Getting Started Bikepacking - Alpine Activity

The Ultimate Guide to Bikepacking

Bikepacking is a form of self-supported long-distance cycling, where the rider carries gear and supplies on their bike. It has evolved from cycle touring – or bicycle camping – which was traditionally done for recreation.” What does this mean? In other words, it’s a way to explore new places without having to rely on other forms of transportation.

The goal of this blog post will be to provide you with everything that you need to know about Bikepacking.

Introduction to Bikepacking

What Is Bikepacking?

Bikepacking is a relatively new and popular adventure sport that combines the best of mountain biking, road cycling, and camping. It’s typically done with an ultralight bike on challenging trails in remote areas. Bikepacking trips may be as short as one day or last up to several weeks depending on your fitness level and how much time you want to dedicate to exploring.

Is Bikepacking Different from Bike Touring?

The short answer is yes, bikepacking and bike touring are different. The main difference between the two is that bikepacking typically involves more off-road riding while bike touring is focused on paved roads. Bikepacking can also be a great way to explore areas you wouldn’t otherwise be able to get to by car. However, there are also instances of bikepacking that take place on paved roads, such as the Great Divide Mountain Bike Route.

Bikepacking – riding bikes with bags attached.

Bike touring – long-distance travel on bikes with luggage packed onto racks and trailers (also known as biking or bicycle touring).

Tips for Planning Your First Bikepacking Trip

When planning your first bikepacking trip, it’s important to consider a few things:

  1. What type of terrain will you be biking on? Is the route mostly flat, or are there hills and mountains involved?
  2. What is the distance of the route?
  3. How many people are going on the trip?
  4. Start by doing some research and planning your route.
  5. Make sure to pack appropriately for the conditions you’ll be encountering.
  6. Be sure to take into account the weight of your gear when packing. You don’t want to end up carrying a lot of extra weight on your bike.
  7. Practice riding with all of your gear before the trip. This will help you get used to the added weight and figure out what works best for you.

Stay safe and have fun! Bikepacking can be a great way to see new places and experience some amazing adventures.

The Best way to find New Places to Explore is by Bicycle

When you’re out on a bike, the whole world is open to you. There’s no need for expensive equipment or permits – just hop on your bike and go! You’ll be able to cover more ground than if you were walking, and you’ll have the opportunity to explore areas that are inaccessible by car. Plus, biking is a great way to get some exercise and see the sights.

If you’re looking for a new way to explore your local area or want to venture out into the great outdoors, bikepacking is a perfect option. Bikepacking is simply camping and biking combined – you travel from place to place on your bicycle, carrying all of your supplies with you.

What are the Benefits of Bikepacking?

There are many benefits to bikepacking, including:

  • Bikepacking is a great way to get exercise and enjoy the outdoors.
  • It is a low-impact form of transportation, which means that it is good for the environment.
  • Bikepacking can be a fun way to explore new areas.
  • It is a great way to travel with minimal gear.
  • Bikepacking can be a cheaper alternative to other forms of transportation.
  • Bikepacking is a great way to see the world.

There are many reasons to give bikepacking a try! Whether you’re looking for a way to get exercise, enjoy the outdoors, or see new areas, bikepacking is a great option. It can be a cheaper alternative to other forms of transportation, and it’s a great way to travel with minimal gear.

How do I Start Bikepacking?

How do I Start Bikepacking? - Alpine Activity
Image by Fernando Northpak from Pixabay

Bikepacking is an effective way to travel through the great outdoors without having to worry about any of your usual outdoor gear. To start bikepacking all you need are the following:

  1. A bike, of course!
  2. Gear that fits on your bicycle.
  3. Appropriate clothing for the season (always check conditions before you leave!).
  4. Food and water for an overnight trip; make sure it’s something you like. eating/drinking because there is no food mart on the side of the road.
  5. Spare tubes, a patch kit, and a pump (or CO₂ cartridge).
  6. Bike lights just in case you’re out after dark.
  7. Maps or GPS unit.

If you can think of it, bring it. Chances are you won’t need everything on this list, but it’s better to be safe than sorry. Now that you’re prepared, it’s time to hit the open road!

Where do I Start?

Bikepacking can be as simple or complex as you want it to be. You can just load up your bike with a few camping supplies and hit the open road, or you can plan an all-out cross-country expedition. It depends on what you’re looking for in a biking trip.

  • Decide where you want to go. This might be an area you’re familiar with, or somewhere completely new that you want to explore.
  • Research the route. Make sure you know what kind of terrain you’ll be biking on, and how long it will take you to ride.
  • Plan your packing list. What do you need to bring with you? This will vary depending on the length of your trip and the conditions you’re expecting.
  • Get in shape! Bikepacking can be a lot of fun.

Can Anyone go on a Bikepacking Trip?

Yes, anyone can go on a bikepacking trip if they have the right equipment. It is similar to camping but you are using your biking gear instead of backpacking gear.

You don’t have to worry about needing any special skills either, just being able to ride your bicycle is all that’s required. However, if there are sections where you will be biking up large hills it would help if you were an experienced cyclist.

