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  • Writer's pictureGear Hut

Intro to Bikepacking

Ready for the ultimate two wheeled adventure?

Do you love the concept of backpacking... but struggle with the whole pack situation? Want to cover more distance? Do you always wonder where those long dirt Nevada roads go? (You know, the ones you wouldn't dare take your car on)... Has bikepacking been on your radar? This combination of backpacking and mountain biking allows you to cover more ground and experience nature in a whole new way... as "mixed terrain cycle touring".

So.. what is it?

Bikepacking is a form of self-supported, multi-day mountain biking where you carry your gear on your bike. Instead of staying in hotels or cabins, you camp along the way, making it a more immersive and adventurous experience. Bikepacking trips can range from a single overnight trip to several weeks on the trail or road.

bikepacking set up, on the trail outside of Reno Nevada

Why Choose Bikepacking?

There are many reasons to choose bikepacking over traditional backpacking or mountain biking.

It allows you to cover more ground and see more sights than hiking alone. It's also a great way to challenge yourself physically and mentally, while enjoying the beauty of nature.

It makes long exposed trails more inviting than by foot.

You are able to dive into a new sense of exploration!

What Gear Do I Need to Start Bikepacking?

The gear you need for bikepacking will depend on the length of your trip and the conditions you'll encounter. Here are some basic essentials:

  1. Bike: Obviously, you'll need a mountain bike that's suited for the terrain you'll be riding on. Gravel bikes or hard tails are ideal... a full suspension mountain bike will not be efficient.

  2. Racks: As you'll be carrying everything on your bike, it helps to have a rear or front rack installed.

  3. Tent: A lightweight, compact tent that's easy to set up and take down is essential. Many bikepackers choose to cowboy camp (helloooo Nevada!) or just use a simple tarp.

  4. Sleeping Bag and Pad: A sleeping bag rated for the temperatures you'll encounter and a sleeping pad to insulate you from the ground are important for a good night's sleep.

  5. Cooking Gear: A small portable stove, fuel, and cookware will allow you to prepare meals and enjoy hot drinks.

  6. Clothing: Pack layers that can be easily added or removed as needed. Be sure to include rain gear and a warm jacket.

  7. Bike Repair Kit: Tools, spare tubes, and a pump will help you fix any mechanical issues that may arise, especially out in the "backcountry" roads of wild Nevada.

  8. Navigation: A GPS device or map and compass will help you stay on course. We recommend using a SPOT device to ensure emergency communication with friends/family.

Most of you will already have most of this gear, you may just need to adapt or re-think how to pack it for your bike set up. You don't need to invest in anything fancy... give it a try with what you already have. Once you're committed to this new way to explore, then you can start looking at the fancy frame bags!

Find motivation! We love following local bikepacking legend Kurstin for inspiration! Reno's chapter of Radical Adventure Riders is also a great resource, as they often host clinics and overnight adventures that are beginner friendly!

How to Plan Your Bikepacking Trip?

Before setting out on your first bikepacking adventure, it's important to plan ahead. Consider the following:

  1. Destination: Choose a route that's suitable for your skill level and interests.

  2. Timing: Pick a time of year with favorable weather conditions and plan your daily mileage accordingly.

  3. Resupply: Determine where you'll be able to find food, water, and supplies along the way.

  4. Safety: Be aware of potential hazards and take necessary precautions, such as carrying bear spray or a first-aid kit.

  5. Leave No Trace: Practice responsible camping and leave the environment as you found it! Also, be respectful of private property as you are traveling.

With the right gear and careful planning, you can embark on an overnight adventure that combines the thrill of mountain biking with the tranquility of backpacking... So, grab your bike, pack your bags, and hit the trail!

This post was generated with the assistance of AI technology... we busy over here, work smarter, not harder, right?


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