Why Go Bikepacking in a Group (Video)
In contrast to our “Why Go Bikepacking Alone” piece from last year, Neil’s latest video on our YouTube channel explores the merits of bikepacking with a group, including tips and strategies and the social benefits. Watch it here…
We all ride for different reasons. Some of us appreciate the solace of bikepacking alone, while others enjoy social rides with friends. Last year, we published a video about bikepacking solo, and we were surprised by how many folks it resonated with. In this counterpoint video, Neil shares the upsides of bikepacking with a group, the strategic differences, and what it means to him.
Tips for Riding With a Group
Here are a few tips and thoughts taken from various articles published here on the website over the years. Find more relevant posts in the Related Content grid below.
CARRY THINGS AS A GROUP
Many items can be carried and split between multiple riders. Tents, tools, cooking utensils, and fuel are all great candidates. While we think everyone should carry spares, tool kits, and have proper repair know-how, if you are planning to go light on the tools and spares, consider having a sweeper carry them in the rear of the pack, making sure no one gets left behind with a flat tire.
Aside from carrying duties for particular items, if you’re separating into sub-groups, make sure someone in each one has the necessary navigation and repair kits. And if you’re the organizer of the group, take responsibility for the group’s actions. Not everyone is educated in Leave No Trace ethics, so make sure to remind folks ahead of time.
Cooking together is a great communal experience, but have your own snacks so you can regulate your food intake during the ride and avoid hangriness. Pairing up works well in the interests of cooking times and pot sizes. If you’re the kind of rider who might begrudge others if you don’t get your fair share of a meal, or if you have eating particularities, you’re probably better off fending for yourself.
WHAT TO EAT
While dehydrated and prepackaged meals work great for bikepacking, there’s nothing like fresh vegetables and a hearty meal, especially when shared with friends after a long day of riding. Consider dividing up into pairs and preparing the elements of a proper feast together. Also, don’t forget to bring snacks! Cheese is always nice and keeps pretty well without refrigeration. As far as group meals go, tacos and burritos are always a great option. A bag of tortillas, some vegetables and beans, a block of cheese, and a few other odds and ends are a simple way to feed a crew. For breakfast? You guessed it, skilleted PBJ quesadillas, aka Gooberdillas. Solid power for another beautiful day of riding.
Pro Tip: Smuggle an obscure bottle of spirits, a nice bottle of wine, or a bar of chocolate as a surprise to pass around camp. Or if you’re not into drinks, fun shareable food is always good. A bar of quality chocolate goes a long way. Bring some marshmallows and peanut butter too and make PB s’mores for extra calories.
Pinpoint a Good Campsite
If you’re the group leader, talk everyone through the route beforehand, to help manage expectations and ensure everyone is suitably prepared. Make part of that identifying large, sustainable campsites that will accommodate your group. Look into backpacker shelters/huts/bothies. These often have several campsites around them as well, and can sometimes make good group hangouts.
More Tips & Insight
There are a lot of great resources beyond the tips listed above. Make sure to dig into Franzi's couple-specific article below, or Cass' excellent list of tips in "Saddle Up Posse!"...
Please keep the conversation civil, constructive, and inclusive, or your comment will be removed.