Embarking on an outdoor adventure has never been easier. While many like to go by foot or take their trucks into the woods, a fun way to freshen up your outdoors travelling is by taking in the sights on a bicycle. Multi-day bikepacking is the beautiful combination of mountain biking and minimalist camping. In essence, everything you need to survive a few days and nights out on the open road is all on your back or on your bike. Embrace the freedom of backcountry exploration while building muscle with each pedal. In order to plan your first bikepacking tour, you need to make sure you are fully equipped with the right essentials to ensure your own safety and comfort out in the wild. These five gear items will keep your pack light while providing everything you need for a comfortable night’s sleep and day’s trek.

1. A proper bike

Believe it or not, there are bicycles made specifically for bikepacking journeys. The size, shape, and design of these bikes vary, but each is engineered to handle off-road cycling. Built for the outdoor adventurer, bikepacking bikes offer extra space in their frame construction for storage. While there are many options to choose from, the favorites seem to be…

When deciding on whether your current bike fits the bill or selecting a fancier bikepacking bike, check the overall comfort and gearing of the bike. You’ll be spending several hours on the saddle, so comfort is truly key here. Are your gearing grips comfortable? If you’re rolling on loose gravel or trekking uphill, you will want to have smooth gear operation to make your tour (and life) a bit easier.

2. Bikepacking bags

So you’ve selected the perfect bike and the perfect trail— now it’s time to load it up for the tour. There are five bags we recommend furnishing your bike with:

Frame bag-Maximize your storage with a perfectly shaped frame bag. Store clothing, cookware, food, or other hard goods into this larger bag.

Accessory bag – These are great for year round biking, this bag can secure water bottles, DSLR camera lenses, and small cameras.

Stem/bar bag – Stiffly made for security, you can stow your water bottles and small electronic devices in the bar bag.

Seat bag – Stowed underneath your saddle, a seat bag is perfect for clothing and equipment storage.

Handlebar bag– This long bag hangs from your bike’s handlebar—and is capable of squeezing in your sleeping kit and clothing.

Top tube bag – Perfect for small items like a phone, tools, or necessary gels and sprays.

3. Camping equipment

Unlike regular mountain biking, bikepacking takes place over the course of multiple days. That means you need to come fully prepared to set up camp and call the open wilderness your bedroom for a few nights. In order to safely do this, you will need a number of camping essentials to protect you from nature’s many odds. The first and most important consideration is deciding on how you will spend your nights. Tents, hammocks, and pitched tarps are the most popular bikepacking sleep options. While a tent may offer the most protection, a hammock is far easier to pack away and set up on a dime.

4. Proper clothing

Gearing up for a multi-day trip means keeping an eye on the weather so you know exactly what to prepare for, so consider your climate before packing any clothing. Should you pack long spandex or short spandex? Short tees or long sleeves? What is the weather like at night? If significantly colder, what warm layers will you need to pack? On your bikepack tour, you will not have much room for overpacking, so be sure to go through the forecast before zipping up any bags and hitting the road. Need a better idea of what clothes and accessories you need to pack? Take a look at my essential packing list I drew up a while ago!

5. First aid and tools

Any backpacker’s worst nightmare is ending up in a sticky situation where first aid is not readily available. Make sure those nightmares never become a reality by always packing a mini first aid kit. It may also prove useful to have survival paracord by your side for any emergency scenarios. From fire starter to rescue line, this incredibly strong nylon cord boasts an impressive strength to weight ratio—making it one of the best additions to any first aid kit. Navigation tools will vary pending your intended location, but it is always a good idea to have a map and compass packed if you ever find yourself lost off the trail.

If you’d like to learn more about bikepacking, bicycle touring, and our many tips on how to make the most of your mountain bike adventures, don’t be afraid to do additional research! I’m always thankful for any advice and tips I get during my outdoors adventures. Remember, it’s always better to be overprepared than underprepared.

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