Few self-propelled adventures cover as much ground as a good bikepacking trip. Bringing the right gear is key, and finding the sweet spot between “too much” and “not enough” is critical. Our advice? Resist the urge to overpack, but don’t skimp on essentials.
Where you’re headed will impact what you bring. Consider this checklist as a starting point for bikepacking, and a foundation to build from. You’ll find as you become more experienced, you’ll dial in your set-up. If extreme temps or terrain are in order, adjust this list accordingly. Safe riding!
Make sure your bike is tuned up and safe to ride. Check all bolts for tightness, inflate tires, inspect tires for damage, ensure wheels are trued, etc. In terms of packs, there's no hard rule for how many to bring; two packs is likely the minimum, with three being popular.
A bicycle – depending on where you’re headed, the bike you’re currently riding will probably do the trick
Bikepacking bags, enough to carry gear for your length of trip
Front light that’s powerful enough to see in low light conditions
Lock (optional – keep it lightweight if you bring one)
Ski straps to lash gear on
Bike repair gear
Don’t hold back on repair essentials. The further out you’re going, the more prepared you need to be in case of a mechanical.
Tubes (at least 3; triple-check they’re the right size for your tire and rims)
Pump that easily inflates tires to at least 60 PSI without too much effort
Tire levers (at least 2)
Multi-tool with hex keys from 2–6mm, Phillips and flathead screwdrivers, T25 torx head, and chain breaker
Chain lube (wet or dry)
Extra chain links – ask a shop, they should have something
Spare derailleur hanger – do your research here; it will be specific to your bike
Tubeless sealant and tire plugs, if running a tubeless setup
CO2 cartridges and inflator, if running a tubeless setup (optional if you run tubes)
If you’re heading way out, you may also want to bring an extra tire, spare spokes with correctly sized nipples, brake cables and shifter cables
Clothing to ride in
A cotton tee and jorts might fit the bill for short journeys but will quickly get uncomfortable during long days on the bike.
Padded riding shorts and/or liner
Packable jacket for wind and rain protection
Neck gaiter that doubles as headwear in a pinch
Cap that fits under your helmet
Base layer (optional, depending on conditions)
Clothing for off the bike
Few things are sweeter than changing out of dank riding kit into fresh camp clothes.
Plan ahead and be sure to bring essentials for route finding and navigation. A GPS computer is highly recommended, and have backup navigation tools ready.
GPS computer (optional, but extremely useful for planning and following routes)
GPS computer charging cord
Phone and charging items
Power bank (1–2, depending on duration)
Personal locator beacon or emergency communication device (optional, but good to have if headed off grid)
Park passes and permits
Shelter and sleep
Cooking and food
Save weight by going for a simple single burner stove. Avoid lugging plates or bowls; a mug pulls double duty.
Be prepared. A couple water bottles generally won’t cut it, unless you’re confident you’ll be close to drinking water sources constantly.
Freshening up in the evenings and mornings can make a trip far more enjoyable. Still, bring only what you need, and don’t be afraid of getting a little grubby.
Chamois cream and skin repair gel
Toothpaste (small amount)
Small travel towel – doubles as a dish drying cloth
Cash, cards and ID for any stops along the way
Boredom combatants – books, playing cards, journal with pencil, etc.
Remember: leave no trace! Pack out anything and everything you bring (including garbage), and leave every camp site or snack stop better than you found it.