Camping in the great outdoors is one of the best ways to disconnect from the stress of modern life and reconnect with nature.
But it's hard to truly get away into the wilderness when your transport is limited - either by your feet or four-wheel drive access. Luckily, ever more campers and outdoor enthusiasts are discovering the joys of camping with an eBike.
What is an eBike?
An eBike has the same benefits as a regular bike and many more. You still pedal with your legs, but there's also a battery-powered electric motor attached so you can go further, faster, and with less physical exertion. The electric motor allows eBikes and their riders to carry more gear than they could have in traditional fully-loaded camping cycles.
Read on to learn why eBiking gives you the best camping experience on two wheels.
What is eBike camping?
Camping has long been a popular pastime and hobby for outdoor enthusiasts. Depending on your ideal location, there are different ways you can enjoy a camping trip. For ease, you can drive and park at your campsite, but this limits your potential camp spots and overall experience.
The sites with the best views and experiences are often found off-road and can only be reached on foot or in smaller vehicles. Smaller modes of camping transport typically include bikes, 4x4s, kayaks, or other small boats. If you're traveling by land, biking or backpacking on foot are popular options, but both can be physically exhausting.
An off-road vehicle like a quad removes the need for physical exertion and allows you to carry more camping gear. But camping trails often prohibit these vehicles or can only be accessed by narrow paths. Not to mention, these off-road vehicles can be loud and disruptive to wildlife and other campers.
Camping with an eBike is the ideal solution. An eBike is agile, quiet, and capable of carrying heavy loads. Camping with an electric bike lets you go deeper into the wilderness and reach the most scenic locations with less physical exertion.
Whether eBike Overlanding, RVing, hunting, fishing, or camping with the family, eBikes can make every kind of camping trip more enjoyable and accessible. Electric bikes give you the feeling of freedom while traveling in relaxation so that you can enjoy the best cycle camping trip.
RVing with an eBike
Even if you aren't staying deep in the wilderness, there are benefits of RVing with an eBike. For campers staying in an RV camp with road access, an eBike has many benefits. It's great to travel the country by RV, but a smaller vehicle can come in handy on many occasions, especially in popular national parks where parking spaces are limited. A camping eBike is the perfect RV companion for day trips or just going back and forth to the general store.
Do campgrounds allow eBikes?
There are countless fantastic campsites across the United States, most of which will allow eBikes. However, eBike rules and regulations do differ from state to state. While once heavily restrictive, laws for eBiking in popular national parks have recently loosened. The new regulations make our beautiful nation more accessible than ever for eBike enthusiasts.
In national parks, eBikes are usually allowed wherever regular bikes are allowed unless otherwise stated. Some federal and state parks allow eBikes on trails and bike paths, while other parks limit use to the road. As a general rule of thumb, if you can ride your bike in a national park, then you can bring it to a campsite in the park.
Of course, many famous national parks such as Zion, Grand Teton National Park, and Saguaro National Park are popular with cyclists, campers, and hikers alike, so you may have to reserve a campsite in advance! You can check out our guide to the Best National Parks to Ride an eBike to get more inspiration for your next cycling and camping trip.
Every state has its unique laws for electric bikes, making life a bit more difficult for campers and RVers who travel across the country. Whenever you head out on a bike camping trip, you should do your research in advance. Plan your route and destination and check any regulations that may apply at campsites before setting off. Fortunately, most states do not require a specific license for electric bikes.
Where can I camp with an eBike?
Many state parks and campgrounds have dedicated camping spots available on a first-come-first-served basis and reserved as "hiker or biker" spots. This makes it easier for people who arrive on foot or by bicycle to get camping spots at popular locations. Even when campgrounds are technically "full" cyclists may be able to squeeze in. When you travel light with all your gear on your bike, it's a lot easier to squeeze in on the edge of a campsite or share space with other campers!
Campsites reserved for hikers and bikers usually still require registration and fees, although the camping fees are generally lower for cyclists. You should be aware that many national park hikes or bike campsites are primitive, so no facilities are available. That means you'll need to bring your own source of power to recharge your eBike, and you may need to plan to carry more gear in and out of your campsite.
What to look for in an eBike for camping?
There are many different eBikes on the market, of varying quality. Many eBikes are designed only for city road use, while others are proper electric mountain bikes. Naturally, some of these eBikes are better suited to off-road activities or terrains than others.
If camping trips are a primary use case, you should choose an eBike or electric mountain bike that's well suited to the needs of overnight outdoor adventures. Here are some of the essential features and considerations to look for when selecting electric bikes for camping.
Battery range is an important consideration when camping with an eBike. If you're riding with more weight, from a tent, for example, it will lower your bike's battery range. Therefore, if camping is going to be your primary use case, you should choose an electric bike with the largest battery capacity possible.
