Author Topic: Cycle camping with toddler - any advice?  (Read 1994 times)

Cycle camping with toddler - any advice?
« on: 17 August, 2019, 06:52:47 pm »
I think I've just about got my wife comfortable with a couple of nights at a campsite on the Isle of Wight with our 2-year old, where we drive out of London and leave the car somewhere in the New Forest and get the ferry over by bike, maybe 20 miles cycling, 30 max.  And a similar amount on the other days.

It will be our first multi-day cycling trip with daughter and her first time camping.  We're basically using the same kit that my wife and I used before daughter came along, so a 3-person tent, 3 thermarests, etc.  Campsite pretty near a town so I can get food easily.  Also is on a farm, so animals, and has a little playground, plus a beach close by - so plienty to do without having to go far. 

Not sure whether to take her trailer or her bike seat.  She prefers the seat but it compromises my luggage-carrying.  One recommendation was to take both, using the trailer for luggage - unless she decides to go in it...

Any tips on cycle camping with toddlers?  What could go wrong, what not to worry about, what to take, not to take, or not to attempt it at all?

Re: Cycle camping with toddler - any advice?
« Reply #1 on: 18 August, 2019, 11:57:33 am »
I'd go for 20 miles end of the range. We mostly found that the duck slept a lot whilst we were riding and was full of beans when we arrived at the campsite and needed to pitch, meaning that most pitching and striking the tent was done by one person whilst the other managed him. Taking a trailer does help with luggage room, but we mostly managed without so that we could use trains. Allow time to stop at playgrounds when possible and eat lots of ice cream.  :D
Quote from: Kim
^ This woman knows what she's talking about.

Re: Cycle camping with toddler - any advice?
« Reply #2 on: 19 August, 2019, 08:11:31 am »
Thanks.  Will rein in the distances.  Agree about stops for playgrounds and ice cream.  Also, at this time of year, to pick brambles!  Did stops for all three on a test ride yesterday.

I remember seeing him sleep most of the way to Brighton three or four years ago.  But, for some reason, we just never get sleeping in bike seat or trailer.  Always wide awake and keen to chat about everything in sight. 

I think I can strap a couple of dry bags to my rack underneath the seat so going off taking the trailer.  She much prefers to be in her seat, as she can see more and be more chatty.


  • Eating all the pies and drinking all the tea.
Re: Cycle camping with toddler - any advice?
« Reply #3 on: 19 August, 2019, 09:13:06 am »
She much prefers to be in her seat, as she can see more and be more chatty.
And see all the splashy puddles! And... mine liked to push me in the back going up hill... very helpful...
Riding a bike through a city is like navigating the collective neural pathways of a vast global mind.

Re: Cycle camping with toddler - any advice?
« Reply #4 on: 19 August, 2019, 09:35:35 am »
We got on well with the cycle trailer, but it's much more of a place to relax for an hour or two and sleep, and is more difficult to chat to them.  If you have both and are happy to be flexible that sounds good.  What we normally did was cycle for an hour or two in the morning, then toddler-friendly stop, then cycle for an hour or two in the afternoon.  Worked well for us as a rough plan each day.

Re: Cycle camping with toddler - any advice?
« Reply #5 on: 27 August, 2019, 08:54:44 am »
Weekend went really well.  Thanks for tips, everyone.

We drove to Lindhurst and cycled from there to Lymington, ferry over to IoW, then about 8-10km to campsite on the south of the island. We did an indirect route through the forest, seeing lots of horses, and with a bramble stop, so about 25km cycling out.  Similar back yesterday, via a different forest route. 

Then, on the island we had one day with only a little bit of cycling, but slightly overdid it on the other day.  We went to the Owl and Monkey sanctuary near Newport, which ended up being just under 50km all in.  Lots of breaks and made a full day of it, but she was getting a bit tired of sitting by the end.  Main thing was to forget time and, when she said she wanted to stop, we stopped at the next sensible place. 

Camping went well.  We were lucky with the weather.  Will need to think harder about sleeping bag / bedding for her next time.  We were also able to get all three nights at the same site, which saved a lot of work having to move on for the final night. 

Final highlight was when we got back to the car, my wife said 'would you like to go in your seat' and she replied 'I want to go on the bike!'

NF/IoW was a great location as she loved the horses, the ferry, beach, etc.  Not sure where we could go to match it. 

Re: Cycle camping with toddler - any advice?
« Reply #6 on: 16 October, 2019, 08:46:01 pm »
Our first tour was two weeks mixed cycle tour and car camping. 2 weeks during which it rained at some point during the day,  often most of it.

Son was 3.5 years and on my partner's bike. I tied a single wheel trailer.  Our son loved it especially the bit where he tilted his head back, opened his mouth to get his drink. Hard trip with the hills, my load and the way my front derailleur failed on the 50t chainring. Easiest gear was 50t to 25t, 2 to 1 the wrong way!

The year later he was riding on his own bike. With occasional attachment to my bike with a follow me tandem. Enjoy touring with them in a child seat. They might not go as far on their own bikes