How to Choose the Best Bike for your Needs 

When looking to purchase a bike for bikepacking, it is important to consider the type of riding you will be doing. Different types of bikes are better suited for different kinds of terrain. If you want to ride on smooth paved roads, a road bike will be best. If you are looking for something more rugged that can handle jungle trails and rougher terrain, then a mountain or cyclocross would be the ideal choice.

The key benefit of using your regular everyday bicycle is that it’s already set up with all the gear and the carrying capacity for your overnight adventure. However, if you are looking to go on longer trips and/or want a lighter setup, investing in a new bike is worth it as well.

Acquiring Your First Bikepacking Bicycle

The first step in getting into bikepacking is acquiring the necessary equipment. This includes your choice of bicycle, camping gear, and clothing. When looking for a bike to use for bikepacking, it’s important to find one that is durable and can handle carrying heavy loads. Many people choose to use mountain bikes or touring bikes for this purpose.

What Types of Bicycles For Bikepacking?

There are a few different types of bikepacking bicycles, but the most popular ones are mountain bikes and touring bikes. Mountain bikes have been specifically designed for off-road riding and can handle rough terrain much better than other types of bicycles. They also tend to be more durable, making them a good option for those who plan on doing a lot of bikepacking. Touring bikes are better for pavement riding, but they also work well on dirt roads.

Reasons why you need a Durable, Lightweight Bike for your Bikepacking Trip.

If you’re planning on embarking on your first bikepacking trip, it’s important to choose a durable and lightweight bike. Here are four reasons why:

  1. You need a bike that can handle rough terrain. A lightweight bike won’t hold up as well as a heavier one when you hit bumps and rocks on the trail.
  2. You need a bike that can carry all of your gear. A lightweight bike might not be able to carry as much weight as a heavier one, which could make your trip more difficult.
  3. You need a bike that is easy to maneuver. Heavier bikes can be more difficult to maneuver around tight corners and over obstacles on the trail.
  4. You need a bike that will be easy to fix if something goes wrong on the trip. If your lightweight bike breaks down, you may have trouble finding someone nearby who can help you repair it, whereas with heavier bikes there are more mechanics available in nearby towns.

Are Backpacking Bicycles Expensive?

Most people think that all bikes are expensive, but this is not necessarily the case. If you go into a bike shop and buy the cheapest mountain or road bicycle they have then yes it will be expensive. However, there are plenty of more affordable options on Craigslist, eBay, garage sales, etc…(mainly used) where you can get a nice bike for $200-$300.

Another option is to buy an old used mountain bicycle and convert it into a gravel grinder or long-distance tourer. People think that by getting one of these types of bicycles they are sacrificing quality but this is not necessarily true, especially if you buy a high-quality frame.

The bottom line is that you don’t need to spend a lot of money on a bicycle to go bikepacking, but you do need something sturdy and reliable.

How Hard is Bikepacking?

Bikepacking can be as easy or hard as you want it to be. You can make it as challenging as you like by packing more gear on your bike, or by riding on tougher terrain. The key is to find a happy medium that is both fun and manageable for you.

If this is your first time bikepacking, we recommend keeping it simple. Start with a short trip, and gradually add more gear as you become more experienced. Remember, it’s always better to overpack than under pack – you can always leave items behind if necessary.

Choosing and Planning Bikepacking Routes.

When it comes to choosing a route, there are many factors to consider such as:

  • Terrain
  • Distance
  • Elevation gain
  • Weather and seasonal conditions
  • What type of riding do you want to do (technical or non-technical)

Once you’ve decided on these factors, it’s time to start planning your route. Think about what roads or trails are nearby that fit into the parameters you’ve chosen above. If you have a specific destination in mind, Google Maps is an invaluable tool to help find routes close by – just be sure to use satellite view so you can avoid highways and other unnecessary terrains!

Bikepacking Essentials – What you’ll Need for Your Adventure

There are a few essentials you’ll need before embarking on your bikepacking Adventure and it is important to not forget these items while preparing for your backpacking adventure.

Essential Gear to bring Bikepacking.

When you are bikepacking, the weight of your gear is crucial. You want to bring as little as possible while still being prepared for anything. Here is a list of essential gear to bring with you:

  • Bike
  • Backpack
  • Tent
  • Sleeping Bag & Pad
  • Food
  • Water
  • Clothing
  • Saddle Bags & Panniers
  • First Aid Kit
  • Tools & Spare Parts for your Bike

These are all of the things that we recommend bringing on a bikepacking trip to make your life easier! Of course, there are always going to be those last-minute items you forget about too, which can easily be picked up at a local outdoor shop. Be sure to do your research on the area you will be bikepacking in, so you can come prepared for whatever might happen while out there.

How much does Bikepacking Gear Cost?

The cost of bikepacking gear can vary greatly depending on what you decide to purchase. A basic kit could be assembled for as little as $300, while more expensive and complete setups can reach prices over $2000. Of course, the price doesn’t always reflect the quality of the gear.

