Our First Family Bicycle Campout!

Last weekend our family successfully embarked on our first bicycle campout.  This campout was very meaningful to us because of what it meant for our family and for our business with the upcoming launch of CampfireCycling.com.

As I’ve been preparing for the major directional shift to a bicycle camping focused business, a major dilemma has been how to tackle the challenges of running a business and improving as an expert bike camper all while raising a young family.  Eventually, the answer became clear, I would invest my available time and energy for bicycle camping into figuring out how to bring my family along for the adventure.

Family bicycle camping doesn’t have to be an highly challenging endeavor.  A combination of factors generally including bike ways, a nearby state park, nice weather and using a bike cargo trailer to carry camping gear can make bicycle camping achievable for the majority of cycling parents.

But  as a shop owner testing many types of bicycle camping gear, I wanted to set the bar a bit higher from the start.  Don’t get me wrong, I recommend learning by doing and taking incremental steps forward as you take on new skills.  And honestly it probably would have been a good idea to have done an overnighter out to our nearby Catalina State Park as a warmup to this trip.  But our schedule was a bit tight, so we just went for a bit of a more adventurous trip, heading out 15 miles into the high desert country Northwest of Patagonia, AZ…

Prepping for Launch
The Grand Depart
Like a freight train steaming up them hills.
The bike is loaded and the climbs were long.
Lunch Break
I thought it would be nice to lie down in the dirt. Kidpile!
Mom and Daughter
Dad, Son and Daughter
There’s a creek and shade. That’s it, we’re camping here.
Play Time
All the Elements
Campfire Cycling glamour shot
Rolling Home
One Last Break


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12 thoughts on “Our First Family Bicycle Campout!”

  1. Daniel Bunn says:

    That was awesome! Thanks for sharing some real world pictures. That’s not as easy as car camping, but much more of an accomplishment. What’s the name of the the rack your child’s bike is attached to?

    1. Josh Lipton says:

      Thanks Daniel! Certainly getting setup for an adventure like this is not easy. That said, having to stick to the essential gear and not overpack, in some way made the experience of family camping go much smoother. Less gear to shuffle around with and less choice. Also the nights sleep in the tent goes better when you’re exhausted and the food tastes that much better.

      The kids bike attachment is a FollowMe Tandem (more about it in my comment to JO)

  2. JO says:

    What is the attachment you have to attach your daughter’s bike to yours? My daughter has outgrown our Adam’s tag-along bike, and likes to bike on her own but we could bike further if we could attach her bike like shown. She is 7. And how stable is this set up? The tag-along bike tends to throw me and my bike off balance.

    1. Josh Lipton says:

      This is a FollowMe Tandem. This is a great devise and something I’ll likely be offering in our shop soon. It is very easy to use and offers a very stable setup. As far as the stability versus the Adam’s tag-along its difficult for me to say. It’s attachment system is similar to a BOB Trailer, attaching with a fork around the rear wheel rather than a long arm to the seat-post. I would wager to guess it is less noticeable in terms of swaying the bike it is attached to.

      I should say it does rattle a bit as part of the nature of all of its parts. That said we use it over rough gravel and it performs great.

  3. heidi lynam says:

    kudos to you for immersing the kiddos in nature at an early age, not near enough kids getting that kind of exposure these days. Looks like you had a blast!

    1. Josh Lipton says:

      Thanks Heidi! We had a great time and plan on making this a regular thing.

  4. Brenden says:

    How exciting! What a great way to explore nature with the people you love. Cudos to campfire cycle for leading the way in epic family adventures!

    1. Josh Lipton says:

      Thanks Brenden!

  5. Ralph Netta says:

    Josh, it’s great seeing your wonderful family. Being a senior it brought back my own family memories of bike camping at various state and historical parks here in and around New Jersey. In those days every was heavy and made of steel, non of this lightweight gear that we enjoy so much today. Bikes were heavy, tents heavy and sleeping bags heavy! Not to mention stoves and cooking gear. Anyway, I look forward too following your company’s progress and growth as I’m sure it will be. Remember; it can’t be a job, it has too be a passion. I’ve made numerous purchases from your company in the past and always been completely satisfied with not only the product but the service. I wish going forward for your family and company only good things.

    1. Josh Lipton says:

      Hey Ralph! Its great how light things are these days. But I’m sure there were amazing times to be had back when the gear was heavy. Thanks for the reminder about keeping things a passion. Part of figuring it out is figuring out how to keep it fun. And thanks for the support!

  6. Kate says:

    Loved seeing other families bike camping! A few years ago, we bike toured 480 miles on the GAP and C&O with 4 kids. My husband pulled our 5 yr old on an Adam’s tag-a-long, I pulled my 3 yr old on a WeeHoo and the 10 and 13 yr olds rode their own bikes. Things that made life simpler: 3 matching 2 person backpacking tents, 6 small microfiber fleece sleeping bag liners, 6 yoga mats, 3 cat food can camp stoves (YouTube instructions), bamboo forkware and KleenKanteen pint glasses (both on carabiners). I’m ready to plan another one! Thanks for the article. 🙂

    1. Josh Lipton says:

      Kate! That sounds like an awesome adventure you took your family on. I love your tips for keeping things simple. And great to hear you’re ready to plan the next one.

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