It's also advisable to choose a bicycle with an efficient and powerful motor system. Most eBike batteries and motors have a battery range between 25 miles to 50 miles depending on conditions, cargo weight, and terrain.
Cargo weight has a significant impact on your battery's longevity, so try to travel light on any camping trip. Of course, you can recharge your batteries, but this will require stopping for several hours. So, if you need to cover a lot of ground in one day, you'll need to be mindful of your battery range.
Storage is another consideration. In large campsites, you should ensure your bike is stored securely and locked to prevent theft. If you're staying at a remote camp, security will usually be less of an issue.
Electric bikes should also be stored in dry conditions, so if you're camping in wet weather, be sure to cover your bike when you're not using it. If you're traveling by RV or van and bringing your eBike along for the ride, then size can be a factor. You may want to choose a compact eBike model, either foldable or small and light enough to store easily.
Most eBikes for camping will be electric mountain bikes which can be either full suspension or hardtail. The suspension will impact the eBike's traction, control, and comfort levels. You will usually be more comfortable on prolonged camping and cycling trips with full-suspension mountain bikes, but be aware they are heavier bikes.
You've escaped the city to get away from the noise. So why would you bring a noisy vehicle into the wilderness and disrupt your peace and quiet? Luckily, eBikes are virtually silent, making them a peaceful mode of transport for camping. If you're on a multi-day hunting and camping trip, you'll also discover the benefits of a stealthy eBike when you're stalking your kill.
The weight limit of your bike is a vital consideration when choosing a camping eBike. Check the weight limit of the bike both on its own or when towing a trailer. If you want to camp with your eBike, you need a sturdy model that can haul all the gear you want to bring. Weight limits vary between bikes and trailers, so be sure to check your eBike is capable of carrying camping supplies.
Tire choice is essential when choosing a camping eBike. Camping bikes or eMBTs should preferably have fat tires, which provide a more comfortable ride and can handle varied terrains easily. QuietKat fat tire bikes can be used on various surface types, including loose sand and fresh snow, so that you can camp in any setting or conditions!
Benefits of an eBike while camping
Camping is always great fun for the whole family, but what makes camping with an eBike better than traveling on foot or with a 4x4? Here are just a few of the benefits that eBike camping unlocks.
Carry more equipment
Hike in camping is great fun and good exercise, but it puts a lot of pressure on your body. If you need some help carrying your camping gear (or just want the flexibility to bring more than one backpack's worth of equipment), then an eBike is the solution you need. An electric bike lets you carry more gear, which means you'll have more comfort and convenience on your camping trip! It also lightens the burden of physical effort of fully-loaded cycle camping.
Faster on trails
Naturally, an electric bike allows you to travel faster than a regular bicycle, especially on challenging uphill terrain. But remember to respect any speed limits for different national parks, especially if you're sharing trails with hikers or mountain bikers.
More comfortable and accessible
Electric bikes make cycling more accessible for riders of all ages and fitness levels. Riding on an electric bike is more comfortable and less physically straining than a traditional cycle or mountain bike. An eBike is a great equalizer, so older or younger riders can keep up with the group - ideal for family or group camping trips.
An all-terrain eBike for camping allows you to reach your favorite camping locations faster and quieter than ever, but with much less exertion. With an eBike, you can spend less time hauling your gear into the campsite and more time exploring. You're free to go deeper into the wilderness and discover new camping areas that were previously unreachable.
Reduce your carbon footprint
If you're passionate about camping and the great outdoors, you'll naturally want to help protect the environment. Using an eBike or electric mountain bike when camping is eco-friendly. Electric bikes have zero emissions and a much lower impact on the environment than cars or off-road vehicles.
By spending more time on your bike and less time in your gas-powered car, or ATV, you can help the environment thrive so it can be enjoyed in future generations. Making the switch to lower emissions vehicles can help ensure campers can enjoy eBike camping and hiking experiences in the future.
How to charge an eBike while camping?
How can you charge an eBike in the wilderness? That's a great question - and probably the most common question we get about camping with an eBike. The answer is more straightforward than you may imagine because an eBike can easily be charged with a solar power charger. So, you can charge your eBike with solar power just as you would any of your other camping electronics.
If you don't need to frequently recharge your eBike battery, you can carry a spare eBike battery with you instead. This plan will limit your range to the number of batteries you can comfortably carry, but two is often enough for a cycle in and out trip. However, if you're Overlanding or cycle touring over multiple days, then a solar charger is the best way to go.
If you're camping at a site with more facilities, you may have more traditional charging options. You can contact campsites in advance to find out if they have an appropriate place to charge an eBike battery. Campsites with RV hookups will usually have the potential to charge batteries and other electronics. Often, the ranger station will allow cyclists to charge their batteries for a few hours, but you shouldn't rely solely on this option.
