Not for minimalists, but definitely something for the great explorers... Bikepacking! Travel with the bike wherever you want and the luggage safely stowed in a few bike bagsthat means pure freedom for many.
But a few logistical questions need to be clarified despite the spirit of adventure: Which bike is suitable? What equipment needs to be purchased and how will the nights in the open air be arranged? Which tent do you need? Don't worry, we at buycycle will help you and give you all the information you need today so that your next bikepacking trip will be a complete success!
1. what is bikepacking?
Bikepacking is the name given to bicycle tours in which one is not dependent on anything or anyone for one's own food and supplies. Everything necessary for this is carried on the bike and once this is packed, you can travel the world cheaply and independently without having to accept losses in comfort, speed or agility on the bike .
2. which bike is suitable bikepacking?
Bikepacking is about a sense of freedom, not expensive equipment or showcase gadgets. And that's why the "ideal" bike for your tour is first and foremost your own, even if, from a practical point of view, some bike types make more sense for a tour than others: If you want to be off the asphalt and paved roads, you should opt for an all-terrain mountain bike or a Gravel bike back.
As a bikepacking novice, however, you don't need a special bike to embark on your first adventure. Try a smaller tour and see if you enjoy it at all. If the bikepacking fever finally catches you and you are sure that you want to spend more time on tours, then it may be worth looking for special equipment...
3. what equipment do I need?
For a successful bikepacking tour you don't have to rob a smaller bike store... However, a few items are essential and what exactly they are, we tell you now.
The most important thing when bikepacking are the bags, after all, they decide whether the bike remains agile and fast during the ride. They are attached directly to the frame but if they are too big, they can damage the pedals when pedaling. pedals If they are too small, not everything can be stowed. In general, however, you should only pack what does not weigh too much and what you absolutely need.
An absolute essential is camping equipment: without a sleeping bag, sleeping pad and tent it will be uncomfortable at night, cold and wet, whether in nature or on a campsite.
To be prepared for any weather, a rain suit is more than just useful. So that belongs packed in any case, a set of change of clothes anyway. A particularly warm jacket or sweater is important in the evening and at night, and many cyclists also rely on padded cycling shorts for greater comfort on long rides. Out of the question on every ride is always but the Helmet... safety first.
Power bars, nuts and a water bottle belong on every bikepacking trip. If you are really hungry and have a little more space, you can pack a small outdoor stove and a few cooking utensils. So even in the open air with minimal resources one or the other feast can be prepared (and yes, we also count pasta without sauce). Really daring packers also take a small coffee maker with them, but in the end, the same applies in the culinary area: take what you absolutely need. What exactly that is, you decide for yourself.
For your route planning and accessibility in case of emergency, you should think of your smartphone including charger or powerbank. Be sure to take a first aid kit with you: One for you and one for your bike. A multitool and spare parts such as a replacement inner tube, repair kit or a bicycle pump help in case of an emergency and because you never know if you will have unexpected stops, a bike lock a good idea.
The best equipment is useless if your bike is not roadworthy. So check your lights and your brakesyour reflectors and bells, the tire tread and the tire pressure before you set off.
4. what is the best way to load your bike ?
Bikepacking bags are usually attached to the frame itself, as well as to the handlebars and the seatpost anbegracht. The goal is that the bike and you remain as agile and fast as possible.
For optimal loading, stow heavy equipment as low as possible and close to the frame, preferably in the frame bag. In the saddle bag fits more voluminous equipment, for example, the sleeping bag, spare clothing or gas cartridges for cooking. Light items such as snacks, smartphone or navigation device and the first aid kit are then placed in the handlebar bag.
5. what to look for when buying a tent?
If you want a restful night's sleep when bikepacking, you need a tent. But one that can be easily stowed on the bike and is not too complicated to set up. What you should consider when buying, we'll tell you in a moment, but first a few tips:
Particularly small and lightweight tents can be recognized by the UL marking (ultra-light). How waterproof a tent is, you can read from the water column, from 1500mm you are usually safe from rain, but also pay attention to the seams and how carefully they have been processed. A tent pad protects the tent floor from holes and tears, but also weighs more...
