Bike Camping Initiation

Four adults, five children, six bikes, four tents, 27 miles, two states, one night. We went cargo-bike camping on April 7th, and we loved it! Conditional elements certainly influenced our mood. Cooperative children, great weather, level road, low auto-traffic, great company. Click to view the full album, with captions of our adventure.

Here was our packing list:

  • 2 tents, one 4person rented from Marshall’s outdoor pursuits (open to non-members), one 4person from my childhood. Good for the backyard, not good for rain.
  • 6 sleeping bags
  • 1 small flannel blanket to layer with Oliver’s bag, which is a cotton nap sack
  • 4 small pillows, Brent and I folded up clothes for pillows.
  • 2 camp pads rented from Marshall
  • 1 change of warmer clothes for each person, i.e. flannel lined pants, long sleeve shirt, and wool socks for Elliot. No pajamas. We slept in our warmer clothes.
  • water-resistant jackets for six
  • hats and gloves for all
  • six paper diapers, 1 half package of wipes and 1/2 empty tube of Aquaphor, what we refer to as butt supplies
  • 1 roll of toilet paper
  • 1 hand towel
  • tooth brushes for all, one tube of kid paste
  • 1 hair band
  • 1 hair brush
  • 4 water bottles
  • 1 small hammer
  • first aid kit, included 1 bottle of insect repellent, nail clippers, box of band-aids, tube of ointment, tweezers, medical scissors, gauze bandages, two antiseptic wipes, 1 bottle of sunscreen, advil, infant tylenol, allergy medications
  • cell phone and charger
  • camera, extra battery and charger
  • video camera, case and charger
  • an LED light panel in lieu of a lantern
  • 2 fishing poles and micro tackle box (pocket sized) with supplies
  • three spare tubes in various sizes, two patch kits, two tire levers, one hand pump, several allen wrenches and two wrenches (but not the adjustable crescent we needed four miles in)
  • 2 deodorants
  • small lunch bag with bananas, cliff bars, pistachios, cranberries, oatmeal cookies
  • 1 wallet

Which we fit into:

  • 2 FreeLoaders on the Yuba
  • 2 Panniers on the mtb
  • 2 Kelty backpacks on the mtb/Brent’s back
  • 1 LLBean child backpack on Elliot’s back
  • 1 milk crate on London’s rear rack
  • 1 Peanut Shell on the Yuba

We also carried a couple of Ashley’s items. Ashley and Anthony (a new friend after this trip!) brought along a knife and lighters, to round out our needs, along with their own gear.

I did carry most of the weight. Two children, and a lot of cargo. I think I added up about 120 extra pounds on the Yuba Mundo. Brent might have had 50, London was at about 8, and Elliot 3.

The children really enjoyed themselves (especially fishing and s’moring). When we got home I asked them if they felt we had gone too far, or not far enough. The eldest two both agreed they could have biked further. I might not have been able to this time, but they were ready for a far away adventure.

Now, for a confession. The cycling was good. The meals out were good. The camping was good. Bedtime was difficult for both Oliver and Etta. Sleeping was near impossible. Oliver didn’t want to stay in his bag, or under his blanket and it was in the upper 30s that night. He wouldn’t put on a hat. He wouldn’t snuggle for long with me in my bag. He was restless and cold. At one point he was wet (a habit where he pulls his penis out of his diaper and well, everything gets wet). Knowing it was for one night, I was able put on a smile and keep spinning the next day. More than one night of fitful sleep would have had me singing a tune that included the phone number of a local cab service or friend with a truck. Etta is just prone to waking up at night often and that night she also decided she wanted to see the sun rise at 6AM. None of the other children, nor Anthony noticed. Brent seemed to sleep better than I as well.

We will certainly take our bikes camping again. We may not ride them from home, opting to drive them to a trail head somewhere, is in our sights. We get our hitch installed on Wednesday, on a van that we are trying to sell, but obviously not trying successfully or with a lot of heart.  We have some other local camp options to exhaust as well, but the hills concern me. Perhaps if I have a lot of time and a patient crew we could attempt them.

For now, we enjoy talking about our fabulous S24O, and wondering when we shall be leaving again.

CLICK HERE FOR THE MAP (Which I left in bicycle mode so you can see the green bike trail markings for our area. When I started this blog there were zero. Bicycle mapping in Google is in Beta for our area and not available embed, so it’s linked.)

Brent captured a lot of video. He is digitizing, editing and composing something for your viewing pleasure. Soon my friends, soon…



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8 thoughts on “Bike Camping Initiation”

  1. You are always an inspiration! I can’t wait to go camping with our bikes and this just made me more excited for it! Love it- can you imagine the awesome memories you are building and the stories your kids will tell of their childhood, really cool.


    1. Thank you so much! We are so glad we did this too. We are not Pedal Powered Family, but we are trying to think like one.

    1. You all will be amazing bike campers. You already have enthusiastic riders! I have a 10 yr who was only going for fishing, but turns out she had a great time with everything, but she would never admit it 😉 Looking forward to seeing what becomes of your future travels. Have missed your blog posts lately, hope things are good in CA.

  2. Great post! I love bike camping. It’s always a bit crazy, especially with kids but what fantastic memories and experiences you are sharing with them. If you figure out a way to sleep while camping with kids, let me know!

    1. Thank you. I skimmed your post about the amazing haul (will read more later) and was thinking about what you said about comfort. This bike camp trip was the first time I noticed my bum hurt on the saddle. Might need to adjust it for the next long haul or consider an upgrade. As for sleeping kids, they don’t do any better in a hotel. It’s always that first night away from home excitement. We are looking forward to more and more travels now that the youngest is older (2 is old right?). We are no strangers to camping, just to biking. What a world.

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