, ,

Bikepacking 101

So what is Bikepacking? The simplest definition is found on the Bikepacking.net website.

The short answer: it’s backpacking with a bike.

Longer answer: any ride that includes an overnight stay. This could be anything from ultralight singletrack tours to fully loaded dirt road touring (e.g. on the Great Divide Mountain Bike Route).  bikepacking.net focuses on off-road touring, away from cars. But the concepts and gear transfer equally well to all types of rides that stretch overnight.

If you’re a reader of this blog or know me personally you know my background is full of trail miles, either cover on a bike or on my very own two feet. As my desire to race and pay large amounts of money to punish myself have faded I have started to look at bikepacking as my next endeavor. It just seems like the perfect fit for me.

Back in the day mountain bikers had only a few options when it came to touring. You could go with panniers as your fellow road cyclist did or a little later you could use a BOB trailer. You could also just wear a backpack, which is never that comfortable while riding a bike, in my opinion. Never mind it puts all the weight on you and makes riding very difficult as you’re quite top heavy. As people looked for better ways to carry items on their bikes they realized that racks break over time on off road touring due to the constance vibrations. This lead them to frame and seat bags; gas tanks, and handle bar slings.


Your typical touring set up.

Typical BOB trailer set up

Bikepacking example courtesy of http://theoddadventure.blogspot.com

As you can see for the pictures there is a transition to less, just like in my backpacking. This last picture shows a typical bike packing set up with frame bag, gas tank, bar sling and seat bag. The system is simple and effective. Some people will still carry a hydration pack with a set up like this.

I see bike packing as a great way to explore and cover greater distances than if I were on foot. I also like that there are bike packing races now of multiple lengths. These races are also “underground” in that there is no entry fees or prizes. A date and time is picked, people show up and it’s every man/woman for themselves. Bikepacking races are solo endeavors and competitors can not ask for outside assistance. You are allowed to take trail magic if it’s offered.

Now that I’m in Colorado my desire to start bikepacking is even greater.  As I said before I can’t fathom the idea of buying a license or paying entry fees anymore.  I would rather take all the money to buy a bikepacking set up and a bunch of maps.  Instead of  a closed course I had no choice in designing, I’d rather plan my own adventures, see new places, ride new trails and “Get out there!”

Bikepacking Companies

Carousel Design Works

Cleaveland   Mountaineering

Phantom Pack Systems

Revelate Dessigns

Ovejanegra Thread Works

Porcelain Rocket

Nuclear Sunrise Stitchworks


Major Races

Arizona Trail Race (AZTR)

Colorado Trail Race (CTR)

Tour Divide (TDR)

Trans North Georgia (TNGA)

Coconino 250

Stagecoach 400

What I hope to achieve in Bikepacking:

I want to explore as much of Colorado as I can while perfecting my set up.  Once I do I will race the AZT, CTR, TNGA, and TDR at some point.


Get out there!

Wondering how you can support the next adventure?  Simply support the following and you will be. Backcountry.comFeed the Machine, and Amazon.



0 replies

Leave a Reply

Want to join the discussion?
Feel free to contribute!

Leave a Reply