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What to take

Cyclecamp resource page 003

At the very least, take a small stove for an early morning cuppa!

What exactly do you need to go cycle camping? It may not be as much as you think to be really dry and comfortable - and it won’t include the kitchen sink!

For going cycle camping in the summer in England, you won’t need North Pole expedition equipment. And if you don’t intend to do a high mileage you won’t need the lightest of lightweight equipment either (which can be expensive in any case). But camping can be cold - it isn’t like being in a warm house at night - so you will need equipment and you will need to carry it on your bike.

It’s not difficult to get cycle camping - what you really need is a bike! And this doesn't have to be expensive either - even a cheap mountain bike will do. But make sure it will take a rear pannier rack - this is the metal frame that fits on the back of the bike and holds your panniers. You can even these days get “bike packing” bags that will attach to your frame with straps so that you don’t even need a rack (though cyclecamp still recommends a rear rack as the best way to carry your stuff).

Then you will need panniers to carry your stuff. These are the bags that hang on either side of the rear rack. Again, bike packing bags will do the trick but whatever you choose, make sure your gear is attached the bike securely. There is more on how to carry stuff here.

You can put panniers on the front forks as well and if you are carrying a lot of gear, this is a better way to carry it than trying to pile it all on the rear rack (you will need a different front rack if you have front suspension).

After that you will need a lightweight tent (preferably one that’s big enough to sit up in), a sleeping bag and a sleeping mat. You will also need some warm clothes such as a fleece jacket for evenings sitting outside, or for cold nights inside your sleeping bag. Take a waterproof jacket for daytime in the rain. More on tents here and sleeping bags here.

Ideally take a small stove and a lightweight pan set. Even if you only make yourself a morning cuppa its good to know it’s there. Your front light from your bike will be your torch. Add a few more bits and pieces and your personal stuff and you are almost there.

The last things to go in will be a small tool set, a spare inner tube, some maps or a GPS, a small first aid kit and some snack food! We’ve made a quick checklist here for you to get an idea but you will soon want to write your own list with exactly what you plan to take!

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