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A Beginner's Guide To Bikepacking Gear

July 30, 2021 3 Comments

Bikepacking Gear Checklist

Photo by Marek Piwnicki on Unsplash

This checklist will go over some essential bikepacking gear for both beginners and experienced riders alike!

Bikepacking is a new craze in the world of outdoor adventure. Whether you're looking for a quick escape or a multi-week adventure, bikepacking has something for everyone. The world is your oyster when it comes to bikepacking! And the best part about it? You can take as little or as much bikepacking gear as you want, and still have an amazing time! But lots of people who are potentially interested in bikepacking will be asking themselves the same question: What bikepacking gear should I get? The challenge for beginners is they don't know what bikepacking gear they need or how to use it.

That's where this bikepacking gear checklist comes in handy! We'll go over all the essential bikepacking gear you need, from your bike, tires, and saddlebags to your sleeping bag, tent, headlamp, and more. This bikepacking gear checklist will give you an idea of what is needed for bikepacking in general. And which items would work best based on your style of bikepacking. There are many different factors in determining the best bikepacking gear, but we have provided some recommended items below.

Related: Bikepacking Tips For Beginners | How to get started?

Let's explore the 11 must-have bikepacking gear for beginners:

1) Bike

bikepacking gear checklist

Photo by Patrick Hendry on Unsplash

As obvious as it sounds, this is the most important bikepacking gear. That's why we've kept it at the top of our bikepacking gear checklist. It's important to consider the bike you choose for bikepacking as an investment that will go with you over many miles and many adventures. Many factors come into account when choosing the perfect bikepacking bike for your next adventure.

Is it a light trail ride or an epic mountain tour? Will you be traveling on paved roads, gravel paths, or rough terrain? In principle, you can use any sturdy bike but some models will fare better than others on certain terrains. Nowadays the selection of bikes is bigger than ever which makes picking just one tough! There's too much to keep track of such as Mountain biking vs road cycling routes; hybrid tires vs 26" wheels; gears or no gears at all. The list goes on and gets longer by the day!

bikepacking gear checklist

Photo by Patrick Hendry on Unsplash

So let’s make this easy! We highly recommend the Rove from the Canadian bike brand "Kona". The Rove is the perfect bike for those who like to mix their riding between pavement and dirt. You'll enjoy a more aerodynamic position on this drop-handlebar road bike. Making it much less intimidating than standard flat handlebars! The Kona Rove comes with three water bottle cages instead of just one so you can stay hydrated all day long. With its double chainring gears, uphills should be no problem either (unless they're really steep!). It also features Shimano hydraulic brakes that will help make sure you stop when you need to. Plus, it comes with a lifetime warranty. This budget model won't disappoint!

Related: Best Bikepacking Bikes

2) Multi Tool Kit

bikepacking gear checklist

Photo by Marek Piwnicki on Unsplash

The second item on our bikepacking gear checklist is a "Multi Took Kit". What's the worst that could happen to you on your bikepacking adventure if, say, a major mechanical issue would occur? Like being all alone and stranded in an unfamiliar place without access to any sort of car or contact with anyone who can help. You have no idea what might come up during this trip so it's best not take chances by going unprepared. Carrying the right multi-tool kit will be of utmost importance for survival out there!

bikepacking gear checklist

This is a must for both experienced and beginner bikepackers! If you're bikepacking in the backcountry, it's best to pack a good multi-tool kit. You never know what might happen when you're out on the road. Make sure your tools are ready for whatever comes up! We highly recommend getting yourself the Wolf Tooth 8-Bit Pack Pliers. It makes for an extremely useful option even if it never touches the bike. One of the most common repairs you have to deal with is replacing a tube and dealing with that pesky valve retaining nut. The Wolftooth 8 Bit Pack Plier's features make these two challenges some of its bests.

Related: Bikepacking Repair Tools & Kit

3) Sleeping Gear

bikepacking gear checklist

Photo by Felix M. Dorn on Unsplash

Sleeping gear is the next on our bikepacking gear checklist! A good night's sleep can do wonders for your mood and the way you feel. You could be looking at a night of misery, followed by an equally miserable day. And let's not talk about what happens if you roll over in your sleep! The right sleeping gear is crucial to your bikepacking experience, so choose wisely.

Let's start with the sleeping bag first. There are many factors that go into determining what is the best sleeping bag. But one thing to keep in mind when looking at products like this is how easy it will be to store them away if they're not being used regularly. Also, a lightweight sleeping bag may be best if you're going ultralight! If you're unsure what to look for, you can go with our favorite option: REI Co-op Magma Sleeping Bag. It's high quality and lightweight with an excellent price point! The bags themselves are water-resistant. So if it happens to rain on your bikepacking trip there'll still be some warmth left inside of them.

bikepacking gear checklist


Now as far as sleeping pads are concerned, we highly recommend getting our UL140 Thick Sleeping Mat. If you want to enjoy the comforts of home while sleeping on-the-go, then get this super comfortable 4.9 inch thick UL140 Thick Sleeping Mat. Plus, it comes with a built in inflator that you just have to press with your feet and voila! You've got yourself an instant mattress wherever you want one. A sleeping pad/mat such as our UL140 Sleeping Mat is essential for camping on a bike trip! Ideally, it should be weather-appropriate and match your body size.