So it all depends on your individual needs - also when choosing the tent size and type!
How much space do you need in your tent? Just because you might be traveling alone doesn't mean that a 1-person tent is enough. Most of them are so small that you don't even have enough room to sit upright or turn around without bumping into the tent wall. Let alone to accommodate equipment, luggage or a kitchenette. So it's either invest in less weight or invest in more space.
In a tunnel tent, the vestibule (the small bulge of the tent) is located in the front, behind it is slept. Tunnel tents have narrow sides and are therefore more stable in the wind, and they can also be pitched in the rain without the inner tent getting wet. The setup itself is fast and uncomplicated, but a tunnel tent, unlike a dome tent, can not stand freely, but must be clamped and is therefore not suitable for every surface.
Dome tents offer a much larger area, but less storage space for luggage, because the vestibules are smaller. In addition, dome tents are heavier than tunnel tents, have more poles and are not easy to set up, especially in the rain, but at least the ventilation is better due to ventilation hoods closer together.
6. what are the best bikepacking tents?
Finally, you are looking for a place to sleep that keeps you dry and protected on your bikepacking tours. This criterion is met by all the tents that we present to you below, which does not mean that some models offer some small but fine advantages...
Jack Wolfskin Gossamer: A classic tunnel tent for one person. It has a pack size of 44 x 14 cm and weighs 1.75 kg, is robust, very flat and withstands any weather. For about 100€ the tent offers everything you need, only on great comfort you should not expect. But at least the inner tent can also be used individually as mosquito protection.
Grand Canyon Richmond 1: The 1-person tent has a pack size of 38 × 12 cm and weighs 1.52 kg. The double-walled model has a water column of 2000 mm and is not known for its spacious entrance, but can be purchased for under 100€.
Dome tents for one person
Ferrino NEMESI 1 Pro: Easy to pitch and extremely waterproof, it is an excellent 3-season tent. With 15 x 35cm it has a small pack size, but still comes with a spacious vestibule. For already 200€ it can go with the 1.5 kg heavy dome tent at the next tour.
Naturehike VIK1: The Single Wall tent can be set up quickly even in the rain, but it is cozy with 2 m interior length rather for smaller bike packers:inside. The pack size is 46 x 16 cm, it weighs 1.25 kg and has 2000 mm water column and plays with a price of 150 € in the solid midfield.
Dome tents for 2 people
MSR Carbon Reflex 2: Thanks to carbon fiber poles and an entrance area without zipper, this trekking tent weighs just 0.84 kg. Despite the small pack size of 43 x 13cm, there is room inside the tent for two sleeping mats and it allows very good air circulation. The catch despite simple construction? The proud price of 600€, in which the necessary guy ropes and hooks are not included and the water column of just 1000 mm.
MSR Elixir 2: This tent is freestanding, weighs 2.77 kg and has a pack size of 51 x 17 cm. Two entrances with large vestibules provide plenty of space and the inner tent can also be used separately (just without the benefit of the 1500 mm water column of the outer tent). Price-wise, you end up with the Elixir 2 at around 300€.
MSR Hubba Hubba NX 2: One of the most popular models among bikepackers, because it has two entrances, inner and outer tent can be used separately and the ventilation flaps at the head and foot ends are cleverly placed. The outer tent has a water column of 1200 mm, the pack size is 46 x 15 cm and the price is 400€. It can be set up in a few minutes even as an inexperienced:r camper:in.
Naturehike Cloud up 2 Upgrade: This model is the most weatherproof of all with a water column of 4000 mm and remains relatively light at 1.8 kg. The pack size is 40 × 13 cm. It comes to a weight of 1.8 kg. It can be set up quickly and easily, but it is not insulating and therefore not warming.
