Posted on August 17, 2016
There's just something about strapping everything you need to your back or bike and riding off into the wilderness. Bikepacking has become a more accessible source of adventure than ever, but it remains daunting for the first timer. So I'll preface this entire post of advice with the simpler approach I take to most adventure sports, Just do it.
The first time I embarked on an overnight bikepacking trip, I took too much, planned to ride too far, and was grossly underprepared. I had the time of my life. Since then, I have embarked on several trips. Each time I learn more and pack lighter. And while I do wholly support the trial by error (within safe reason) approach, here's some advice for those would rather skip some of the frustration.
1. Start with less mileage than you think. For your very first trip you may think, I can easily bike 35-40 miles. But if you've never made that trip carrying all of your gear, it's best to tone it down. Make the first time an easier route with low mileage and then adjust appropriately for next time.
2. Make reservations and if you plan to camp in hammocks, check with the campground about their tree-hanging policy. It can be a rude awakening (literally) from a park ranger to find out that hanging hammocks is not allowed.
3. Wear chamois shorts and synthetic clothing, especially in inclement weather. Cotton kills and that padding begins to make a difference after a few hours or days on the saddle.
5. Bring the essentials, but only pack what you need. (See below)
Then vs. Now (Yes that's a 2x4.)
WHAT TO BRING
Rack Bag or Cargo Net
C02 or Pump
Panniers or Backpack
Handlebar or Frame Bag
2 Liters of Water
First Aid Kit
Emergency Fire Starter Kit
Tent or Hammock
Or Grill Rack
Trash Bags (2)
Any packable Food/Coffee/Drinks
Toilet Paper & Pack It Out Bag
Stuff Sack/Compression Sack
Jersey/ Moisture wicking T-shirt
Synthetic or wool socks
Change of Clothes to Sleep/Around Camp
Check out these novelty jerseys, if you're wondering what to wear:
Most importantly, enjoy!