A Beginner’s Guide to Launching Your First Bikepacking Adventure

What occurs while you mix mountain climbing and tenting with biking? You get one thing known as bikepacking. It’s precisely what it seems like…a sport that entails placing packs and kit onto bikes and using into an journey. If the primary picture that pops into your thoughts while 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 fashion. But lately, there’s been an uptick within the variety of folks swapping out panniers for different forms 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 keep.

New firms now bursting onto the bikepacking scene are solely turning out higher gear to assist each the beginner and the hard-core bike owner entry adventures on two wheels. The gear matches onto bikes in a method that’s smooth, balanced, and light-weight, making it attainable for riders to pedal throughout extra than simply pavement. Most bikepackers, whereas they’ll trip roads, desire gravel and filth, and, typically, are choosing mountain bikes over street bikes.


Ride What Ya Got

At first look, bikepacking may appear to be the sort of sport with a steep entry level. A fast Google search or a scroll by way of Instagram will flip up tons of photographs of tricked-out bikes and sophisticated wanting setups. But in reality, you’ll be able to 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. Ride what’s parked in your storage and work out what you want and wish. Then, should you prefer it, you should purchase a body particular to bikepacking and optimize your expertise.

Erin McGrady / Authentic Asheville

Pack What Ya Got

Again, preserve your funding to a minimal whilst you’re deciding whether or not or not bikepacking is one thing you need to totally commit to. If you’ve received a hydration pack or backpack, use it. Osprey’s Raptor is an efficient possibility however on your first trip, however there’s no want to be choosy. “Don’t feel like you need a full kit to get out on the trails,” says Greg Hardy, proprietor of Rockgeist, a customized bikepacking firm in Asheville, NC. “Grab a few Voile straps (pictured above) to anchor dry bags to a rack or handlebars and that’s all you need to get started.”

bikepacking 101 intro to bikepacking adventure cyclingErin McGrady / Authentic Asheville


If you’re reluctant to take your first bikepacking journey with random tools, we get it. The correct gear may be the distinction between an okay journey and a very good one. (And improper gear can typically wreck a visit altogether.) Luckily, you’ve received choices as an increasing number of 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 cyclingErin McGrady / Authentic Asheville

Take Your First Trip

At some level, you simply have to get in your bike and go. We suggest making the primary journey quick and considerably shut to 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 try to ride too far, too early,” Prentiss says. “Be nice to your body and your body will adapt to life on a bike.” 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 want to put together for something and every part just isn’t a nasty factor. In some conditions, it’s needed. But when it comes to bikepacking, think about what’s completely needed and what’s possibly not so necessary (books, mountain climbing boots, digicam gear). The thought is to pack considerably minimally to be able to journey gentle and quick. Prentiss says his most dear 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. Everything you select to deliver, you’ll have to carry with you for the long-haul, so select correctly.

bikepacking 101 intro to bikepacking adventure cyclingGreg Hardy of Rockgeist Erin McGrady / Authentic Asheville

Invest Wisely

Ready to spend money on some gear? “The first piece of gear we recommend investing in is a framebag,” Hardy says. “It has great packing versatility and convenience, carries weight low on the bike for optimal handling, and can double as a storage option during regular trail riding/commuting.” After that, your choices are quite a few. Hardy at present has on his bike (pictured above), the Mudlust Custom Framebag, Cache Top 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 one explicit setup so you’ll be able to change your gear based mostly in your subsequent, longer trip.


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