After this marathon of facts and tips, nothing should stand in the way of your next bikepacking adventure! If you are still missing the perfect bike for it, we at buycyle surely have a suitable one for you on our website - because among the 10.000 gravel, road and mountain bikes you will surely find one that suits you. If you have any questions you can always contact our team team at any time. Until then we wish you: Happy browsing, happy bikepacking!
The perfect tent for your bikepacking adventure | buycycle
What is Bikepacking?
As the name suggests, bikepacking is a bicycle tour in which the two-wheeler is packed with the most important equipment. This should make it possible to be completely self-sufficient along the way. With bikepacking, you don't have to rely on restaurants for your own food or on sleeping accommodations. By the unique investment in equipment, can be traveled in such a way on a long-term basis inexpensive the world. With the help of suitable bike bags, one's own equipment can be stowed in such a way that no losses are made in riding comfort. Neither in speed nor in maneuverability one is robbed in the ideal case. So side pockets, and usually backpacks, are dispensed with. Instead, the storage options fit snugly against the bike frame. Many small bags with little weight help. The cyclist himself has complete freedom of movement, as no luggage restricts him on his back. Bikepacking does not mean a bicycle trip in the classical sense. A classic bike trip is primarily about getting from A to B on your own. Taking care of oneself is not the main focus. The way of packing the bike is also different. Large bags are needed to carry as much luggage as possible. Whether this luggage has a slowing effect is secondary. Also, bikepacking is to be distinguished from a bike and Hike tour. bike and Hike tours are day trips where you want to climb a mountain peak by bike. As soon as the path no longer permits riding, the bike is carried or parked in order to reach the destination on foot.
Which bike is suitable bikepacking?
Bikepacking is all about the freedom aspect. Having to buy expensive equipment before you set off is not the point. The same applies to the ideal bike for a bikepacking tour. Theoretically, the best bike is the one you already have before you set off. In practice, some types of bike make more sense than others. Unfortunately, the same applies to equipment. With high-quality, lightweight products, the bikepacking adventure can often be enjoyed more easily. Particularly suitable are gravel bikes or mountain bikesas nature is best explored away from the asphalt. A fully is particularly suitable for off-road riding. Sticks and stones can be easily rolled over. Riding on unpaved paths is no problem thanks to the two built-in suspension elementsthe suspension fork and the shock absorber, despite the equipment being transported. Equipment can also be a problem with the Fully. Attaching the bags to the bike frame can lead to it no longer being fully suspended. A fully can also tempt you to choose trails that are too wide for your equipment. When bikepacking, you also want to cover several kilometers. Fullys are often very heavy and therefore strenuous to ride on long tours. The suspension elements also absorb a lot of power, which should actually be converted into propulsion. A hardtail is therefore better suited to bikepacking. It is usually easier to attach bags here. A hardtail is also more comfortable due to its lower weight. Gravel bikes are just as suitable. They have become increasingly popular in the cycling cosmos over the last few years. Gravel bikes combine the advantages of road bikes and mountain bikes. They are light and narrow, but have tires with tread. This means you can ride fast on a gravel bike without having to rely on asphalt. You also have grip on gravel paths or in the forest. Gravel bikes are particularly good for attaching bags to their frames. They are designed for bike touring. Bikepacking newbies don't need a special bike to try out the trend. After all, not everyone enjoys self-supplying and exploring the great outdoors. If you are sure that you want to spend a lot of time on your bike on bikepacking tours, a gravel bike or hardtail is the right choice.
What equipment do I need?
The most important thing when bikepacking are the bags in which all other items can be stowed. After all, they determine whether the bike remains maneuverable and fast during the ride. Bags that are not suitable can also interfere with pedaling or impair functions of the bike. If they are too small, not everything important can be stowed. If they are too large, they quickly get in the way around. At the same time, the storage options should not be too heavy and should be able to be attached tightly to the frame of the bike. On the market there are many bike bags from different manufacturers. Particularly popular are the brands Vaude or Ortlieb. Evoc also produces not only practical bike backpacks, but also ideal bikepacking bags. In the bags can be stowed everything that is needed on a multi-day trip. It is useful to assign certain functions to the respective bags, for example, to store food, clothing and camping equipment separately. In this way, you can get to the required item in just a few simple steps. For the items themselves, weight, pack size as well as functionality are important. In general, only the things that are really necessary should end up in the bags. As with backpacking, you want to avoid every superfluous gram.
