What is Bikepacking?
At its core, bikepacking is the culmination of backpacking and long-distance mountain bike riding. Bikepacking enables you to explore the world similar to multi-day backpacking trips but with the ability to cover more ground. You’ll be riding single-track trails, forest service roads, gravel, and everything in between. All while carrying only what you need.
Its about riding your bike far from civilization exploring deserts, forests, and everything else in between while camping under the stars.
It really isn’t a new idea, people have been loading up their bikes with camping gear and riding off into the sunset since the bike was invented. Bikepacking has become more and more popular as the barrier for entry has gotten much more affordable and gear has gotten much lighter. Allowing those of us who have less than perfect stamina to ride much more comfortably than times past.
Having all the lightest and greatest gear is great, but you don’t need to spend a fortune to get started. Since you’re here and interested in bikepacking, you probably already own much of the gear required to get started.
Start by using what you already own on a quick weekend trip to a local campground or park. By using what you already have and going on a few short trips you will start to discover what kind of gear would work best for you.
Ask any bikepacker what the best bike to use would be and most all of them will say ‘The bike you already own.’ If you have an old mountain bike sitting in the shed, it will most likely be perfectly fine. The most basic bikepacking setups are done by just strapping a few dry bags to the frame of the bike and maybe carrying a small backpack as well. If you don’t have a mountain bike, consider looking at secondhand bikes or you could even borrow one from that friend who has one but hasn’t ridden it for a while.
Having custom-made bags from the likes of Rogue Panda or Dirt Bags Bikepacking are great, but you can probably use what you already own. Load up a backpack, strap a dry bag or two to your bike, and you’re good to go. If you do not already own a minimal setup to get started, checkout this blog post for a complete bikepacking setup you can get for less than $130 here.
For your first few trips are going to be to a local campground or park you only need to carry the bare minimum since you can probably call a friend for help if you need to. All you really need is some sort of shelter, a change of clothes, and a bit of food for your first ride. Doing it this way allows you to figure out what you would like to have for the longer multi day trips that you will inevitably be going on. Later though it would be wise to purchase other miscellaneous items such as a first aid kit, tools, and any spare items you might need.
Share your tips below in the comments section. Cheers and happy pedaling!