A Bikepacking Beginner’s Guide

Leaving on your bike, bringing everything you need for an overnight excursion, and explore the environment on two wheels. When your legs give out, or it becomes dark, you set up camp and prepare your dinner over the campfire before a restful night’s sleep beneath the stars. The following morning, getting up early to prepare breakfast and go out for another day of exploration. Sounds ideal? Then our essential bikepacking guide will set you up for success.

What Is Bikepacking?

Bikepacking is basically going on multi-day, unsupported trips. This usually entails travelling more off-road than on-road and includes some form of light camping, such as using a tiny, lightweight tent or a bivvy bag and tarp setup.

Bikepacking might mean leaving your front door with the equipment you’ll need for a little overnight microadventure somewhere close by. It can also refer to a journey that involves hundreds of miles over the untamed country, whether it is in the UK or elsewhere in the world. Whatever you want to call bikepacking, it is. Bikepacking is defined as the act of setting out on a bicycle for an expedition that includes some kind of camping.

What Characterizes A Quality Bikepacking Bike?

A bikepacking bike is often a light, hardtail mountain bike that can cover a lot of ground on various surfaces. The ideal bikepacking bike, however, mainly relies on the type of terrain you plan to go over and the riding style you prefer.

Bikepacking has long been linked with fat bikes with enormous 4′′ tyres. A fat bike is a go-to for individuals who want to venture far into the woods since it can handle any terrain, including mud, sand, and snow. Another form of bikepacking journey has also been made possible by the popularity of gravel and adventure-style road bikes. These bicycles resemble road bikes in many ways, but they have a more relaxed frame geometry and room in the forks for tyres with better traction. They can utilise the numerous hundreds of miles of rideable bridleways that span the UK since they are quick and light.

The proverb “the greatest bike is the one you already have” couldn’t be more accurate in this case. Use whatever bike you have if you’re new to bikepacking and only want to try it. It’s ideal as long as it’s in functioning order, secure, and pleasant for you to travel on. Simply being able to connect some bikepacking packs to it will do; we’ll talk more about that later.

Where Can I Go Bikepacking?

The UK is ideal for bikepacking, and several waymarked routes are suitable for exploring, such as the South Downs Way, the West Highland Way, and the Pennine Cycleway. The National Cycle Network (NCN) is an excellent resource for local routes that include quiet rural roads and gravel paths if you’re new to bikepacking and looking for something shorter and closer to home. It is simple to build together a bikepacking itinerary that visits recent locations because the UK has over 5000 miles of NCN routes.

A National Cycle Network layer can be applied to OS Maps when planning your trips online to recognise the whole UK’s bike network easily. As a result, you will find that the network spans a sizable region, making it simple to begin connecting various routes and creating your ideal excursion.

The appeal of bikepacking lies in venturing off the beaten path, so the best option is to get an OS map and start searching for bridleways and trails into the heart of our National Parks if you’re seeking adventures wilder than the NCN.


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