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The best gear for an overnight bikepacking trip

Bikepacking is the lightweight, more minimalist version of bike touring.

TERRAPIN SYSTEM 14L SEAT BAG, $155 at Elevated Designs 

TERRAPIN SYSTEM 14L SEAT BAG, $155 at Elevated Designs 

Relevated Designs

Spending the day biking to a remote, car-free destination and staying the night out in nature is one of my favorite weekend escape activities. Bikepacking is the lightweight, more minimalist version of bike touring (which usually involves multiple loaded panniers and sometimes a bike trailer). Less gear and less weight means you can pedal farther and faster in a day than you can with a heavier load. The bikepacking community is quite large and there are quite a few companies that manufacture gear specific to bikepacking.

Here’s a list of some of the best bikepacking gear for an overnight (or two) trip.

Big Agnes Copper Spur HV Ultralight Bikepacking Tent

Big Agnes Copper Spur HV UL, 3 Person (Olive Green)
Big Agnes
amazon.com
$499.95

A couple of years ago, I received a marketing email from Big Agnes introducing their bikepacking specific tents. My first thought was, “They really do know me.” Then I bought the Copper Spur HV bikepacking tent. I already owned a couple of tents in their Copper Spur line and was super excited for the new iteration.

The bikepacking version has shorter poles and packs down even smaller and weighs even less than the regular one-person Copper Spur (which is already quite lightweight). The shorter poles mean the tent fits between the (quite small) drop handlebars on my custom Dean Trans Alp. Like all Big Agnes tents, this one is easy to set up and has vents and doors where you need them.

PETZL Actik Core Headlamp

ACTIK CORE Rechargeable Headlamp with 450 Lumens for Running and Hiking, Black
PETZL
amazon.com
$69.95

A headlamp is one of those very essential overnight camping needs that is easy to forget. I love this Petzl headlamp because it's rechargeable and has multiple light modes. I use the red light mode after dark because it’s nice not to blind and wake your camping friends when getting up in the middle of the night to use the loo.

MSR PocketRocket Ultralight Backpacking, Camping, and Travel Stove

MSR PocketRocket Ultralight Backpacking, Camping, and Travel Stove
MSR
amazon.com
$33.69

This petit little stove is all you need to heat up some water for coffee in the morning.  Just don’t forget to bring matches or a lighter.

Rab Neutrino Pro 200 Sleeping Bag

RAB Neutrino 200 Sleeping Bag - Firecracker Left Zip Long
RAB
amazon.com
$364.95

The air can get cool up in the mountains or in the forest. My favorite sleeping bag is the Rab Neutrino 200. All Neutrino bags are lightweight (this one weighs 20 ounces) and offer the most warmth at the lowest weight. I took this bag with me on my four-month bikepacking trip across Mongolia and Central Asia where the night temperature ranged significantly. I was almost always comfortable (except during a couple of freakishly still (no wind at all) hot desert nights in Turkmenistan).

Therm-a-rest Ultralite Cot

Therm-a-Rest UltraLite Cot
Therm-a-Rest
amazon.com
$199.99

I love this cot. At 2.8 pounds, it is indeed super lightweight. And it packs down to 16 inches by 4 inches. But, it’s one of those that makes noise every time you shift on it so if you’re with someone who is a light sleeper this might not be the best choice.

Revelate Terrapin System 14L Seat Bag

Terrapin System 14L
revelatedesigns.com
$155.00

Numerous companies make bikepacking specific bags. One of my favorites is Revelate, based in Alaska, which has always been 100% dedicated to making bikepacking bags. I own a couple of their Terrapin System seat bags, the largest being the 14L one.

The bag attaches to the seat post and the rails under the bike seat and has a rigid bottom to keep it up and extended from the rear tire. The end of the bag has a roll closure so everything inside is secured no matter how full the bag has been packed. I find that I’m able to fit an inordinate amount of stuff inside. There are also external webbing and bungees to attach additional gear on top of the bag.

Arkel Rollpacker Seat Bag

If you want to pack even more stuff into a seat bag, Quebec-based Arkel manufacturers a 25 liter one. The Rollpacker affixes to your bike via an aluminum hanger that attaches to the seat and seat post. The bag itself is easily removable from the hanger.

While both the Arkel and Revelate seat bags are waterproof, I still like to pack my gear in an additional water-resistant layer of either a Ziploc or dry sack. I always think that when it comes to keeping dry things dry, you can never be too careful - because the last thing you want when you get ready to go to sleep for the night, is damp sleep clothes. 

A good night’s sleep always helps make the next day’s ride even better.