How to Get Started for Bikepacking

What is Bikepacking?

A multi-day or overnight bike adventure is known as bikepacking.The focus is on minimalism and self-sufficiency. While you may bikepack on any bike, bikepacking experiences typically take you far from people and are best experienced on a gravel or mountain bike.

When bikepacking, you pack your gear into bags that you can mount directly to any bike frame without a rack. These are used to pack everything you need to bring, including spare parts, food, clothing, and overnight gear.

Bikepacking vs. Cycle Touring

Cycle touring was once the traditional way to set out on multi-day bike adventures. Cycle touring is packing your bike with pannier bags that hang on a rack at the back of the bike and are an on-road activity. On occasion, another pair of bags connected to a frame on the forks join them.

There is a specific class of touring bikes made for cycling tours. These bikes are typically made of steel for durability and have generous gearing for climbing while fully loaded, mudguard eyelets, and lights (sometimes a dynamo light).

However, you can bikepack on a standard road bike as well. In contrast, bikepacking uses bags designed to lash your e-bike, which could be a mountain bike or a gravel bike, opening up off-road adventures rather than sticking to the tarmac.

Bikepackers frequently aim to travel as light as possible, although nothing can stop you from carrying a tent and using a campsite or staying in B&Bs while bikepacking. Like a bivvy bag and wild camping in place of the tourer's tent on a campsite or credit card touring between B&Bs.

The Planning Tips for Bikepacking

Where is a good place to bikepack? Here are a few suggestions for beginners.

Generally speaking, bikepackers can travel three times as far as they could if they were to bikepack the same route on foot. Of course, depending on the route and the individual, the actual mileage will change. Do not push yourself too far; take your time to take in the sights along the way. Do not plan your journey too ambitiously because you travel slower than when you are not carrying anything.

The Riding Tips for Bikepacking

You carry both your weight and the weight of your equipment when bikepacking. It requires additional riding safety measures. Ensure you:

  • Slow down, especially on downhills.
  • Permit wider braking distances.
  • Give yourself more room when turning.
  • To lessen tiredness, ride in a gear that is easier than usual.
  • If your bike has an air-sprung suspension, you should pump the tires more to support the extra weight. If not, you should add preload to coil-spring types.
  • Multiple grip locations on your handlebars can assist prevent hand tiredness, a common problem after long rides. Think about purchasing a bike with drop bars. Alternately, you can utilize a multi-position bar, update the grips, or add bar ends.

Where to Go Bikepacking

If you can lawfully ride, you can bikepack pretty much anyplace you choose, with your bike likely being the limiting factor.

Even riding a gravel bike, you might not want to go anywhere particularly extreme. If riding a road bike, you stay on tarmac (or very light off-road trails, if you have wider tires). Take into account what your gears and tires can handle. Make sure that your bike will weigh significantly more with the cargo and could not handle as well.

A mountain bike will allow you to explore a wider variety of terrain, but the added weight may impact the bike's off-road ability and your ability to maneuver it.

Choose the best bikepacking bikes

The best pick will depend on the kind of terrain you ride on the most, how much gear you prefer to bring, and how much you value things like speed and comfort. There are a few distinct categories of bikes for bikepacking.

These bikes, which are often composed of steel but can also occasionally be titanium or carbon, rely on sound engineering and somewhat large tires to provide a comfortable off-road ride. The absence of suspension reduces weight and increases the capacity for hauling gear. They function well on mild single-track and are excellent for gravel and dirt roads. On less complicated trails, you will come across a number of them.

Mountain bikes with hardtails (front suspension) allow backpackers to travel farther and more comfortably on rough or challenging trails. Full-suspension trail bikes are uncommon and are only used by skilled mountain bikers on complicated trails. The rear suspension makes it more difficult and expensive to carry gear on the bike.

Conclusion

A unique approach to experiencing trails and immersing yourself in nature is to bikepack. However, failing to plan and prepare can cause you more frustration than it is worth. I hope these tips will give you the advantage you need on your upcoming bikepacking adventure!

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