Updated: Jan 2, 2022
Bike Packing is a concept vaguely thrown across the spectrum of the cycling community. The debate on what is bike packing and what is not, can take a while to conclude. Meanwhile, we would like to share our perspective on what should be the bare minimum Bike Packing set-up for a weekend-long adventure.
How to begin?
It’s all about your riding style and having fun!
What is bike packing to an individual can be very basic with a small day-pack with bare minimum essential or you can be a bike packing purist who would not spend a day out without their solid bike packing gears. Our worldview at BPI is “to each their own”.
When we are out on a weekend adventure with our gang we like to camp so carrying a tent-sleeping bag is the bottom-line for us. Many who love weekend rides prefer not going out of their comfort zone and prefer to stay at a guesthouse or a lodge which is not bad too, all you need a good night’s sleep for a refreshing ride the next day.
But there are a few essentials that everyone should always have for a weekend bike-packing tour. For better or worse, let’s begin:
Extra pair of jersey and shorts.
You have packed all your essential tools and gear even the EDM loving pal of yours has a portable speaker to make the campfire little more glam. But what would happen if you have to again get back into your wet/smelly kit on your ride back home?
When you set out for a ride just fold an extra jersey and a pair shorts to return back home in all your glory. Make sure you pack them smartly in a plastic zip lock bag or anything that works for you to keep the kit dry throughout the journey. The author of this blog personally prefers to pack a cotton t-shirt and boxer shorts to sleep in.
A set of extra tubes and mini pump
Tubeless or not you must always have a set of extra tubes and a small pump to get you out of any undesirable situation.
A few bucks and a few extra grams will give you the ability to avoid any embarrassing situations like slowing your friends down or calling your mom to pick you up from 60 kilometers out of town in an unfathomable location. Try explaining NIKCHI GHATI to your mom/brother/wife. Also, learn how to patch a punctured tube if you don’t know it yet.
Basic Tool Kit
It’s all about being precise when it comes to bikepacking, you need to be fully aware of the terrain you are going into. Yet the bare minimum would be to carry a multi-tool Allen-key set. The multi-tool has several hacks and acts as a saviour in sketchy situations. Situations that may vary from fine fitting your saddle bracket to using the tool as an emergency knife or removing your pedals to load the bike on top of a bus.
You have packed your bags and you are absolutely ready with all the necessary spares and tools. Whats Next?
Hydration for cycling is a must and we all know it but even the legends in the field often tend to ignore the most crucial detail for a weekend adventure that is H2O. Even 15 minutes with little or no hydration can lead to severe health conditions or even injuries like cramps etc. So just be aware of the terrain you’re getting into and be equipped with adequate water for the ride.
The need for a puncture kit is self-explanatory in point no. 2. But we like to beat around the bush when it comes to the essentials. All you need is a cycling specific rubber patch; a set of tyre levers rubber glue(or not if you have self-adhesive stickers) and a mini-pump to inflate your way out of trouble.
This one might sound a little fancy but energy bars have got us out of plenty of back-breaking situations. Whether you want to keep moving and not stop until you reach your pit stop. An easy substitute for energy bars can be anything from a couple of bananas or your own homemade trail-mix recipe. The author of this blog prefers to carry a rolled paratha or a pack of Parle 20-20 biscuits, basically whatever floats your boat. Also Look: Rice Cakes
You can not let those Instagram worthy landscapes just go by. Your cellphone and action cameras are the reason for your celebrity status on Instagram and Facebook and when you are out in nature it is almost impossible to find a plug point to replenish your battery. Power Banks always come in handy and can charge your phone/camera multiple times over the course of your ride.
Front and rear lights
Visibility is key when you are riding in low light or at night. Front and rear lights come in different price ranges and do not weigh a ton to slow you down. For a weekend adventure – whether or not you plan to ride at night, it is crucial to always have these lights in your backpack or mounted on your bike. Side Note: Your front light can be coupled as a handy flashlight(torch) at night.
This one is completely optional for a short weekend getaway, modern bike packing specific tents-sleeping bags are lightweight and will not cost a fortune for the basic set-up. Although booking a room on OYO/ AirBnB is cheap and convenient, most of us would like to carry their camping gear to be a little closer to nature.
Nylon ties 100% recommended
Small slick simple and robust – Nylon ties or Zip Ties weigh only a fraction of the utility they deliver. Problems can range from a broken bottle cage to a frailing pannier rack, nylon ties are the catalyst for most of the cycling hacks.