Bikepacking Guide: Exploring the World on Two Wheels

Bikepacking Guide: Exploring the World on Two Wheels

Introduction to Bikepacking: Unleashing the Adventurous Cyclist in You

Bikepacking has emerged as an exhilarating outdoor trend that combines the thrill of long-distance cycling with the spirit of backpacking. It's an immersive and self-sufficient way to explore the great outdoors, blending the freedom of a two-wheeled journey with the simplicity and ruggedness of traditional backpacking. If you're seeking a unique adventure that allows you to cover substantialground while enjoying the serenity of nature, bikepacking might be the perfect fit for you.

What is Bikepacking?

At its core, bikepacking is a fusion of mountain biking and minimalist camping. Instead of being confined to roads, bikepackers traverse a variety of terrains, including gravel paths, singletrack trails, and remote dirt roads. The distinguishing feature of bikepacking is the use of lightweight gear that is carefully selected to fit onto the bike itself, eliminating the need for a traditional backpack.

The Bikepacking Experience: Why It's Captivating

  • Freedom to Roam: Unlike traditional cycling or backpacking, bikepacking offers unparalleled freedom. With a bikepacking setup, you can venture off the beaten path, exploring remote areas that are often inaccessible by car.
  • Simplicity in Gear: The gear used in bikepacking is designed for efficiency and minimalism. Bikepackers carry only the essentials, strategically packed on their bikes. This streamlined approach allows for faster travel and a more immersive connection with the surroundings, whilst also avoiding lugging heavy loads on your back.
  • Exploration and Adventure: Bikepacking routes often take cyclists through diverse landscapes, from lush forests and mountain passes to open deserts. The journey becomes an adventure, and every turn in the trail holds the promise of a new discovery.
  • Self-Sufficiency: Bikepackers carry their camping gear, cooking equipment, and provisions on their bikes, promoting self-sufficiency. This allows for spontaneity and flexibility in choosing camping spots, making the experience deeply personal.
  • Physical Challenge: Bikepacking can be physically demanding, providing a satisfying challenge for those seeking an active adventure. The varied terrain and long distances contribute to a sense of accomplishment as you conquer each section of the route.
  • Distance travelled: As opposed to Hiking, it’s possible to travel much larger distances when bikepacking, allowing people to see a broader range of locations and making it more feasible to travel between locations with travel services – meaning you don’t need to do a loop or get someone to pick you up!
Bikepacking Guide: Exploring the World on Two Wheels

Getting Started: Essentials for Bikepacking

  • Bike: A reliable and sturdy bike, preferably a mountain bike or a gravel bike, is the foundation of your bikepacking setup. It’s worth looking at hire services if you’re not a regular bikepacker – its possible to get great deals on week-long hire packages from some companies.
  • Bags and Packs: Invest in bike-specific bags, such as frame bags, saddlebags, and handlebar bags, to efficiently distribute your gear on the bike.
  • Shelter and Camping Gear: Opt for lightweight and compact camping gear, such as a small tent or a bivvy, to provide shelter during overnight stops. Also bring sleeping bag, sleeping pad, and cooking gear. Though some campsites may provide some of these items so double check what will be relevant for you to bring as the less the better.
  • Navigation: Plan your route and use a GPS device or maps to navigate, as bikepacking routes may not be well-marked.
  • Clothing: Pack versatile and weather-appropriate clothing for changing conditions. Consider quick-drying, moisture-wicking fabrics and warm clothing for nights.
  • Helmet: Be sure to wear a helmet and other cycling protection gear when necessary.
  • Tools and Spare Parts: Carry essential bike repair tools and spare parts to handle common issues on the road.
  • Food and Water: Plan your nutrition carefully, carrying lightweight, energy-dense food and a reliable water filtration system.
  • First aid kit: This is essential for treating any minor injuries you may sustain on your trip.
Bikepacking Guide: Exploring the World on Two Wheels

Remember, bikepacking is about the journey, not just the destination. Embrace the unexpected, connect with nature, and relish the sense of accomplishment that comes with self-supported travel on two wheels. As you embark on your bikepacking adventure, you'll discover the world in a way that only a cyclist with a backpack can.