Best eBikes for Camping
All QuitKat bikes are specially designed to withstand the great outdoors, but some eBike models are better suited to camping excursions. A commuter eBike is quite different from a bike that's intended for hunting or camping trips. To narrow down your electric bike search, here are five of the best electric bikes for camping trips.
Best For Adrenaline Junkies: Jeep® E-Bike
There are plenty of low-cost eBikes on the market that are good for city riding but aren't suitable for navigating into rugged terrain. So, if you like to camp out in the woods, backcountry, or canyons, the Jeep E-Bike is the bike for you. The Jeep - Powered By QuietKat is our best eBike if you're looking to tackle a challenging all-terrain adventure with plenty of off-road excursions.
The Jeep E-Bike comes with a range of adventure-orientated features for outdoor enthusiasts. The Jeep is a premier model perfect for seasoned campers who want to reach the most remote and unique campsites. This model comes with full suspension, fat 4.8" tires, and hydraulic disc brakes to help riders tackle even the most challenging routes.
Are you heading uphill? No problem! The Jeep's ultra mid-drive motor is closer to the center of the bicycle, so you can more easily gear up for the climb and navigate steep hills with more precision. This is our top-of-the-range ebike for camping enthusiasts.
Best For Weekend Warriors: Apex E-Bike
The Apex is the ultimate eBike for hunting and fishing. Many of the features make this an excellent eBike for hunting and a perfect choice for camping. The Apex can easily carry lots of gear, ideal for hauling camping equipment!
The Apex comes with an all-new integrated pannier rack that can store plenty of equipment. The pannier rack is molded to the frame to give it maximum strength and capability. You can easily attach all the camping accessories you need. The Apex eBike can carry heavy loads, up to 325 pounds, so you're covered, even if you've overpacked!
In addition to the pannier rack, The Apex is also compatible with the QuietKat single and two-wheeled trailers so that you can bring more gear along for the ride. This model is also available in various sizes, from medium or large 17 or 19-inch frame sizes, so that the entire family can join your camping trip.
Best For Everyone: Ranger E-Bike
The Ranger is an affordable eBike that's great for beginners and seasoned riders alike. QuietKat's Ranger eBike was built to explore rugged terrain in uncharted territory, ideal for a camping adventure! The Ranger can steadily and confidently tackle rough terrain using the powerful hub-drive motor and mountain bike style tires for added stability and traction. This eBike is another great choice for camping, Overlanding, fishing, or hunting. The Ranger can easily traverse muddy, wet, sandy, or even snowy conditions and get you to those hard-to-reach locations.
Best For RVers: The Apex Sport
Traveling by RV is a fun lifestyle, but space can be limited. That's why the QuietKat Apex Sport is our top pick for RV campers who need a compact eBike. The design of the Apex Sport eBike allows you to use it as a go-to option in camp. The Apex can handle heavy loads and rough terrain. And, just like our other eBikes, you can easily attach trailers for electric bikes and other accessories.
Carrying your camping gear on an eBike
Camping is all about getting back to basics, away from your creature comforts and the excesses of modern life. But camping still comes with many gear and equipment requirements, so you won't be traveling light, even with the bare necessities!
The average camper needs at least a tent or shelter, sleeping mats and coverings, a first aid kit, food, and of course, water as the absolute minimum to survive. Survivalists may travel light, but most campers will also need cooking equipment, recreational equipment, hunting gear, fishing rods or games, torches and lights, and various other camping items.
To carry all this equipment on an eBike, you have two options. You can haul all the gear on your back or the bike. This method is known as bikepacking, and like its namesake backpacking, it's best suited to those who are comfortable traveling without much gear. If you're traveling very light, you may be able to make do with just bike pannier bags and no backpack.
For anyone else, the easier option is to bring an eBike trailer. Trailers are a great option when traveling as a family because only a few cyclists will need to haul gear. Trailers allow children or lesser abled riders to cycle without the added weight of a heavy backpack or fully-loaded panniers. Naturally, the other obvious advantage of an eBike trailer is that it allows you to carry more gear, making your camping trip more comfortable and convenient.
Camping eBike Accessories
Camping requires a lot of gear, but luckily, you can easily attach travel accessories to QuietKat bikes, such as racks, coolers, and of course, bike panniers to transport all your gear. Here are some of the essential eBike accessories you may need for your next camping trip!
E-Bike cargo trailer
If you're used to camping with a lot of gear, then a trailer will be an essential eBike accessory. Our eBike trailers allow you to tow heavier loads, allowing your electric mountain bike to replace a four-wheeler completely.
The QuietKat Single Wheel Cargo Trailer can pack in large items like tents and stoves or other camping equipment up to 100lbs. This cargo cart is narrow and only as wide as the bike itself, so you can easily take it on narrow trails to remote campsites.
