Bikepacking With Kids? Yes You Can

by Andy Amick on May 8, 2013

in Bikepacking, Kids

Don’t let people tell you that you can’t go bikepacking with kids.

You can.

They certainly can.

And it’s fun!

bikepacking with burley trailer

Taking your child out on the trail presents a few challenges, but there are many more positives than negatives.  Here are three things to keep in mind when planning a bikepacking trip with younger kids.

Kids Don’t Care About Distance

bikepacking fun with the tag a long setup

If you ride 2 miles or 10 miles, kids don’t care.  They are much more interested in gummi bears, wildlife, slides, splashing water, and what’s for breakfast.  It’s a different mindset from our typical adult outlook, but it sure is a lot of fun once you adjust.  Prepare yourself for lots of stops, slow riding, and lots of laughs.  If you know this going into the trip, you won’t be as frustrated with potty and snack breaks every 3 minutes.

Kids do care about having fun and part of that is based on the gear you carry.  DO NOT go ultralight to save a few pounds.  One bad experience can turn a kid off from bikepacking.  A fun trip on the other hand can keep them coming back for more adventures.  Packing a heavier tent, a pillow, and an extra stuffed animal is well worth the weight.

Food Is You Friend

proud bikepacking toddler

When my kids were toddlers, I planned our routes to start in town and end at a state park a few miles away.  Before leaving town, we always stopped at Chipotle to fuel up on burritos.  Sometimes we at there and other times we packed up the burritos and ate them one we setup camp.  Again, the kids are not concerned about mileage, but they sure do get excited about having a fun meal before “roughing” it for the night.

For breakfast in the morning, bring out the full cook kit and make some killer oatmeal or some other hot breakfast.  It’s a great way to enjoy the quiet of morning (with toddlers, they might be the first ones awake in the campground), warm up a bit, and get the day started off right.

Reward At The End

bikepacking with kids on the colorado trail

After the trip, a little ice cream might be in order.  What better way to finish the trip than to make a special stop on the way home?  Let’s face it.  We do this ourselves with our burger and beers stops after our own bikepacking trips so why not let your kids enjoy an after trip splurge?  This stop might have more sprinkles and sticky faces, but they earned it.

It’s All Worth It

I’ll repeat it one more time.  Kids don’t care about how far you rode, how fast you rode, or the gear you used.  It’s all about the fun, the food, and the experience for them.

Hopefully, these tips can help you have some enjoyable bikepacking adventures with your kids.  You won’t regret it once you embark on the adventure.  Keep the plan simple but flexible and you’ll do fine.

chatfield state park bikepacking

“If you’ve never stared off into the distance, then your life is a shame” – Counting Crows

About Andy Amick
A little bit nutty in general, a lotta bit nutty about bikes. Each of his boys received a bike helmet for their first birthday and the three of them have been biking together ever since.

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{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

Andrew May 26, 2013 at 11:21 PM

Good reminders to make it the best experience it can be for the young’uns. Thanks for the article!

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Andy Amick May 27, 2013 at 9:38 PM

Very true Andrew. Make it as nice as possible and hopefully they enjoy it and want to do it again. Sometimes their definition of fun is a playground and gummy bears, but that’s ok.

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