Related: How to choose the best sleeping pad?

4) Tent

bikepacking gear checklist

Photo by Marek Piwnicki on Unsplash

A tent is another essential bikepacking gear for any trip outdoors on two wheels! This might not be the most glamorous part of a biking trip, but it's important to have a tent on your bikepacking gear checklist. General considerations when it comes to choosing the tent best for your bikepacking adventure include:

  • The size of the tent you need. Whether it has enough space to sleep in with some extra room or not.
  • How much do they weigh?

We highly recommend buying the Aeronaut 1 Person Inflatable Tent. Weighing just 1200g, this tent is one of the most packable tents on offer and can be inflated in a matter of seconds with its lightweight design! Plus, it's made up of waterproof 15D Si/PU nylon ripstop so you don't have to worry about being soaked inside your tent at night or even during those rainy days.

Related: 10 Best Bikepacking Tents Of 2021

5) Bikepacking Bags

bikepacking gear checklist

Photo by Patrick Hendry on Unsplash

Imagine a bike with an empty frame. What would you feel if someone took one of those big bags that are often swung off the side and put it on your new, shiny bike frame? The answer is not good! That's why today we have these amazing modular bikepacking bags/packs. Using these bikepacking bags, everything from water to camping gear can be lashed onto the frames. This way you can take full advantage of unused space without risking damage--making the ride more comfortable too. No wonder every bikepacking checklist has this item included in it.

A bikepacking bag is one of those pieces of bikepacking gear that you don't know how much it's going to come in handy until you need it. But once you do need it, there's no turning back! You can use them to make sure your stuff doesn't get wet if there's a leaky tent or food. These bags help carry extra food, clothes, or anything else you may need while out on the trail. Plus they come in all sorts of shapes and sizes: Saddle bag, Frame/Top-tube bag, and Handlebar bag. Their modifiable design allows riders to choose how many bags they need depending on their trip's distance or load requirement.

Note: Our favorite bikepacking bag is the Expedition Frame Pack ($118) from a London-based company called Apidura.

Related: Best Bikepacking Bags Of 2021

6) Headlamp

bikepacking gear checklist

A bright headlamp is a must-have bikepacking gear. Make sure you have one listed on your bikepacking gear checklist. Why? Because this item will not only help keep you safe at night but also allow for easier navigation. It's best to invest in a headlamp that has both red light and white light settings so as not to disturb wildlife or other people around you at night. If you're looking to find the best headlamp for your adventures, here are some things to keep in mind!

  • Do you need a bikepacking headlamp or just a general-purpose one?
  • What features do you want in your headlamp? Do you want it rechargeable or not? How about beam distance and brightness? What color is important to you (white, red)? 
  • How much should I spend on my new bikepacking headlamp? There's quite the range when it comes to prices so be sure that what fits your budget will also fit your needs.

We highly recommend the NiteRider Pro 1200 Lumen Headlight. It has a max beam distance of up to 1 mile. The light also features two separate beams: one spot beam and one flood/wide beam that provides additional visibility in an area as well as lights up objects around them such as trees or obstacles on the trail that are close by. This headlamp can last up to 12 hours on low mode.

Related: 5 Best Travel Headlamps Of 2021

7) Bikepacking Clothing

bikepacking gear checklist

Photo by Patrick Hendry on Unsplash

The right clothing is essential to the success of any outdoor adventure. Bikepacking, like backpacking, hiking, and camping, requires a different set of clothing than cycling in town or on the pavement. That's why all bikepacking gear checklist will ask you to find & pack the right clothing. The key is finding clothes that are lightweight, breathable, and durable enough to withstand changes in weather conditions over the course of the day.

The best way to have the most comfortable experience on your next bikepacking adventure is by wearing clothes that were designed for this type of activity. Bikepackers need a base layer, wool or synthetic socks, cycling shorts with padded chamois, and then an outer layer that blocks wind and rain. Make sure your clothing item(s) go with all seasons. Because on any given day there can be sunny one minute then rain the next! Pick something durable but breathable. So, no sweat will get trapped against the skin where bacteria could grow. Also, it should be light enough to not weigh you down!

Clothing made up of merino wool is highly recommended. Even after a few days of sweaty riding, the tops won't stink and will feel good as new! A sun hat and sunglasses are also necessary because you will be exposed to conditions where there is no shade. A good rule of thumb is always to bring an extra layer!

