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Bikepacking and camping explore off-pavement roads and trails, but choosing between various bikes, depending on your needs, can be challenging.
That said, biking and camping typically go hand in hand, and finding the best bike for camping can create fascinating overnight camping off-road excursions. As a result, the following are some of the best examples of bikes that take the spotlight when camping out.
The best bikes for camping are:
- Sonder Frontier Deore Rigid Mountain Bike
- Trek 520 Touring Bike
- Rockrider ST520 Mountain Bike
- Timberjack XT 29 Mountain Bike
- Surly Disc Trucker Touring Bike
- Canyon Grizl CF SL 8 Gravel Bike
- Diverge Comp Carbon Gravel Bike
- Giramondo Touring Bike
- YT Core 2 Trail Bike
A famous adage goes that the most excellent camping or backpacking bike is one you already have. So if you don't already have an off-road capable steed, or if you're searching for something more customized to the type of terrain you'd like to tackle, this selection stands out. The only thing stopping you is determining which one is most suited to your requirements.
As a result, I spoke with avid bikepackers, touring experts, and dealers and visited sites like Cyclingweekly.com and Bikeradar.com to offer the best results. Thus, I've gathered a diverse selection to ensure that there is something for everyone.
Best Bikes For Camping
There isn't a single type of bike specifically made for camping or bikepacking; some people prefer to use anything from touring cycles to full-suspension rigs on their journeys when bikepacking, while others prefer a standard mountain bike. As a result, finding the best bike for camping sometimes requires balancing your priorities and accepting certain compromises.
So, starting with Sonder Frontier Deore Rigid Cross Country Bike, here's what value these bikes may bring to your next camping excursion, along with their basic specs and pros and cons.
1. Sonder Frontier Deore Rigid Mountain Bike
From gravel-friendly expedition bikes to classic cross-country bikes to slack-out 'all-mountain' variants, Sonder has a wide choice of hardtail mountain bikes.
The Sonder Frontier Deore Rigid, the first bike brand to attain B Corp status, combines carrying capacity efficiency and exceptional value. As an excellent choice for tackling the camping terrains, the Frontier is a hardtail mountain bike that may be used for various activities.
Ride hard at the trailhead, pack it for a midweek bikepacking trip, stow your passport, and continue your journey across the world. Frontier is a versatile off-road explorer with complete rack mounts in the back and various boss mounts on the fork.
This bike shines when you ride it off the beaten path through your favorite camping spots, thanks to Shimano's 12-speed MTB groupset and wide 2.8" WTB Ranger tires.
Small, medium, large, and XL sizes are available for the 2022 Sonder Frontier Deore. Of course, you could enhance the Frontier build components later, but the value here is hard to beat as the first off-road camping or bikepacking bike.
- The NX Eagle drivetrain shifts smoothly
- Excellent crank quality
- Perfect for multi-activity use
- Great value
- On increasingly rugged mountain bike terrain, handling does not feel fully engaged.
2. Trek 520 Touring Bike
The Trek 520 is a popular choice among many bikepackers I interviewed. The Trek CroMoly steel frame has been developed around disc brakes and is equipped with rack and fenders mounting.
Tubeless compatibility is available on the Bontrager Affinity rims, which may be worth installing if you want a speedier commute. However, inner tubes are preferred for long-term travel to prevent the additional problem of sealant drying up. In addition, the 38c H1 hard-case Ultimate tires from Bontrager are puncture resistant.
Shimano components and Sora shifters make up the powertrain. The triple crankset has 23, 36, or 48 tooth chainrings, and the cassette is 11 to 36, so you'll have plenty of gears as the route climbs. After stopping, TRP Spyre C 2.0 mechanical disc mechanical discs seem.
However, like with the Ridgeback Voyage, the jumps between gears are a little large, with only nine sprockets on the cassette. If this is a problem for you, and you don't utilize all of the gears, you might install a narrower range cassette for fewer jumps.
You can decrease the harshness of uneven roads with the Trek 520 steel springy quality frame, making lengthy rides more comfortable for your hands and knees.
The wheel axles are QR, just like the Genesis Tour de Fer 30, which makes aligning the rotor and caliper a little more complex than with a thru-axle arrangement. However, in size 57, the entire weight is 31.4 lbs, which is less than some of the more typical alternatives.
Trek is well-known for producing bikes ideal for commuting to work, thanks to its reputation for quality and variety of bicycles. In addition, many of their bicycles have installed racks, mudguards, fenders, and lighting accessories.
- It features a set of wide tires.
- Mudguards and panniers are included.
- It has a good range of gears.
- It is built to last long.
- Large jumps when shifting gears
- Keeping the discs from rubbing on the QR axle may be difficult.
3. Decathlon Rockrider ST520 Mountain Bike
The Rockrider ST520 is ideal for individuals looking for a high-quality hardtail mountain bike for camping that invites basic off-road exploring. The mountain bike has a lightweight aluminum frame and 27.5-inch wheels, and it changes through 24 gears rapidly to get you up and over any terrain around your favorite campsite.