However, if you have some more room on your chosen trail the QuietKat Two-Wheel Cargo Trail is a slightly bigger option. This wider trailer can carry bulkier, heavy, or awkward loads on your electric bike. It's incredibly stable, even when traveling over rough terrain. This model also features a two-way adjustable rack system that can be laid either flat or angled to secure your gear correctly.
Bike lights are an essential safety feature whether you're riding on the road or singletrack. Long camping rides can start early and finish late, so ensure your bikes are equipped with front and rear bike lights. A light like our Explorer 900 Bike Light is ideal as it features both red and white lights for stealth, safety, access, and visibility.
QuietKat bikes are incredibly comfortable, even on uneven terrain. But on a long haul ride with lots of gear, a comfort saddle can come in handy. Our new ergonomic comfort plus saddles feature a high-peak pressure reduction system and innovative shock-absorbing zones. They're also designed with memory foam technology to fit the characteristics of your body.
Bike repair kit
Trust us; no one wants to find themselves miles from civilization without an extra tube and a bike pump! We recommend a fully stocked repair kit for any long haul journeys, which should also include a multi-tool, tire patches, replacement chain links, and a tire lever. This emergency repair kit will allow you to do basic eBike maintenance on the go.
Storage is vital when it comes to planning a camping trip. The right bike racks, bags and storage solutions allow you to pack all your necessary items compactly and efficiently. You will likely want bags even if you also use a rack and trailer. The QuietKat Pannier Bags are waterproof and an ideal accessory for camping. With the right accessories, you can easily transport all your gear to even the most remote campsites.
Other tips for camping with an eBike
Plan your journey
Consider whether you will ride your electric bike all the way from your home to the campsite, or whether you will travel part of the way by car. If you plan to park at the trailhead, you'll need an electric bike rack to transport your eBikes. Our QuietKat Single Bike Rack With Fat Tire Kit By 1Up can transport a single bike and holds up to 150lbs. Bike racks are the simplest and safest way to carry one electric bike on any vehicle.
If you're traveling with a larger pickup truck, you can attach a Quietkat STG Pickup Truck Tailgate Pad, which is perfect for groups. This tailgate pad can carry up to five bikes securely in your pickup truck and protect your tailgate.
If you're riding all the way to the trail or cycle touring, then consider the conditions on public roads. If the streets or highways are high speed, they may not be friendly to cyclists. You should research your route before heading out to make sure there are wide shoulders and that the roads are safe for you to travel on by bike. If you're cycling touring over multiple days or for long distances, be sure you're prepared to recharge your eBike batteries.
Do your research
No matter the season or destination for your camping trip, it pays to do some planning ahead of time. Check out the local weather conditions, park conditions, and campsite closures. Campsite safety can change quickly, especially during fire season. Here are some questions you should answer in advance.
- Are there any facilities?
- Can I make a fire?
- Will I need bear bags or wildlife food storage?
- What are the weather considerations?
- Is there a water source?
Whenever you venture into the wilderness, you should be well informed and prepared. You should carefully prepare to be entirely self-sufficient if necessary and ready to tackle both camping and riding challenges.
Smart packing will say your time, energy, and bike battery. You should bring only what you need to survive and enjoy your camping trip, but nothing more. For one person traveling with the essentials, you can fit your camping gear into two rear pannier bags. But the more equipment you have, the more trailers, panniers, and backpacks you'll need.
Get used to your new eBike
You should get comfortable riding your new eBike before you set off on a big adventure. Before loading your bike up with gear and setting off on a camping trip, it's a good idea to get acquainted with the power and balance of an eBike. If you’re new to electric bikes you should get used to riding on an powered bike in a leisurely setting first before you ride off into the wilderness!
Pack it in, pack it out
'Pack it in, pack it out’ is an essential camping rule and vital to the continued enjoyment of backcountry travel. Remember the mantra "Leave no trace" when you're out camping. Bring only items you're 100% prepared to carry both in and out from your campsite! Luckily an eBike makes this rule easier to follow; even if you're tired on your return trip, you should have no problem hauling your gear on an electric bike.
Be fire safe
Fires can be a real threat to wilderness areas, so campers should always respect local guidelines. Ensure you also follow fire safety guidance. Don’t create a fire during fire ban season and don't leave embers burning in a fire pit under any circumstances.
And the most important final tip - don't forget to pack the s'Mores!
It's time to head out!
Ready to head off on an epic camping trip? Grab your electric bike, and let's go!
Off-road camping and exploring the wilderness on an electric bike offers all the thrills of mountain biking and hiking, but with much less exertion.
Whether you're camping in lush woods, desert canyons, or sandy coastal terrain, a QuietKat electric bike will get you to your campsite - and beyond. Using an electric bike on your next camping trip allows you to venture further to take the path less traveled with ease.