A Newbie’s Information to Launching Your First Bikepacking Journey

What occurs once you mix climbing and tenting with biking? You get one thing known as bikepacking. It’s precisely what it appears like…a sport that includes placing packs and kit onto bikes and driving into an journey. If the primary picture that pops into your thoughts once you hear the phrase ‘bikepacking’ is a bicycle owner chugging alongside the shoulder, loaded up with 4 panniers, one on both 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 lately, there’s been an uptick within the variety of individuals 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 corporations now bursting onto the bikepacking scene are solely turning out higher gear to assist each the beginner and the hard-core bicycle owner entry adventures on two wheels. The gear suits onto bikes in a means that’s glossy, balanced, and lightweight, making it potential for riders to pedal throughout extra than simply pavement. Most bikepackers, whereas they’ll journey roads, choose gravel and dust, and, basically, are choosing mountain bikes over highway bikes.


Experience What Ya Obtained

At first look, bikepacking may seem to be the sort of sport with a steep entry level. A fast Google search or a scroll by Instagram will flip up tons of pictures of tricked-out bikes and sophisticated wanting setups. However essentially, 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. Experience what’s parked in your storage and determine what you want and need. Then, should you prefer it, you should purchase a body particular to bikepacking and optimize your expertise.

bikepacking 101 intro to bikepacking adventure cyclingErin McGrady / Genuine Asheville

Pack What Ya Obtained

Once more, hold your funding to a minimal when you’re deciding whether or not or not bikepacking is one thing you need to absolutely decide to. For those who’ve acquired a hydration pack or backpack, use it. Osprey’s Raptor is an efficient possibility however in your first journey, however there’s no must be choosy. “Don’t really feel such as you want a full equipment 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 you’ll want to get began.”

bikepacking 101 intro to bikepacking adventure cyclingErin McGrady / Genuine Asheville


For those who’re reluctant to take your first bikepacking journey with random gear, we get it. The correct gear could be the distinction between an okay journey and a very good one. (And improper gear can typically spoil a visit altogether.) Fortunately, you’ve acquired choices as an increasing number of corporations across the nation, like Swift Journey 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 approach to see whether or not or not you even like the game.

bikepacking 101 intro to bikepacking adventure cyclingErin McGrady / Genuine Asheville

Take Your First Journey

Sooner or later, you simply need to get in your bike and go. We suggest making the primary journey quick and considerably near residence. 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 lengthen your journeys from lengthy day-rides to weekend adventures and past.

Don’t Pack the Kitchen Sink

The need to arrange for something and every little thing isn’t a foul factor. In some conditions, it’s crucial. However in terms of bikepacking, contemplate what’s completely crucial and what’s possibly not so vital (books, climbing boots, digicam gear). The concept 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. All the things you select to convey, you’ll have to hold with you for the long-haul, so select properly.

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

Make investments Correctly

Able to spend money on some gear? “The primary piece of substances we suggest 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 driving/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 great thing about most of those baggage although is that they are often shortly and simply eliminated. You’re not married to at least one specific setup so you’ll be able to change your gear primarily based in your subsequent, longer journey.


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