For many people, bikepacking is a new word. Bike-what? Bike-Packing! Bikepacking is the act of biking while backpacking – carrying all you need for your overnight stay on your mountain bike or in some cases, just the basics like water and snacks.
Bikepackers are often self-sufficient, so they don’t rely on services at campgrounds to get by. This bikepacking gear list will help you decide what to bring on your next mountain bike adventure!
Instead of carrying things on your back like in backpacking or hiking, you don’t want to have a lot of weight on your back when biking. So if possible, you should not wear a backpack. The most important thing is that the majority of the weight should be placed as low as possible onto your bike frame for better stability and riding comfort.
- Seat Pack
- Handlebar Bag
- Frame Pack
- Water Bottle Cage
Your head is the most impact-prone part of your body. So, it’s important to protect yourself with a helmet when you ride your bike even though it may cause some neck soreness when riding for long distances.
A good modern bike helmet consists of a lightweight outer shell and protective liner made from polystyrene foam that absorbs impacts.
With more coverage, mountain bike helmets come with more features. They are highly ventilated and can offer face protection, and also have visors to help protect your eyes from the sun when riding high in the mountains.
When you’re out riding and want to set up camp for the night, using a high-output bike light that is mounted on handlebars is essential. The brightness of these lights can easily complement any headlamp. So when it’s time to find some wood for the fire, see if there are any food sources nearby such as berries, or crawl under rocks looking through crevices in search of insects like ants.
- Bike Light
Dedicated bikepackers often use stem-mounted GPS systems called cycling computers to navigate and track their distance and location. Athletes and most people, however, prefer using a smartwatch that can also monitor heart rate and other physical data points as well as tell you where exactly you are located at any given moment.
- Cycling Computer
One of the most important things to consider when planning for a bikepacking trip is what kind of shelter you want. Many options are available, including tents, tarps, and bivies or hammocks if that’s your preferred style. You may even be fortunate enough to find an established tent site with two trees at just the right distance apart!
And instead of an air mattress, buy a quality down sleeping bag or quilt. These are lighter and more compact than foam pads that require bulky space in the pack. Foam pads, on the other hand, can be used for desert touring where it is hot during day time but cold at night when you’re resting up to begin your next cycling leg due to its insulating properties.
- Sleeping Bag
- Sleeping Pad
Wearing the right clothes is important when riding a bike. It will be necessary to have biking gloves, shorts, jerseys, socks, mountain bike shoes, and rain protective gear for camping after you’re done biking with your friends.
- Athletic Wicking Jersey
- Padded Shorts
- Cycling Tights
- Sports Bra
- Mountain Bike Shoes
- Bike Gloves
- Rain Jacket
- Rain Pants
- Warm Hat
- Travel Towel
Cooking and Nutrition
Always be prepared and pack food and snacks for your hike. Also, you won’t want to forget your stove, fuel, lighter, and spork. You’ll need a mug for hot drinks too! What you bring along will depend on how long of a trip it is, but here are some recommendations to get you started.
- Portable Stove
- Nutrition Bars
- Camping Food
- Can Opener
- Dishwashing Soap
This is not an option. You have to carry H2O with you when hiking, even though it’s inconvenient because at the end of the day, your pack will be much heavier than before, and drinking lots of fluid can lead to needing more pit stops along the way.
If you are planning to hike in a remote location, make sure that before your trip starts you have packed the necessary water filtration system.
- Water Bottle
- Water Filtration System
Safety, Hygiene, and Toiletries
When packing for the trip, remember that you can only bring as many hygiene and toiletry items. You shouldn’t pack more than what is needed to reduce how heavy your bag will be at the end of every day.
- First-Aid Supplies
- Toothbrush, Toothpaste Kit
- Face Surgical Masks
- Hand Sanitizer and Antibacterial Wipes
- Insect Repellent
- Common or Prescription Medications
- Toilet paper
Bike Repair Kit
Bikepackers should bring some basic bike maintenance tools like a tire-repair kit. Add to that list chain lube/pins/links along with spare cables for your bike in case anything breaks during extended trips. You could even carry a lightweight lock when stopping into towns to resupply yourself.
Frequently Asked Questions
What Type of Bike Do You Use for Bikepacking?
If you plan to bikepack, adventure-ready gravel mountain bikes like hardtail (front suspension fork), full suspension, and fat-tired mountain bikes are our main recommendations.
How Much Weight Should I Take Bikepacking?
You should pack your bag depending on the length of time you will be traveling, weather conditions, and how much weight your bike can handle. Generally speaking, aim for under 20 lbs without the weight of the bicycle itself.
What Is the Difference Between Bikepacking and Bike Touring?
When it comes to long-distance traveling via roads, people usually refer to “bike touring”. This is when you go from one destination and return home without going off-road through trails or other difficult terrains. In contrast, the term for adventuring on mostly non-paved surfaces is “bikepacking”.
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