Mountain Equipment Company
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Bikepacking checklist

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!

Bike gear

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
  • Rear light
  • Helmet
  • 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
  • Spoke wrench
  • Chain lube (wet or dry)
  • Extra chain master link
  • 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)
  • Duct tape
  • Pocket knife
  • Zip ties
  • 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.

Clothing for off the bike

Few things are sweeter than changing out of dank riding kit into fresh camp clothes.

Navigation

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.

Shelter and sleep

  • Tent, bivy or hammock – for most cases, bring a tent. But if you're confident in the weather and your ability to rough it, a hammock or bivy works.
  • Sleeping bag
  • Sleeping pad
  • Pillow (optional, but stuffing a jacket into a t-shirt also works)

Cooking and food

Save weight by going for a simple single burner stove. Avoid lugging plates or bowls; a mug pulls double duty.

Hydration

Be prepared. A couple water bottles generally won’t cut it, unless you’re confident you’ll be close to drinking water sources constantly.

Personal items

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.

Safety gear

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.