Bikepacking is a great way to introduce your family to the great outdoors and spend quality time together. However, while the biking adventure may be exciting, planning for it may be a little challenging, especially with a child. Naturally, you’ll need to make adjustments to bikepack with kids, though that will depend on your child’s age and ability to ride independently.
Consider these top eight tips when organizing your next bikepacking holiday trip with your children.
1. Packing your gear
Depending on the child’s age, there are several essential things you must carry, so consider storage options. That includes everything from daypacks to trailers. However, you want to avoid carrying too much weight on your back. Instead, you should place most of the weight on your bike as low as possible to improve your riding comfort and handling.
2. Important gear to have
Besides the basic cycling gear like the helmet, tube-repair kit, a multi-purpose tool, and spare tubes, you need a few backpacking gears. That includes a tent, a sleeping bag, and a stove. For extended trips, you may add a chain lube, spare cables, power links, and a light lock for resupply stops.
A trailer is the best option for anyone bikepacking with a younger child. Trailers allow kids to get a free ride on your bike, while still enjoying the outdoors. With a few favorite toys and snacks, your kid will be happy to ride on the trailer and might even fall asleep.
Since bikepacking with a child also involves carrying a lot of important stuff that can’t fit on a bike, a trailer will offer ample storage space. However, a trailer might limit the routes you may take, forcing you to take multi-purpose trails, sidewalks, and wider paths.
4. Consider what motivates the kids
Instead of talking about how far you expect your kids to ride, make the trip about all the fun things you’ll experience on the way. Kids aren’t motivated by how far they ride, but they’re interested in wildlife, ice cream shops, swimming pools, and playgrounds.
5. Involve the child in the planning
Looking at maps together with your child and discussing all the fun places you can stop helps to develop a definite plan along the route. Your child also becomes more invested in the bikepacking trip.
6. Choose Car-Free Routes
Taking young children on their bikes or a trailer bike can be risky, especially when riding on a busy highway. It’s best to strictly ride on roads with zero traffic like paved bike paths, rail trails, and quiet country roads.
7. Pack extra clothes for your child
Unless you’re cycling with a teenager who can take care of themselves and their bike, plan on packing an extra pair of clothes in your bags. You can also have your child carry several items like snacks and a water bottle in their bag, but it’s essential extra clothes, especially for young kids.