One thing we want to make clear is the importance of buying gear in person, rather than online. If you take your time and shop around for quality brands in person in local outdoor shops or stores, you’ll often find better deals on high-end products like mountain bikes, bags & racks, etc. The best bikepacking gear is often the kind that you can touch, feel and pick up.

How Much Water Should I bring on a Bikepacking Trip?

In general, plan to bring at least a liter for each person per day. We recommend adding another 25% to be safe. In warm weather, you can get by with much less water because of the abundant moisture from plants and food that you will eat!

If you’re carrying a lot of weight on your bike, you’ll need to drink more water since you’ll be working harder. In general, try to drink about two liters per hour when biking. If it’s hot out or if you are doing a difficult ride, drink even more!

Make sure to bring extra water in case of mechanical problems or other unforeseen circumstances. You should also drink even more if it’s cold out since the air will be very dry and sap away moisture from your body.

How Much Food should I bring Bikepacking?

This is a question that many people have when they are first starting in the world of bikepacking. How much food should you bring? It honestly depends on how long your trip is, and what kind of terrain you will be traveling through. If you are going on a short trip, you can probably get away with bringing less food. But if you are going on a longer trip, or through more difficult terrain, you will need to bring more food.

One way to figure out how much food you need is to calculate your caloric needs. This can be done by multiplying your body weight by 30. So for example, if you weigh 150 pounds, then you would need at least 4500 calories per day. This is a general guideline, and you may need more or less depending on your activity level.

Which Kinds of Food should I take along with me on a Trip?

When packing food for a bikepacking trip, you will want to bring a variety of foods that are both high in calories and healthy. Some good options include trail mix, nuts, granola bars, beef jerky, and dried fruit. You can also bring along canned foods, but make sure to pack a sturdy can opener!

How to Pack your Bike for a Bikepacking Trip.

When packing your bike for a bikepacking trip, you will want to make sure that everything is as secure as possible. The last thing you want is for something to fall off of your bike and get lost in the wilderness. Here are some tips on how to pack your bike:

  • Pack the heaviest items closest to the center of the bike.
  • Secure your bags as best as possible using straps or clasps to make sure they don’t fall off of your bike while you’re riding it.
  • If the items in your bag are large, pack them diagonal from each other so that they can be arranged tightly against one another and won’t move around a lot inside of your bag.
  • Pack small items in a waterproof container with a lid, such as a plastic storage bin or even just a Ziploc bag to protect them from the weather and keep them from getting lost if they accidentally fall out of your pack.
  • Use bungee cords to attach things like sleeping bags or tarps onto the outside of your bike if you don’t have enough room inside of your bag.

Bikepacking takes a lot more planning, experience, and knowledge because there are so many things that can go wrong during the trip. Always make sure to carry extra equipment, parts, and tools with you just in case something happens on your journey.

Safety Tips For Bikepacking.

  • When packing for a bikepacking trip, always bring along plenty of water and snacks, just in case you get stranded or take longer than expected to complete your ride.
  • Be sure to tell someone where you’re going and when you expect to be back. If something does happen and you’re not able to make it back on time.
  • As with any type of cycling, always wear your helmet when bikepacking. It’s good for protecting your head in case you fall off.
  • When riding in unfamiliar territory, be sure to take your time and scout out the best routes ahead of time.
  • If you’re going to spend the night camping, pick a site that isn’t well-traveled and won’t get you in trouble. Never camp in an area that has been used by others previously or where signs of usage, such as litter, fire pits, and so on, are obvious.
  • When packing your camping gear, be sure to pack as light as possible.
  • If you’re new to camping, practice setting up a tent at home before your trip. Trying to set up a tent in the dark when you’re exhausted is about as maddening as it gets.
  • If you’re in bear country, make sure your food is adequately stored at all times and that it isn’t brought into the tent with you. This will ensure that if a bear discovers your campsite, he won’t be interested in attacking you or wrecking anything else around.

Repair Kit.

A repair kit is an essential piece of gear for any bikepacking trip. You’ll need to be able to fix flats and other mechanical issues that may arise. Be sure to pack a patch kit, tire levers, pump, multi-tool, and any other specialized tools you may need. In addition, bring along a few spare tubes and a couple of CO² cartridges to ensure you have enough air for your ride.

Common Mistakes People make when Bikepacking.

There are a few common mistakes that people make when bikepacking:

  • Packing too much gear
  • Not bringing enough food and water
  • Riding on difficult terrain without proper preparation
  • Not having the right tools and equipment for repairs

These are just a few of the things to keep in mind when planning your next bikepacking trip. By avoiding these mistakes, you’ll have a successful and enjoyable experience.


We hope you’ve found this guide helpful! Bikepacking can be a great way to see the world and experience new cultures while getting some exercise.


Alpine Activity provides informational guides for all kinds of mountain and mountaineering activities. Our content is written and reviewed by an experienced team of outdoor enthusiasts; making us your most reliable source of information, advice, resources, and recommendations to improve your overall mountain/ outdoor experience.