Mechanical disc brakes provide smooth braking on long or steep descents, and the relaxed design makes handling simple. Your ride will be smoothed out with a front suspension fork with up to 80mm of travel and 2.0-inch tires.
A more upright riding position and an ergonomic saddle enhance the comfort. In addition, the bike is available in four distinct sizes to accommodate riders ranging in height from 4'11" to 6'5".
Decathlon, a global sports retailer, easily outperforms most other retailers in terms of pricing since they sell only their own brands and are vertically integrated, which means they take 100 percent capacity or control most of their factories.
On the Decathlon website, most reviewers were impressed with the mountain bike's features for the price, with a high customer review rating of 4.2/5 stars. Overall, the bike is excellent value for money and exceeds my expectations in terms of quality.
In addition, the frame, stem, and handlebars are covered by a lifetime warranty from Decathlon, so you can buy them with no regrets.
- Excellent value and best bang for your buck
- Incredibly robust
- The gears offer smooth shifting
- Comfortable front suspension fork.
- The tires are not very puncture resistant
- The bike is slightly heavier
4. Salsa Timberjack XT 29 Mountain Bike
Salsa Cycles, located in Minnesota, is best known for its bikepacking, touring, and gravel-oriented designs. Still, they've recently made significant progress in mountain biking, which many people find thrilling in their camping experience.
Their Timberjack XT 29 hardtail is a prime example of its well-thought-out spec package and versatile design. For rough and rooty descents, the bike's 2.6" tires and highly adjustable 5.1-inch RockShox 35 Gold RL fork give plenty of cushioning by hardtail standards.
And the loose shape and quick-rolling tires inspire tricks like exploding off trailside lips and maneuvering down the trail. But, on the other hand, the Salsa has a hint of camping that I really appreciate. There aren't many other hardtails with as many mounting options for gear as the Timberjack.
Last year, Salsa redesigned the Timberjack, adding a slacker head tube (66.4° on all sizes) and a wide variety of build kits, including more significant wheel dimensions (27.5-inch+), to the mix. As a result, the 29er XT model has superior components, including Shimano's XT drivetrain, at a fair price.
In addition, the design allows for quick and dependable shifting—it even smooths out moves that might usually clunk into place on an incline—and it has a wide range of 12 speeds. This provides the Timberjack with many options for dragging you up long climbs and through rough terrain.
However, the bike's bulky structure and wide tires prevent it from being as agile and quick as a more cross-country-oriented design found with Sonder Frontier. The Timberjack, on the other hand, is a good pick for a competent and well-rounded hardtail that is made to last.
- It is an excellent all-terrain play and adventure bike
- It is a durable performer
- Excellent brake control
- The bike feels dynamic thanks to Maxxis Minion DHF and Rekon tires
- The robust construction adds more weight to the bike
- Not the most rapid climber
- The bike's fork is the weakest component
5. Surly Disc Trucker Touring Bike
The newly redesigned Disc Trucker gives adaptability and dependability on the daily commute or on a transcontinental journey if you're looking for a bike that can go the extra mile during those camping days that encourage exploration.
The frame has a low bottom bracket and long chainstays for comfort and stability when laden down, and the fork blade three-pack attachments let you attach and tote even more gear. It's built to go the distance, with greater stack height, enhanced standover clearance, and plenty of room for bigger tires and fenders.
The Disc Trucker has been updated with a reduced seat tube and slightly slanted top tube for greater standover clearance, as well as an increased stack height for a more relaxed riding position, all made from Surly's patented, touring-compliant 'Natch tube sets.
Finally, shorter chainstays increase cornering stiffness and agility, while 12mm thru-axles give more rigidity and stability when fully loaded.
According to touring experts, the Disc Trucker was introduced in 2012 and is widely regarded as one of the best-in-class touring bicycles available today. In addition, it also boasts updated geo and current component compatibility, as well as various mounting choices, making it great for everyday journeys and months-long vanishing acts.
The Disc Trucker can mount front, and rear bags, full-coverage fenders, two water bottles, a spare spoke, and even a pump peg, thanks to various braze-on mounts. However, because it does not come with this equipment, you will have to consider including the gear in the price, giving it slightly less value than some of the other touring bikes on the list.
- The bike is simple to maintain
- Excels for a lengthy exploration
- It has bosses for mounting a variety of gear
- The bike is built with durable components
- Thru-axles to improve disc alignment
- It has modest specs.
- You will have to purchase extra bikepacking components separately.
6. Canyon Grizl CF SL 8 Gravel Bike
The Grizl CF SL 8 is Canyon's second gravel bike, and it's all about packing up and heading out into the woods.
The Grizl's innovative tube wall profile and composite construction keep the weight down while preserving some ruggedness in crucial areas of the frame, resulting in a smooth and surefooted ride that nevertheless feels lively when paired with some Schwalbe massive volume tires.