To be able to spend the night on the bikepacking tour, whether on a campsite or on the mountain, some things are essential. These include a sleeping bag and a sleeping pad, a tent or a tarp. Tents protect against wind, insects and rain. If they are insulated, they provide protection from dropping temperatures. A tarp is a type of tarpaulin used much like a tent. Traps are not completely enclosed like a tent and therefore do not provide equivalent protection. On the other hand, they usually weigh less. Depending on the area of use, either a tent or a tarp may make more sense. If you want, you can take a bivy sack with you for inclement weather. Wild camping is generally prohibited in Germany. The reason for this is primarily to protect wildlife and plants. In the worst case scenario, wild camping puts you at risk of being reported to the police.
The weather can be unpredictable, especially in the mountains. A rain jacket is therefore a must, and rain trousers are also a good idea. A set of changing clothes makes it possible to change sweaty, wet clothing. A particularly warm jacket or sweater is especially important for the evening. Many cyclists opt for padded cycling shorts, but this is not absolutely necessary. With an individually adjusted saddle, you can ride your bike for several hours without pain. Cycling helmets, gloves, functional clothing and cycling shoes, on the other hand, are indispensable when cycling.
To be able to supply themselves independently, many bike packers rely on a small outdoor stove. In addition, a small pot and cutlery, and a lot of delicious dishes can also be conjured up in nature. For example, boiling water can be used to prepare pasta. What is quickly dismissed as a boring dish at home is a real treat in the open air. Sufficient food is just as important. Nuts or protein bars are particularly suitable, for example, as they provide a lot of energy and take up little space. A drinking vessel is also indispensable. Not every tour will have enough places to fill up on drinking water. Being prepared for this is vital. If necessary, other utensils such as a cutting board or coffee maker can be taken along.
To check the weather and plan routes, a smartphone including charger or a navigation device is important. In addition, a power bank can replace the missing power source for charging. If you want to be on the safe side, take a map with you for orientation. In case of a fall, it is important to be able to take care of yourself first. A first aid kit must not be missing in any case. Also the bicycle should be kept independently in shot. This succeeds with a multitool and spare parts. Spare tube, repair kit and bicycle pump help in case of a flat tire to get the bike back on the road quickly. Before setting out on your own, it is helpful to at least watch an explanatory video on the Internet about what to do in the event of a flat tire. During the bikepacking tour, it can always happen that there is a supermarket on the way, or another stop. A bike lock to protect your own bike from theft should also be present.
A roadworthy bicycle complies with the regulations if the necessary equipment is attached to it. Among other things, this means lights, reflectors, reflectors or bells. During a bicycle tour, it can happen that the weather turns and you take refuge in a nearby shelter late in the evening. Especially at this time of day and in bad weather, it is important to be able to see the route and be noticed by other road users. A general bike check is also worthwhile, especially on long bike tours. The brake pads, tire tread, tire pressure and a functioning light are worth a quick look before setting off.
What is the best way to load your bike ?
Bikepacking bags are usually attached to the frame itself, as well as to the handlebar and seatpost. The aim is to keep the bike as agile and fast as possible. In addition, neither the freedom of movement of the rider, nor the functionality of the two-wheeler should be restricted. To keep the bike agile, a sensible loading of the various bags is equally important. This means that heavy equipment should be stowed as low as possible and very close to the frame. The frame bag is particularly suitable for this. The center of gravity must be as far down as possible, otherwise a dysbalance quickly occurs during the ride. The heaviest equipment usually includes the camping stove, tent, water, food or multitool and spare parts. Equipment that takes up a lot of space, i.e. has a lot of volume, fits in the saddle bag. The sleeping bag, the tarp, spare clothes or gas cartridges for cooking can be stowed here. Light items go in the handlebar bag. Snacks for the road, smartphone or navigation device and the first aid kit are suitable for this.
