With nothing but the wind in your hair and the open road in front of you, you can set out on a journey of self-discovery and adventure.
Nowadays, thanks to bicycle campers, you don’t have to be concerned about the limitations of traveling without a car to enjoy camping and the outdoors.
In this article, we’ll look into bicycle campers in greater detail, including their different forms, advantages, and drawbacks. Additionally, we’ll provide suggestions for choosing the best bicycle camper for your upcoming outdoor excursion.
Getting to Know Bicycle Campers
For outdoor enthusiasts looking for an eco-friendly and adventurous way to travel the open road, bicycle camping is a popular developing trend.
Bicycle campers – or bike trailers – are small, light camping trailers that you can attach to your bicycle and pull behind you while you ride through the countryside and other remote places.
They come in different styles, but they generally give a practical way to transport your supplies and camping goods when traveling. They usually have enough space to store camping essentials, such as a sleeping bag, camping mat, a small stove, and some personal items.
Bicycle campers are designed to offer a relaxing camping experience while on a bike journey and can be a wonderful way to appreciate nature. There are various designs and features available. Below are the main types of bicycle campers.
- Hard-shell campers: These are the traditional type of bicycle campers and feature hard-shell sides and roofs, which protect the interior from the elements and other outside factors. They frequently have a lower profile and are more aerodynamic than conventional campers, making them more stable at high speeds.
- Soft-shell campers: These are lighter and more flexible in design, with a tent-like cover that can be erected and disassembled as required. Compared to hard-shell campers, they usually offer more space and ventilation.
- Convertible campers: With these, you can easily switch between carrying gear and camping by converting them from a regular bike trailer to a camping setup.
You can attach most bicycle campers to your bike’s rear axle or rack. Bicycle campers add weight and wind resistance to the cycle, so you must consider these factors when choosing a camper and planning your trip.
Bicycle Camper Sizes and Layouts
There are three main bicycle camper sizes; we’ve listed a brief description of each below.
Small and Lightweight Campers
These campers can easily be dragged by one person as they usually weigh less than 60 pounds. They often don’t have many amenities and are designed to be easy to set up and take down.
They are the best option for single cyclists or married couples who like a simpler setup.
These bicycle campers typically weigh between 50 and 100 pounds and can fit one to two people with ease. They usually have more amenities and more modern features—like insulation and ventilation—and typically include more facilities—like built-in kitchens and storage.
These campers typically weigh more than 100 pounds and are made to fit two or more people. They often have a kitchen, bathroom, and bedroom area, along with other facilities that are usually found in a tiny home.
They are more challenging to tow and maneuver, but they are the best option for families or groups of friends who are looking for a more comfortable camping experience.
Bicycle Campers: Should You Use Them?
Whether or not you should use a bicycle camper really comes down to your personal circumstances and preferences. Below, we’ve listed the advantages and disadvantages of using them so that you can decide if they are a good option for you.
- Convenience: Bicycle campers give a high level of comfort because they offer a pre-made camping structure that you can attach to different bikes. This makes setting up and taking down the camp simple and quick, which is especially helpful when traveling.
- Comfort: Bike campers provide greater comfort because they frequently have amenities like built-in kitchens, restrooms, and sleeping places. This results in a more relaxing camping trip.
- Weather protection: Because bicycle campers are often made to be weatherproof and provide insulation, they give great protection from the outside elements.
- Sustainability: Bicycle campers allow for a more eco-friendly way of traveling and camping, as they do not require a car, lowering your carbon footprint.
- Portability: With their compact size, bicycle campers are quite portable. This makes it possible for bike tourists to visit remote areas and enjoy the great outdoors without being constrained by a car’s weight and space limitations.
- Cost: Bicycle campers can be expensive. Their price varies based on the camper’s dimensions, weight, and features.
- Weight: Bicycle campers can be heavy, making pulling them challenging, particularly when cycling up hills and for long distances.
- Compatibility: Ensure that the camper you choose can easily be safely mounted to your bike’s axle or rack and that it is compatible with your bike. Check your bike’s weight capacity as well because some bikes might not support the weight of a fully loaded camper.
- Setup and dismantling: Some campers are more straightforward to set up and disassemble than others, so consider how much time and effort you’re willing to put into putting the camp together and taking it down each day.
Bicycle Campers Vs. Normal Camping Gear
The fact that bicycle campers frequently have built-in kitchens, restrooms, and sleeping quarters makes them more convenient and comfortable than standard camping gear.
However, compared to bicycle campers, conventional camping gear and ordinary tent backpacks are typically less expensive and provide you with more options for where to set up camp. Also, they can be more advantageous for longer trips because they demand less physical work.
It ultimately comes down to your priorities and what you’re looking for in a camping arrangement. A bicycle camper might be the best choice if you’re looking for comfort and convenience and don’t mind paying extra money.
If price and flexibility are your top priorities, a standard tent backpack and conventional camping gear might be better.
Are Bicycle Campers a Good Option for Longer Trips?
For cross-border, long-distance travel, bicycle campers are a great choice because they are a more eco-friendly, adaptable, and adventurous mode of transportation.
