Still no vacation plans for this summer? Or maybe you are ready again for a vacation and could use a break on your bike? Then we may have something for you here. Whether it's a well-earned 3-week summer holiday or a long weekend to get away from everyday life - bikepacking is booming! That's why we will tell you everything you need to know for your first bikepacking adventure and present you with the latest product highlights. » Read more
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The term "bikepacking" is derived from "backpacking" - simply head out with what fits in a backpack, or in the case of bikepacking, with the bags attached to the bike. What Bikepacking actually is, what kind of bike you need, what kind of pack and apparel you need, where and how to put up for the night, how to power your electronic devices and what else you should think of, we have collected the answers for you here. Fancy a small or a big adventure? Let's go!
Minimalism & freedom - being one with bike and nature - that's what Bikepacking stands for. If the enthusiasm for the renewed all-inclusive holiday, in which you jet around the world, is limited this year and you are longing for deceleration, purism and adventure or you simply want to escape everyday life for a few days, you should perhaps give this topic a moment of your attention.
Bikepacking combines the fascination of bike travel with riding pleasure and a light, handy bike. The difference between bikepacking and classic bike travelling becomes clear here: for bikepacking there is no need for carriers with side bags. These allow all kinds of luggage to be stowed, but the high overhang and weight make the bike more cumbersome and sluggish. On bad roads or even off-road, both material and rider, can easily reach their limits. Bikepacking reduces luggage to a minimum and stows it in special bag systems that are attached directly to the bike. The big advantage: the bike remains light, agile, all-terrain and therefore fast. The origin of Bikepacking lies in so-called "Self-supported Races". These long-distance races lead their riders through several daily stages on which the necessary luggage has to be transported without losing speed and off-road capability.
The question can be answered briefly and concisely: basically any. Also the one you probably already have at home at the moment. Since bikepacking depends on sporty and fast progress as well as steady handling compared to an unloaded bike, the luggage is stowed directly on the bike - usually without a carrier. Your bike already has everything it needs: a frame, saddle, seat post, handlebar. So there's no need for carrier braze-ons or carriers.
Since sportiness and agility are the focus of bikepacking, road bikes, gravel or adventure road bikes, cyclocrossers, mountain bikes and fat bikes have become particularly popular in this area. Bikepacking bags can also be easily accommodated on highly efficient racing machines. But if you prefer not to be limited to asphalt tracks only, you can choose a more versatile Adventure Road Bike or Gravel Bike.
Wider and partly off-road tires provide more comfort and riding fun even on gravel tracks. These bikes are often equipped with additional braze-ons, e.g. on the fork, which allow additional mounting of luggage or bottle holders. You would rather get directly down to brass tacks and push forward into terrain that you could never reach with conventional luggage and you need a bike that does everything? Modern mountain bikes are perfect for bikepacking - they're light, comfortable, sporty and suitable for off-road use - so you can get the most out of them. Only with fullys it should be noted that the bags should not impair the shocks or collide with the tires during suspension. If the adventurous spirit is particularly strong, a Fat Bike could be the answer. The oversized tires open up new possibilities - gravel or sand passages on the coast, on the beach or river banks, or even snow - regions you couldn't discover with any other bike.
There are many different and special bag systems for bikepacking in which your equipment can be stowed nowadays. Saddlebags with a packing volume of up to 20 liters are one of the most characteristic and eye-catching panniers on the bikepacking bike. Compression straps and sturdy material ensure that everything is securely fastened, even when things get a little rougher.
Let's be honest, nobody has used the space in the frame triangle besides for drinking bottles before. But there is a lot of space for big frame bags. These are ideal for stowing heavier objects, as they retain a lower center of gravity, which ensures untroubled riding fun.
Saddle and frame bags are supplemented by compact handlebar rollers or handlebar bags. Important luggage such as documents, smartphones or energy bars are always accessible in these bags.
No. For the perfect adventure on the bike in nature, all you need is your usual cycling clothing in which you feel comfortable.