What do you look for when buying a tent?
A tent makes it possible to camp wherever you want when bikepacking. In addition, it provides protection from all kinds of disturbing factors that keep you from a good night's sleep. For example, no mosquitoes or ants get inside the tent. Also the wind does not whistle so much around the ears. At first, the thought quickly arises that tents are too unwieldy to take with you on a bikepacking tour. After all, poles, pegs, inner tent and outer tent are not necessarily handy luggage. On the market, there is a suitable 1-person tent or 2-person tent for everyone with a small pack size as well as little weight. Before buying, it is important to pay attention to various points. There are particularly small tents that weigh hardly anything. Manufacturers mark ultralight tents with UL for ultralight. A lightweight tent should still be waterproof. A look at the water column provides information about this. One speaks from a water column of 1500mm of a waterproof tent. However, it also depends on the workmanship of the seams, whether a tent can really withstand the rain. On the other hand, particularly high-quality processed tents with lower water column can also withstand the rain. Before buying to fall back on field reports of other Bikepacker, is worthwhile, in order to experience no bad surprise. Tents should also be robust. To save weight, many tents are sold without a base. However, the bare tent floor is quickly perforated by stones or the like. So before the first tour, it is worth checking how your own tent is doing. There is no such thing as the perfect tent. You will always have to make compromises. In order to acquire the best trekking tent for you, further preliminary considerations are important. One should estimate in which area of use it is realistically needed. For example, it makes a difference whether you travel with a tent only in the summer, or also in cooler seasons. A tent that is suitable for all purposes will not make you happy. Rather, it should be equipped for the purpose that is relevant to you.
To find a tent that is customized to your needs, there are some questions you should ask yourself before buying. For example, how much space you need. If you are traveling alone, you quickly tend to the 1-person tent. These tents are so small that you usually can't sit upright, or turn around without bumping into the tent wall. There is also not much storage space for equipment. So either pay attention to the dimensions before buying such a tent, or risk investing in a slightly heavier tent with a larger pack size, but more space. Especially on multi-day tours you want to cook in the awning. For this, the bikepacking tent needs a vestibule. This is a bulge in which, for example, luggage can also be stored dry. Since it is worthwhile even for people traveling alone to carry a 2-person tent, both tents for one, as well as for two people, are presented in the next section.
In a tunnel tent, the vestibule is at the front, behind it is slept. Tunnel tents have narrow sides and are therefore more stable in the wind. The tent poles are on the outside. This means that the inner tent and outer tent always remain connected. So when it rains, the tent can be pitched without the inner tent getting wet. In addition, it is usually faster than the construction of a dome tent. The disadvantage of tunnel tents is that they are not free-standing. You have to brace them. This is not possible on every surface without problems. Both too hard and too soft ground are unsuitable. With tunnel tents, there is a risk of a lot of condensation forming. Since the ventilation hoods are far apart, ventilation only works properly when the tent is properly positioned in the wind. In contrast to the tunnel tent, dome tents offer a larger surface area. Especially tall people are better off here, in tunnel tents it can happen that they bump their feet against the inner tent. Dome tents can be used as free-standing tents and do not necessarily have to be guyed. The vents are closer together, condensation can be avoided for the most part. If more than one person sleeps in a tent, condensation can still usually not be avoided. In dome tents there is less storage space for luggage, because the vestibules are smaller. They also tend to weigh a bit more than tunnel tents because they require more poles. Since the inner tent and outer tent are set up separately, pitching a dome tent in the rain is often problematic. Dome tents do not have to be a double wall tent. If tents have only one wall, they have a little less weight. But the ventilation is usually worse. Which tent is best for you depends on what you particularly value.
What are the best bikepacking tents?
Various manufacturers have proven themselves with lightweight material and high-quality workmanship of their tents. These include MSR, Nordisk, Big Agnes, Salewa, Naturehike, Vango or Decathlon, to name a few brands. Due to the innovative, high-quality workmanship, some tent models go beyond any price range. Nevertheless, there are alternatives that are affordable and still do what they were produced for: provide a place to sleep while traveling. Here are some camping tents presented.
