How To Lock Your Mountain Bike While Camping

Camping is great, leaving your expensive mountain bike at the campsite and having it stolen is not great. Let’s explore how to lock your bike when camping.

I’ve bought enough mountain bikes over the years to know that whatever model you have, you’ve spent a fair bit of money on it.

So, it’s only fitting that you know how to keep your mountain bike safe from theft when you take it camping with you.

You’ll probably already have a safe place to store your mountain bike whilst you’re at home, but when you get out there into the wilderness it can be difficult to think of safe ways to store them.

But that’s where I come in. Keep reading to hear some tips and tricks about how to lock your mountain bike while camping!

A Note On Cable Locks

The first thing you’re going to need to keep your bike safe is a cable lock, but you probably know that already. The problem you’re probably having is thinking of secure places to lock your bike too, right?

But before we jump into that, I just want to remind you to never use a cable lock around the wheels of your bike.

So often I see people locking up their mountain bike using a cable lock by attaching it to something at the wheel. It’s so easy for bike thieves to come along and detach your wheel and take your bike anyway.

So for all of these methods, make sure you secure your cable lock at your bikes frame or seat post – it makes it far more difficult for thieves to get at your bike quickly.

What Should I Secure My Bike To?

Now that we’ve got that out of the way, I’ll take you through some of the more secure areas to leave your mountain bike while camping.

All of these methods are tried and tested by yours truly, so I can say with confidence that they are a reliable and safe way to lock your mountain bike.

Mature Trees

The key word here is mature. Look for a tree that’s strong enough to watch over your expensive mountain bike. The last thing you want to do is attach it to a young tree and come back to find that its thin trunk has been hacked at and your bike is missing.

The key to deterring any thief is making your valuable items more effort than it’s worth to get at. There is no guaranteed way to stop thieves because they are desperate for your goods so they can sell them to somebody else.

But if you make it as difficult as you can, then they will probably move on and try something that’s a little easier for them to get their hands on.

In the past, I considered just leaving my bikes in the Yakima Bike Pad, but in hindsight, that leaves too many openings to have it stolen as well.

All you have to do for this method is find a mature tree with a thick trunk and then use your cable lock to secure your bike to it. If you are doing this method make sure you don’t damage the tree in any way.

It might seem like I’m picking, but if the tree is watching over your bike for you while you sleep or hike or whatever, then the least you can do is leave it in the same condition you found it in. Look after nature, and nature will look after you!

Vehicle Frame/Bike Rack

If it’s good enough to keep your bike safe on your trip to your campsite, then it’s good enough to lock your bike to when your away!

I’ll assume you’re not planning on leaving your vehicle in a completely unsafe area with nobody around, so if it’s safe enough for your car or truck, it ought to be safe enough for your bike too.

Just make sure that your bike rack isn’t able to be removed at the hitch. If it is, you’ll need a hitch lock to prevent a thief from removing the bike rack and taking it away with them along with your new mountain bike.

I’ve heard horror stories of people not checking this out beforehand and then being surprised when they come back to no bike rack or bike!

Inside Your Tent

This final one isn’t going to work for everybody, but it certainly has worked for me in the past when I’ve taken a larger tent along with me.

I’ve also done a little research online to make sure I wasn’t just being crazy by doing this, but no, plenty of other people leave their bike inside their tents too. So long as your tent is secure, then so will your bike!

It goes without saying that you need a pretty large tent for this because while you might be able to fit your bike inside a smaller tent when you’re not there, you’re going to struggle when it comes time to sleep at night and your cuddling up next to your mountain bike.

When I’ve used this in the past it’s been with larger tents with a porch area. This extra space is ideal for storing bikes and other larger bits of equipment. Then just simply lock up your tent using whichever method you usually use and you’re good.

Of course, I wouldn’t do this method if I were camping in a slightly shadier area. It’s possible for somebody to come along and cut your tent open and steal your bike from inside, and any insurance you have on your bike won’t cover the cost because they usually require you to lock it to a stationary object – something a tent is not.

But if you’re in a more rural location and you’re not worried about anybody coming nearby to steal from you, then this method has worked well for me in the past! Like everything I’ve suggested here, just use your common sense and you’ll be fine!

Take-Home Message

However you choose to lock your mountain bike while camping, the best advice I can give you is to not worry about it. If you’ve done all you can to prevent thieves from getting at your bike, then there’s nothing more you can do. Camping is a time for relaxing, not worrying.

Make sure your bike is secure, be sensible, and keep your wits about you and I see no reason why you should experience the inconvenience of having your bike stolen.

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