Backpacking while on a bike instead of on foot is not a new endeavor, but the explosion of interest in it in recent years may be. Touring by bicycle has been around for a long time, but combining backpacking with cycling is a little bit different. Like traditional backpackers, bikepackers, as they are often called, tend to seek to get off the beaten path and into nature. They also might tend to travel more lightly than touring cyclists.
People who want to get started as a bikepacker will need gear for both cyclists and backpackers. Borrowing a bicycle to start with might be best, but cycling shops can offer good advice and test rides for those who would rather buy from the start. A bike repair kit is also a good idea.
Bike frame bags replace the traditional backpack of hikers and the panniers of touring cyclists. These bags make use of that often-wasted space on bicycles, the triangle area of the frame. However, they do not hold much and can be expensive since they need to be fitted to the bike. Therefore, some people still prefer to use panniers. A backpack is a bad idea on a bike since it can make it hard to maneuver.
The rest of the equipment can be taken from a person’s standard backpacking stash of equipment although the type of trip planned is important. Some people may prefer to camp and cook their own meals while others might want to stay in accommodations and eat in restaurants.
Sleeping bags and pads can be bulky, so bikepackers may want to try to get compact items as well as a light backpacking tent if they are camping. Hiking clothes are appropriate and may be more comfortable than traditional biking gear. Other standard backpacking equipment may also be needed, such as a stove, a first aid kit and a water bottle.
It is important to test both the bike and the gear before setting out on the first trip. People can look online for routes and even sign up for an organized tour if they prefer to not go it alone the first time. It is best to aim for lower mileage to start with until they become acclimated to bikepacking.