess. And rightly so!
On the other hand, if they see that you’re just minding your own business, settling down for a night and cleaning up after you, they will take you to their heart.
By the way, this also applies to the toilets. A small shovel is not very heavy and allows you to cover your tracks. And we don’t leave the paper lying around.
I would avoid camping with disrespectful people who make nature an abominable public toilet. It’s not on.
Be discreet (depending on the circumstances)
There are many ways of looking at things and it all depends on the individual.
You have to start from the principle of not seen, not taken.
Sort of, if I’m not seen, I’m not there.
So look for a discreet place, far from everyone and try to hide your camp with a tent that is preferably green.
Asserting your presence can be a good idea in certain circumstances so choose wisely.
Bicycle camping trip tips for beginners: How to find a good camp spot on a bike trip?
Don’t worry too much. Experience will always lead you to the right place.
Before you feel confident enough to trust your instincts though, make sure that the place is safe from flashfloods. cars etc.
Some places are so nice that you have to settle down, just because it is the ideal spot.
Talk to locals
Sometimes the best way to find a place to pitch your tent is simply to ask the locals for advice.
They might even invite you to their garden. A small village café is the best option for information.
Very useful for the less shy among you!
Useful apps for finding camp sites
You can look at satellite images on Google Maps to find quiet spots.
Other apps can also help you:
- Maps.me: Combined with satellite images, you can find beautiful spots and even abandoned campsites.
- Wikicamps for the United States, Australia, New Zealand, Great Britain and Canada.
- iOverlander: Useful to list the good spots nearby.
- Welcome To My Garden: Will tell you about people ready to welcome you in their garden for free.
Pay attention to surrounding noise
Nothing worse than having a highway nearby or a dog barking.
Because, while you might think that the traffic will be lighter at night or that the dog will wear out, it’s not going to happen.
Traffic will continue to rumble past and if a dog doesn’t want you there he’s going to let you know. Constantly.
Inspect the soil and its surroundings
It’s important to be wary of the elements.
I would not recommend sleeping too close to a river. You never know, if there is a dam higher up.
And if there’s unexpected bad weather, it can be dangerous.
Always be prepared for bad things to happen so you don’t get caught off guard.
Related: For a realistic list of annoying things to expect, read our other post Disadvantages of traveling by bicycle: Cons of cycling vacations
Many have experienced it and it’s not great to wake up with water in the tent!
Check out the vegetation. Thorny plants grow in some places, and that’s how we end up with a deflated mattress and a hole in the tent.
Find a flat spot
This is often the most problematic part of finding a place to pitch your tent.
It’s quite unpleasant to spend the night sliding around in the tent but unfortunately it can’t always be perfect!
So the flatter the surface, the better the spot.
Bicycle camping trip tips for beginners: Follow your instincts
There are times when your instincts tell you that you shouldn’t stay there, in that place.
If alarm bells are ringing, there is a reason. Listen to your gut instinct
And the more you are used to camping, the more attuned you will become.
In this case, feel free to pass by until the next find.
Find a corner out of sight
When looking for a place, try to take the small parallel roads, small paths, or any track that goes into a wood.
It allows you to get away from the main roads and find more remote places.
Spending an evening alone and with the sounds of the surrounding woods is great.
On the other hand, some campers don’t respect any rules. They go on their bike trip with an attitude, counting on the benevolence of the population.
To each their own, but we believe that you shouldn’t take this for granted.
Bicycle camping trip tips for beginners: Conclusion
We can tell you from experience that it’s not as stressful as it may seem.
Keep an open mind, use your common sense and be sensitive to your surroundings.
Respect the local community, and you’ll get it back tenfold.
While these tips help you plan for your camping adventure in between bike rides, remember you’ll also have to be physically fit to get from one campsite to the next!
No worries though, we’ve got you covered on that front as well, just check out this article: How do I train for a cycling holiday?