Related: The Best Clothing For Bikepackers

8) Food & Drinks

bikepacking gear checklist

Food & drinks are another must-have item included in our bikepacking gear checklist. Pack snacks or full meals depending on how long your ride will be each day. The more calories you burn, the more calories you need to eat. Food selection for bikepackers can be tricky. Remember to keep weight at a minimum. Save space by bringing dehydrated meals, spices, oatmeal packets, powdered milk, etc., instead of items that have to be cooked. Packaged foods such as beef jerky, nuts, and dried fruits can also provide fuel for those extra miles.

You also need to bring plenty of fluids like water. Because dehydration is one of the most common causes of heat stroke or exhaustion while bikepacking. You should also carry a reliable water filter with you at all times. We recommend the Platypus Gravity Works 4 Liter Water Filter System. It can process large amounts of water in one go and is easy to use as well! Just make sure that if your filter system malfunctions, you also bring Aquamira's Purification Drops along for good measure.

Related: Bikepacking Food Guide

9) Navigation Tools: Maps & Compass

bikepacking gear checklist

Photo by Jametlene Reskp on Unsplash

Bikepacking out in the wild? Bring a map and compass! Whether you are a seasoned veteran or just starting out, it's important to have maps on hand for navigation. When bikepacking out in remote areas, it’s more difficult to depend on GPS for your location. It’s best to bring old-school navigation tools like maps and a compass. So that you can still navigate your way around when there is a disconnect between your phone's signal and its ability to find coordinates using GPS.

With these two things, you will never get lost! But obviously, you need to first learn how to use them properly before heading out. In order for you to have the best experience on your next bikepacking trip, you must know how to navigate. There are many benefits of being able to use a map while on your journey, such as knowing where water sources and resupply points are located. Map reading skills can also be helpful in an emergency.

Related: How to use a map and compass?

10) First Aid Kit

bikepacking gear checklist

Photo Source: Overboard

A bikepacking first aid kit is an essential piece of bikepacking gear checklist. Many different types of injuries can occur while on a bike, from minor scrapes and cuts to more serious accidents such as broken bones and head trauma. A well-stocked first aid kit should include items like bandages, antibiotic ointment, pain relievers, antihistamines or allergy medications in case allergies flare up in the wilderness.

It's important to consider how far you'll be traveling, what your medical history entails, as well as climate conditions such as altitude or extreme heat. You need to be prepared with your own supplies because you never know when something might go wrong out there! If you're searching for the best bikepacking first aid kits available on the market right now then this article is perfect for you!

11) Bike Locks

bikepacking gear checklist

The best bike locks are more than just a deterrent—they're essential bikepacking gear for beginners as well as expert riders. The three most common types of locks are U-locks, chain locks, and cable locks. They all have their own pros and cons. For those looking to take the least amount of weight possible on their bikes while still having plenty of security, we recommend going with a lightweight cable lock that can be threaded through frames and wheels. U-locks are generally the heaviest but offer the strongest protection against theft. Chain locks offer some flexibility since they can also be used as a stationary object like securing your tent in campground areas where there isn't any fencing around spaces.

These locks also come in handy if you're stopping overnight in an area where there isn't much protection against theft like on a trail or out camping in the wilderness! There's no guarantee that your bike will be safe if it's locked up at a trailhead or outside of a coffee shop. But there are some easy precautions you can take that will reduce the likelihood of theft significantly. Be sure to have a reliable bikepacking bike lock in your bikepacking gear checklist.

Related: 17 Best Bike Locks Of 2021

Final Thoughts

bikepacking gear checklist

Photo by Patrick Hendry on Unsplash

So, there you have it! These are our 11 must-have bikepacking gear for beginners. We hope this bikepacking gear checklist has provided you with everything you need to know about what gear is necessary for a successful bikepacking adventure. Be sure to prepare in advance by checking each item off the list before heading out on your next ride. After all, no one wants to ruin their first time bikepacking across America or Europe because they forgot an essential piece of equipment!

Lastly, don't forget to check out your bike's seat height before you head on a trip. Because it can get uncomfortable to be hunched over when riding! And don't forget to use sunscreen. The more reliable information about what will happen while outside makes planning easier too. So, take note if there are any allergies or food preferences you might need beforehand!

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3 Responses

Jason Perry
Jason Perry

August 10, 2021

Great article. Don’t forget the stove Planet X does the jobsworth which boils water really quickly and pillow!!! Perhaps think about usb chargers also. Solar, wheel mounted etc.

Jason Perry
Jason Perry

August 10, 2021

Great article. Don’t forget the stove Planet X does the jobsworth which boils water really quickly and pillow!!! Perhaps think about usb chargers also. Solar, wheel mounted etc.

Jason Perry
Jason Perry

August 10, 2021

Great article. Don’t forget the stove Planet X does the jobsworth which boils water really quickly and pillow!!! Perhaps think about usb chargers also. Solar, wheel mounted etc.

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