The Grizl, unlike its relative, the Grail, has many more frame attachments, including three on each side of the fork, for unique bikepacking bags and a traditional handlebar explicitly stating the bike's purpose: let's go camping!
Furthermore, this is a fantastic bike for bikepacking, as it rides well over rugged terrain due to its carbon frame and provides outstanding value for money – although it is one of the pricier options on the list.
However, since it includes a complete hydraulic Shimano GRX 800-series groupset, tubeless-ready DT Swiss G100 wheels, and a Fizik Argo Terra X5 seat, it features an impressive list of specs. And compared to its competitors, it may be heavier in price, but it is the lightest option in terms of weight, weighing in only at 23.3lbs.
Finally, the Grizl comes in a wide range of sizes, from S to XXL, giving it a versatile alternative for most individuals.
- Large clearance for tires
- A wide selection of mounts is available.
- Great wheels and groupset
- Smoothly glides over bumps
- High-quality, long-lasting components
- The carbon frame keeps the bike light
- With heavy gear, the gearing is a little stiff.
7. Specialized Diverge Comp Carbon Gravel Bike
The Specialized Diverge Comp Carbon is a bike that can handle anything from full-fledged touring to ultra-light dirt racing. With its Shimano GRX 810-level groupset, solid alloy wheels, and quality finishing kit, the Diverge Comp Carbon offers the most pleasing mix of performance and affordability among the 2021 Diverge models.
The Future Shock 2.0 suspension system, which is incredibly effective yet wonderfully simple, is the show-stopper. On challenging terrain, this bike is a blast to ride, with a mainly controlled ride attitude at high speeds and on steep trails.
The geometry of the Diverge can be compared to that of a road version of a current trail bike. It takes corners and slides on dirt with abandon yet maintains enough stiffness to please your inner racer. Finally, it's so amazing right out of the box that I'd only change the tires.
The default tire choice compromises off-road performance slightly, and I'd switch them out for something with a little more volume if I were tackling more extreme terrain.
- A perfect blend of on-road and off-road performance
- Exceptional handling
- Stiffness and comfort are combined in the carbon frame.
- The tires can jeopardize the bike's off-road capability.
8. Masi Giramondo Touring Bike
The Masi Giramondo is where camping and touring touch base. The Giramondo is designed for extended gravel excursions where singletrack is just as crucial as forest roads.
It has an old-school mountain bike appearance, right down to the WTB Mountain Drop Bars, yet it has a touring geometry, mechanical disc brakes, and enough tire clearance for 29x2.0" tires (although we like the stock 27.5x2.1" shoes).
Masi adventure bikes allow you to ride any way you want, whether it's the bike path to work or that singletrack ribbon meandering through the woods. Although bar-end shifters are polarizing (you either love them or despise them), their proven performance on old touring rigs cannot be denied.
There are mounting slots for racks, fenders, and three bottles, so you'll have plenty of storage choices for multi-day adventures in the middle of nowhere.
The freedom to meander and explore your world is at the heart of adventure riding and camping. Masi adventure bikes allow you to go on your ideal journey: the Great Divide Mountain Bike Route, a self-supported camping tour of South America's west coast, or just a weekend trip to the shore.
- Durable and comfortable for long journeys.
- It boasts excellent bar-end shifters that are both reliable and simple to tune.
- Versatile all-terrain bike
- The bike is heavier than most of its competitors
- Shorter head tube
9. YT Jeffsy Core 2 Trail Bike
The YT Core 2 is a fun and powerful bike for those adventurous camping days. YT Industries has developed its reputation on giving big-time value with features that frequently equal premium brands for a fraction of the price of brands like Yeti or Santa Cruz – which are easily over $6,000.
The Jeffsy Core 2 is their famed mountain and all-trail bike. The Core 2 29 basic model is a steal: for hundreds less than its competitors, you get superior Fox suspension front and back, a dropper post, DT Swiss wheelset, and top-performing Maxxis Minion tires.
In a sea of big-wheeled All-Mountain bikes, the 27,5 aficionado has few options. The travel is 160mm. The Jeffsy Core 2 is a bike that sticks out among the others.
The metal frame is highly detail-oriented, which is easily noticeable. As a result, all crucial areas have high-quality protective rubbers to keep your bike quiet and safe from chain slaps, pebbles, and tiny critters prevalent in most camping terrains.
The YT does not disappoint regarding specifications. It should be able to withstand some severe riding thanks to the DT Swiss (M1900 series) wheelset. In addition, the Exo casing Maxxis Minion DHRII series tires ensure that it latches onto the terrain when needed.
One of the few drawbacks is that the bike may not always be available in the best colors, and the Core 2 may not always be accessible from the manufacturer. The YT, on the other hand, is an appealing alternative and provides excellent value for those who prefer conserving money in exchange for superior quality.
- Great price for spec and capabilities
- Excellent all-terrain mountain bike
- It has a protected frame that includes a virtual four-link suspension system.
- Handles exceptionally well
- Occasional limited inventory or color.
- Heavier than most bikes