If you are new to bikepacking, packing for your first adventure can be quite intimidating. If you are still wondering what to bring on the next bikepacking trip, this bikepacking gear guide should come in handy. In this article, you will learn what you need to put in your bikepacking bags so that you can have the ability to go further, one pedal rotation at a time.
What You Will Need to Go Bikepacking
Of course, you need a bike for your adventure. If you forget to carry the following bike gear, you will be doing yourself a disservice.
- Lightweight lock (this is optional)
- Bikepacking packs (frame pack, handlebar pack, seat pack, etc.)
If you won’t be returning home the same day, you may need some camping gear. To have an easier time setting up your shelter, learn how to set up a tent before you start your trip. Below, we have the shelter gear you may need:
- Camping tents, hammock, bivy, or camping tarp
- Stakes and guylines (if needed)
- Ground cloth (this is optional)
To have enough energy for the whole adventure, you will need to eat. Armed with great recipes and the following bikepacking gear, cooking should be easy:
- Stormproof matches and mini lighter
- Pot and/or mug
When riding your bike, you need to stay hydrated. At your camping shelter, you will have to use clean water to cook your meals. This is why you should remember the following water gear:
- Water filtration system
- Bottle with cages or water reservoir
- Purification tablets or drops
You will need two sets of clothing – clothes for biking and clothes for camping. Generally, the clothes you wear when biking won’t be useful in the camp.
Clothing for Biking
- A wicking top or jersey
- Padded tights or shorts
- Sports bra
- Leg and arm warmers
- Insulation layer for cold conditions
- Stowaway wind jacket
- weatherproof gloves
- Rain pants
- Rain jacket
- Bike shoes
Clothing for Camping
- Sandals (these are optional)
- Puffy insulated vest or jacket
- Synthetic socks or wool for sleep
- Warm hat
- Long-underwear bottoms
- Long-underwear top
Getting lost when you are exploring new bikepacking trails is always a possibility. However, if you have the right navigation gear, finding your way should be easy. To avoid losing your way and getting stranded in the middle of nowhere, be sure to pack the following gear:
- Route descriptions
- Personal locator beacon
- Portable/solar charger
- Permits (if needed)
Note: The route description, map, and compass should be enough to keep you from getting lost. For this reason, you can consider the cellphone, the charger, GPS, and personal locator beacon optional – these, however, make the navigation much easier.
Hygiene and Toiletries
You have to maintain hygiene even when you are cycling. If you are not going on a single day bikepacking trip, you should pack enough toiletries/hygiene gear.
Keep in mind that “enough”, in this case, could mean different things for different people. Be sure to bring as much as you think you may need:
- Chamois cream
- Prescription medications (if needed)
- Pee rag for women (1/4 cotton bandana)
- Women pee funnel
- Menstrual products
- Sanitation towel
- Pre-moistened wipes (at least 2 per day)
- Toilet paper (a minimum of 2 to 4 squares per day)
- Biodegradable soap
- Small toothbrush
- Hand sanitizer
- Lip balm
- Zip-top bags (varied sizes for food, waste, etc.)
Bike Repair Tools
Bikes do not always behave the way you want them to. You may leave home with a functional bike, only to find yourself stuck in a biking track with a dysfunctional bike. If this happens, you will need a way to repair the bike and get it back on the trail as soon as possible. The following tools should come in handy when you need to repair your bike:
- Zip ties
- Duct tape
- General-purpose multi-tool
- Assorted nuts and bolts
- 6-inch adjustable wrench
- Derailleur cables and brake cables
- Spoke wrench
- Spare spokes
- Chain tool
- Replacement chain links
- Cycling multi-tool
- Tire levers
- CO2 inflator with cartridges or a compact pump
- Patch kit
- Spare tubes
Note: The above bikepacking gear will only be useful if you know how to use it. Before considering going on the trip, be sure to learn how to perform basic bike repairs. If you do not know how to perform repairs, stay in the company of people who do.
When bikepacking, you may end up getting injured. Having first-aid supplies can help you avoid infections. Things like pain relief medications can help you continue with your adventure. Below are the first-aid supplies you should carry:
- Blister pads
- Pain-relief pills
- Emergency contact card
- Medical information (if needed)
- Antibiotic ointment (carry a small packet)
- Gauze pads
At this point, you should have the important gear ready. Whether you carry the following gear will largely depend on personal preference. The gear is not very essential, however, having it may be a good idea:
- Itinerary copies (for a friend and one for under the car seat)
- Cash or credit card
- Identity card (ID)
- Pencil or pen
- Sketchbook or journal
- Extra batteries
- A microlight with fresh batteries or a headlamp
Minimizing Gear Weight
The idea of bikepacking revolves around being able to experience a night outdoors relaxing in your shelter while still having the ability to shred trails when the sun comes up. To preserve every bit of bike nimbleness, you must reduce the gear weight to the bare minimum. The tips below should help you reduce your gear’s weight:
Pack Titanium Cookware
While titanium is more expensive than steel, its price is worth it. Compared to steel cookware, titanium cookware should help you cut down the weight significantly.
Down Insulation is More Ideal
Compared to synthetic insulation, jackets and sleeping bags insulated using the down feathers feature a much higher warmth-to-weight ratio. Additionally, down insulated gear usually packs down to a smaller size compared to the equally warmth-rated synthetic counterpart.
Carry Dehydrated Food
As you have already guessed, hydrated food will feature extra weight. If you can find some dehydrated food, you can cut the weight significantly.
Do Not Carry Luxuries
Luxuries are great. However, they will increase the weight and hence reduce your efficiency on the trails. Camp pillows can be easily replaced by rolling up the extra shorts and shirts in the sleeping bag stuff sack. While a tent is generally roomier and even more comfortable, utilizing a hammock or a bivy sack can reduce the weight and pack size significantly.
If Refill Stations Are Available, Don’t Carry Too Much Water
Water is the heaviest necessity that you should pack. However, if it is possible to avoid carrying the water, consider leaving the extra weight at home.
If you will be hiking in the desert, call the local ranger district and enquire about the flow of streams during the summer months. When water is available en route, using a water filter is much lighter compared to packing extra water.
Loading Your Bike
As important as carrying lightweight gear, you must pack your gear in the right areas. Bikepacking specific handlebar, frame, and saddle packs are the most ideal ways of utilizing your bike’s gear holding capacity.
You should place the heaviest items in your frame pack. Being the most central and lowest storage area, the frame pack allows the bike to retain its agile characteristics even when carrying heavy loads. While the frame pack is generally narrow, it should carry your cookware, hydration reservoir, and the first aid kit.
The rear saddle pack should hold the mid-weight gear items – these could include the food, toiletries, and your clothes. The handlebar should carry the lightest gear, keeping in mind that if the handlebar is carrying a lot of weight, turning could become a problem. Some of the gear that should be put on the handlebar could include a minimalistic bivy/hammock and a sleeping bag.
Globo Surf Overview
Packing the right gear can make your biking adventure more fun and more comfortable. This guide has the essential gear you will need.
It is worth noting that the gear may vary depending on various factors, including the length of the trip, your personal needs, the route you will be taking, and even personal preferences. This tells you that you may not need some of the items listed in this article. Also, you may need some additional gear we have not included in the checklist.
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- My Proven Bikepacking Gear List From The Triple Crown, Oneofsevenproject.com