Bipin Rawat was born in Pauri, modern-day Uttarakhand, on 16 March 1958, into a Hindu family. His family had been serving in the Indian Army for multiple generations. His father Laxman Singh Rawat was from Sainj village of the Pauri Garhwal district and rose to the rank of Lieutenant-General. His mother was from the Uttarkashi district and was the daughter of Kishan Singh Parmar, the ex-Member of the Legislative Assembly (MLA) from Uttarkashi. Rawat attended Cambrian Hall School in Dehradun and the St. Edward's School, Shimla. He then joined the National Defence Academy, Khadakwasla, and the Indian Military Academy, Dehradun, where he was awarded the 'Sword of Honour'. He was also a graduate of the Defence Services Staff College (DSSC), Wellington, and the Higher Command Course at the United States Army Command and General Staff College at Fort Leavenworth, Kansas. From his tenure at the DSSC, he obtained an MPhil degree in Defence Studies as well as a diploma in Management and Computer Studies from the University of Madras. In 2011, he was awarded an honorary doctorate by CCS University, Meerut for his research on military media strategic studies.
In 1985, Rawat married Madhulika Rawat. A descendant of an erstwhile princely family, she was the daughter of Kunwar Mrigendra Singh, sometime Riyasatdar of the pargana of Sohagpur Riyasat in Shahdol district, and an Indian National Congress MLA from the district in 1967 and 1972. The couple had two daughters, Kritika and Tarini.
On 8 December 2021, Rawat, his wife, and other senior army officers were amongst 10 passengers and 4 crew members aboard an Indian Air Force Mil Mi-17 helicopter that was on its way from the Sulur Airforce base to the Defence Services Staff College (DSSC), Wellington, where Rawat was to deliver a lecture. The helicopter crashed in Coonoor, Tamil Nadu, approximately 10 kilometers (6.2 mi) from its destination.