The best bike to use is the one you already own. Don't overthink it. Bike camping is easy. You don't need to go for months at a time. Try just one night! Go 10 miles to your nearest campground or State Park. Use whatever camping gear you have, or borrow a friends.
While not camping, it is also pretty easy when starting out to simply take a backpack of clothes, your credit card and stay in a motel or amazing Vermont Inn. This is dubbed “credit card touring” or "inn hopping."
There are even plenty of people that love to host bicycle tourists through online platforms such as WarmShowers.
Your local bike shop may lead overnight trips such as Old Spokes Home in Burlington. Ask around.
Multi Day Touring and Camping
Once you have tested your legs (and gear) overnight, you can start planning longer trips where you may do more miles and stay multiple nights. Vermont’s fabulous long distance touring routes can be found on our “Routes and Maps” page.
At this point, most people start investing in some gear to make carrying items easier. There are two ways people carry gear for bike camping: a) using racks and hanging pannier bags (traditional touring) or b) using bags that strap to frames, seats and handlebars (bikepacking). SOme people will even use a trailer to haul their gear or to bring along kids or dogs.
For touring and camping you will get plenty of tips and ideas from the Adventure Cycling Association. For local big rides, check out their Green Mountain Loop and Adirondack Loop.
Plenty of bike tour operators have camping options also. They take the hassle out of carrying your gear, they help with route planning but you still get the real bike camping experience.
Traveling With Your Bike
If you plan on traveling with your bike, you can either roll it onto Amtrak, put it on the bus or pack it for flying somewhere. Using the local bus or train to get out of town can make a short trip that much more enjoyable by making it a through route instead of having to find a loop that leaves from your house.
Pic by Greg Maino