Jack Wolfskin Gossamer: The Gossamer is a classic tunnel tent for one person. The inner tent can also be used individually as mosquito protection. It has a pack size of 44 x 14 cm and weighs 1.75 kg. It is robust. It is very flat and can withstand any weather. Thanks to its color and size, you can camouflage yourself well in tall grass. The entrance is quite small, which is often the case with tents of this type. The tent combines low weight, small pack size and low price: for around €100, the tent offers everything you need, but does not provide the greatest comfort.
Grand Canyon Richmond 1: The 1-person tent has a pack size of 38 × 12 cm and weighs 1.52 kg. Both the flysheet and floor have a water column of 2000 mm. The tent is double-walled. The sleeping area is quite small. However, the tent can be purchased for less than €100 and is one of the cheaper models on the market despite its high-quality materials.
Dome tents for one person
Ferrino NEMESI 1 Pro: The 1-person tent is easy to pitch. The outer tent has a water column of 3000 mm. The floor is waterproof up to 8000 mm. This provides excellent protection in bad weather. At 15x35cm, it has a small pack size. The 3-season tent is priced at around 200€. It has a vestibule to store your equipment. The weight is 1.5 kg.
Naturehike VIK1: The single wall tent can be pitched quickly even in the rain. The pack size is 46 x 16 cm. Pegs and cords for tensioning are included. The usable inner length is around 2 m. This makes the tent more suitable for smaller people. It can be purchased for around €150. It weighs 1.25 kg and has a 2000 mm water column. The floor is waterproof thanks to 4000 mm.
Dome tents for 2 people
MSR Carbon Reflex 2: The MSR Carbon Reflex 2 trekking tent is ultralight. Thanks to carbon fiber poles and an entrance area without a zipper, it weighs just 0.84 kg. The pack size is 43x13cm. It must be guyed out. The tent has two doors and plenty of space inside. The tent is available on Amazon for around €600. Two tent poles make it easy to set up and take down, and it can be pitched in just a few minutes. The outer tent is made of ripstop nylon and has a water column of 1000mm. Thanks to its coating, the tent floor has a water column of 3000mm. There is room for two sleeping mats inside. The inner tent allows good air circulation, which means that drip formation overnight is rare. Guy ropes and additional hooks for tensioning are not included with the tent and must be purchased separately.
MSR Elixir 2: The MSR Elixir 2 is freestanding and designed for two people. It has a pack size of 51 x 17 cm. The weight is 2.77 kg. A groundsheet, aluminum pegs and tent guylines are included. Two entrances with large vestibules offer plenty of space. The 3-season tent can be purchased for around €300. The inner tent can be used without the outer tent. The outer tent is made of ripstop polyester with a 1500mm water column. The floor has a 3000mm water column.
MSR Hubba Hubba NX 2: This tent is one of the most popular models among bikepackers. The outer tent is made of ripstop nylon and has a water column of 1200 mm, the floor has a water column of 3000 mm. The pack size is 46 x 15 cm. The 2-person tent has two entrances. The price is around 400€. The tent is freestanding and designed for three seasons. The inner tent can be used without the outer tent. Thanks to the ventilation flaps at the head and foot ends, the tent is well ventilated and has a low tendency to form condensation. An additional groundsheet must be purchased separately. The tent weighs 1.54 kg. The inner and outer tent, poles and pegs are included. Even inexperienced campers can pitch the tent in just a few minutes.
Naturehike Cloud up 2 Upgrade: The 2-person tent has a pack size of 40 × 13 cm. It has a weight of 1.8 kg. Both the outer tent and the floor have a water column of 4000 mm. This is a clear difference to other tents. It is better protected from the wet than other models. Pegs and guy ropes are also included. It can be pitched quickly and easily. The tent is not insulating, so the temperature inside is the same as outside. The tent remains stable even in windy conditions.