Lifelong mountain biker Bryce Lorcet runs Cyclewerks, a supplier of bikepacking products. He says much of the gear carried on a bikepacking trip is the same lightweight gear a tramper would take on a hiking trip, with only the method of carrying the gear differing. Here’s what he takes.
You can use pretty much any bike for your first adventure with drybags strapped to the frame and handlebars. In terms of what works best for most people, a hardtail mountain bike gives good carrying capacity with generally great handling both on and off-road. I ride a Salsa Timberjack that is equally at home pushing hard on technical singletrack or bikepacking to places I have yet to discover.
Bikepacking bags make use of the various spaces on and around your bike. I use bags from industry leader Revelate Designs. It may not look like it, but all this gear easily fits into these bags.
I carry one full set of riding clothing with sufficient layers to be warm in cold and wet weather, and a second set to change into at camp. I’m a big fan of the simple Icebreaker t-shirt for riding (looks good on the bike and in a country pub), and it’s hard to go past the value/weight/warmth of a Macpac Uber Light down jacket. I always pack a Buff because it makes a cold ride or sleep way more comfortable.
To cook or not on an overnight trip is a personal preference, sometimes it’s a foot-long sub stashed in the frame bag but when a hot meal is a must-have I take an Esbit alcohol stove. On every overnight trip, I take a Fozzils folding plate/bowl/cup set. They’re absolutely brilliant, ultralight, durable and extremely packable.
Modern smartphone navigation apps cover all my needs, charged either via a cache battery or front hub dynamo on longer trips. I’ve destroyed a couple of charging cables so now run a heavy-duty Anker cable, with the phone mounted on the bars with a Quadlock phone case/mount. I also never leave home without a Spot satellite tracker.
You don’t need to take spares to fix everything, but think about what is really going to stop you moving forward and take what you need to fix that. I generally pack a Leatherman, bike-friendly multi-tool with a chain breaker, two tubes plus pump and patch kit, chain lube, and a good selection of zip ties and duct tape. There’s not much that can’t be fixed with a zip tie!
I take a Woho shovel fender bikepacking trowel for the inevitable call of nature.
A lightweight one-person Nemo tent, Therm-A-Rest NeoAir mattress, light and small sleeping bag with silk liner and inflatable pillow.