How to Find a Campsite While Bikepacking: Insights and Tips

Embarking on a bikepacking adventure is a thrilling experience that allows you to connect with nature, push your physical limits, and escape the hustle and bustle of daily life. One of the key elements of a successful bikepacking trip is finding suitable campsites along the way. Unlike traditional camping, where designated spots are readily available, bikepacking requires a bit more spontaneity and adaptability. In this article, we'll explore the art of finding a campsite while bikepacking, offering valuable insights and practical tips to enhance your outdoor experience.

Understanding Your Route

Before you set out on your bikepacking journey, it's crucial to thoroughly understand your route. Research the terrain, climate, and local regulations to anticipate potential challenges and plan accordingly. Some areas may have restrictions on camping, while others may offer designated spots for bikers. Knowing your route in advance will help you identify suitable campsites and ensure a smoother ride.

Leave No Trace Principles

As responsible outdoor enthusiasts, bikepackers should adhere to the Leave No Trace principles. These guidelines emphasize minimizing your impact on the environment and respecting nature. When selecting a campsite, opt for existing sites whenever possible to avoid trampling on delicate vegetation. Aim to leave the area exactly as you found it, preserving the beauty of the natural surroundings for future adventurers.

Be Discreet and Low-Key

Choosing a campsite that is discreet and low-key is essential for a positive bikepacking experience. Avoid setting up camp in highly visible areas to minimize the chances of attracting unwanted attention. Not only does this protect your privacy, but it also reduces the impact on the local ecosystem. Look for spots that offer a natural buffer, such as dense vegetation or topographical features, to create a sense of seclusion.

Water Sources

Access to water is a critical factor when selecting a campsite for your bikepacking adventure. Plan your route around reliable water sources, and choose campsites in close proximity to them. This not only ensures a convenient water supply but also allows you to enjoy the soothing sounds of rivers or streams as you unwind after a day of cycling. Be mindful of local regulations regarding water usage, and always filter or treat water from natural sources to avoid contaminants.

Check Local Regulations

Different areas have varying regulations regarding camping and outdoor activities. Some regions may require permits, limit camping to designated areas, or enforce specific rules to protect the environment. Before embarking on your bikepacking trip, research and familiarize yourself with the local regulations. This knowledge will help you avoid fines, protect delicate ecosystems, and ensure a positive relationship between bikers and the communities they traverse.

Flexibility is Key

One of the beauties of bikepacking is its inherent spontaneity. Unlike traditional camping trips where reservations are often necessary, bikepackers have the flexibility to adapt their plans on the fly. Embrace this freedom and be open to adjusting your route based on unforeseen circumstances or unexpected opportunities. Stay attuned to your surroundings, and if you come across a picturesque spot that beckons you to set up camp, don't be afraid to deviate from your original plan.

Scouting Techniques

Mastering the art of scouting for a suitable campsite is a skill that evolves with experience. Look for flat and level ground to pitch your tent, ensuring a comfortable night's sleep. Avoid areas prone to flooding or with the potential for falling debris. Keep an eye out for signs of wildlife activity, but maintain a respectful distance to minimize disturbances. As you become more attuned to the natural environment, you'll develop an intuitive sense for identifying the perfect campsite.

Safety First

While spontaneity is part of the bikepacking charm, safety should always be a top priority. Choose campsites that are away from hazards such as cliffs, unstable terrain, or areas prone to flash floods. Be mindful of local wildlife, and take precautions to secure your food to prevent unwanted encounters. Additionally, make sure your chosen campsite provides adequate shelter from the elements, especially if you anticipate changing weather conditions.

Camping Etiquette

Respecting fellow outdoor enthusiasts and the environment is fundamental to a positive bikepacking experience. Follow proper camping etiquette by keeping noise levels to a minimum, especially during quiet hours. Dispose of waste responsibly, and consider packing out any trash you come across to leave the area better than you found it. Being a considerate camper contributes to a sense of community among bikers and fosters a positive relationship with the natural surroundings.

Community Engagement

Bikepacking is not just about the journey; it's also about the community. Engage with local communities along your route, and seek their advice on potential campsites. Not only does this foster positive relationships, but it also provides valuable insights into hidden gems that may not be evident in traditional maps or online resources. Local knowledge can lead you to breathtaking spots off the beaten path, enriching your bikepacking experience.


Finding a campsite while bikepacking requires a blend of preparation, adaptability, and a deep appreciation for the natural world. By understanding your route, adhering to Leave No Trace principles, and being mindful of local regulations, you can embark on a bikepacking adventure that is both exhilarating and environmentally responsible. Embrace the spontaneity of the journey, master the art of scouting for the perfect campsite, and prioritize safety and community engagement. With these insights and tips, you'll be well-equipped to create lasting memories on your bikepacking escapades, surrounded by the beauty of the great outdoors.

Don't forget to check out our warm hoodies in the GoGrava store.  These are great to take with you on a bikepacking trip.  They keep you warm at the fireplace or feel nice and soft when you wake up in the warming.  Now go out there and have an adventure!

Leave a comment

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.

You may also like

View all
Example blog post
Example blog post
Example blog post