12/2/21 Canyon.com
12/2/21 Canyon.com

Bikepacking Kit List: Everything you need for you and your bike

What do you need to take with you on an overnight bikepacking adventure? Read our kit list before you head off into the sunset.

Bikepacking Kit List: Everything you need for you and your bike What do you need to bring with you on a bikepacking overnighter?

Bikepacking overnighters are exciting even if you’re doing it for the millionth time. There are few feelings greater than falling asleep beneath the stars. It allows you to free yourself from life’s complexities, to bring it all back to basics and enjoy time away from modern day stresses.

A short, sub-24hr overnighter or microadventure into the outdoors is quick, easy and fun when you have the right gear. It doesn’t have to cost a fortune, and it just requires a little bit of organisation ahead of departure. Grab your bike because we’re going on an adventure.

Everything you need for an overnight bikepacking trip. We’re going on an overnight bikepacking adventure - come with us!

What is bikepacking?

Bikepacking is the art of loading up your bike with everything you need for a multi-day adventure. It’s similar to backpacking but with a bike.

Bikepacking has become synonymous with off-grid journeys to far away places, though there are no rules for what constitutes a “proper” bikepacking trip. If you’re on a bike and staying overnight somewhere with gear you brought with you, you’re bikepacking - simple!

What’s the difference between cycle touring and bikepacking?

The definition of cycle touring is generally accepted to mean riding a road bike or hybrid bike with pannier bags containing all the gear you need to travel around for the days, weeks and months ahead.

In more recent times, bikepacking has typically defined the off-road version of cycle touring. Bikepacking bags and bikepacking bikes reflect the unpaved, gravel and often mountainous nature of this style of riding. Harder riding means bikepackers often prefer to pack a little lighter using specialist lightweight gear such as bivvy bags.

What bike do you need to go bikepacking?

Off-road cycling adventures require a suitable bike. If you know there’s minimal tarmac and hard, rocky riding ahead then you’ll need a mountain bike. Not every mountain bike will be suitable for bikepacking (for example a downhill mountain bike), so choose something that can climb and descend well. A bike like the Lux Trail or Neuron will see you up and down most rideable mountain roads.

Read more: Best Bikepacking Bikes

If you’re splitting your time between roads, bridleways and gravel tracks, you guessed it - you’ll need a gravel bike. A bike like the Grizl can cope with most chunky gravel (even more so if you have the Grizl Trail) while gliding across the tarmac between these stretches.

How do I find bikepacking routes?

We’re big fans of planning your own unique adventure but sometimes it’s nice to let someone else do the hard work. When planning a bikepacking route, it can be a good idea to stay close to home in familiar territory for your first time. You can test your gear setup and if you end up needing to get back quickly for whatever reason, you can.

Use a route planner like Komoot to find the best bikepacking routes near you. You can search for other people’s public routes or design your own. Pay attention to the distance and elevation, as this will give you a rough idea of how long it will take you to get to your destination.

Bikepacking.com is another great website for tried and tested overnight bikepacking routes. You’ll find routes from all over the world whether you want a gravel or mountain bike route.

Everything you need for an overnight bikepacking trip. Bring your preferred sleep system on your first overnighter.

What gear do I need to go bikepacking?

  • Sleep system: tent, hammock, tarp or bivvy bag along with sleeping bag and sleeping mat
  • Layers: bring more than you think you’ll need just in case
  • Bikepacking bags to stash all your kit in

Which sleep system should I go for?

Lightweight bikepacking setups generally opt for bivvy bags or tarps rather than tents due to weight and bulk. Bivvy bags are a waterproof outer layer for your sleeping bag - a kind of sock if you will. A tarp is a waterproof and windproof sheet you pitch above you while you sleep.

There are pros and cons to every setup of course: some people prefer to sleep in an enclosed space (a tent or hammock) rather than leaving themselves open to the elements. Weather is another factor to bear in mind when making this decision. If it’s likely to rain, you’ll probably want a tent in order to keep you and your kit dry.