Functional clothing offers you the advantage of optimal climate regulation, sweat absorption and breathability. It also dries extremely quickly. You will inevitably sweat on longer bike trips where you spend the whole day in the saddle. The possibilities for washing your cycling apparel are limited or non-existent, depending on the route and local circumstances. If you want to prevent your clothing from smelling unpleasantly, try underwear and jerseys made of merino wool. This special fine wool comes from the merino sheep and is mainly produced in Australia today. Garments made of merino wool are predestined to be worn for several days on long bike journeys because they don't smell. Not even after several days of use. It therefore has to be washed less often. It also provides a sensationally soft feeling on the skin.
Anyone can ride when the weather is fine. Nature is unpredictable and we love it for that. Cycling in the rain is simply a part of a bike trip and makes it unique. In case of unpleasant surprises from above, you should definitely bring weatherproof gear such as a small stowable rain jacket and long or short rain pants to protect you from wetness and cooling down.
For cuddly evenings in front of the tent, it's definitely worth wearing comfortable warm clothing such as a fleece or down jacket. The latter in particular provides cosy warmth and can be packed up quite small. On cooler nights in your sleeping bag, functional underwear gives you a feeling of well-being. These are also available in odor-resistant and soft merino wool.
In accordance with the bikepacking roots, which lie in MTB multi-day races, you spend the night outdoors in a tent. True to the motto ‘everything can be done, nothing has to be done‘, you are of course free to choose whether you like spending the night in the great outdoors or prefer a fixed accommodation. Because it has to be considered that you have to transport your equipment yourself.
A tent, sleeping bag, camping stove, gas cartridges and camping cookware take up a lot of space in your bags and of course increase the weight you have to move. But it's worth it. So you can enjoy complete freedom. Just stay exactly where you want, look for a campsite or - and of course you didn't get this from us - just look for a place in the wild - never before have you been so close to nature.
Tents, sleeping bags and stoves are now also available in bikepacking variations. From light to ultra-light and with a small pack size, modern tents are no longer heavy and can even be stowed away with only small space requirements. If you want to travel even lighter and faster and are prepared to do so without the comfort of a closed tent, then you should have a look at tarps or bivvy bags.
Multi-fuel stoves are ideal as camping stoves, as you are flexible in your choice of fuel, if you prefer to buy them on the way instead of having to transport the necessary reserves over the entire journey.
Please respect nature, don't leave any rubbish at the campsite and inform yourself in advance about regional nature conservation regulations!
It's up to you, of course, to decide whether you want to go by map in the traditional way or use electronic tools such as a bicycle navigation device or a navigation app on your smartphone. The advantage of the latter is clear: you don't always have to look at the map, because the navigation device tells you or shows you where to go. The chance that you will get lost is much lower. And you can evaluate your tour afterwards.
Of course, when using a bike computer or smartphone, you have to think about the power supply. At the latest, if you spend the night completely outdoors, without electrical outlets within reach, the question arises how to recharge the batteries of your electronic devices. Powerbanks have enough capacity to charge your smartphone and/or navigation device several times. If their energy stores are also exhausted, foldable solar modules can help. With the help of sunlight you can breathe new life into your technical devices.
If you navigate with your smartphone, you won't get very far without an additional non-stop power supply, because even modern mobile phone batteries reach their low point very quickly when the GPS receiver is active for a long time. Special Powerbanks can be mounted on the handlebars and charge your smartphone while riding, so that you don't suddenly find yourself standing in the woods without a plan.
If you're planning longer trips or riding at times of year when there isn't enough sunlight for solar panels, a hub dynamo can not only turn night into day at any time and as long as necessary, but in combination with a hub dynamo-powered USB charger you can also easily generate the power for your electronic devices yourself with every meter.
There are a few small things that can decide in an emergency whether the tour continues despite a minor breakdown or mishap, or whether you have to take a break or even cancel it. You should never leave the following things at home when you go on a bikepacking tour:
Cable ties and tension straps
Spare parts: Brake pads, chain lock, brake and shift cable, tubes, spokes
a small light bike lock
First aid kit
a small towel or space-saving microfibre towels
a small garbage bag