Why Choose E-Bike Camping?
E-Bike Camping offers a refreshing alternative to traditional cycle camping. The conventional image of cycle tourers, laden with bulky gear and sun-kissed from countless hours in the saddle, can be quite daunting. Whether crossing arid deserts or conquering steep mountain passes, it requires immense strength and endurance.
However, the modern trend of bikepacking has introduced a more minimalist approach to camping. Strapping the bare essentials directly onto your bike allows for a lighter load. Nevertheless, it still demands a certain level of ruggedness to embrace the simplicity of this style of cycle camping.
But fear not, there is a third option: e-bike camping! By opting for an electrically assisted bike, you can enjoy the benefits of added comfort and convenience. Without the intense physical exertion associated with fully-loaded cycle camping, an e-bike allows you to effortlessly carry more gear.
Most importantly, e-bike camping grants you the joy of outdoor adventures on two wheels, while basking in the liberating sense of freedom and relaxation that accompanies the finest cycle camping trips.
Which E-Bike to Choose?
When embarking on cycle camping trips, it’s crucial to consider the impact of additional weight on battery range. Thus, prioritizing a bike with a generous battery capacity is highly recommended. A powerful and efficient motor system is also essential to navigate challenging terrains. Fortunately, during my testing, I came across the remarkable Riese and Müller Delite Mountain Rohloff.
This e-bike showcased the perfect features for off-road cycle touring, boasting a potent Bosch Performance Line CX motor and a dual battery capacity of 1000Wh. Moreover, its compatibility with my chosen trailer proved to be a significant advantage. Equipped with a traditional quick release axle, the Rohloff gear hub eliminated the need for modern through-axle designs commonly found on high-quality e-bikes.
To ensure compatibility between traditional trailer designs and modern through-axles, additional research might be necessary. Thankfully, The Robert Axle Project specializes in adapting quick release trailers for modern e-bikes with through-axles.
Trailer, Panniers, or Both?
One significant advantage of using a trailer is its ability to accommodate more gear, enhancing comfort and convenience during your camping adventures. With a powerful motor and ample battery capacity onboard, concerns about added weight and rolling resistance become less significant.
Moreover, families embarking on e-bike camping trips can delight in the freedom to pack extra supplies or cherished toys in a trailer. Whether it’s additional food, clothing, or a beloved companion, trailers offer the flexibility to accommodate your specific needs.
Traveling Light: The Advantages of Pannier Bags
The Convenience of Pannier Bags
Of course, if you are happy to travel relatively light (especially on short trips), pannier bags are a great option. They offer simplicity and lightness, making your journey more enjoyable.
Enhancing Your Bike’s Handling
To add a bit of extra gear and balance your bike’s handling, consider using front pannier racks and Gorilla cages. These accessories can greatly improve your cycling experience.
A Smart Choice for Off-Road Tours
As an enthusiast of off-road electric mountain bike touring, I prefer to prioritize my comfort. That’s why I opted for a single-wheeled trailer called the T2.
The Benefits of Single-Wheel Trailers
Single-wheel trailers are commonly used for off-road tours due to their minimal impact on bike handling. They effortlessly follow the bike’s movements, allowing for tighter tracking on rough terrain.
Additionally, these trailers eliminate the risk of tipping over completely, which can occur with two-wheeled trailers. Furthermore, they excel on single tracks that are usually challenging for two-wheeled counterparts.
Lightweight and Practical
Another advantage is their lighter weight compared to two-wheel trailers. The T2, specifically, stands out with its impressive design and features. It boasts a remarkable 70-liter detachable waterproof bag and can comfortably carry up to 30kg of load. It’s worth noting that rear touring panniers generally have an average capacity of 40-50 liters per pair.
Elegant Design and Stable Handling
The T2 itself showcases a sleek design that combines lightness and functionality. Its 12″ rear tire strikes a perfect balance between ground clearance and trailer length.
Moreover, the mounting yoke plays a crucial role in ensuring stable handling. By fitting onto both ends of the quick release axle, it evenly distributes the forces between the bike and the trailer. Make sure to select the appropriate skewer for your wheel size, such as one for Rohloff, derailleur gears, or Shimano Alfine hubs.
Before making a purchase, it’s essential to confirm with the retailer that your wheel size is compatible. For instance, the R&M Delite Mountain Rohloff is equipped with 27.5″ x 2.8″ tires, which fit perfectly into the mounting yoke. Larger tires would likely not fit and could cause rubbing on the edges.
The Components of the T2 Trailer
The T2 trailer is designed with removable and replaceable components, allowing for easy fixing in case of breakages during rough trail riding. The bag can be quickly and effortlessly removed, and the yoke swings back over the trailer body, enabling more compact storage.
To keep things simple during my experimental trip with the single-wheel trailer, I only packed gear that I deemed essential for my cycling comfort.
I have future trips planned with the same trailer and panniers, where I can opt for a more luxurious experience or embark on wilderness adventures that require additional gear.
