I think the term “bikepack” is a dumb marketing buzzword. All it means is that you ride a bike on a non-paved road or trail, and camp out at night. Yeah, doesn’t sound particularly groundbreaking to me and its certainly not new. If you were wondering where to find a group of outdoors people as elitist as ultralight backpackers with cuben fiber setups worth more than your monthly mortgage/rent, you’ll find them in the bike packing world online.
I remember the first “bike pack” trip I went on. My buddy was like, “all you need is a backpack which you can wear or strap to your rack.” On top of that he sure as fuck didn’t call it bike packing. We had a blast that night. That advice is golden, because you don’t need to spend a fucking dime on specialized gear for bike packing. This is a marketing term aimed at selling you stuff for a “new” outdoor activity. Sure, bike packing gear would be great if you are going every weekend, consistently, otherwise just use what you already have.
Last summer I went on a “bike pack”, and on the way back (riding on the paved Banks-Vernonia trail) this total pussy acted all hard when I asked him where he was camping, like he had some secret to protect on a trail that sees thousands of users per week. I just wanted to give him a tip about another place to camp, but he was way to cool and rich for that. His setup was easily worth $2k and served the same function as my shitty pannier bags I bought years ago.
That being said, it sure is a lot of fun to bike pack. Admittedly, some of the gear is pretty rad. Last night, on a school night some buddies and I rode out to an undisclosed location on the river. We brought our normal sleeping gear, alcohol, and burritos.
To be honest, I was a little sketched out at first because of the hobo camp we went through initially. They all knew where we were going, and there was only one exit point. I thought we may get stabbed in our sleep, but I was also ready to cut a hobo if needed (kidding). However, as we continued to ride out beyond the used syringes and shopping carts, there were fewer and fewer sketch balls. Eventually we only encountered bunnies and deer. No heroin.
Once we found our spot we immediately started drinking, of course. We started a nice fire and had some good laughs. The evening twilight lasted till 1030 or so since we are at the height of summer light. Knowing we had to get up early and ride home the next morning we crashed out before midnight.
This is also known as the micro-adventure. We can’t always fuck off our lives and start the PCT, but we can take little adventures packed with fun whenever we can make the time for them. You only need an investment in basic gear (or borrow some from your douchpacker friend), and about 12-15 hours. You won’t regret it on your deathbed, I assure you.