How to Pack for a Bikepacking Trip
Bikepacking - or bikecamping - is the ultimate Sring/Summer adventure for biking enthusiasts, giving you maximum freedom to explore on two wheels. However, the way you pack can often determine how positive your experience on the road is.
Packing too much (or not enough) and using the wrong types of bag can be the real difference between a fun trip and one that can’t end soon enough. In this post, we walk you through the bags we take bikepacking, and what we put in them.
Types of Bag for Bikepacking
Making sure you’re safe and comfortable on the road is a balancing act - quite literally. Taking only one pannier bag, for example, and packing it to capacity with all your heaviest things can impact your steering and ability to brake safely. Your energy levels can take a hit too.
It’s a good idea to spread the weight of your bikecamping essentials across your bike. This way you can maintain better balance, have easy access to handy items (like your phone, wallet, snacks or camera) and you know where everything is when it comes to unpacking for your next stop.
From our experience, the most useful bikepacking bags to take on the road with you are:
- Seat pack
- Handlebar bag like the Dayliner Mini Handlebar Bag or Clutch Bar Bag
- Trunk or Porteur Bag like the Dayliner Handlebar & Trunk Box Bag
- Top Tube bag
- Frame bag
Bikepacking Essentials - and Where to Pack Them
Packing lightly but efficiently is the key to navigating a successful bikepacking trip. Here is a breakdown of what we would stash in each bag when on the road.
The Commute Seat Pack is probably one of the most universal bags in the Two Wheel Gear range, and is perfect for both daily commutes and longer expeditions.
In it, we would pack:
- Repair kit, including tools, tire levers, mini pumps, spare tubes and a patch kit. Check out REI's guide to repair kit essentials
- A light jacket you can reach for along the way
Handlebar bags are an absolute must-have for cycling adventures. Our Dayliner Mini Handlebar Bag secures to practically any handlebar setup, and can transform to a useful off bike tote (making it perfect for pit stop wandering!).
The waterproof roll top closure also makes it easy to access, while internal organization keeps your stuff easy to find.
In it, we might pack:
- Drinks and snacks
- Insect repellent
- Map or guidebooks
Similar to the handlebar bag but attached to your bike frame, the top tube bag is an additional space to hold small, essential items.
In it, we would pack:
- Handy items like your keys, wallet, phone and camera
- Lights/spare reflectors
- Extra snacks!
Panniers will be where you’re most likely to pack the bulk of your gear on a bikepacking trip. Attaching to your front or rear bike rack, panniers are an effective way of saving your back from carrying heavy loads - especially on longer road trips.
Two Wheel Gear Panniers are the ideal travel companion. The zip away pannier system and deployable shoulder straps make it easy to carry everywhere you go.
Panniers are great on commutes, bike camping trips and activities that are easy to use, functional for on and off the bike and allow you to carry more gear.
In our panniers for bike camping, we typically may pack:
- Sleeping bag and mat (these can also be rolled and secured to the top of your rack like a trunk bag with a bungee cord)
- Stove and fuel
- Change of clothes/dirty laundry
- Food supplies
- Coffee press
- Fun games or things to do (cards and disc golf discs are 2 items that always go bike camping with us)
With a central point of gravity, frame bags are a really great way of carrying heavier items while maintaining balance and bike handling. We like to use frame bags like the trunk of a car - store items in it for adventure, but you can also pack regular daily gear. Our new Frame Bag is available in S-M (3.5L) or L-XL (6L) as part of our new product range.
In it, we would pack:
- Bike tubes
- Extra food
- Garbage bags
- Camping knick knacks (knives, utensils and a coffee cup)
- Water purifying kit
- First aid kit and some rope
Don't forget about where you are going to sleep!
We’ve listed items that will fit into your various bike bags, but don’t forget one of the most essential elements of bike camping: a tent or hammock!
If the weather is cooperating and you’re planning on sleeping outside, secure these to the top of your rear rack with a bungee cord and you’re good to go! Check out MEC’s lightweight backpacking tents and hammocks.
Happy weather and access to trees or poles are absolute necessities for the hammock. While the tent is bulky and heavy in comparison, but you always know you have a shelter to sleep "in" - So there is more risk with the hammock but the reward is great with a much smaller load to carry.
Remember, all of our bags come with a two year warranty and 30 day guarantee! For more information, check out the FAQs section of our website.
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