How to pack for a bike camping trip

Next week Thursday my Mom and I are leaving on a week long bike trip. Corona is still limiting the travel options and I wanted a budget friendly holiday, so we’re keeping it simple: we leave from home on the bikes, with just some clothes, a bar of soap and camping stuff, take three days to get to my grandmother’s place by the coast and then another three to get back.

Should be about 400 km in total and elevation, as far as I know, is never higher than about 100 m. We tried out a few different options to get from A to B and then back to A and decided to follow the waterways:

  • in red the route along the Scheldt river – looking forward to seeing the progress of the Sigma plan
  • in yellow, first along the Leie, then the canal to Roeselare and an old rail road to Ypres
  • in purple we first follow the canal Ypres-IJzer and then the Lo canal
  • in orange obviously the coast line
  • in blue en green finally we cycle along the Westerschelde, the wide delta of the Scheldt river to the North Sea

I don’t know about you, but for me it’s been decades since I last slept in a tent and honestly I had forgotten how much stuff you need. And before you say it’s a bit early to worry about packing, I must tell you I have a really busy work week ahead and will not have a lot of time to get organized before actually setting off!

Fortunately my Mom is used to trekking by bike – she cycled 1200 km to Berlin in the summer – so I’m leaving most of the tent and cooking logistics up to her and only have to worry about sleeping bags and stuff.

I still have my Dad’s bike from the trip to Pelt, I also borrowed his sleeping bag, Helinox camping chair and ultra light towel. Then I have my Mom’s back-up mat and linen sleeve. Honestly, when I go trekking by bike without all this stuff, I’m quite packed already, so I will have to drop some of my usual accessories in order to fit everything.

I refuse to leave behind my camera gear or laptop (these of course come with their own essentials that cannot be missed), so it’ll have to be less clothes. On the other hand, we’re travelling in October, with chances or rain and temperatures varying between 5 and 20° C, so the clothes that I do take are thicker and heavier.

Today is Saturday and about the only free time left before I leave, so I’ve already fiddled with the bike (changed the saddle, adjusted the angle of the breaks on the bar) and will now simply take the bike bags and start packing everything away, see how much room I need..

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