The best bike to use is the one you already have. If you currently ride a mountain bike that works for you on the trail, chances are it will make a very capable bike packing rig with few modifications. After all, bike packing doesn’t rely on a frame having eyelets for racks and panniers, as with other styles of bike touring. Alternatively, scour the classifieds for a second hand, modern cross country hardtail, as they’re affordable, fun to ride, and offer maximum frame space for carrying gear.
Here are a few other aspects to consider when choosing and setting up your bike packing rig:
COMFORT AND GEARING
Bike packing lends itself to long hours in the saddle, so having a comfortable bike and saddle is key. Make sure you have a proper fit, and if you have a new bike, try it out a few times before setting out on a trip. In addition, having the right gearing is key. Ergon grips can help relieve stress on the wrists and hands, as can handlebars with a bit of extra sweep. And make sure your saddle is a comfy one!
The right granny gear
Virginia’s musings on finding comfort
Browse riders and rigs
Comfort mtb handlebars
TYPES OF BIKES
Generally speaking, you can take almost any bike bike packing. However, the nature of bike packing usually involves gravel, dirt roads, and/or single-track trails. Make sure you use a bike that can handle whatever terrain you set out to explore.
Gravel and all-road
Hardtail and rigid
Plus tire bikes
REPAIR KIT AND SAFETY
There are a few essentials that should be carefully considered before setting out on a multi-day trip. A good tool and repair kit is required for addressing any mechanical issues that may arise. And don’t leave home without a first aid kit. Bike packing often involves riding through remote and rugged terrain that can be hard to reach by emergency services. Be prepared, and don’t take unnecessary risks. Always have a cell phone with you, and carry a spare battery. Consider carrying a Spot Tracker, especially if traveling alone:
Leave no trace
Bike packing tool and repair kit
A proper first aid kit