Staycation on two wheels - Tips for bikepacking

Live slow & stay wild! // Written by: Rania - | Instagram @northboundjourneys

Biking has really exploded this year, so much so that bike manufacturers are backlogged! We’ve all had to explore other ways to enjoy summer in our own home and since nature, cozy towns, the sea or lovely lakes usually aren’t too far away enjoying a staycation on two wheels can be a great, active part of summer.

So this year I tried bikepacking for the first time and we went for a weekend trip to a nearby river I’ve been to before. It's a lovely place to camp at and not too far away from my home so it was a good first bikepacking trip. Along the way me and my friends enjoyed the country side views and stopped for snacks at a small lake (almost went for a swim) before reaching our destination.

There are many different systems for packing when it comes to bikepacking, and it's important to think about being able to bring only what you really need in a way that does not disrupt the balance of the bike or weight too much. You should try not to bring more than needed for the days you will be gone for. Plan for filling up water and buying food along the way, you don't need to carry all of that from the starting point.

My helmet is an Axion Spin from the Swedish brand POC. I also use bike gloves for comfort on longer rides and a pack that can hold a water reservoir is key to stay hydrated while biking! Here I have a 2.5l reservoir that goes into my Salida 12l backpack - they're both from Osprey.

I use the Thule Tour Rack - a package holder that is very flexible for biking adventure. It is very easy to attach when it's time to head off and it fits most models regardless of what type of bike you have. You can also choose if you would like to have it at the front or back of the bike. Once it's on it's easy to attach stuff to it. Mine sits at the back of the bike, a heavy load in the front is not ideal. Then there are of course many different bike bags and choosing what to use all depends on how you plan on attaching them, how long you plan to be away and just what you prefer really.

As for bags I use the Comyou Back Single side panniers right now because of how well made they are and because of the fact that they're sustainably produced. VAUDE is one of Europes most environmentally friendly maker of outdoor gear within mountain sports, biking and bags and backpacks. My bags have bamboo handles, a big open compartment with a small zipped pocked inside for storing smaller things. They have reflective parts so that I'm visible even in bad weather or when it's dark and the durable fabric is PVC free and waterproof.

Tip: You should pack the heaviest stuff in the bag that's attached to the frame!

A different system of packing is using bags that you attach by your handle bars, on the frame of the bike and at the back behind the saddle. These bags are smaller but help spread the weight more evenly across the bike.

My friend uses this way on her race bike to stay more light weight and balanced. My partner on the other hand decided to use this system without having bags for it; he simply used Paracord and his knowledge of knots to attach the tent to the bike frame, sleeping pad on the handle bar and a dry bag with his clothes under the saddle.

Other things worth considering are bigger things like sleeping pad, tent and sleeping bag as well as equipment for cooking. Lightweight gear is a bit more expensive but well worth it if this is a recurring activity. If your packs end up being too big and heavy the changes of you heading out more often are quite small.

We use a tent from MSR and often bring dried food from the Norwegian brand Real Turmat. It tastes incredibly and comes in many different flavours. They also have a big selection of food that is vegetarian, vegan or lactose free.

For my coffee int he morning I use Sea To Summit's X-Brew. It packs up flat and thus takes up very little space. Then you just unfold it, put it on your cup and use a drip technique for brewing a really tasty cup of coffee!

Tip: The sleeping bag Flame FMO Woman from Sea to Summit is small and lightweight, perfect for trips like this! When it comes to clothing I almost always bring my Lofn shirt from Klättermusen because it’s light and nice in the summer. For extra warmth in the evenings I use the Lundhags Merino Henley as a base layer and my pants from Houdini pack into their own pocket.

After a dinner and some board games we sat down by the fire to read, chat and watch the fly fishers that had come down to the river to test their luck. We don’t think anyone caught anything but it was a wonderful evening and we slept relatively well. It was slightly colder that we’d expected but its easy to just toss on socks and a base layer if that’s the case! The day after was sunny and nice and we enjoyed coffee and a morning swim in the river before packing up and biking to our next stop on our weekend trip.

I hope this article got you inspired to travel by bike, regardless if you end up doing day or weekend trips now at the end of summer or in the fall. Maybe you’ll plan for longer trips next summer? Sweden has a lot to offer and when we travel by bike we’re free to explore what ever we want and stop when we feel like it!

Live slow & stay wild!

Written by: Rania Rönntoft - | Instagram @northboundjourneys

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