Bikepacking for Beginners: 3 Easy Tips You Need To Get Started

At first, bikepacking for beginners can seem overwhelming.

You’ll have to do some planning and make sure you have the right equipment, like for any trip.

But once you know these three easy tips to get started, you’ll be excited to plan your biking adventure.

Just follow these steps, below.

bikepacking for beginners

CONTENTS – In this article, you will learn about bikepacking and what you need to get started, including:

  • What is Bikepacking?
  • The 3 Things You Need to Start Bikepacking
  • What to Bring Bikepacking
  • What Kind of a Bike is Best for Bikepacking
  • Planning Your Bikepacking Trip
  • Final Thoughts About Bikepacking

Bikepacking – The Best of Biking and Backpacking

Many people love to travel with a backpack and a sense of adventure. 

That’s because backpacking is a great way to get off of the beaten path and see things from a different perspective. 

If you’re a nature lover then this is one of the best ways to see an area.

But there is another way that is gaining popularity and that’s bikepacking

It’s the best of both worlds: biking and backpacking.

What is Bikepacking?

Bikepacking is like backpacking except that you are carrying everything on a bike. That way, you can see much more of an area than you could by walking or trekking. 

In addition, you can get much further off the beaten path. 

Most bikepacking trips tend to include unpaved or off-road surfaces. That’s part of what makes it different than bike touring.

In this article, we will go over some of the basics to get you started on your first bikepacking adventure. 

3 Things You Need To Start Bikepacking

Even if you’ve been on a bike tour or gone backpacking before, bikepacking for beginners is a bit different.

That’s because you want to bring the right gear and spend some extra time planning your route.

Here are 3 things you need to know to start backpacking.

1 – What to Bring Bikepacking (Keep it Light)

The one basic principle that is consistent between backpacking and bikepacking is to keep your pack lightweight

When it comes to bikepacking for beginners, many first-timers bring too much stuff.

The more stuff you bring, the more you will be weighed down.

This will make it harder to travel. 

You don’t have to be quite as diligent with weight with the bike as with a backpack, but try to not overdo it. 

This means that you should look for lightweight alternatives to everything you plan to pack. 

When it comes to bikepacking clothing, think about the material. 

Instead of cotton, look into some lightweight synthetics. They will take up a fraction of the space, are lightweight, and also very breathable. 

For food, there are many different adventure meals that take up little space and hardly weigh your pack down at all. 

You should only pack as many meals as you need to get you through those times when you are away from a town where you can restock.

On average, expect your fully loaded bike weight to be between 55 and 110 lbs (25-50 kg). The lighter it is, the better.  

Of course, you’re going to want to have the right bicycle to carry your bikepacking gear..

2 – What Kind of Bike is Best for Bikepacking?

The type of bike you use is going to make or break your trip. 

What it needs to be able to do is reliably get you from point A to point B without any problems. 

This means reliability is key as is the ability to get you through different types of terrain. 

Look for something like a hybrid mountain bike that can work in a city environment but will also give you good traction on gravel and off trail paths. 

It should also have some suspension to help your joints. Then, you will be able to ride long distances over rough terrain without getting fatigued. 

The bike should also have a lot of options for carrying gear. 

You want to make sure you are able to mount some saddle bags and handlebar mounted bags for the trip.  Most bikepackers also wear a lightweight backpack.

3 – Plan Out Your Bikepacking Route

It is very important to have a well-researched route so you don’t come across any surprises. 

Be sure to consider time, distance, region, and weather when you’re planning your route. 

It’s especially important to understand the weather you are likely to face. This will ensure that you are carrying what you need to confront any type of weather without weighing yourself down.

The best advice for bikepacking for beginners is to start small with a short route.

On average, you can plan on riding somewhere between 25 and 75 miles (40-120 km) each day of your backpacking trip. This will depend on:

  • How heavy your stuff is
  • Whether the terrain is rough
  • The weather conditions
  • How many daylight hours there are for the seaon

As a beginner backpacker, you might aim for less, even if conditions are favorable. Then, you can increase the length, duration, and difficulty as you become more experienced with bikepacking.

You’ll find lots of trails that will either be above your experience level or have some issues that you need to know about. 

Also factor in whether you want to overnight at hotels or airbnb’s along the way, or go tent camping.

Once you have a route and your stops roughed out, check out online forums or books to understand whether the route is going to work for you. 

You may need to make some adjustments to your route after doing additional research. You might want to skip this last step, but in the end, you’ll enjoy a better ride.

Final Thoughts on Bikepacking for Beginners

Now that you understand the basics of bikepacking for beginners, it’s time to get planning.

If your first bikepacking trip goes well, you may find yourself ready to take your next trip sooner than you expected!

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Jackie Gately

Jackie Gately is a seasoned travel writer, photographer, and marketing consultant who is passionate about travel. She loves casual-luxury experiences, coastal getaways, cultural attractions, and local, wholesome food and wine pairings. A perfect day ends with her toes in the sand or by chasing the sunset with her camera--ideally both.