Silver Wheels Cycling Club, Inc. 

Bicycling For Recreation, Fitness, Fun, Learning and Advocacy

Bikepacking- Is it for You?

Bikepacking, in simple terms, is an overnight or multi-day adventure on your bike. The emphasis is on self-sufficiency and packing light. 

Bikepacking typically involves packing your kit into bags that can be attached to any bike frame without requiring the use of a rack. These are used to load up everything you need to bring with you: overnight gear, food, clothing and spares.

This could be a fun outdoor project for either an individual or a group. A group of Silver Wheelers plan 4 or 5 bikepacking trips each year that are open to all members but first, there needs to be some careful planning.

These things need to be considered: where are you going, for how long and what supplies will you need

Where are you going? 

Look for a route that beckons you. Are you going to ride on a trail or on the road? If you decide on a road trip between towns where you can buy supplies as you go, or are you going to ride in the woods, where you have to carry more supplies? How long will you be gone? Whether camping or staying in a hotel, check for hotels, hostels or B&B's in the area make sure you have reservations before the trip starts. 

What supplies do you need?

What type of bike will you need, a road bike, or a mountain bike? If you will need a lot of supplies, you may need a mountain bike. You may need to practice riding with the extra weight you will be carrying. A trailer might be useful. Do you need to have panniers or a bag on your rack and a handlebar bag?

A list of supplies that might be useful could include the following items: 

  • things you would normally carry, such as food and snacks,
  • tools for any repairs you can anticipate needing, such as tire patches, tubeless tires if you are riding on rough trails or in the woods, chain lube, pins, cable, and a lock, 
  • lights front and back. 
  • bike pump or CO2 inflator

Some other things you might carry are a tent, ground cloth, a sleeping bag and pad, a stove or other heat source for cooking, and food. You will need clothes that anticipate the weather you may encounter, a jacket, extra gloves, your helmet, leg and arm warmers. Small items such as sunscreen, bathing needs, and medicines. 

Make both a printed version of your supplies and a digital version of the maps you will need. Pre plan your route using a GPS form. Above all, enjoy your trip, be it long or short. 

Have fun. Bikepacking can be an amazing adventure!

Sources for this article are from Pearl Izumi and REI articles.  

For more information check out the following links:

Bikepacking Explained: What to Take and Where to Ride.

How to Get Started Bikepacking.

Videos on the Many Aspects of Bikepacking from

Founded in 2012, is the leading resource for bikepacking routes, in-depth gear reviews, inspiration, planning insight, adventure stories, news, and events. Our Mission is to inspire others to explore the far corners of the Earth by bicycle


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