Bikepacking is the backpacking of biking. As a substitute of using on pavement as in conventional cycle touring, you experience on dust roads and trails. Like backpackers, bikepackers carry all the things they should tough it within the backcountry for a number of days (or weeks or months).

I’m a thru-hiker first (PCT ’18, AT ’19), however I simply completed up my first bikepacking tour, a experience from San Francisco to Mexico Metropolis through The Baja Divide and a unfastened approximation of the Trans-Mexico Bikepacking Route (Norte). I discovered that this sort of endurance-adventure feat is similar to thru-hiking in some ways, like the automated camaraderie along with your fellow vacationers, the day-to-day schedule, and the gear.

Can you employ your backpacking gear for bikepacking?

Should you’re contemplating a backcountry bike journey and already personal backpacking gear, it is possible for you to to make use of a number of your current package on a bikepacking tour. You’ve in all probability already damaged the financial institution on a motorcycle, so why not avoid wasting cash to your journey by repurposing gear? For these objects you do have to buy, you’ll be able to flip to acquainted buddies like REI—or, like with backpacking gear, you’ll find and help cottage gear firms.

As a bonus, weight is much less of a priority on the planet of bikepacking than it’s in backpacking. Your bike is carrying the load for you, and mechanical benefit is your pal. I introduced some luxurious objects on my bikepacking tour that I don’t sometimes carry backpacking, like a stargazing information, a swimsuit, and sandals. Likewise, if in case you have older gear mendacity round that’s too heavy to your thru-hiking package, don’t rule it out to your bikepacking setup.

There are many assets on the market that element bikepacking gear, however it is a good place to begin with the fundamentals. On this article, we’ll talk about which items of backpacking gear you’ll be able to hold to your bikepacking setup and which objects you must swap. Whereas studying, it’s possible you’ll notice you’re already nicely in your method to an entire touring setup.

backpacking gear for bikepacking

My setup

Pack — Swap for Devoted Bikepacking Baggage

 Your pack type would be the key distinction between your bikepacking and backpacking gear. As a substitute of the one trusty pack that you just carry in your physique (two, should you’re a fanny pack consumer like me), you’re going to outfit your bike with luggage on luggage on luggage.

Chances are you’ll be considering, why can’t I simply put on my backpack whereas using a motorcycle? You’ll be able to. However it might be fairly uncomfortable after some time.

Pannier and Rack: Most folk on a street tour use a easy rack and pannier system. Should you commute round city on a motorcycle, you may have already got this setup. For a tour on gravel or mellow dust roads, this technique will serve you nicely. In case your route of alternative will make for a bumpy experience, ditch the panniers for baggage which can be extra tightly secured to the bike to stop jostling your wares. 

Entrance and Body Bag: Most bikepackers have a entrance bag, a body bag, and a saddle bag. They’re typically made from X-Pac, identical to many of the common thru-hiking packs. The entrance bag sits on the entrance of your handlebars, and it tends to have a number of area to supply. Nonetheless, you’ll want to hold your entrance bag fairly mild so your bike isn’t pulled ahead by the load (which might pull you over the handlebars should you hit a bump the unsuitable method).

You must attempt to hold most of your weight within the body bag, which straps into the triangular part within the heart of your bike body. It’s sort of an ungainly form, however you’ll be able to match extra in there than you suppose should you pack neatly.

Tube and Feed Baggage: Lastly, you’ll in all probability need a prime tube bag and a feed bag or two. These make up your “cock pit,” the place you’ll be able to hold stuff you need entry to simply and steadily, like snacks, earbuds, sunscreen, chapstick, your cellphone, and so on. It’s the fanny pack of bikepacking. You’ll be able to open these up whereas using for max effectivity.

Saddle Bag: The saddle bag suits beneath your saddle. My saddle bag is a compression sack that extends behind the saddle fairly a bit. I like to recommend this technique, as it’s a good method to carry giant however compressible gear objects. I match my quilt, booties, bag liner, sleep garments, and puffy jacket in my saddle bag. You may additionally retailer your tent right here.

Tent — (Perhaps) Maintain

Contemplate that you just received’t be bringing trekking poles on this journey. In case you have a trekking pole tent, examine to see if the producer sells poles to hold of their stead. These are sometimes cheap and might make your trusty backpacking tent extra versatile. If you have already got designated tent poles, nice! Attempt to match them in your body bag. In the event that they don’t match there or in your entrance bag, you’ll be able to affix them to the highest or backside of your entrance bag.

There are bikepacking-specific tents obtainable for buy. Typically, these are made to affix simply to the entrance of your bike. Some actually have a bike-sized vestibule so you’ll be able to retailer your bike lined subsequent to you whilst you sleep. Are they price it? I say no; save your self $500+ and keep on with the tent you already personal.

Bikepacking tents are typically fairly a bit heavier, and I discovered that it was straightforward sufficient to retailer the tent I already had in my saddle bag. I most well-liked having my entrance bag stuffed with day-use objects and saved simply accessible. As for the bike-sized vestibule, I didn’t miss it. I sometimes leaned my bike towards a tree or cactus if obtainable and locked up if I used to be tenting in or close to a city.

backpacking gear for bikepacking

A typical morning in camp

Sleeping Bag/Quilt — Maintain

No matter quilt or sleeping bag you at the moment love for backpacking will deal with you nicely on a motorcycle experience. Gentle, compressible, and comfortable is the perfect.

