Bikepacking is a popular outdoor activity combining cycling and camping, and choosing the right frame is crucial for a successful trip. There are many types of frames available, each with its own advantages and disadvantages. In this article, we will explore some of the best bikepacking frames on the market and the features that make them stand out.

What is Bikepacking

Bikepacking is a form of adventure cycling where riders use their bikes to explore remote and rugged terrain, typically carrying all their gear and supplies on their bikes. The idea is to be self-sufficient and to leave the beaten path to discover new places and experiences.

Why Bikepacking is Popular

Bikepacking has become increasingly popular in recent years due to a combination of factors. First, cycling has become more mainstream, with more people riding bikes for transportation, fitness, and fun. Second, advances in bike technology have made it easier to ride on rough terrain and carry more gear. Finally, the pandemic has led many people to seek out outdoor activities as a way to stay active and avoid crowds.

What You Need to Start Bikepacking

To get started with bikepacking, you’ll need a few basic items:

  • A bike that can handle the terrain you plan to ride on
  • Bikepacking bags to carry your gear
  • Camping gear, including a tent, sleeping bag, and cooking supplies

How to Choose the Best Bikepacking Frame

When it comes to bikepacking frames, there are a few key factors to consider:

Key takeaway: Bikepacking is a popular way to explore remote and rugged terrain on a bike while being self-sufficient and carrying all supplies on the bike. When choosing the best bikepacking frame, factors to consider include frame material, geometry, and features such as mounting points, wider tire clearance, and off-road suspension. Packing light, planning the route, being prepared, and taking it slow are some essential tips for a successful bikepacking journey.

When it comes to bikepacking frames, there are a few key factors to consider:

### Frame Material

The most common materials used for bikepacking frames are steel, aluminum, and carbon fiber. Each material has its own strengths and weaknesses.

– Steel frames are strong and durable but can be heavy.
– Aluminum frames are light and stiff but can be harsh on rough terrain.
– Carbon fiber frames are light and comfortable but can be expensive.

### Frame Geometry

Bikepacking frames come in a variety of geometries, including road, mountain, and gravel. The type of geometry you choose will depend on the terrain you plan to ride on and your personal preferences.

– Road geometry is designed for smooth pavement and is not ideal for off-road riding.
– Mountain geometry is designed for rough terrain and can be heavy and slow on flat roads.
– Gravel geometry is designed for mixed terrain and is a good all-around option for bikepacking.

### Frame Features

When choosing a bikepacking frame, there are a few features to look for:

– Mounting points for bikepacking bags and water bottles
– Clearance for wider tires and fenders
– Suspension for off-road riding

### Top Bikepacking Frames

There are many great bikepacking frames on the market, but a few stand out:

– Surly ECR: The Surly ECR is a steel frame designed for off-road touring and bikepacking. It has plenty of mounting points for bags and bottles and can handle wide tires.
– Salsa Fargo: The Salsa Fargo is a versatile bikepacking frame that can handle everything from gravel roads to singletrack. It has a comfortable geometry and plenty of mounting points.
– Trek 1120: The Trek 1120 is a mountain bikepacking frame with a suspension fork and plenty of clearance for wide tires. It has mounting points for bags and bottles and is a great option for off-road adventures.

## Tips for Bikepacking with a Frame

Once you’ve chosen your bikepacking frame, it’s time to hit the road. Here are a few tips to help you get started:

### Pack Light

When bikepacking, it’s important to pack light. Only bring the essentials and leave the rest at home. This will make your ride more comfortable and enjoyable.

### Plan Your Route

Before you hit the road, plan your route carefully. Make sure you know where you’re going and how long it will take to get there. This will help you avoid getting lost or running out of supplies.

### Be Prepared

When bikepacking, it’s important to be prepared for anything. Bring a repair kit, first aid kit, and plenty of food and water. You never know what you might encounter on the road.

### Take it Slow

Bikepacking is all about enjoying the journey, not just the destination. Take your time and enjoy the scenery. Stop and take photos, talk to locals, and soak it all in.

## FAQs for the topic: best bikepacking frames

### What are the best materials for bikepacking frames?
The best materials for bikepacking frames are aluminum and titanium. Aluminum frames are strong, lightweight and relatively affordable. Meanwhile, titanium frames are lighter than aluminum, stronger, and more flexible. However, titanium frames are more costly compared to aluminum frames.

### What are the benefits of a steel frame for bikepacking?
The benefit of choosing a steel frame for bikepacking is its durability. Steel frames offer the sturdiness needed for off-road cycling, which makes them perfect for bikepacking. They are forgiving and less likely to crack, as they can absorb more impact compared to other materials.

### Should I choose a full-suspension, hardtail, or rigid frame for bikepacking?
It depends on the terrain you will be traversing. Full-suspension frames are great for technical or rocky courses, while hardtail frames are best suited for lighter off-road courses. If you plan on biking on roads, a rigid frame will work for you. Choose the frame based on the type of terrain you will be riding.

### Are carbon frames good for bikepacking?
Carbon frames are known for their lightness, stiffness, and durability, but they are not recommended for bikepacking. Carbon fiber is more brittle compared to other materials, which makes it more susceptible to damage in rough off-road terrain. Stick with aluminum or steel frames for bikepacking.

### What size should my bikepacking frame be?
The frame size will depend on your height and leg length. It is best to get professionally fit, where a bike technician or a bike shop can help you get the correct frame size that will work best for your body type. Make sure to choose a bike frame that, when seated, allows you to reach and touch the ground easily.

### Do I need a specific type of bike for bikepacking?
Yes. A bikepacking bike is designed with specific features like extra mounting points to attach gear like panniers, a frame bag or a handlebar bag, and more. Other features of a bikepacking bike are a longer wheelbase, which offers stability, more clearance for wider tires, and a relaxed geometry for comfortable rides.

### Can I use a road bike or a mountain bike for bikepacking?
You can use a mountain bike or a road bike for bikepacking, but to maximize your bikepacking experience, get a bike specifically made for bikepacking. Road bikes may not have the necessary stability, and mountain bikes may be too heavy or have too much suspension that may not work for long rides. Remember, the type of bike you choose will depend on the type of terrain you’ll bike on.


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.