Bikepacking is a unique form of adventure cycling that requires the rider to travel long distances over challenging terrain. Due to the nature of this activity, bikepackers must carefully consider their gear, including clothing. Bikepacking clothing needs to be comfortable, versatile, and durable to withstand varying weather conditions and terrain types. In this article, we will explore the different types of bikepacking clothing and what to look for when choosing the right gear for your next expedition.

The Importance of Bikepacking Clothing

Bikepacking is an adventurous activity that requires proper preparation, especially when it comes to clothing. The clothing you wear during a bikepacking trip can make a significant difference in your comfort, performance, and overall experience. It’s not just about looking good; it’s about feeling good and being prepared for any weather conditions you might encounter.

Comfort is Key

When it comes to bikepacking clothing, comfort is the most important factor to consider. You’ll be spending hours in the saddle, so you need to choose clothing that won’t chafe, rub, or cause discomfort. Look for clothing made from breathable and moisture-wicking materials that will keep you cool and dry, even on hot days. Also, consider investing in padded shorts or bibs to provide extra cushioning and reduce pressure points.

Functionality Matters

Bikepacking clothing must also be functional. You’ll be carrying all your gear on your bike, so you need clothing with pockets and storage options to help you organize your essentials. Look for clothing with zippered pockets, cargo pockets, or even backpacks that can be worn while biking. Also, consider clothing that can be easily layered to accommodate changes in temperature throughout the day.

Style is a Bonus

While comfort and functionality are the most important factors, style is also a consideration. You’ll want to choose clothing that reflects your personal style and makes you feel good while on the road. Look for clothing with modern designs and colors that will make you stand out on the trails.

Essential Bikepacking Clothing

When it comes to essential bikepacking clothing, there are a few key items you should consider:

Cycling Shorts or Bibs

Cycling shorts or bibs are a must-have for any bikepacking trip. They provide comfort and support for hours on end, and they’re designed to reduce chafing and rubbing. Look for options with padding in the seat area to provide extra cushioning and reduce pressure points.

Base Layers

Base layers are essential for regulating your body temperature and keeping you dry. Look for options made from breathable and moisture-wicking materials that will keep you cool and dry on hot days and warm on cold days.

Cycling Jersey

A cycling jersey is a great option for bikepacking because it’s designed to be lightweight and breathable. Look for options with zippered pockets and a full-length zipper for easy temperature regulation.

Rain Gear

Rain gear is essential for any bikepacking trip, especially if you’re heading into areas with unpredictable weather patterns. Look for options made from waterproof and breathable materials that will keep you dry without causing you to overheat.


Proper footwear is critical for bikepacking because your feet will be doing most of the work. Look for cycling shoes with stiff soles that will provide support and power transfer. Also, consider shoes with ample ventilation to keep your feet cool and dry.

FAQs for bikepacking clothing

What type of clothing is best for bikepacking?

The best type of clothing for bikepacking is a combination of moisture-wicking and quick-drying materials. This type of clothing will keep you dry and comfortable during the day and will dry quickly if you get caught in the rain. Look for fabrics that are lightweight and breathable, such as merino wool, synthetic blends, or nylon. Layering is also key, as it allows you to adjust your clothing as the temperature changes throughout the day.

What should I wear during cold weather bikepacking?

When bikepacking in cold weather, it is important to layer up to stay warm. Start with a base layer made of a moisture-wicking material, followed by a middle layer of insulation such as fleece or down, and finish with a waterproof and windproof outer layer. Investing in a good pair of insulated gloves, a warm hat, and waterproof shoes or shoe covers will keep your extremities warm and dry.

Can I wear regular athletic clothing for bikepacking?

Regular athletic clothing may be suitable for short bike rides, but you will need specific clothing for longer bikepacking trips. Athletic clothing is designed to be lightweight and breathable, but it may not have the moisture-wicking and quick-drying properties that you will need for long hours in the saddle. Additionally, specialized bikepacking clothing is designed to be durable and abrasion-resistant, which will help prevent wear and tear caused by the repeated rubbing of your clothing against your bike.

What type of shoes are best for bikepacking?

The best shoes for bikepacking are ones that provide good grip and support for your feet. Many people prefer flat pedals and shoes with a sticky rubber sole for better traction on the pedals. Additionally, shoes with a stiff sole will help distribute the force of pedaling across the entire foot, reducing the strain on specific pressure points. Consider investing in waterproof and breathable shoes or shoe covers to keep your feet dry and comfortable during wet conditions.

Should I invest in specialized bikepacking clothing?

Investing in specialized bikepacking clothing is recommended for longer trips. Bikepacking clothes are designed to be durable, abrasion-resistant, and specifically tailored for the needs of a bikepacking cyclist. They often feature waterproof and windproof materials, reflective details for visibility, strategically placed vents for breathability, and plenty of pockets for storage. While it may be more expensive than regular athletic clothing, bikepacking clothing is an investment in your comfort and safety while on the road.


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.