Spotlight

Bikepacking With Your Mountain Bike

Your bike. A couple of things. That’s all you need for the adventure. Paths, trails, fields and forests are provided by the landscape. It almost doesn’t matter what your destination is – as long as it is far away from the amenities of civilization.

Bikepacking is something in between biking and camping, mostly with an MTB or cross bike. Since you have everything you will need to eat and sleep on you at all times, luggage tends to be minimalistic. Whether you are transporting it in a backpack or frame bags, whether it’s high tech or your parents’ old gear – it doesn’t matter. What counts is the feeling of independence, adventure and satisfaction at the end of the day. You will find it even as a complete newbie, promise. And you will quickly gain all necessary experience, the only important thing is for you to set off and actually do it.

What counts is the feeling of independence, adventure and satisfaction at the end of the day. You will find it even as a complete newbie, promise.

Inspiration For Your Bikepacking Trip

Choose from our ready-to-go Collections with handpicked Tours and lots of handy information, created by passionate people like you.

Vulkan Eifel – bike and hike
Mountain Biking Collection by
komoot
Bivouac & Bike around Innsbruck
Mountain Biking Collection by
komoot
Bikepacking Bavaria – the Jura-Trail
Mountain Biking Collection by
komoot
Trans-Wales bikepacking in 4 days
Mountain Biking Collection by
komoot
Morocco - biking over the Atlas Mountains
Bike Touring Collection by
komoot
Kyrgyzstan – bikepacking in the wild east
Mountain Biking Collection by
komoot
Isle of Arran – trails, bikes and the sea
Bike Touring Collection by
komoot
White knuckle riding around Mont Blanc
Mountain Biking Collection by
komoot
3 days of bike crossing in the Black Forest
Mountain Biking Collection by
komoot
The Stoneman Trail in the Erzgebirge
Mountain Biking Collection by
komoot
Traversée du Massif Vosgien - Alsace bikepacking
Mountain Biking Collection by
komoot
7 hut overnighters for a weekend in the Alps
Mountain Biking Collection by
komoot

The right season

The best time for you to go bikepacking depends entirely on your own priorities. If you go during warmer periods, your days will be a little more pleasant—something you’ll be especially thankful for in the mornings and evenings. If you go during colder periods, you’ll have to take more equipment with you stay warm around the clock. Unfortunately, however, it tends to get busier the warmer it gets and you’ll always find more people in summer than in spring or autumn, whereas it’s often not advisable to head out on long bikepacking tours in the winter at all—unless you’re into the extreme. No matter when you go, just make sure you take more water with you when it's warm and more food when it's cool as the cold weather also consumes more calories.

What should I eat?

First of all, you are not going on an expedition in the Himalayas, so artificial (and expensive) ready-to-eat nutrition is not necessary. It is not that hard to eat well while camping. Think of some simple, nourishing dishes while you are still at home, bring the ingredients, done. Under an open sky, after a day in the saddle, even the simplest food will taste gourmet.

Classics

  • Oatmeal with banana, nuts and cocoa
  • Pasta and pesto
  • Couscous with an onion and a vegetable (e.g. zucchini)
  • Bread with peanut butter, nutella or a savory spread

By the way

  • Flat spaghetti (aka Linguine) needs the least room in your bag
  • On the bike, you will be burning many more calories than usual
  • Plan your water consumption, always have a backup
  • Always bring an extra provision of whisky, I meant cereal bars

Find great detailed recipes for the outdoors at trail.recipes

Where to sleep?

Classic Accommodation

Pro

Less luggage, showers and toilets, plan from home

Con

Costs money, inflexible destination, less wilderness

Campground

Pro

#Campvibes but still showers and toilets, plan from home

Con

Costs money, inflexible destination, often doubtful aesthetics, you are not alone

Official bivouac spot

Pro

Close to wild camping, often near water, free, sometimes with toilet, plan from home

Con

no showers, inflexible destination, you are not alone

Wild camping

Pro

#campvibes, free, flexible destination

Con

It can take long to find a good spot, no showers or toilets, illegal in many countries.

Since you have everything you will need to eat and sleep on you at all times, luggage tends to be minimalistic. Whether you are transporting it in a backpack or frame bags, whether it’s high tech or your parents’ old gear – it doesn’t matter.

Packing List

During the ride

Helmet, cycling shorts, jersey, socks, cycling shoes, buff, rain jacket

In the evening

Comfy pants, T-shirt, underpants, long fleece or puffy, sandals/slippers

Camping

Sleeping bag, sleeping pad, stove, pot, pocket knife, spork, cup, trash bag

Often underestimated

Mosquito repellent, sunscreen, first aid kit, backup lighter for your stove, clothes line, backup tube, tools, toilet paper (bury it or pack it out!), powerbank, organ donor card (just kidding)

Often overestimated

Tent, ready-to-eat expedition food, deodorant, dish soap, more than one set of fresh clothes

Find more in-depth tips on bikepacking.com

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