bike-campingGlamping, a camping experience with more of the comforts of home, is much in the news these days. However, some camping purists feel that the best outdoor experiences come from the opposite approach, which is cutting back to the basics. For this, all you need is a sturdy bicycle and a few essentials.

Ann Wessel of the St. Cloud Times interviewed Tony Ross, an enthusiast of bike camping, who recommends taking a lightweight backpacking tent, sleeping bag, hatchet, folding saw, food and water. He advises staying at a state park for campers who want the convenience of available firewood and water, but he advocates staying at a state forest for those who prefer simplicity and rustic conditions.

Ross says that for the sake of being prepared, try out your camping-related endeavors ahead of time. For example, if you plan to cook a meal over a camp stove, try it at home first.

In addition, practice riding your bike that is carrying the extra weight of your camping gear. Learn to balance the bike by distributing the added weight evenly and putting the heaviest items nearest the ground.

The bike camping experience may not be glamorous, but it definitely has its rewards. A stay in the poshest hotel cannot compare to a trip in the great outdoors where you can breathe in clean air and gaze at a panorama of starry hosts spread across the black velvet of the night sky. Also, a gourmet meal at a fancy restaurant can’t hold a candle to the tantalizing aroma and delicious taste of food cooked over a campfire.