Bikepacking is a new and rapidly growing phenomena combining mountain biking with minimalist camping. A bikepacking trip can be overnight, or many days or weeks. The type of equipment used makes the bike more versatile than traditional cycle touring. A bike set up with bikepacking gear is ready for anything from tarmac, gravel roads and mountain bike tracks.
Bikepacking vs Cycle Touring
A traditional cycle touring bike will have pannier bags fitted to carriers on the bike. Having bags on the left and right side of the bike and maybe carriers on both the front and rear of the bike allows for a significant load carrying capacity. However, pannier bags sit low and out to the side of the bike and are prone to rattle and shake on rough terrain. This is not practical for mountain biking on narrow bumpy trails where the rider may be passing by tree branches, bushes, rocks and tree-roots. In these conditions a bikepacking setup will be lighter, quieter, and the bike will ride smoother.
Bikepacking bags are attached to the bike higher and more within the centerline of the bike. The four most common types of bikepacking bags are a top-mounted carrier bag, a large seat bag, a handlebar-mounted bag, and a frame bag that sits within the shape of the bike frame itself. This is often combined with a small backpack. An overnight trip usually just requires one bike mounted bag and a backpack, a minimal setup that’s light and quick and easy to get ready for a couple of days riding in the back country.
Riding the Paparoa Track
Riding the Paparoa Track is a great way to experience bikepacking. Huts along the track route mean only a lightweight setup is required. Cycle Journeys has bikes perfect for the trail, 29” wheel full-suspension bikes that are supplied with a “Freeloader Carrier” (specifically designed for mountain biking) and a 20L dry-bag. All you need to bring is a small/medium size backpack and you are set with the necessary equipment to make your riding on the Paparoa Track an awesome experience.