Sleeping bag

Keeping warm while you sleep is of paramount importance. You’re unlikely to get a good night’s sleep if you’re chilly so make sure you get a good sleeping bag. The best sleeping bag for you will depend on how warm or cool you sleep generally and also the climate in which you’ll be camping. A thick winter sleeping bag won’t be much fun in the Spanish desert in July for example.

The thinner the sleeping bag, the lighter it will be, however you’ll have to decide whether a lighter sleeping bag will work for you. Look at the bag’s comfort rating and temperature range for an idea of whether it’s suitable for where you’re riding.

Bikepacking clothing

As the temperature drops overnight, you’ll need to slip into something a little warmer if you’re outdoors. Merino base layers are good for keeping warm both while cycling and sleeping. An insulated jacket to wear while you pitch your tent or inflate your sleeping mat is also a great addition to any bikepacker’s kit list.

Ultimately, the kit you take with you will depend on how warm or cold you feel at night. What works for one person may not work for you, so it’s all trial and error. After a few overnight bikepacking adventures, you’ll know exactly what you need.

Everything you need for an overnight bikepacking trip. Bikepacking bags are compact and can be attached to any bike.

Bikepacking bags

When you’ve got your gear worked out, you’ll need somewhere to carry it all to your chosen sleeping spot. Enter the humble bikepacking bag. They’re small but mighty and they fit on just about every bike.

Read more: Best Bikepacking Bags

There are a variety of bikepacking bags that you’ll want to consider:

  • Saddle bag
  • Handlebar bag
  • Top tube bag
  • Frame bag

Saddle bags and handlebar bags are ideal for bulkier items that you don’t need while you’re riding. Stash your sleeping bag, bivvy bag and sleeping mat in them until you stop for the night.

Top tube bags are useful for money, snacks and other sundries you’re likely to want while you’re on the go.

Finally, a frame bag can be perfect for holding all your tools and spares. You hope you don’t need these items but they’re handy if you do suffer an unfortunate puncture or mechanical.

Bikepacking Kit List

What you end up packing may vary, but this list is a great starting point if you want some inspiration (or a shopping list!) for what you need to go for your first overnighter:

  • Sleep system: sleeping bag, tent/hammock/bivvy bag/tarp, sleeping mat
  • Clothing: cycling clothing as well as thermal base layers, insulated jacket (preferably synthetic so that it’s still warm if you get wet), hat, socks for wearing while camping
  • Bike kit: helmet, shoes, fully-charged bike lights, bikepacking bags
  • Battery pack and cables or spare batteries
  • Head torch (for pitching your tent at night)
  • Food and water (think about dinner and breakfast and how you will cook it)
  • Toiletries: toilet paper, toothbrush, toothpaste
  • Puncture repair kit and tools
  • First aid kit - you never know!
How to protect your Grizl and fit bikepacking bags

You’re ready for your first overnighter

Once you have a route, all your gear and your bike, it’s time to see what all the fuss is about. If you don’t fancy going solo, grab a couple of mates to join in the fun. The only thing better than riding with your friends is camping overnight with them too.

By subscribing to our newsletter, you are agreeing to our Data Protection Statement .

Did this article help?

Thank you for your feedback

Related Stories

Bikepacking setups provide the freedom to go wherever your heart desires, unlike a heavier, more traditional pannier setup more synonymous with bike touring.
A gravel bike is the workhorse of modern bicycles. Although they look similar, they're very different. Let's take a closer look.
Every mountain biker wants to master the art of ‘just right’ suspension, but which is best between a coil vs air shock? In this guide we’ll dig into the pros and cons of each to help you decide.
With eight tough stages capped by a mountain top finish on the legendary Blockhaus climb, the Giro D’Italia women enters a new era in 2024 with a challenging route designed to test every aspect of a racer in the fight for the coveted maglia rosa.
Content is loading
Loading animation image