A Newbie’s Information to Launching Your First Bikepacking Journey

What occurs if you mix mountaineering and tenting with biking? You get one thing known as bikepacking. It’s precisely what it seems like…a sport that includes placing packs and kit onto bikes and using into an journey. If the primary picture that pops into your thoughts if you hear the phrase ‘bikepacking’ is a bike owner chugging alongside the shoulder, loaded up with 4 panniers, one on all sides of each wheels, you’re forgiven. That’s bike touring. It’s been round for ages and individuals are nonetheless very a lot touring this manner. However in recent times, there’s been an uptick within the variety of folks swapping out panniers for different varieties of baggage, frames and surfaces. If bike touring is the grandfather of motorcycle adventures, then bikepacking is it’s cooler, lighter, grittier offspring. It’s what fastpacking is to backpacking. And it’s right here to remain.

New firms now bursting onto the bikepacking scene are solely turning out better gear to help both the newbie and the hard-core cyclist entry adventures on two wheels. The gear suits onto bikes in a manner that’s smooth, balanced, and light-weight, making it potential for riders to pedal throughout extra than simply pavement. Most bikepackers, whereas they’ll journey roads, desire gravel and grime, and, normally, are choosing mountain bikes over highway bikes.


Journey What Ya Received

At first look, bikepacking would possibly appear to be the form of sport with a steep entry level. A fast Google search or a scroll by Instagram will flip up tons of photographs of tricked-out bikes and complicated wanting setups. However surely, you may go bikepacking on just about any bike. Don’t spend a ton of cash on new gear, together with a set of wheels, till you make a journey or two. Journey what’s parked in your storage and determine what you want and need. Then, if you happen to prefer it, you should buy a body particular to bikepacking and optimize your expertise.

bikepacking 101 intro to bikepacking adventure cycling
Erin McGrady / Genuine Asheville

Pack What Ya Received

Once more, maintain your funding to a minimal when you’re deciding whether or not or not bikepacking is one thing you wish to totally decide to. Should you’ve bought a hydration pack or backpack, use it. Osprey’s Raptor is an efficient possibility however on your first journey, however there’s no must be choosy. “Don’t really feel such as you want a full package to get out on the paths,” says Greg Hardy, proprietor of Rockgeist, a customized bikepacking firm in Asheville, NC. “Seize a number of Voile straps (pictured above) to anchor dry baggage to a rack or handlebars and that’s all it is advisable get began.”

bikepacking 101 intro to bikepacking adventure cycling
Erin McGrady / Genuine Asheville


Should you’re reluctant to take your first bikepacking journey with random gear, we get it. The right gear might be the distinction between an okay journey and a very good one. (And improper gear can generally damage a visit altogether.) Fortunately, you’ve bought choices as increasingly firms across the nation, like Swift Adventure Co.Mountain Bike SF, and Rockgeist, are providing bikepacking leases. It’s a great way to test-drive what you’re contemplating buying, and a low-cost method to see whether or not or not you even like the game.

bikepacking 101 intro to bikepacking adventure cycling
Erin McGrady / Genuine Asheville

Take Your First Journey

Sooner or later, you simply should get in your bike and go. We advocate making the primary journey brief and considerably near dwelling. Ryan Prentiss of Asheville, NC (pictured above) began bike touring in 2012 and transitioned into bikepacking in 2016. He rode from San Francisco to Peru in 2018 and has been bikepacking ever since. His recommendation to new bikepackers? “Don’t attempt to journey too far, too early,” Prentiss says. “Be good to your physique and your physique will adapt to life on a motorbike.” In different phrases, plan a brief trek, get on the market, and repeat. Slowly construct up your mileage and prolong your journeys from lengthy day-rides to weekend adventures and past.

Don’t Pack the Kitchen Sink

The will to organize for something and all the pieces will not be a foul factor. In some conditions, it’s crucial. However in the case of bikepacking, contemplate what’s completely crucial and what’s perhaps not so vital (books, mountaineering boots, digital camera gear). The thought is to pack considerably minimally as a way to journey gentle and quick. Prentiss says his most beneficial bikepacking gear merchandise is his Vargo Bot 700, a titanium pot with a watertight screw-top lid. He makes use of it to boil tea, put together meals, and retailer leftovers. All the pieces you select to carry, you’ll have to hold with you for the long-haul, so select properly.

bikepacking 101 intro to bikepacking adventure cycling
Greg Hardy of Rockgeist Erin McGrady / Genuine Asheville

Make investments Correctly

Able to spend money on some gear? “The primary piece of substances we advocate investing in is a framebag,” Hardy says. “It has nice packing versatility and comfort, carries weight low on the bike for optimum dealing with, and may double as a storage possibility throughout common path using/commuting.” After that, your choices are quite a few. Hardy at the moment has on his bike (pictured above), the Mudlust Customized Framebag, Cache High Tube Bag, Barjam Harness, and a Medic Bag. The fantastic thing about most of those baggage although is that they are often rapidly and simply eliminated. You’re not married to 1 specific setup so you may change your gear primarily based in your subsequent, longer journey.


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