How to Pack for a Bikepacking Trip

bikepacking trip and bikepacking bags

Bikepacking – or bike camping – is the ultimate Spring/Summer adventure for biking enthusiasts, giving you maximum freedom to explore on two wheels. However, the way you pack can often determine how positive your experience on the road is. 

Packing too much (or not enough) and using the wrong types of bags can be the real difference between a fun trip and one that can’t end soon enough. In this post, we walk you through the bags we take bikepacking, and what we put in them.

Types of Travel Bags for Bikepacking

Making sure you’re safe and comfortable on the road is a balancing act – quite literally. Taking only one pannier bag, for example, and packing it to capacity with all your heaviest things can impact your steering and ability to brake safely. Your energy levels can take a hit too.

It’s a good idea to spread the weight of your bike camping essentials across your bike. This way you can maintain better balance, have easy access to handy items (like your phone, wallet, snacks or camera) and you know where everything is when it comes to unpacking for your next stop.  

bikepacking for bike camping

From our experience, the most useful bikepacking bags to take on the road with you are:

Bikepacking Essentials – and Where to Pack Them 

Packing lightly but efficiently is the key to navigating a successful bikepacking trip. Here is a breakdown of what we would stash in each bag when on the road.

Commute Seat Pack

The Commute Seat Pack is probably one of the most universal bags in the Two Wheel Gear range and is perfect for both daily commutes and longer expeditions.

In it, we would pack:

Handlebar Bag

Handlebar bags are an absolute must-have for cycling adventures. Our Dayliner Mini Handlebar Bag secures practically any handlebar set up and can transform into a useful off-bike tote (making it perfect for pit stop wandering!). 

The waterproof roll-top closure also makes it easy to access, while internal organization keeps your stuff easy to find.

In it, we might pack:

  • Drinks and snacks
  • Sunscreen/chapstick
  • Insect repellent 
  • Map or guidebooks

Tube bag

top tube bag

If you don’t use a frame bag, you can use the top tube bag as a mini frame bag

Similar to the handlebar bag but attached to your bike frame, the top tube bag is an additional space to hold small, essential items. 

In it, we would pack:

  • Handy items like your keys, wallet, phone and camera 
  • Multi-tool
  • Lights/spare reflectors
  • Sunglasses/goggles
  • Extra snacks!


Panniers will be where you’re most likely to pack the bulk of your gear on a bikepacking trip. Attaching to your bike rack, panniers are an effective way of saving your back from carrying heavy loads – especially on longer road trips. 

Our Pannier Duffel from the new Spring ‘21 collection makes the perfect travel companion. Its separated shoe pocket, zip-away pannier system and removable shoulder strap make it easy to carry no matter the destination.

Take the Pannier Duffel with you on commutes, trips and activities that require more gear in an easy, stylish off-bike duffel format. 

In it, we would pack:

  • Sleeping bag and mat (these can also be rolled and secured to the top of your rack like a trunk bag)
  • Stove and fuel
  • Change of clothes/dirty laundry
  • Toiletries
  • Food supplies
  • Coffee press 
  • Fun games or things to do (a football, deck of cards, frisbee or discs for playing disc golf are great ones to pack!)

Frame bag

With a central point of gravity, frame bags are a really great way of carrying heavier items while maintaining balance and bike handling. We like to use frame bags like the trunk of a car – store items in it for adventure, but you can also pack regular daily gear. Our new Frame Bag is available in S-M (3.5L) or L-XL (6L) as part of our new product range. 

In it, we would pack:  

  • Bike tubes
  • Extra food
  • Gloves/thermals
  • Garbage bags
  • Camping knick-knacks (knives, utensils and a coffee cup)
  • Hatchet
  • Water purifying kit
  • First aid kit and some rope

We’ve listed items that will fit into your various bike bags, but don’t forget one of the most essential elements of bike camping: a tent or hammock! If the weather is cooperating and you’re planning on sleeping outside, secure these to the top of your rear rack with a bungee cord and you’re good to go! Check out MEC’s lightweight backpacking tents and hammocks

You can also learn more here, on how you can make the most use out of our bikepacking bags.

Remember, all of our bags come with a two-year warranty and a 30-day guarantee! For more information, check out the FAQs section of our website.

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