Cycling enthusiasts constantly look for other opportunities to exercise and enjoy new experiences. Recently there has been a clear indication that urban cyclists have taken the country by surprise, in such way that more and more cyclists have combined their love for mountain and city riding with short camping trips.
California, Oregon and Washington are flooded with great camping sites that embrace this amazing trend and provide not only a challenging and unique experience but in most cases, a breathtaking scenery.
It's hard to imagine the amount of gear necessary to enjoy the ride and to set camp, doesn't it? Well, this is where being part of cycling club or having adventurous friends pays off. You can always divide an conquer! Split the necessary gear between multiple bikes and hit the road. All camping gear should be divided by weight and by size and should be designed for such purposes. This last part is very important and brings-up a necessary step prior to the trip: picking up the location.
Defining a location is crucial to define the amount of gear needed. The time of year can dramatically change the amount and type of gear. In California for example, the difference between visiting a canyon during the summer is minimum than during the winter. This is definitely not true in almost every place across the United States with the exception of Arizona.
WHAT GEAR YOU SHOULD TAKE WITH YOU:
The right bike with the right brakes and tires is a must. A camping tent (rated for different weather such a rain and snow) and sleeping bag. Panniers designed to carry most stuff and that can be attached to your bike front, back and sides. Bike lights (detachable ones are preferred to be used as a flashlight), a multi-tool knife, air-pump (take your bike pump but bring all the additional attachments), inflatable pillows, toilet paper, your cell phone, back-up batteries or solar charger, a GPS tracker, matches, sunscreen, bug spray, a shovel, a small skillet, coffee mugs, a metal spatula, instant coffee packets, lots of water, trash bags and ziplock bags, a decent camera, napkins/paper towels, dish soap, a small sponge,a small radio, a first aid kit, baby wipes, deodorant and food. Because most food requires some level of preparation, make sure you have what you need to do so. Snack bars and power bars are a must. Additional tubes, an extra tire and basic bicycle tools should always be with you and because you can't predict bad weather, bring a poncho or water repellent jacket and pants, warm clothing, helmet, gloves and extra pair of shoes and socks. Whatever you do, don't bring a gas powered stove! It's heavy, it's bulky and most likely it won't fit in any pannier or backpack.
WHAT GEAR YOU SHOULD LEAVE AT HOME:
Definitely your computer or laptop, tablet, USB memories and any other small electronics, alkaline batteries, things that can break, a big and bulky camera, a french press or coffee maker, a gas powered stove (like we mentioned before), a guitar or any other incredibly bulky instrument, a telescope, a cooler, a TV (obviously), perfume/cologne (most animals don't like it, not to mention bugs), jewelry and valuables, uncooked meat, folding chairs, bbq grill.
Whatever you decide to take with you, make sure you will use but the most important thing is: Whatever you do, just have fun and enjoy the ride!
*1st. Picture taken from Gran Fondo Cycling Magazine, 2nd Picture taken from lauramiyara.wordpress.com