Bikepacking is the two-wheeled adventure that brings cycling and backpacking together. Because with a bit of planning and a little more gear, it’s easy to upgrade a fun mountain bike ride into an epic bikepacking overnight escapade. And there’s a good chance you already have most of the stuff you need; bikepacking is king of the “run what you brung” ethos.
“If you have a mountain bike, you can try out bikepacking without buying a new bike,” says Joey Ernst, owner of Velorution Cycles in Durango, Colorado, who has finished the self-supported, 500-mile off-road adventure known as the Colorado Trail Race twice, as well as the 300-mile Arizona Trail Race.
Ernst emphasizes that preparation is important, but to keep your research in check.
“The gear is necessary, but don’t let yourself get swallowed into the rabbit hole of gear … You don’t need to obsess over everything,” he says.
Bikepacking gear needs for an overnight include shelter (a bivouac sack or a tent), a sleeping bag, a sleeping pad (optional), food, water, whiskey (totally not optional) and seasonally appropriate clothing (especially a beanie for at night). You’ll also need the means to carry your kit. Ernst is a big believer of keeping gear on the bike and off your back and swears by bikepacking-specific bags that attach to your seatpost, handlebar and frame, favoring Durango-made Bedrock Bags.