Bikepacking is a unique and exciting way to explore the great outdoors while getting some exercise. Unlike traditional backpacking, bikepacking involves packing everything you need onto your bike and hitting the trails. But where do you start? This guide will walk you through the basics of a bikepacking setup, from choosing the right bike to packing your gear.

Bikepacking is a thrilling way to explore the outdoors while traveling on two wheels. It involves packing all of your necessary gear onto a bike and embarking on a multi-day journey. This means carrying everything you need for food, shelter, and clothing on your bike! But what does a basic bikepacking setup entail? In this article, we will explore the essential equipment you need to start your bikepacking adventure.

Choosing the Right Bike

The first step to a successful bikepacking trip is choosing the right bike. While any bike can technically be used for bikepacking, there are a few key features to look for:


The frame of your bike is the foundation for your entire setup. Look for a frame that is sturdy and can handle the weight of your gear. You’ll also want a frame that is designed for off-road use, as bikepacking often involves rough terrain.


Your tires are the only point of contact between you and the ground, so it’s important to choose the right ones. Look for tires that are wide and have good traction. This will help you navigate through rough terrain and provide stability when carrying a heavy load.


If you’re planning on riding on particularly rough terrain, you may want to consider a bike with suspension. Suspension helps absorb impact and makes for a smoother ride. However, keep in mind that suspension adds weight and can make your bike more difficult to pedal.

Packing Your Gear

Once you’ve chosen the right bike, it’s time to pack your gear. Keep in mind that you’ll be carrying everything you need on your bike, so it’s important to pack smart. Here are some tips for packing your gear:

Bikepacking is a fun and unique way to explore the outdoors while getting exercise. When preparing for a bikepacking trip, it is important to choose the right bike with a sturdy frame, wide tires with good traction, and suspension if necessary for the terrain. Additionally, packing your gear strategically with the right bags, keeping heavy items close to the center of gravity, and avoiding overpacking are essential. A gear checklist including essentials such as a tent, sleeping bag, and cooking gear should also be created. By following these basic guidelines, anyone can begin to enjoy the thrill and adventure of bikepacking.

Once you’ve chosen the right bike, it’s time to pack your gear. Keep in mind that you’ll be carrying everything you need on your bike, so it’s important to pack smart. Here are some tips for packing your gear:

Choose the Right Bags

The type of bags you choose will depend on how much gear you’re bringing and where you’re planning on storing it. There are several types of bikepacking bags to choose from, including:

  • Handlebar bags
  • Frame bags
  • Seat bags
  • Panniers

Pack Strategically

When packing your gear, it’s important to think strategically. Keep heavier items closer to the bike’s center of gravity to maintain balance. Pack items you’ll need during the day, such as snacks and a rain jacket, in easily accessible locations.

Don’t Overpack

While it may be tempting to bring everything but the kitchen sink, it’s important to pack light. Remember that you’ll be carrying everything on your bike, and the heavier your load, the more difficult it will be to pedal. Stick to the essentials and leave the non-essentials at home.

Gear Checklist

Now that you know how to choose the right bike and pack your gear, it’s time to create a gear checklist. Here are some essentials to include:

  • Tent
  • Sleeping bag
  • Sleeping pad
  • Cooking gear
  • Food and snacks
  • Water bottles or hydration system
  • First aid kit
  • Repair kit
  • Maps or GPS device
  • Headlamp or flashlight

Keep in mind that this list is just a starting point. Your gear checklist will vary depending on the length of your trip and the climate you’ll be riding in.

FAQs for Basic Bikepacking Setup

What is bikepacking?

Bikepacking is a combination of camping and cycling. It involves packing your essential gear on your bike, including food, water, shelter, and clothing, and embarking on a self-supported cycling adventure. It’s a great way to explore new places, get some exercise, and enjoy the great outdoors.

What gear do I need for bikepacking?

The gear you need for bikepacking depends on the length of your trip, the climate, and the terrain. You’ll need a bike that’s comfortable and reliable, with plenty of storage space for your gear. You’ll also need a tent or bivy, sleeping bag, sleeping pad, cookware, and food. You’ll also want to bring some basic tools and spare bike parts in case of breakdowns, along with appropriate clothing and rain gear.

How do I pack for a bikepacking trip?

Packing for a bikepacking trip requires careful planning, as you only have limited space on your bike. You’ll want to pack your essentials such as your tent, sleeping bag and pad, cooking gear, and food first. Then, you can start adding clothing and personal items. Make sure to pack items in a way that’s easy to access on the go, and try to keep the weight distributed evenly on your bike.

What type of bike is best for bikepacking?

There are many types of bikes that can be used for bikepacking, including mountain bikes, gravel bikes, and touring bikes. The best bike for your trip depends on the terrain you’ll be riding on and the length of your trip. Consider how much weight you’ll be carrying and the type of terrain you’ll be navigating before choosing your bike.

How do I plan a bikepacking route?

Planning a bikepacking route involves checking local maps, researching the terrain and amenities available in the area, and considering your own fitness level and experience. You’ll want to plan your daily mileage, taking into account elevation gain, road conditions, and potential camping spots along the way. Be sure to also plan for rest days and resupply points along the route.

Can I bikepack with friends?

Yes, bikepacking with friends can be a great way to enhance your experience. You can share gear, come up with a route together, and enjoy the company of others on the trip. Just make sure to communicate your expectations and preferences beforehand, and agree on a pace and rest schedule that works for everyone.


By Frank

Frank Thompson, a seasoned cyclist and bike aficionado, has been passionate about all things bicycle-related since his childhood. Born and raised in the beautiful Seattle, Frank has spent countless hours exploring the winding trails, scenic roads, and vibrant urban landscapes on two wheels. With over 20 years of experience in the cycling world, Frank has garnered an extensive knowledge of bicycle mechanics, maintenance, and customization. After completing his degree in Mechanical Engineering, Frank pursued a career in the bicycle industry, working with renowned bike manufacturers and local bike shops. His expertise led him to become a sought-after consultant for professional cyclists, weekend warriors, and bike enthusiasts alike. Throughout the years, he has also volunteered with various cycling advocacy groups, promoting safe and accessible cycling infrastructure in the community. Frank's passion for cycling extends beyond his professional life, as he has participated in numerous local and international bike races and charity events. His love for adventure has taken him on several memorable cycling expeditions, from the breathtaking mountain trails of the Rockies to the picturesque coastal roads of the Mediterranean. As a valued contributor to West Seattle Cyclery, Frank shares his wealth of knowledge and experience with our readers through informative articles, how-to guides, and gear reviews. Always eager to help fellow cyclists, Frank is dedicated to making the world of cycling more approachable and enjoyable for everyone. When he's not busy tinkering with bikes or writing for the blog, you can find him exploring new routes, coaching beginner cyclists, or spending quality time with his family and their beloved golden retriever, Buddy.