All you need is a bike and a plan, and freedom is yours for the taking.
There’s a myth out there that a great bikepacking trip – the kind that makes your insides bubble with possibility – requires “more.” More time, more experience, more kit. You don’t need more of anything though. Instead, a sense of discovery, and an ability to embrace the unknown is all that’s required for a two-wheeled multi-day adventure.
Two rides with an overnight stop in between. Throw in a few variables like a new-to-you route or a distance that’s just out of your comfort zone, and you’ve got yourself a bikepacking adventure.
The only wrong way to do bikepacking is to not go. So go have some fun!
Lael Wilcox, ultra-endurance cyclist and komoot global cycling ambassador
Inspiration For Your Bikepacking Trip
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Set off prepared: Four things to consider when planning your bikepacking trip (according to bikepacking pros)
There may not be a one-size-fits-all rule for making your bikepacking adventures awesome, but there are some universal considerations you should think about before you head out. Our komoot bikepacking ambassadors can attest to that. This is what they consider important to think about during the planning stages:
Your bikepacking route is central to your whole ride as it’ll inform all your other decisions. Before you start planning, remember the goal is having a good time outside, so be realistic about what is actually enjoyable for you (and bear in mind that a loaded bike is tougher to ride, so plan distances accordingly).
How far do you want to ride (and relatedly, how remote do you want to go?)? Do you picture yourself on a gravel adventure or want to go full-on MTB-mode? Are you looking for an epic multi-day adventure that pushes you to the edge of your comfort zone and requires dialled logistics, or do you just want a care-free night under the stars?
According to Austrian bikepacking pro, Max Riese, the bike you ride matters less than the route. Wider tires offer more flexibility for adventuring, but as long as you plan a route suitable for the bike you have, you’ll have fun.
“Keep it simple,” is Dutch cycling ambassador Erwin Sikkens’ advice. “You can set up an affordable bikepacking rig with a couple of dry bags and some clever straps, and gradually buy more gear as you learn what you like.” There’s also no rule book for ultra-light gear. If you can attach it to your bike and still manage to pedal, it’ll do!
Your packing list
Lael Wilcox’ top tip for packing is to remember that the lighter the bike, the more fun it is to ride, so avoid bringing too much! She recommends having the right clothes for the weather you expect, and lives by the layering approach (your warmest outfit should involve wearing clothes on top of each other, instead of swapping out warm weather clothes for cool weather clothes).
Embrace the unknowns when you’re out there
While proper planning goes a long way towards having a great time on a multi-day ride, the fact is you can’t plan for every little thing. In fact, when it comes to adventure, the fun part is often in the unknown – the stuff you can’t anticipate before you go. It’s all about embracing the good, the bad, and the in-between experiences, enjoying yourself in the moment, and chalking up the rest to experience. Also important? Making a note of those experiences that make for a good story, like these ones:
Cycling across the Australian Outback for weeks, a passing car eventually slowed to tell me my cycle shorts were so threadbare that every passing vehicle could see my backside as they passed! There wasn’t a lot I could do to remedy the situation until I reached Adelaide a week later.
The SRMR (Silk Road Mountain Race) probably stands out because I thought I was so far out of my depth entering "one of the toughest MTB races in the world" when I didn't even a own mountain bike at the time. Of course, being in the mountains (and some mountains I knew well from running across them previously!) made my heart sing and I did way better than I could have imagined. I gained a lot of confidence and shared some really special memories with the other competitors.
When I was in Kyrgyzstan I accidentally bought a fried pastry called “Shamsi” with the wrong filling. I asked for veggies. Instead I got horse meat and onions (accompanied by fermented horse milk). Not a good decision for a vegetarian!
Bikepacking is an amazing way to embrace the freedom afforded by two wheels. Armed with pro tips and a bike workshop’s worth of bikepacking inspiration, there’s nothing left to do but to plan your own multi-day adventure by bike!