With bikes gaining popularity among young adults in recent years, bikepacking has become an increasingly viable option for affordable travel. Nowadays, biking enthusiasts have a more convenient way to visit different places without necessarily having to spend on air or land transport. With enough biking experience and some good company, a bikepacking trip can be a really enjoyable way to travel while pushing your own physical limits.
That being said, there are a lot of things to consider when preparing for an upcoming bikepacking trip. You will need to pack lightly while ensuring you’ve included all the right items. If this is your first bikepacking escapade, here are the must-haves you need to bring along:
Since bikepacking does involve hours of cycling over long distances, it’s a good idea to wear socks with your trail shoes or sneakers. Go for socks with cushioning and support so your feet won’t get as tired during the ride. You can go for specially designed cycling socks to allow air to circulate inside of your shoes. This will ensure that your feet won’t get too hot or sweaty for the duration of your ride. It’s generally a good idea to bring two to three pairs of socks with you for a bikepacking trip.
A Flannel Shirt
If your bikepacking trip is scheduled during the colder months, it helps to wear or have a flannel shirt in your bag. Flannel is generally breathable but can also keep you warm while you’re whizzing down the road on a chilly fall day. In terms of design, go for long-sleeved flannel tops with a collar so your arms and neck get extra sun protection during the day.
While it can feel tempting to wear shorts during a bikepacking trip, your legs may get sunburnt or your thighs may chafe against each other. Go for loose-fitting rain pants instead so that you can protect your legs without feeling uncomfortable. Moreover, the weather-resistant material of these pants ensures that you can stay dry and comfortable even when biking during light to moderate showers.
Bike Jerseys and Gym Tops
During the hotter months, bikepacking becomes more exhausting because you’re usually going to be out with the sun beating down on you. To keep cool, it’s advisable to wear a bike jersey instead of a regular cotton shirt. A sportswear top that you usually wear to the gym will work nicely as well.
The fabric these shirts are made of is usually breezy and has moisture-wicking capabilities, making it ideal to wear for cycling. Moreover, jersey fabric is quite lightweight and dries quickly so you won’t have to deal with a cold, soggy shirt throughout your bike rides.
As a biker, you know how uncomfortable it can be when you’re biking against the wind. As the name implies, wearing a windbreaker can help keep you warm during a windy day. Moreover, windbreakers are often made of waterproof material and can keep you dry during a light rainstorm. Additionally, windbreakers can work as waterproof covers for your backpack or tent in a pinch.
A Fleece Jacket
Bikepacking in cold weather can be enjoyable in the daytime, but not so much when temperatures become more frigid at night. Keep a nice and comfy fleece jacket on hand so you can throw it over your clothes and keep biking. The good thing about fleece is that you don’t need to wear thick layers to stay warm.
Even a thin jacket with a fleece lining provides ample insulation without restricting your movement. This is definitely a cold-weather must-have in your bikepacking wardrobe.
No matter what the weather may be like, it’s always good to wear gloves while bikepacking. During the summer, your bike can significantly heat up from being exposed to the sun for long periods. Wearing gloves will allow you to grip your handlebars or hold other parts of your bike without burning your fingers or palms. Moreover, biking gloves protect against exposure to harmful UV rays, keeping your hands from getting sunburnt.
On the other hand, biking gloves are also useful to have when bike packing during the colder months. They can keep your hands warm and prevent frostbite on your fingers and palms. Make sure to find a high-quality pair that will still provide you with enough dexterity so that you can use them all year round.
While closed shoes are a must when bike packing, you still need to allow your feet to rest between bike rides. So while staying at a hotel or camping out, it’s good to let your feet breathe by wearing flip-flops. It will keep your feet from aching and getting fatigued from long periods of biking, and you’ll be happy you did it.
Bikepacking can be a fun and exhilarating experience when you’ve made ample preparations. Make sure to keep this list handy when deciding what to bring for your next bikepacking vacation.