7 Best Bike Packing Tips in 2024 for your First Adventure
Have you ever looked at pictures of the mesmerising vistas of Lake Como, or the spring blossom bloom on the open boulevards of France, and thought “I want to experience this for myself by bike”?
Have you ever looked at pictures of the mesmerising vistas of Lake Como, or the spring blossom bloom on the open boulevards of France, and thought “I want to experience this for myself by bike”? If so then this piece is the companion that you have been searching for. Take a look through a series of essential tips that you’ll want to read before embarking on a bikepacking trip of your own.
There is a simplicity in riding a bike, that attracts so many of us to it. The near-primal thirst to explore and see what the world has to offer us can quickly be quenched on a bike. That said, a fulfilling bikepacking trip is not something that can be undertaken on a whim, so read carefully and remember this advice when you set off.
So, what are our Bike Packing Tips?
Plan for the Bike You Have
You can’t just roll out the front door and expect to have an awesome bikepacking trip. Unlike a spontaneous ride on home roads which you know like the back of your hand, there’s a bit more preparation that needs to be done if you’re going to have a good time exploring the world on two wheels.
Apps like Komoot are fantastic for selecting a route that is going to connect the key places you definitely want to go, on the nicest and most appropriate roads for your particular bike. If you have a gravel-ready bikepacking machine – something like our Crosshill 3.0 with chunky tyres and good clearance – then you can set Komoot to steer you down trails and fire roads with confidence that you can handle what’s to come. If you’re going for something a bit faster and lighter and strapping bags to your road bike, Komoot also has a setting for that.
One thing we particularly love about the Crosshill 3.0 is that if you do end up with a choice of some predictable tarmac or an alluring adventurous route off the beaten path, you have the ultimate freedom to write your own story.
Know When and Where To Stop
While you physically could go on for another 10km to reach the desired distance you set for yourself in the morning, it may not always be the best idea to do so. This is because in the meantime, you might have left the last village for 50km behind as you ploughed into the snow-capped crests of central Europe, or the vast dusty roads of southern Spain on a scorching summer day. At a very basic level, this advice may seem obvious, but as you start to get to grips with bikepacking you cannot be too careful. It may seem like you can push the boundaries at the end of a long day, however it is both safer and more efficient to stop and relax. Stopping at a sensible point in the day gives you the opportunity to resupply, sleep, and most importantly to enjoy the beauty of wherever you find yourself on any given occasion.
Tech Can Be Your Friend (or a Barrier)
If you want to get really granular ahead of your trip, you can start scouting wild camping spots along your route using the ubiquitous and sometimes frightening power of Google Streetview. You’ll never get a true sense of how a place might work as a campsite until you get there in the flesh, but a quick scan on Google can at least present you with a shortlist of potential places to unroll your bivvy bag or pitch your tent. You may even spy a little roadside picnic area that proves to be the best camp spot of your entire trip.
Once you’re actually underway, a phone or a decent camera can provide the perfect means of documenting your adventure – although a written journal also has a certain, intrepid appeal. If you do take your tech along for the ride, our advice is not to let it come between you and the experience itself. Scrolling Instagram can wait until you get home!
Pack the Essentials, and What You Specifically Need
This one relies on a little bit of experience, but for a trip to go well you must pack well and pack the right things for you. You may be on the open road for a couple of nights, a few weeks, or potentially months – and each of those trip types would have a different set of requirements.
For longer trips, it is important that you take not only the essentials such as chamois cream and sufficient changes of clothes, but also some things that will make your time off the bike as enjoyable as possible. This can be as simple as a book, or some headphones, but we’ve also heard of more artistic items being packed in a pannier bag like drawing pencils or even a painting easel and canvas!
The key to enjoying a long ride is not speed or aerodynamics, but enjoyment, practicality and adaptability. The Crosshill 3.0 gives you all the space to store a handful of small luxuries alongside your outdoorsy essentials by having multiple attachment points for your bags and a rear pannier rack – yet it still gives you a comfortable and stable ride for days on end.
Always Be Eating
Making sure you have enough food is one of the most vital things to think about when packing, as well as having a way to cook it properly. It may not be the most glamorous way of ending the day, especially after gruelling Alpine climbs, but camping stoves are a firm ally of bikepackers everywhere. A small stove will fit perfectly in one of the bags that can be mounted safely at the rear of the Crosshill 3.0, and while it’s a small penalty in terms of weight, the joy of a hot meal at the end of the day more than makes up for that.
During the day, it’s great for your morale to have a few tasty snacks at hand. The Crosshill 3.0 has a couple of mounting points on the top tube, just behind the stem, which is the ideal location for a small pack with your favourite mid-ride morsels. If you are heading off into the wilds, carrying at least a day of food is a good rule of thumb – whereas if you’re in more populated places, you can try your luck at petrol stations and roadside restaurants.
Get a Little Boost on your Bike Packing Adventures
Riding a loaded bike is different to your regular cycling. The bike is heavier and that is where climbing difficulties come in. This is where the eCrosshill would be of benefit. The lightweight electric edition of the Crosshill range can give you that extra measure of confidence that there is a little push behind you if the road gets too steep to handle, as well as some much-needed power for a long day on the flat. If you have ever considered going electric, then the sleek and refined eCrosshill is just the steed for you on your next bikepacking trip.