Filth touring dates again to the late 1800s and the appearance of the bicycle, so “bikepacking” isn’t precisely new, but it surely’s clearly exploded in recent times. There are many causes for this: highway tourers seeking to get off more and more busy and harmful highways, mountain bikers enticed by the thought of multi-day adventures, hikers searching for methods to cowl floor extra effectively, and racers drawn to the problem of bikepacking occasions. The arrival of each bikepacking-specific gear and ultralight and packable tenting gear has additionally helped; bikepackers can ditch panniers for extra svelte setups that preserve loaded bikes agile and succesful even on technical singletrack.
Bikepacking sank its claws into me a decade in the past. My first journey was a fast overnighter into the foothills above my city. I threw every little thing I’d want into an over-engineered backpack and headed for the hills. Just a few hours later, the pack’s weight had my bottom in ache, and I made a decision to strive one other method. For the following journey, I loaded up my full-suspension bike with a sturdy Outdated Man Mountain rear rack, strapped a stuff sack to it with clothes and a cook dinner equipment, used hose clamps to connect a pair further water bottle cages to my body, pulled on a small daypack, and I had a a lot better expertise.
Within the years since, I’ve watched in awe because the bike trade embraced this “new” bikepacking factor. At first, there have been only a couple manufacturers making revolutionary seat, body, and handlebar baggage for mountain bikes. Then just a few bike manufacturers started providing bikepacking-oriented bikes. After which increasingly more corporations hopped on board with the “journey” idea. At this time, most mountain bike manufacturers provide a bikepacking body of 1 kind or one other. And customers are consuming it up and getting out on multi-day adventures all over.
Sadly, a byproduct of this industrial bikepacking increase is that it might probably create the sentiment that a specialised bike is totally vital for bikepacking. It’s not. When you’ve got a motorbike, you’ve got a bikepacking bike. Sure, there are just a few gear items that may make a primary bikepacking journey far more satisfying, however a packing-specific bike doesn’t must be one in every of them. I can’t even depend the variety of conversations I’ve had with individuals completely stoked to get out on their first bikepacking journey, together with a lot of already die-hard cyclists, besides that they suppose they don’t have the best bike but.
“I can’t solution to give bikepacking a strive, however I have to get a hardtail since I can’t do it on my path bike.”
“I actually wish to go on an overnighter. I have to get one thing with plus-sized wheels, although. This bike can’t deal with the burden of the additional gear.”
“I’m so excited to construct a bikepacking rig for this summer time! It seems like drop bars are finest, and I would like a type of inflexible forks with all the additional bottle cage mounts.”
“I have already got all of the gear I want. I simply want a fatbike like everybody else.”
As somebody who has helped get dozens of mountain bikers out on their first bikepacking journeys, I can unequivocally say: The perfect bikepacking bike to your first journey is the bike you have already got.
If you have already got a cross bike, a gravel bike, or mountain bike (one which’s not designed merely for going downhill), you’re set. Plan an in a single day journey to your first journey and select to terrain and surfaces on which you and your bike can be snug. Don’t overthink the place to go—you may even head someplace acquainted and near dwelling. Hold the mileage cheap, select days with a fascinating climate forecast, after which determine what to convey alongside and how one can connect all of it to the bike or your physique. If the forecast is dry and bugs aren’t possible an annoyance the place you’ll be, take into account touring gentle and leaving the shelter behind. The lighter your bike, the extra enjoyable you’ll have pedaling and the extra you’ll smile.
If you will purchase one particular bikepacking bag to get began, a seat bag is the one to get. As long as you don’t journey a very small bike, a seat bag can swallow up fairly a bit of substances and carry it securely. A easy dry bag or sturdy stuff sack could be strapped to the handlebars (ski straps work fairly effectively for this), and that must be safe sufficient for terrain that’s not too tough. The leftover gear, meals, and water that doesn’t match beneath the seat or on the bars can get tossed in a backpack. Heavier packs aren’t significantly snug to put on whereas pedaling lengthy distances, however for getting a style of bikepacking with minimal funding, this fundamental method can work fairly effectively.
Listed below are some particular ideas for getting you on top of things and on the path.
Greater body triangles can maintain extra voluminous body baggage, and that’s an ideal place to stash meals, water, and different dense objects to maintain the burden low and centered. However any type of body will work—full suspension, hardtail, metal, carbon—and any nearly any type of dirt-oriented bike can be perfect for some kind of journey. Lengthy-travel path bikes could be significantly satisfying for bikepacking on rugged routes, and gravel bikes are, unsurprisingly, nice for easy grime highway touring.
Inflexible forks are easy and might provide extra locations to bolt on further baggage methods. However an excessive amount of weight on the fork can adversely have an effect on bike dealing with, and for any driving on tough terrain, suspension could be fairly advantageous. Hose clamps (like what holds hoses onto a automotive’s radiator) can be utilized to connect further water bottle cages to a suspension fork.
Fats tires on gravel roads are widespread now, however keep in mind that whereas wider tires could be extra snug beneath a loaded bike and are important in sandy nation, the broader the tire, the slower it rolls and the heavier it’s. Any width tire can deal with a fairly loaded bike—simply add an additional 5-10 psi to assist the heavier load and get rolling.
Drop-bar mountain bikes and severely back-swept handlebars have turn out to be popularized by bikepackers. For lengthy days within the saddle, a number of hand positions and a extra upright posture could be extra snug. Neither are requisite for one’s first (or twentieth) bikepacking journey, nevertheless.
Racks and panniers, stalwarts of the highway touring world aren’t most well-liked within the bikepacking realm by almost as many riders. The width of typical panniers makes driving slim trails and comfortably mountaineering with one’s bike more difficult, and shifting an excessive amount of weight towards both finish of the bike can lead to poor dealing with. Tender-sided bikepacking-specific baggage have turn out to be way more standard for off-road driving, however metallic racks have efficiently accompanied numerous grime tourers for greater than a century.