Are you ready to explore the great outdoors on two wheels? Bikepacking is an exciting way to experience nature, challenge yourself physically, and disconnect from the hustle and bustle of everyday life. But before you hit the trail, there are a few things you need to know to make the most of your adventure. In this ultimate bikepacking guide, we’ll cover everything from gear and planning to safety tips and trail etiquette.

Bikepacking is a relatively new type of adventure that combines cycling and backpacking. It involves packing all your camping gear onto your bike and embarking on a multi-day trip through off-road terrain. A bikepacking guide is an essential tool for anyone looking to explore this exciting activity. In this guide, you will find everything you need to know about planning and preparing for a bikepacking trip, including gear essentials, route planning, and safety tips. Whether you’re a seasoned cyclist or a beginner, this guide will help you navigate through the world of bikepacking and make your next adventure one to remember.

Gear Essentials for Bikepacking

When it comes to bikepacking, it’s important to pack smartly and efficiently. After all, you’ll be carrying everything you need on your bike, so you want to make sure you have all the essentials without weighing yourself down. Here are some of the must-have gear items you’ll need for your bikepacking trip:


First and foremost, you need a bike that can handle the rigors of off-road terrain. Look for a sturdy, reliable bike with wide tires, good suspension, and strong brakes.


You’ll need a set of bike bags to carry your gear. Choose bags that are durable, waterproof, and lightweight to make your ride as comfortable as possible.

Tent and Sleeping Bag

A good-quality tent and sleeping bag are must-have items for any bikepacking trip. Look for lightweight, compact options that are easy to pack and set up.

Food and Water

Pack enough food and water for the duration of your trip, plus a little extra in case of emergency. Consider bringing a portable water filter or purification tablets if you’ll be camping near water sources.


Pack clothing that’s appropriate for the weather conditions you’ll encounter, including rain gear, warm layers, and comfortable, breathable fabrics.

Planning Your Bikepacking Trip

Once you have your gear sorted, it’s time to start planning your bikepacking trip. Here are some key things to consider:

Bikepacking is an exciting way to experience nature and challenge yourself physically. When preparing for a bikepacking trip, it’s important to pack efficiently and choose gear that’s sturdy, waterproof, and lightweight. Planning your route, accommodation, and emergency plans ahead of time will ensure a safe and enjoyable trip. Follow trail etiquette and wear protective gear, including a properly fitting helmet, reflective clothing, and lights on your bike. Don’t forget to check your gear for any damage or wear before each ride.

Once you have your gear sorted, it’s time to start planning your bikepacking trip. Here are some key things to consider:


Choose a route that suits your skill level and the amount of time you have available. Look for established bikepacking routes or create your own using GPS software like Strava or Komoot.


Decide whether you’ll be camping or staying in hotels along your route. If you’ll be camping, research campsites ahead of time and make sure you have all the necessary permits.

Distance and Pace

Be realistic about how far you can ride each day and plan your route accordingly. Don’t forget to factor in breaks and rest days.

Emergency Plans

Make sure someone knows your route and expected arrival time, and carry a first aid kit and emergency supplies in case of injury or unexpected weather.

Bikepacking Safety Tips

Bikepacking is a fun and rewarding activity, but it’s important to stay safe on the trail. Here are some key safety tips to keep in mind:

Wear a Helmet

Always wear a properly fitting helmet to protect your head in case of a fall or collision.

Follow Trail Etiquette

Respect other trail users and follow established trail etiquette, such as yielding to hikers and horseback riders.

Be Visible

Wear bright, reflective clothing and use lights and reflectors on your bike to increase visibility to other trail users.

Stay Hydrated

Drink plenty of water throughout your ride to avoid dehydration, especially in hot weather.

Check Your Gear

Before each ride, check your bike, bags, and other equipment for damage or wear and tear.

FAQs for Bikepacking Guide

What is bikepacking?

Bikepacking is a combination of bike touring and backpacking. It involves setting out on a multi-day trip with all of your gear packed onto your bike. The difference between bike touring and bikepacking is that bike touring involves staying in hotels or hostels, whereas bikepacking requires you to carry all of your camping gear with you and sleep outdoors.

What are the essential items needed for bikepacking?

The essential items for bikepacking include a bike with sturdy frames and tires, a tent or bivvy bag, a sleeping bag, sleeping pad, cooking equipment, food and water, clothing suitable for the weather conditions, lights, and a tool kit for the bike. It is important to pack light and only bring what is absolutely necessary as you will be carrying all of your gear with you on your bike.

How do I plan a bikepacking route?

When planning a bikepacking route, it is important to consider the distance, terrain, weather conditions, and availability of campsites or accommodation. Look at online maps and guides for cycling routes and take into account the amount of elevation gain and loss on each day’s ride. Plan rest days into your trip to avoid burnout and fatigue. Research and learn the rules for camping and outdoor activities in the areas you plan to visit.

What safety precautions should I take while bikepacking?

Safety should be a priority when bikepacking. Wear a helmet while cycling and carry a first aid kit with you. Choose routes that are well traveled and avoid cycling alone in remote areas. Take breaks frequently to rest and stay hydrated. Check your gear often to ensure it is in good condition and up to the demands of the trip. Let someone know your planned route and return date, and carry a GPS tracker or cell phone with you for emergencies.

Can I go bikepacking alone?

Yes, you can go bikepacking alone, but it is important to take additional safety measures if you do. Choose routes that are well traveled and have good cell phone coverage. Plan your route ahead of time and let someone know your itinerary, including your planned rest stops and where you will be camping. Consider carrying a GPS tracker that can alert authorities if you are in need of help. Always prioritize safety, and if in doubt, plan your trip with a partner or group.


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.