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How to Plan Your First Bikepacking Trip

Bikepacking, a hybrid form of tour cycling and backpacking, is a great way to spend a vacation, especially if you are athletic and adventurous. However, if you have never gone bikepacking before, then the process can be intimidating because you must rely on yourself and your preparation skills. While the process can feel overwhelming, it is a bit easier when looked at as a series of steps. Throughout the following article, the main points of preparation will be discussed, giving you a good overview of travel requirements and personal needs for your bikepacking adventure.

Choose Your Route

The first task is to plan your route. Where will you go, and how long will it take to get there? The route helps to determine the rest of your needs. However, it is wise to have a few backup plans in case you need to take a detour or two. Part of the bikepacking adventure is spontaneity, but too much of it can lead to problems. To better prepare and deal with road and route blockages, it is wise to invest in a GPS navigation system for your bike or to have a phone with Google maps. It is impossible to plan for every potential travel hiccup, but having a predetermined route will help you stay on track and on time.

Pack the Essentials

Next, you will want to figure out your essentials. The items you take depend on the climate and conditions of the path you choose. For example, if biking through a wet environment, you will want a poncho and waterproof gear. If you are planning on camping, you will need a lightweight and portable tent. Understanding the conditions makes preparation simpler.

Also, you will need to figure out food and water. You may need to pack a little campfire stove. Also, you may want to invest in a water filtration bottle so that you can collect water from a freshwater stream.

Prepare Your Bike

Once you have a list of biking essentials and you know where you are going, you can prepare your bicycle for the journey. If you are cycling through rocky and unpredictable terrain, then you may need to think about upgrading your tires. Also, if you will need to carry bulky items, you may want to consider purchasing saddlebags. Other beneficial items include lights, bottle holders, mounted GPS and speedometer. The speedometer is not essential, but it can help you keep track of your distance and pace, ensuring that you are staying on track with your plans.

Plan for Emergencies

Finally, you need to consider the possibility of emergencies. You should pack a first aid kit, have a satellite phone and a bike repair kit. These tools will ensure that you have the best chance of survival if you get lost or injured after an accident. However, beyond the essential safety tools, consider creating a detailed map and schedule and giving a copy to family and friends. Also, on the schedule, include contact dates, when you will phone home to reassure everyone that you are OK and on schedule. During these phone calls, you can relay any detours, delays or itinerary changes.

Bikepacking is a fun and incredible experience, but it does take a significant amount of preparation and strategy. If you are considering a long trip, think about the route, essentials, safety and bike maintenance before heading out. It is too easy to miscalculate or misjudge when you rush into a trip. Take your time and consult with other experienced riders about your intended journey. Also, consider stopping by a local bicycle shop to discuss any necessary upgrades and tools for your bike.

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