S24O BIKEPACKING GUIDE

S24O is the acronym for Sub 24 hr. Overnight.

It’s defined as any overnight trip lasting less than 24 hours.

I made this guide for the beginner you wants to get their feet wet in the world of bikepacking or as a reminder to those veterans of bikepacking, that not everything trip has to be multiple days long. Lastly, a S24O just might be the answer to all those who think they don’t have time to go bikepacking or to simply ride their bike.

The goal of this guide is to breakdown the planning fundamentals of the S24O and supply you with tips to ensure you get out more, have fun and a stress free time on your bike, while camping in the woods. At the end of the day we all just want to have fun, and to get out more on our bikes. S24O are the perfect way to do just that.

Some people go with the philosophy that adventure comes from not planning and just winging it. If that’s you great, but this guide is for those who might be reluctant to start bikepacking, lack confidence, or just need help planning their first go of it.

For the purpose of this guide, it’s assumed the reader has all the equipment needed to bikepack, has tested it, and has their bike set up dialed. If you don’t the following posts will help:

Bikepacking 101

Bikepacking Gear Lists

Shakedown Ride

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Planning

One of the biggest hurdles to getting out sometimes is lack of time in one’s schedule. Who reading this has come home and thought, “I want to get out and ride!”. Then reality sets in and you realize by the time you pack and get your bike ready, your window of opportunity to ride is now too small. Or you just don’t want to the stress of scrambling last minute to get everything ready.

What actions you do before you even hit the trail, ie. planning, are a major part to a successful adventure. Personally, I believe the more you plan, the less hassle and stress you’ll have while on the bike. Below is a list of suggested steps one can take while planning a S24O, to help keep it stress free and not feel rushed. The first two are essential to ensuring you have an enjoyable time.

Step 1 – Pick a Date

Check the forecast and pick a day without chance of rain, that way you can take less and let’s face it no one is going for a S24O if it’s raining. I’m not saying you can’t just pack up and go, but a little planning goes a long way. Pick a day you know you have some extra free time or can get out of work early.

Step 2- The Route

Your route is probably the one of most important parts of your S24O. When planning your route you should consider how much time you have available, as well as the terrain.

You want a route that is long enough that the ride is fun and feels worth the effort, but not so long that you have to race home in the morning just to make it to work on time. Consider leaving a change of clothes at work, and instead of riding home, simply ride into work the next morning as part of your route.

Step 3 – The Camp Spot

Part of route planning is knowing where you’ll camp. Again, it’s not essential but knowing where your camp is ahead of time will help eliminate wasted time, and that means more time to ride. You can scope out potential campsites on previous rides and ensure you won’t be searching around in the dark trying to find a flat spot.

Be sure to check with local land management to see if camping is allowed in the area you plan on camping.

Step 4 – Invite a Friend

Think about inviting others to enjoy the fun with you. Just be sure everyone is a prepared as you or all your time savings might be lost waiting around. Find friends with the same goals as yourself.

Bikepacking Alaska - Night Terrors and Mozzies

At Home

There are more than a few things you can do at home that can make your S24O that much more enjoyable. The best way to eliminate the stress of getting out and enjoying yourself is to be organized and prepared ahead of time. You can do this through thinking ahead and getting certain things ready for your S24O. Don’t forget to consider things you’ll need after the ride as well.

Packing

Probably the most important part of planning for a S24O besides planning a good route, is how well you pack. As eliminating stress to increase the fun factor is a goal, you can help accomplish this by becoming a “packing ninja”. I’m not just referring to the packing of your bicycle, read on to see what I mean.

To eliminate packing after you get off work or whatever else you have going on that day, pack everything you need for your S24O the night before. Have your bike completely packed ahead of time. Why waste daylight and ride time packing the day of?

Other Tips

If you’re a coffee drinker, set the machine to have your cup of morning joe ready when you plan to be home. If you like to pack your lunch to work, make it up before hand as well. These things will mean you can ride longer.

Another part of your pre-ride ritual should be making sure your bike is lubed, tires and shock pressure is at the proper levels (the added weight of bikepacking gear will mean higher pressures in both), and any other repairs are done ahead of time.

The goal of everything you do at home is to simplify the process and save time so you can spend more of it on the bike.

Bikepacking Alaska - Night Terrors and Mozzies

Summary

S24O’s are not complicated. When I first had the idea to create this guide I thought it would be much bigger with more suggestions but as I got into it I realized the best approach was to help keep the process simple. The goal became to help the reader to avoid the physical and mental pitfalls that lead one to thinking S24O’s were more complex than they really are.

The bottom line is, some planning and consideration to some off the bike areas will help you keep things simple and hopefully ensure you get out more.

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