How I bikepacked in winter with a toddler!

Kell has shared her learnings and experience with us, how she bikepacks in winter with her toddler, so you can more confidently embark on a family bikepacking trip.

In 2024, Kell and her son Atlas, along with two other mums and their kids embarked on their second winter bikepacking trip, creating the film Kids and Coastlines.

The film is a joyful tale of the families winter bikepacking adventures, inspiring other families to load up their kids and their bikes and head for a winter (or summer) bike pack.

These tips will be useful for all families, and you don't have to be thinking about a chilly, winter bike ride- starting bikepacking with your family in summer might be a more comfortable place to start!

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About Kell and Atlas

I'm Kell, I'm a mountain biker who loves gravel biking, and bikepacking. I've been riding off-road since 2015. My most memorable moments on a bike usually involve being on a wonderful descent somewhere or on a bike loaded up with my camping gear. 

I'm a mother and work for komoot;  an app that helps you find, plan and share adventures. 

My son, Atlas is 3 and a half years old. He loves sitting in his trailer and being towed along or being more involved on his front bike seat or on his own woom balance bike beside or shooting off in front of me (which is terrifying).

We love being outdoors, whether it's on or off the bike and have a shared passion for getting outside. 

Our definition of bikepacking is a trip outside on a bike, carrying our things for one overnight or more. That is probably our current favourite activity (as long as we pack the toy trucks!).

We also love rides out for hot chocolate, play parks or pump tracks.

mum and son cycle along a sea side prom
8 joyful cyclists in colorful coats enjoying a bike ride

About our winter bikepacking trip

After being introduced to RouteYC, a route developed around the Yorkshire Coast, through a partnership at work, I was told that parts could be considered accessible. So I pitched the idea to two friends, Vicky and Phoebe, that we go and try it out.

With our kids in tow, ranging from 1-18, we planned to tackle the Cinder Track from Scarborough to Whitby, a 33km trail following an old railway line.

Our Route YC taster along the Cinder Track was the second bikepacking trip we have done in the winter months. Our film from our first winter bikepack in Norfolk, along for the ride, is a brilliant memory of our first trip.  

We planned to stay in hotels and Airbnbs, which meant we didn't have to think about packing our sleeping system. This surprisingly doesn't make the packing list much smaller, it just means there are fewer logistics!

Kids and Coastlines, the film

What we took with us for our winter bikepacking trip

I love planning and packing what I’m going to take for me and Atlas on a bikepacking trip. We tackled this route in January, so warm clothing was essential. 

I split our packing into categories, including riding kit, sleeping kit, wet/cold weather kit, entertainment and spares.

Riding clothing

For Atlas and myself we take plenty of layers as well as spares!

Atlas has really good outdoor winter clothing which I think is one of the best investments I've made. 

He wears thermal wellies, and we take a spare pair of shoes and woolly slippers to warm his feet up quickly if they get cold. The slippers are great for in the trailer.

mum getting her child dressed for a winter bike ride, putting his thermal boots on.

Sleeping kit

As we were staying inside on this trip we didnt need to pack sleeping bags, roll mats or a tent. 

We packed Pjs, pull-ups and plenty of pants!

We also bought a book to read at bedtime to keep our usual routines.

mum reading a bedtime story about cycling to her son by tourchlight

Wet and cold weather kit

For winter riding Atlas wears a Didriksons snowsuit and thermals, the snowsuit extends in size which is really cool and means it'll last a little longer. 

All in one waterproofs are great for when it gets wet, as well as thermal wellies and an umbrella!

To keep Atlas warm in the trailer we use a sleeping bag to wrap around him, put his slippers on and have spare dry gloves and hat.

Cycle Sprog have lots of tips for keeping kids warm on a bike seat, cargo bike or in a trailer, including some budget-friendly and second-hand options.

little boy on a winter bike ride, wearing a warm jacket, black helmet and reflective jacket


We try to keep our riding time broken up with lots of stops and things to look at to keep Atlas enjoying himself, but I also provide him with some in trailer entertainment of trucks, stickers and a kids' tablet loaded with his favourite programs. 

For a seaside bikepack, a bucket and spade for beach stops were also essential! 

Our top tip is to get your child a microwavable teddy to keep them warm and happy in the trailer too- Atlas loves his lion!

boy holds up his lion teddy in front of his mums bike and burley trailer


1 million. 