In RV parks and campgrounds, bicycle campers are also permitted, but before visiting, familiarize yourself with the RV park or campsite policies. You can go to isolated areas in a bike camper while carrying all your camping supplies and equipment.
However, remember that taking a bicycle camper on multi-day adventures can be difficult and requires more preparation and physical effort than shorter trips. Particularly when pulling, the camper’s additional weight and wind resistance might make it more challenging.
Before going on a multi-day tour with a bicycle camper, take into account your physical condition and prior cycling experience. Additionally, you will need to transport your supplies and equipment during the trip, so you should pack and plan accordingly.
The terrain and weather you may experience on your trip should also be taken into consideration. Towing the camper can be more difficult in inclement weather, headwinds, and up hills.
It’s also best to plan your itinerary in advance and make sure that a bicycle camper can be used everywhere that’s on it.
You should research and abide by the rules and regulations of the area you intend to visit, as some may have limitations on using bicycle campers on public highways.
What Types of Bicycles can you Use to Tow a Bicycle Camper?
- Touring bicycles: These have durable frames and gear racks, making them ideal for long-distance travel. They often have a low gear range and are usually designed to tolerate the weight of a camper.
- Hybrid bicycles: These bicycles combine mountain biking and road riding and are referred to as hybrids. They have a strong frame, which you may customize with racks to hold equipment. You can ride hybrid bicycles on different surfaces.
- Recumbent bicycles: These have a solid frame and a low center of gravity and are designed for a more relaxing riding position. They can have racks installed so you can transport your equipment and camping gear.
You can also use electric bicycles or e-bikes to tow a bicycle camper. The electric assist can help offset the weight of the camper, especially up hills and over long distances.
In order to accommodate the weight of the camper and other camping gear, electric motorcycles have a higher weight capacity than conventional bikes.
When using an electric bike to tow a bicycle camper, it’s crucial to consider the weight of the camper itself, all the equipment you’ll bring, the terrain, and your own weight. This guarantees that the bike is suitable for the intended purpose and can safely bear the additional weight.
Where to Purchase or Lease a Bicycle Camper
- Online sellers: Several online sellers specialize in selling bicycle campers, and you can find a wide range of options.
- Manufacturer websites: Many bicycle campers have websites where you can purchase a camper directly.
- Local bike shops: Some neighborhood bike shops will sell bicycle campers, and if they don’t, they might be able to order one for you.
- Used marketplaces: You may find pre-owned bicycle campers on websites like Craigslist and eBay. Remember to inspect the camper’s condition properly and look for any damages or missing pieces before purchasing.
- Rentals: If you’re not sure if you want to make a long-term investment in a camper or if you just want to use it for a short time, renting a bicycle camper from an outfitter or rental business is an alternative to purchasing one.
The best option will depend on your location, budget, and what you are looking for in a camper. Researching and comparing different options can help you find the right one.
Factors to Consider When Buying or Renting a Bicycle Camper
There are lots of things for you to consider before you decide to buy or rent a bicycle camper. We’ll explore some of the most important factors below.
Size and Weight
Several types of bicycle campers are available, ranging from small, light models that one person can easily pull to larger models that are better suited for two or more people.
When selecting a camper, you should consider its size and weight because a bigger and heavier camper will be harder to move, especially up hills and over long distances.
Some bicycle campers come with storage, bathrooms, and kitchens, but others are more basic and merely include a tent and a place to sleep. Think about the conveniences you require and the ones you’re ready to give up for mobility and ease of use.
Bicycle campers can be subjected to harsh conditions while on the road, so make sure to choose one that is made of durable materials and is built to withstand different weather conditions.
The cost of a bicycle camper can range greatly, from a few hundred dollars for a simple model to several thousand for a more complex setup. Choose the things that are most essential to you and the budget you are willing to work with.
Compatibility and Safety
Make sure the camper is compatible with your bike and will fit it properly. Also, your bicycle camper should be safe on the road, so before buying, check if the unit meets all the necessary safety standards.
Tips for Road Safety When Using a Bicycle Camper
- Make sure your camper and bike are in good shape before you start your journey. Brakes, tires, and light inspections are all part of routine maintenance.
- Pay close attention to your surroundings. Watch out for oncoming vehicles and additional hazards, like potholes and debris.
- Use hand gestures to denote turns and lane changes. Use bright clothing and lighting to improve visibility, especially at night or in low light.
- Keep a safe distance between your car and other moving objects. The added length of the camper may mean that you require additional stopping distance.
- Plan your route ahead of time, and make sure to take the roads that are suitable for cycling. Steer clear of crowded locations and busy streets.
- Follow the rules of the road, and obey traffic signals and signs.
Bicycle campers are the best option if you want to experience the great outdoors without sacrificing comfort and convenience. It’s now easy to choose a bicycle camper that meets your requirements and tastes, thanks to the wide variety of sizes and layouts available.
A bicycle camper can help you maximize your time on the road, regardless of if you’re planning a little weekend getaway or a long-distance journey. With a bicycle camper, you can explore the outdoors in an eco-friendly and exciting way without needing a car.
Last Updated on June 8, 2023 by Danijel Cakalic