What is Bikepacking?

What is bikepacking? Even today, the term is still confusing to some and contentious to others. Watch our latest video to see how we came to define it, as well as video definitions from several of our friends, including Pepper Cook, Evan Greene, Lael Wilcox, Ronnie Romance, and more…

Although the term had been mentioned off and on for decades, when we launched this website back in 2012, bikepacking wasn’t really on our radar. Fast forward a year and a half and bikepacking had begun its march to mass appeal. Still, the word was slightly contentious at the time we launched our bikepacking routes venture in 2014, which was essentially the first and only resource of its kind. As such, it was a priority that we properly define the term, particularly as it applies to routes. Some people believed bikepacking meant singletrack-only touring, others thought it was just racing. So, prior to publishing our definition, we asked a lot of people to weigh in with their interpretation of bikepacking. Looking back, Neil Beltchenko repeats this exercise for our latest video, which is a special one. Watch it below, then scroll down for more about our definition and the cast of characters who appear in this video.

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“Bikepacking is what bicycles originally were… There were no cars. There was no asphalt. Bikepacking is as bicycling was intended to be.” -Joe Cruz

So, what is Bikepacking?

Our official definition from Bikepacking 101

Simply put, bikepacking is the synthesis of all-terrain cycling and self-supported backpacking. It evokes the freedom of multi-day backcountry hiking and travel off the beaten path, but with the range and thrill of riding a nimble bicycle. It’s about venturing further into places less traveled, both near and far, via singletrack trails, gravel, and forgotten dirt roads, carrying the essential gear, and not much more.

The Cast

A warm thank you goes out to all those who helped us craft this piece, as well as to those who helped formulate our definition back in 2014. Here’s a full list of all the folks in the video (in order of appearance) with links to their respective Instagram feeds. Make sure to give them a follow, if you’re not already.

So, now it’s your turn. What’s your definition of bikepacking? Please leave it in the comments below. P.S. For those of you who are curious, the bikes used in the cover photo (from left to right) are the Salsa Warbird (v2), Why Cycles Wayward, Salsa Spearfish, Salsa Cutthroat, Salsa Warbird (v1), and the Jones SWB.



Bikepacking Videos


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