READ NEXT – Largest Similarities (and Variations) Between Backpacking and Bikepacking

Sleeping Pad — Maintain

With regards to sleeping pad storage, you’ll nonetheless be confronted with the age-old query: inflatable or foam? Should you rock an inflatable pad, you’ll be able to roll it up and chuck it in a bag. Should you want a foam pad, you’ll doubtless wish to retailer it on prime of the saddle bag behind you. It should hold you slightly extra aerodynamic than having it up entrance, and also you received’t should take away it to entry something in a bag. Simply bear in mind to maintain the accordion folds dealing with ahead so that you don’t unintentionally create a sail. 

Cooking/Water Filtration/Toiletries/Electronics/And so on. — Maintain (With Modifications)

Add a motorcycle restore package: Nearly your whole backpacking gear in these classes could be repurposed for a bikepacking tour, however you have to so as to add a bicycle restore package. Your package ought to include lube, grease, a sequence rag, some restore instruments (like tire levers, a multitool, and a tire pump), and a few alternative components (like spokes, chain hyperlinks, and brake pads).

Bicycle upkeep was my largest hurdle within the shift from thru-hiking to bikepacking. Should you aren’t already well-versed in bicycle upkeep, you have to to do a deep dive earlier than heading backcountry along with your bike. Nobody needs to stroll their bike for miles!

You may additionally go for extra of a front-country tour to kick off your new biking passion. Staying in or close to the entrance nation means staying near bicycle outlets, or a minimum of near a street the place you’ll be able to hitchhike to a bicycle store.

Add entrance and hind lights: With regards to electronics, simply add entrance and rear bike lights to your package. You will get rechargeable ones which you could cost along with your energy financial institution utilizing the identical cords you employ to cost your different electronics. You’ll in all probability nonetheless wish to deliver your headlamp to get camp chores performed at nighttime.

Additionally, should you carry a GPS/private locator beacon, make sure that it’s securely affixed to your bike. Mine fell off my bike on the second day of my journey, and I didn’t discover for 20 miles. I didn’t have sufficient meals and water to return for it. Study from my errors! Private locator beacons include a carabiner for a purpose—and bear in mind, weight simply doesn’t matter as a lot if you end up on a bicycle.

hiker gives peace sign while eating pasta with a spork on a foam pad in the dark. headlamp is an example of backpacking gear that works for bikepacking

Seems identical to I’m thru-hiking, proper?

Clothes/Equipment —Maintain (With Modifications)

With regards to clothes, your backpacking wardrobe will serve you nicely with some slight modifications. 

Excessive-Vis Objects: It’s a good suggestion to have some fluorescent colours and reflective tape in your individual to extend your visibility, particularly when using close to vehicles. I opted to hold a development vest that I threw on each time I needed to experience on a street shared with automobiles. Should you hike throughout looking season, it’s possible you’ll have already got some high-vis clothes that may work nicely on a motorcycle.

Excessive-visibility vests had been a should on Freeway 1.

Shorts: With regards to shorts, no matter you want for mountaineering may also work for biking. Some people want spandex or lycra, and a few wish to have padding on the seat. I personally skipped the padding however did go for spandex to stop chafing attributable to baggier shorts. Should you like carrying pants, remember that unfastened material can get caught in your drivetrain. Contemplate getting some joggers or a easy elastic or velcro band to safe your pant leg on the drivetrain aspect.

Sports activities Bras: Those that put on sports activities bras may wish to improve to one thing slightly extra compressive as bikepacking is a higher-impact exercise than backpacking. You may additionally wish to decide up some bike gloves. Bike gloves with padded palms saved my arms from numbness attributable to fixed vibration. Additionally they doubled as solar safety.

Footwear: There are particular sneakers obtainable which can be suitable with clipless pedals, however that is moving into the weeds a bit. Many bikepackers simply put on path runners. I wore the identical path runners I put on for backpacking, they usually labored nicely for me.

They actually got here in helpful for the numerous hike-a-bike sections I got here throughout on my journey. That is when the terrain is so rocky and/or steep it’s unrideable.

Helmet: Lastly, don’t overlook your helmet! That is your most vital piece of drugs, so don’t skimp. Virginia Tech has an incredible useful resource to help in deciding what helmet is best for you.

Get Out There!

Moving into a brand new passion typically feels overwhelming. There’s a lot to be taught by way of tradition, jargon, routes, and kit. Hopefully, I’ve satisfied you that moving into bikepacking doesn’t should be so daunting; assuming you’re coming from backpacking, you have already got many of the instruments in your software package.

So many points of those two actions are the identical: backcountry abilities, navigation, normal dirtbaggery, and—sure—gear. Should you’re an skilled backpacker, you’re in all probability able to make the leap. So sufficient display time—get on the market!

backpacking gear for bikepacking



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