A Beginner’s Guide to Launching Your First Bikepacking Adventure

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A Beginner’s Guide to Launching Your First Bikepacking Adventure

What happens when hiking and camping combined with cycling? You get something called bikepacking. It is exactly what it sounds like … a sport that involves placing pads and gear on bikes and riding on an adventure.

If the first image that comes to mind when you hear the word ‘bikepacking’ is a cyclist puffing shoulder, loaded with four suitcases, one on each side of the two wheels are forgiven. That is to travel by bike. It has been around for ages and people are still traveling a lot this way.

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But in recent years there has been an increase in the number of people exchanging saddlebags for other types of bags, frames and surfaces. If bike tour is the granddaddy of biking adventures, then it is bikepacking is cooler, lighter, braver offspring. Is what is fastpacking backpack. And it is here to stay.

New companies now exploding on the scene bikepacking are only resulting in better equipment to help both novices and inveterate cyclist access adventures on two wheels. Gear settings on bicycles in a way that is elegant, balanced and lightweight, making it possible for pilots through pedal rather than the pavement. Most bikepackers while riding roads will prefer gravel and dirt, and generally, they are opting for mountain bike road bike.

Ride What Ya Got

At first glance, it might seem like the type of sport bikepacking a steep entry point. A quick search on Google or scrolling through Instagram turn a lot of images of motorcycles doctored and seeking complex configurations. But in reality, you can go bikepacking on almost any bike.

Do not spend a lot of money on new equipment, including a set of wheels, until you take a trip or two. Ride that is parked in your garage and find out what you need and want. Then if you like, you can buy a specific framework for bikepacking and optimize your experience.

bikepacking 101 intro to bikepacking adventure cycling
Erin McGrady / Authentic Asheville

Pack What Ya Got

Again, keep your investment to a minimum while you are deciding whether or not bikepacking is something you want to fully commit. If you have a hydration pack or backpack, they use it. Osprey Raptor is a good choice, but for your first trip, but no need to be picky. “I do not feel like you need a complete kit to get out on the trails,” says Greg Hardy, owner of Rockgeist, a company bikepacking custom in Asheville, North Carolina in the. “Grab a pair of straps gauze (pictured above) for anchoring dry bags to a shelf or on the handlebars and that’s all you need to get started.”

bikepacking 101 intro to bikepacking adventure cycling
Erin McGrady / Authentic Asheville


If you are reluctant to take their first trip bikepacking with equipment on, we got it. The right equipment can be the difference between a good trip and excellent. (And sometimes wrong gear can ruin an entire trip.) Luckily, you’ve got options as more and more companies around the country, like Swift Adventure Co.Mountain Bike SF, and Rockgeist, are offering bikepacking rentals. It’s a good way to test drive what you are considering buying, and low cost way to see whether or not I even like the sport.

bikepacking 101 intro to bikepacking adventure cycling
Erin McGrady / Authentic Ashevill

Take Your First Trip

there at some point, just get on your bike and go. We recommend making the first trip short and something close to home. Ryan Prentiss Asheville, North Carolina’s (pictured) started traveling by bicycle in 2012 and the transition to bikepacking in 2016.

They rode from San Francisco to Peru in 2018 and has been bikepacking since. His advice for new bikepackers? “Do not try to ride too far, too soon,” said Prentiss. “Treat your body well and your body will adapt to life on a bicycle.” In other words, plan a short trip out, and repeat. Gradually increase your mileage and extend their trips long daytime walks to adventures weekend and beyond.

Don’t Pack the Kitchen Sink

The desire to be prepared for anything and everything that is not a bad thing. In some situations, it is necessary. But when it comes to bikepacking, consider what is absolutely necessary and what is perhaps not as important (books, hiking boots, camera equipment). The idea is to pack something minimally so you can travel light and fast. Prentiss says his most valuable bikepacking gear item is his Vargo Bot 700, a titanium pot with a watertight screw-top lid. I used to boil tea, prepare food, and store leftovers. All you decide to bring, you will need to take with you for the long haul, so choose wisely.

bikepacking 101 intro to bikepacking adventure cyclingGreg Hardy of Rockgeist Erin McGrady / Authentic Ashevill

Invest Wisely

Willing to invest in some gear? “The first piece of gear is recommended to invest in a framebag” says Hardy. “He has great versatility and convenience packaging, carries low weight on the bike for optimal handling, and can function as a storage option on the regular track / path riding.” After that, the options are numerous. Hardy currently have on your bike (pictured), the Mudlust custom Framebag, cache Top Tube Bag, Barjam harness, and a bag of Medic. The beauty of most of these bags is that although it can be removed quickly and easily. You are not married to a particular configuration so you can change based on your next trip, and his team.

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