Our guide “Bikepacking for beginners” continues! In this post we focus on another important aspect of bikepacking – regeneration. Restful sleep and tasty food provide energy for the coming trails. Both belong to the basic human needs and should therefore not be neglected. We have summarized the most important aspects of sleeping and eating during bikepacking for you.
As mentioned in the previous post, you will not stay overnight in hotels or guesthouses while bikepacking. After all, the bikepacking adventure includes spending the night in nature. Before you start, it is best to think about where and how you want to spend the night. Wild camping is prohibited in most areas of Germany. But you can avoid this if you get the permission to camp from the owner of the land (for example the forest owner). In many forests, national parks or protected landscape areas, spending the night outdoors is allowed (“free overnight stay”) whereas camping is prohibited. You will need to obtain more detailed information about this in advance. Often communities also offer trekking huts and places for bivouacs, where a spartan overnight stay is possible. Since weather protection huts are explicitly not authorized for overnight stays, it is not recommended to include them in your planning. Therefore these should only be visited for sleeping in the greatest need. A clearly more comfortable and safer alternative are for example (nature) camping grounds.
As soon as you leave Germany on your bikepacking tour, the rules change. Scandinavia is well known for its loose regulation regarding spending the night in nature. There the “freedom to roam” principle applies. Nature is available for everyone. The rules for camping in nature are easy to understand, however, it is recommended to be familiar with the respective regulations before the trip.
After a day on the bike through all kinds of terrain, your body and mind are looking forward to recovering at night. For this a sleeping mat and a sleeping bag, which is appropriate for the night temperatures, offer a necessary basis. Make sure that the mat is really well isolated, even if the sleeping bag is a bit too cold, a proper isolation from the ground makes up for it. If you need extra comfort, you can take an inflatable trekking pillow with you. A sweater or jacket can also be used as a pillow alternative.
If you don’t want to sleep under the open sky, you will need a tent. The most important criteria for a tent for a bikepacking tour are quite obvious: It should be as small as possible and light. It is better to take a tent that offers more space for one person than sleeping in it. This means that if you are travelling alone, a two-person tent is just perfect. This way you have enough space in the tent for your luggage. A tarpaulin is also a good helper. It is a true all-rounder. You can use it for the ground, so that no wetness gets through and nothing gets clammy. You can also roll up your sleeping bag and mat on the tarpaulin so that no humidity from the ground comes into contact with it. If it rains, it can also be used as a Tarp. And no fear! Thanks to modern materials the tarpaulins hardly take up any space and are super light.
The small hunger in between
First of all: If after an exhausting tour the desire for a pizza is greater than the sparse cooking over a camping stove, you won’t be kicked out of the Bikepacker Club right away 🙂 Of course, stops for coffee or cake are also allowed in between. Basically, the adventure of bikepacking includes self-catering. Depending on how long and strenuous the routes are, you should have enough water to drink. You might also need some water for cooking. If you are outside any civilization, a mobile water filter is worth considering. Different bars or power gels are great for overcoming the small hunger. They are light, take up little space and provide enough energy for the next kilomtres. Just be careful: In warm temperatures you should avoid bars containing chocolate.
After the sleeping place has been found, the dinner will come soon. A gas stove and small, light cooking utensils are essential here. The menu can be very diverse. Ready-made dishes like pasta with different sauces or risotto are practical. You only have to boil them with water. If you prefer to cook properly, you can also do this with a gas stove. Dry foods such as couscous, rice and pasta provide a very good basis. Tomato paste, salt, pepper or other spices can also be added to your luggage, as they do not take up much space. Small tip: Contact lens containers are great for salt and pepper. Vegetables or whatever else is needed in the evening, you can buy fresh in the supermarket, as long as you are not completely away from civilization. Only buy as much as you really need. Unused food takes up space and is also too good to throw away.
If there is anything left over, you should store and pack the food well afterwards, otherwise wild animals could eat it overnight.
Freshly regenerated, the next morning is the time for strengthening. For many people, breakfast also includes coffee or tea. While tea can be made quite easily, fans of coffee need to think a little more. But the good thing is: You don’t have to do without coffee during the bikepacking adventure, you just have to decide on a brewing method.
The variant with instant coffee powder is intentionally skipped and we will focus on the three most practical ways of preparing the Black Gold:
- easy to transport
- no waste
- small ballast
- Compostable waste
- no waste
- Coffee cools down quickly
- Glass jug is impractical in the bags, prefer to use jugs made of precious metals or polycarbonate
Coffee or tea is ready, now only the actual strengthening is missing. Oatmeal or buckwheat flakes are clearly in 1st place here, both are excellent energy suppliers and can be refined with appropriate additives (nuts, chocolate, fruit, peanut butter …). Clever: As long as hot water is left over from making coffee or tea, the muesli can be prepared immediately. But the basic rule is: Eat what tastes good! If you need a salami bread in the morning, that’s fine too. Dried sausage is also very good to carry in your luggage, as is hard cheese. Just make sure that your food is not too greasy, otherwise you won’t get off the ground, and also that it is not too sweet, because this energy boost won’t last long.
Before the journey continues, one thing is top priority: Clean up! The place must be cleared of all garbage. It’s best to always have a small garbage bag in your luggage, which you can empty at the next garbage can.