Bikepacking 101 - what is bikepacking? How to get started?
Bikepacking is a style of multi-day bicycle travel whose biggest difference from "traditional" bicycle touring sits in the way the bike is packed.
We talk about bikepacking when the gear the rider is bringing for his/her bicycle trip is stored in a way that aims to minimize air-resistance and the whole bulk of the loaded rig.
The term bikepacking was probably first used by the American Adventure Cycling Association in 1973, as a synonym of cycle touring.
The birth of modern-days bikepacking though, is much more recent: in the 90s, a technological brake-through in outdoor gear materials and manufacturing techniques has seen the market filled with ultralight and hyper-packable camping gear, this made possible for outdoors-lovers (hikers and bike tourers alike) to store their trip essentials in much smaller spaces, while at the same time reducing the weight load.
In traditional style bicycle touring, the luggage is stored mostly in lateral bags called bike panniers. Those need a rack to be hanged on to (a rear rack, a front one, or both), so they inevitably make the bike-rider system much wider.
Bikepacking style is instead modular, it uses a combination of specific types of bags specially designed not to widen the rig's profile.
By using any possible space within the bike frame, bikepacking bags make the rider able to tackle the narrowest single-tracks without the need to worry about balance and obstacles.
New to bike travel in general? Check our Bicycle Touring 101 to learn everything about traveling by bike. If you want to know more about the differences between these two setup styles, just click here!