How to Prepare for Your First Overnight

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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.

TIPS

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

BIKING

Bike

Helmet

Lights

Rack

Rack Bag or Cargo Net

Multi-tool

Flat Kit-

Seat Pack

Tire Levers

Spare Tube

C02 or Pump

Panniers or Backpack

Handlebar or Frame Bag

2 Liters of Water

Lock

First Aid Kit

Chamois Butter

Emergency Fire Starter Kit

CAMPING

Tent or Hammock

Sleeping Bag

Sleeping Pad

Lantern/Flashlights

Headlamp

CAMP KITCHEN

Stove

Fuel

Matches/ Lighter

Pot/Lid

Or Grill Rack

Pot Grabber

Coffee Maker-

Pour Over

French Press

Or Percolator

Can Opener

Spices

Oil

Spatula

Knife

Trash Bags (2)

Plate/Bowl

Utensils

Foil

Biodegradable Soap

Pot Scrubber

Towel

Mug/Cup

Any packable Food/Coffee/Drinks

TOILETRIES, etc.

Toilet Paper & Pack It Out Bag

Sunscreen

Bug Spray

Hand Sanitizer

Soap

Toothbrush

MISCELLANEOUS

Stuff Sack/Compression Sack

Dry Bag

Cards

Geocaching supplies

Other Games

CLOTHES

Chamois Shorts

Jersey/ Moisture wicking T-shirt

Synthetic or wool socks

Fleece

Rain Jacket

Change of Clothes to Sleep/Around Camp

Extra shoes


Check out these novelty jerseys, if you're wondering what to wear:

Paris Roubaix Kit

The Rosie Kit

The Paris Roubaix Kit

The Rosie Kit


Most importantly, enjoy!

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