Our Best Gear for Bikepacking
Whether you’re rigging up for a mid-week micro adventure or loading up your rig for an arduous overlander trip, any camping gear that makes the cut has to be light and compact—and completely worth it.
Whilst gear choice is subjective, the list below has earned my trust over the years and keeps me excitedly planning the next adventure.
The NEW Telos TR2 Bikepacking Tent is the same award-winning tent, re-engineered for bikepacking adventures. It comes with a compact pole set only 30cm | 12in long, so it can be stowed separately on cargo cages, frames, handlebars and more for flexible positioning and even weight distribution. It's perfect for adventures on two wheels.
This rugged sack keeps your gear compressed and dry. The eVent fabric panel at the base is both waterproof and breathable—keeping everything nice and dry, even in the worst conditions. Simply stuff your bulky items like sleeping bags and clothes inside and roll all the air out through the eVent panel. Clip the rolled top closed and compress your gear down to a third of its original size with the evenly placed straps. These space-saving sacks add almost no extra weight, eliminates bulk and have minimal potential failure points, like plastic valves.
I use this bag up front in my handlebar roll. The bag compresses width-wise, so it can fit most drop bars, mountain or alt bars. I choose the largest size that still provides plenty of clearance between the bag and the front tire.
Yep, bikepackers and eVent are a match made in heaven. The eVac Dry Sack is a great choice for use in the seat pack. As good as compression sacks are at reducing bulk, sometimes you don’t want everything scrunched together so tightly. The ovalized shape of this dry sack makes it a perfect fit for running inline and behind the seat. They remain narrow enough to stay out of the way while getting in or out of the saddle—and they don’t bump the back of your thighs while pedaling.
I run Big River Dry Bags in places where abrasion will be an issue—on the fork legs or under the down tube secured in a manything cage or some equivalent. Then again, really, they can be used anywhere. The ovalized shape keep things nice and tight and the durable lash points add extra security. The 3L or 5L sizes are perfect.
I used to think bringing a backpack was an unnecessary luxury, but the Nano Daypack only weighs 28g | 1oz! It makes forays off the bike so much more convenient—acting as shopping bag, hiking pack and airline carry-on when I need it. Or carrying bags of Doritos out of town.
The X-Pot Kettle fits easily where other pots struggle—right in my frame bag. Inside the kettle, I store both an X-Mug and an X-Brew coffee dripper so the bulk of my camp kitchen collapses down to just 3.5cm | 1.4in thick! This also frees up the space beneath my downtube to carry two liters of water.
There’s no shelter more versatile than a tarp. The medium size Escapist Tarp provides plenty of protection, if set up correctly. I have used this tarp in conditions ranging from sudden snowstorms to windy West Australian summer nights. I’ve hung it between trees, used it freestanding, anchored to my upside-down bicycle, or even once thrown over a picnic table while dodging hail. It’s just 297g | 10.5oz and packs down to the size of a water bottle.
Keep the Ultra-Sil Outhouse handy at all times! Besides keeping toilet paper quickly accessible and dry, I also store a Pocket Trowel, lighter and some hand sanitizer inside so I’m always ready when I’m ready.
Everything that I think I want to stay dry goes in an Ultra-Sil Dry Sack or Lightweight Dry Sack. You’ll find these in my frame bag, holding my daily snacks or even extras tucked into the side of my feed bag, just in case. They weigh next to nothing and keep things dry and dustproof when the going gets tough. No more ripped single-use plastic bags for me.
I bring two Airlite Towels on the road with me. One small (11g | 0.4 oz) for cleaning up or drying my feet after a stream-crossing, and another large (48g | 1.7 oz) one for impromptu swims.
I don’t cut corners on getting a good night’s sleep after a big day of riding. Luckily, because my Aeros Ultralight Pillow weighs 59g | 2.1oz and folds up smaller than a plum, I don’t have to. Plus, I can put just enough air in to dial in the balance of support and squish that I like!
My Spark II sleeping bag—Flame II for women—packs down to the size of a water bottle and, at 490g | 1lb 1.3oz, weighs less than a full one. As a side sleeper, I especially appreciate the roomier cut. Extra light doesn’t need to be extra tight.
Besides a bag of peanut M&M’s squirreled away on my bike at all times, the Etherlight XT Insulated—or women’s specific Etherlight XT Insulated— is my luxury item. Using the Airstream Pumpsack, it takes less than three breaths to fill it up to a cushy 4in in thickness. Then I finetune the pressure with the multi-function valve, releasing air until I’m just off the ground. This is the way I like it for sleeping on my side—and something I can only do with a thicker mat. Major bonus points too for being stable—I don’t want to feel like I’m sleeping on a bouncy castle.
A head net can be a lifesaver on buggy rides and, at 29g | 1.3 oz, there’s no reason not to take the Mosquito Head Net.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Ryan lives a double life as our International Sales Manager and gung-ho cyclist. His love affair with two-wheeler life started in Portugal, where he began his two and a half year cycling tour—completing over 80,000kms | 31,000 miles through 25 countries.
More recently, his bike trips have moved away from panniers and racks to exploring the more remote tracks of Australia with frame bags and low pressure tires. He was lucky enough to have completed the Hunt 1000 before the recent fires devastated the Australian high country.