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How to turn your mountain bike ride into an overnight adventure

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.

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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.

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