Planning a bike camping trip this summer? Get packing tips from someone who goes biking and camping in the Colorado mountains each summer!
This is a guest post from Dara, one of our brand ambassadors in Colorado.
Bikes are a big part of my life. I am lucky enough to live somewhere that I can ride out of my front door, be it on my vintage one speed townie, my road bike or my mountain bike.
Crested Butte, Colorado is arguably the birthplace of mountain biking and as such bikes are a huge part of the culture here. Yet, even with this freedom to ride from home I do occasionally need to travel with my bike to try out new trails and just get away.
Me on lower loop, paradise divide, crested butte.
Bike camping becomes a necessity in the spring. As the snow melts off of the ski area, the tourists leave, and mud season begins. There is a mass exodus of locals toward the desert areas of the southwest. Ski bums pack up their beater cars and load up their $5000 mountain bikes and head for Fruita, Moab and Sedona to go bike camping.
Me in Cotopaxi National Park Ecuador
Packing for a week of camping in sand and cactus without easy access to a shower is a challenge. It really does take some magic to fit the bike equipment, camp equipment and the dog into the car and not forget anything important.
I am a procrastinator and so I usually start to toss my gear together last minute, inevitably leading to forgotten items. Over the years I have developed some little tricks to try and avoid emergency runs into town to hunt down missing items. My camp kitchen and camp gear now have dedicated tubs that they live in year round. I can just grab them and toss them in the car.
Trail 401, Crested Butte photo by Pete Sowar
The bike gear on the other hand is another story. I have to unearth all of the warm weather gear after a long cold winter of skiing and shoveling. After years of forgetting or missing items in my bike kit, I have started to keep it all in its own bag year round. Come home from a ride on the infamous trail 401? Everything gets tossed back in the same 'bike bag', that way I can grab and go when I'm ready for a ride or a trip.
Over the years I have forgotten to bring shorts to Moab, toothbrush to Fruita and even once my helmet. However being 15 miles from town and not being able to go on a ride because I forgot something as important as my helmet is a major bummer. The 'all gear in one place' method has worked wonders for this hazard of bike camping.
I have started to rely on my Uptown Bike Trunk Bag for most of my travel, regardless of my ability to strap it to a bike on my travels. It works well for air travel as a personal item, and when camping it holds all of my toiletries and first aid kit nicely and lets me pop into the rented shower at a campground easily and neatly.
18 road trails, Fruita CO taken by Brad Kreuz
One of the advantages of bike camping is the ability to turn off the tech and the connectedness and relax in the beauty of nature. However it is still necessary to tune back in on occasion and meet friends in town, set up shuttles or even brag in Instagram posts about how awesome the trip is to all of the suckers stuck back in mud season in the mountains. As such a spare battery is a great thing to have and the Fulton Powered Handlebar Bag has come in mighty handy for this.
The company Store, downtown Crested Butte!
While bike camping and all of its gear might seem onerous, it really does get easier both the more you do it and the better gear you have. So get out there and enjoy the outdoors, come bike the shoulder deep flowers of the mountain trails or slide down the slickrock descents of the desert with confidence and ease knowing your bike camp is all set and ready for you to come back to.