But honestly, one more than what we'd use on an average day.

I always include shops in our routes, so at some point we will be able to restock if necessary. I think some of the anxiety that comes with these kinds of trips for me can be the packing and worry of not packing enough. So I try to be a little strict.

We need one outfit a day, and one spare. Otherwise I'd pack the entire wardrobe!

boy playing in the sand on a winter bike ride

Spares and repairs

We always take loads of snacks with us, both for Atlas as well as me, and plenty to share too!

We'll take tools and spare innertubes for both my bike and the trailer.

snack bar on a bike ride
a layout of all of the kit Kell takes for bikepacking with her toddler, including nappies, warm layers, snacks and helmets.
Kell's bikepacking set up, her Cotic MTB and Burley trailer

Carrying Atlas

We use a Macride front seat and Burley encore x double trailer. We chose this trailer because of the suspension and amazing amount of storage space.

With the Macride seat, I love having the option of Atlas riding right with me. We chat, see things together and have really special moments together on the bike.

He has some Kids Ride Shotgun handlebars, which I really recommend as an accessory. 

Atlas loves sitting up front on the bike, but when he gets tired I like him to be comfortable and able to nap, so I'll encourage him to go into the trailer. 

My biggest fear is having a bad experience on the bike. So if I have the trailer as backup, I'm comfortable that we can prevent some unnecessary upsets. 

little boy sitting in a burley trailer in the sun
a little boy is playing with a toy car, driving over his mums bike,

Carrying all of your kit

I try and get Atlas involved as much as possible when we are packing for a trip. I love him to have some ownership and an idea of what we are taking with us. He'll pick his clothes with lots of support from me and the toys he'd like to take. 

Atlas has a little rucksack that he puts his cars and trucks in. 

If we are going to the seaside, I encourage him to put the bucket and spade in the trailer and get him excited  for playing in the sand.

I tend to put my clothing and the tent and sleeping kit on my bike in bikepacking bags. This evens out the weight between different bags so that I'm not just shoving it all in the trailer and towing it all from behind.

I make sure all of our snacks are easily accessible and not buried at the bottom of a bag!

My frame bag carries bike tools, pump and a battery pack, which are my most frequently used heavy items.

The trailer will have Atlas' clothing, toys, entertainment and sleeping bag to keep him warm.


What bit of kit do you never leave the house for a bikepack without?

Tools! Spare tubes/tube repairs kit/lights/hi Vis vests 

Atlas' woom kids helmet is the best helmet we've come across for sitting in the trailer. It has a flat back, so he's not forced forward. 

We have a couple of glove options for Atlas, his favourite for autumn/spring/summer have been the Woom TENS bike gloves. He loves the pictures on the palms of them. 

For winter riding we invested in some good quality mittens and Kids Ride Shotgun pogies.

How has your packing and kit you take changed over time with experience and Atlas growing?

I’ve definitely had to put more things for entertainment in the trailer for him. When he was a baby he was just happy looking at the view and watching the world go by. For 1-2 he needed something to keep him settled, which was the tablet and his trucks. Now he only really uses the trailer for sleeping and rest, so his tablet, snacks and a blanket do the trick.

What has been the most annoying thing you’ve forgotten to pack?

Spare inner tubes for the trailer wheels! I naively didn't even consider carrying these. And we forgot baby wipes on our first trip when Atlas was 6 months old, which wasn't ideal.

What was your key learning from your Kids and Coastlines trip? 

You can never have too many snacks!

We also learnt that for a bikepacking trip you have to ride in a group that you feel comfortable with and can be open with. This means you can work together to support and encourage each other and make changes to the original plan and cut things short if needed.

Kell's top tips for other families looking to get into bikepacking

I used to think that a bikepacking trip or bike ride looked a certain way and had to achieve certain things to fulfil criteria I'd made up in my head or interpreted from others. But actually, I got it wrong. 

Adventure for Atlas and me is just getting out the door. 

So, learning our definition and rhythm when we are out riding has been the biggest lesson and my advice for you.

We replan, take detours on the fly to remain happy and safe! That is our priority. I'd encourage you to plan trips that make you excited, rather than feeling the pressure to do what you see other families doing. 

The route


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