How much weight to carry when you go cycle camping is a tricky question. (You might even find it useful to buy one of those luggage weighing devices.)

Weight isn’t everything though: what counts is the balance between weight and comfort - it’s no good being cold and miserable at night just as much as it is no fun struggling up hills with too much gear.

The main thing is that you can, at the last resort, get off and push your bike up a hill.

But what is true is that there is a very clear relationship between how much you carry and how far you can go in a day - hit that first hill and you will realise that weight is one of the main deciding factors in distance. So, when you are still honing your gear down and getting better at taking less and less, stick to about 35 miles a day at first.

This will allow you to take what you need and experiment. Later on you can increase this mileage substantially with a lighter bike, better and less equipment and greater fitness.

Here’s a rough guide as to how much weight to carry based on your daily mileage (and vice versa of course!):

35 miles a day: this mileage should allow you to carry about 18 - 22 kg. It is about the maximum reasonable weight for cycle camping and will allow you take enough stuff to sleep comfortably, cook a meal in the evening, take a book and a camera and a change of clothes.

55 miles a day: keep your luggage weight down to about 14  - 16 kg. This will require care when packing.  

80 miles a day: if you want to travel very light and fast and camp, you will still need to carry about 10 kg - anything less and you are on the borderline between camping and roughing it. You may have to compromise on comfort and cooking gear.

Over 100 miles a day: you may want someone else to carry your gear!

How much can you carry and how far can you go?

What counts is the balance between weight and comfort...

Most people are amazed that cyclists can take everything they need on their bike to camp out in all weathers and cook a meal too. But that weight still has to be considered carefully.

How much can you carry when you go cycle camping?

Weight and distance are mutually dependent when cycle camping


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