This article focuses on bikepacking with a backpack. There are so many different elements to bikepacking with a backpack and it's really important to make sure that you get the best backpack for your adventure.
Table of Contents
- Can You Bikepack with a Backpack?
- What Should I Carry Bikepacking?
- How do You Pack a Bikepack Bag?
Can You Bikepack with a Backpack?
The truth is that you can bikepack with a backpack. But, the big question is, “is it worth it?” For some, the simple answer is, yes. For others, the answer is a definite, no.
The question is; why it is worth it, and which of the many packs out there is best for you. If you love the idea of going on a bikepacking trip, but you want to try it first without investing in a bunch of bike luggage, then using a backpack may be the ticket for you.
What Should I Carry Bikepacking?
The answer to this question will determine the most important consideration for choosing a pack; size.
If your routes will be for more than a day at a time, you need to carry gear. This could be as minimal as a shell and a bivy. Or you could pack a full tent, stove, and a few days' worth of food. If you have ever been on a backpacking trip then this experience can help guide your choices.
If you will be away from your ride for any amount of time, or are a heavy sleeper, a bike lock is a good idea even with the extra weight.
On any given ride, you should carry a patch kit, a pump, and a cable tool. You should also carry a tube or a tire boot. On a long tour you might need to carry bike tools to adjust your bike and for basic bike repair in the field.
Straps are an underrated piece of gear and I seem to find a use for them on nearly every trip I take.
Where you are going will also determine what you carry. Are you hitting your favorite desert trail or heading to the mountains?
Also, don't forget to bring clothes that are appropriate for the weather conditions such as a base layer.
How Much Weight Should I Take Bikepacking?
A typical bikepacking backpack loaded for a day trip should weigh somewhere between 2.5 pounds to 3 pounds. Of course, you don't have to fill it to the max. If you're going to have a short ride, you can carry less food and other stuffs.
Remember, the lighter your backpack, the lighter your bike, and that means the better you will perform during the ride.
So How Many Liters of Storage for Bikepacking?
You can fit one- to two-night's worth of gear in a 2 liter dry bag. However, you should be able to squeeze in three nights of gear in a 4 liter dry bag.
Please note that this is gear, not water. You will need to add the storage capacity for your estimated H20 consumption. Don't forget to add in the amount required for your Mountain House if this is an overnighter.
Water weighs 2.205 lbs per liter (8.4 lbs per gallon) so this can quickly increase your overall weight.
How do You Pack a Bikepack Bag?
Place your heaviest items in first.
I like to use a roll top dry bag for my sleeping bag because it gives extra compression. I use the same roll top bag for my clothes/underwear.
I'll then use stuff sacks for my electronics, toiletry/first aid kit, tools, food, and cooking accessories.
If you have one of the closed-cell sleeping pads you can use it to protect your sleeping bag from sharp objects and to stop the compression sack from sliding around.
So there you have it! I hope you enjoyed reading this article on bikepacking with a backpack. This was just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to bikepacking.
Here's a link to get you started on your search for a perfect backpack. I happen to own this one and love it. Osprey Packs are also a great choice. They make a few low-weight options suitable for bikepacking.
If you like the concept of bikepacking, then you should definitely give it a try. As we mentioned in our other articles, there are some great resources out there that can help you find the best routes, the best gear, etc.
Before you hit the trail be sure to take the time to check out the rest of the blog while you are here!
Thanks for joining us for this article about bikepacking with a backpack.