As a preliminary trial, I took a fully loaded trailer for an afternoon’s ride along a few miles of local trail. The trail consisted of moderate hills and offered high-quality off-road surfaces.
Essential Gear Recommendations
Please note that the following list is tailored for summer conditions at UK campsites.
The choice of gear depends on your personal preferences and what you believe will provide you with optimal comfort. Some individuals find it impossible to get a good night’s sleep without a comfortable bed and pillow, similar to my preference. Others may prioritize a larger tent that allows them to stand up, thus preventing any discomfort in their back.
Regardless, I highly suggest conducting a test night camping or a shakedown ride before embarking on longer e-bike camping trips in distant locations. This practice helps to identify and address any potential issues.
Here is a detailed list of the gear I packed, including their weights and the rationale behind my choices. This serves as a guide based on a recent trip, which I have documented in a separate ride report article. It marked my return to cycle camping after a long hiatus, and the article also includes my conclusions regarding gear additions or redundancies.
The Tent and Groundsheet – Vango Spirit 200
I own an older model, the Vango Spirit 200, which I have used sporadically over the years. Although this model is no longer in production, the Vango Pulsar Pro 200 appears to be virtually identical.
Setting up the tent is a breeze – simply insert the alloy poles into the sleeves and peg out the outer layer. The inner part easily attaches to loops in the inner structure and features convenient mesh storage pockets.
The Thermarest Neoair Dream Sleeping Mat
Weighty Camping Gear
2.1 kg – Now, I understand that this might seem excessively heavy for a camping mat, but let me tell you, it’s worth it. This incredible mat combines air insulation with memory style foam, providing an unparalleled sleeping experience that feels just like sleeping on a real bed. Trust me, it’s a game-changer.
The Ultimate Luxury
Pillow 0.55kg – Ah, the joy of a soft foam pillow. It’s truly the ultimate luxury. The perfect companion for a cozy night under the stars.
Tool Roll 1.95kg
Ah, the trusty tool roll. It may seem like a lot of weight, but let me tell you, it’s worth every ounce. Plus, it even comes with a bottle of slime (which I accidentally forgot to remove). But hey, you never know when those tools might prove vital in getting you home.
A Cozy Sleeping Companion
Sleeping bag: 0.95kg
Even on a hot summer night, the cool breeze can sweep in, making a sleeping bag necessary. Now, I must admit, this one isn’t the lightest by modern standards, but it’s a reliable two-season model that fits the budget. Of course, if you plan to venture out into cooler weather, you could always upgrade to a lighter three-season model and save some weight along the way.
A Trusty Trailer
Trailer: Circa 5kg
Ah, the faithful trailer. It may add around 5kg of weight, but it’s worth it for the convenience it brings. It’s the perfect companion for hauling all your camping essentials.
The Power of Electricity
Charging lead 0.675kg – Ah, the trusty charging lead, a lifeline for our modern devices.
Camping light: 0.75kg – Brighten up your camping experience with this reliable camping light.
Bosch charger: 0.75kg – Now, I must admit, the Bosch charger is a bit hefty. However, fear not, as there’s an alternative. You could swap it for the compact travel charger, saving around 200g. Do keep in mind though, it may take a bit longer to charge the batteries.
Cooking Made Easy
Electric cup heater for soup, Steel cup with folding handles, cutlery Swiss Army-style knife – Ah, the joys of cooking in the great outdoors. This cooking set, weighing a total of 750g, has everything you need to enjoy a hot drink or a comforting bowl of soup. Trust me, it’s worth the extra weight.
Clothes and Washing Gear
Clothes, small towel, and washing gear:
1kg – Now, when it comes to clothing and washing gear, it’s hard to shave off much weight. Especially during autumn camping, when heavier and warmer clothing is a must. So, embrace the weight and enjoy a comfortable camping experience.
Total Weight: 17kg
Running Total: Circa 12kg of gear and 5kg of trailer. Carrying around 17kg behind you might sound like a lot, but trust me, it’s manageable. You’ve got this!
A Convenient Companion
Despite the advice floating around, I tend to cycle with a small, lightweight backpack. Now, you might wonder, what’s the advantage of this? Well, let me tell you. Not only does it allow me to keep my phone charged using solar power during the sunny summer months (thanks to the solar panel conveniently attached to the back of the bag), but it also provides space for other lightweight essentials, such as cameras or snacks. Yes, it might get a bit sweaty in the scorching summer, but it’s a small price to pay for convenience.
Now that’s how you embark on a camping adventure with style and comfort!
My Experience with the GoExtreme Pioneer Helmet Cam
On my recent trip, I decided to bring along a helmet cam for testing purposes. I opted for the GoExtreme Pioneer helmet cam, which was securely attached to my helmet. This convenient device could easily be stored in my backpack when not in use, yet could be quickly accessed whenever I needed it.
Exciting eBike Camping Report in Part 2
If you’re interested in reading about my thrilling eBike camping experience, make sure to check out Part 2 for the full ride report. It’s a fascinating account that you won’t want to miss! Click here to access Part 2.
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