Mountain biking is a thrilling adventure in and of itself, but don’t you ever feel like one day on the trail just doesn’t allow you to go far enough? Multi-day trips are an adventure some only dream of, but it’s not totally out of your grasp. If you’re already prepared for long mountain biking trips, there’s no reason not to try a multi-day adventure that includes some overnight camping on the trails.
However, even if you have some camping experience, combining the two activities comes with its own set of challenges and steps to consider to prepare the perfect trip. Here are some quick tips on camping while mountain biking to take your first multi-day mountain biking adventure. You don’t want to do a trip like this under-equipped - be sure to do lots of research before you start on your adventure.
Pick a home base
The best way to go on a mountain biking adventure is to drive to a suitable home base where there are lots of trails nearby to explore, set up camp and then begin exploring the region. Look around for good mountain biking trails and campsites that are located nearby. Some campsites can come with fees and costs, and some are going to be more highly populated than others. What kind of experience you want to have should factor into what site you pick. Look up reviews online for various camping grounds - how many people are there? How populated are they? What kind of resources are available, and how accessible are they?
If you’re looking to be mostly self-sustaining, you may not need a campground with a lot of features and may prefer one that’s generally less populated. If you’re interested in meeting new people or in easier, safer grounds, you might stick to the well-worn trails instead.
Invest in good gear
If you’re going on a multi-day camping trip, you need good equipment. First of all, your bike equipment needs to be reliable, not flimsy, because you’re going to be on a trip for several days without a quick trip back home. Make sure your bike pump is reliable, and don’t forget to bring any necessary wrenches for quick screw tightenings.
But along with reliable bicycle equipment, you also need reliable camping equipment. You’re going to need a water filter, tools for cooking and eating, ways to store your food securely so it doesn’t attract predators, and a safe place to sleep at night. A camper is a great solution for people going on regular trips, but you can use a good tent if you’re interested in a classic camping experience. The upside of a camper is it can serve as your transportation during camping, source of energy for cooking, shelter and home base all at once.
Do some prep beforehand
Taking a few hours to prepare meals and equipment before your journey can make the trip much easier. Cooking is a challenge on the road, and while camping it can be downright impossible. You can save yourself a lot of effort by doing a lot of difficult prep work ahead of time and then carefully packaging your prepped food for easy cooking and consumption instead. If you cook and slice meat, grains and vegetables beforehand, all you have to do the day of your meal is heat it up, portion it out and serve it.
Along with prepping meals, you should also prepare essentials like a first-aid kit and emergency backup packs. Make sure your first-aid kit is well-packed will useful tools and medications - and make sure none of the medication is expired or off in any way. Keep a container with extra batteries, flares, lighters and other emergency equipment you don’t want to run out of.
A mountain biking and camping trip involves preparation and planning. Your best journey won’t be done by dropping everything and running into the woods with your bike and a backpack. Doing research, checking out the sites, preparing your meals and planning for all scenarios is the best way to get the most out of your camping experience.