• Mikah Meyer

First Time Bikepacker’s Gear Guide

Updated: Jun 20



So you want to try bikepacking but don’t know where to start?


I’ve been in your same shoes--whether you prefer clip-in or regular shoes.


The first step is getting the correct gear for your journey, and after a year of planning to Bike Across Oregon while getting expert advice from the cycling community before and during journey, I’ve got the list you need for you own first bikepacking adventure!

“That is a slick setup!” a fellow Oregon bikepacker said. “If my wife had those sleek bags, she might be willing to come on more bikepacking trips with me!” Indeed, for my fist bikepacking adventure, I had a great setup. So let’s break that down to make your bikepacking trips the best.


Here's my Gear List you should use to have the best bikepacking experience, with pictures and more details below.


*Links are to the exact product I used for the Bike Across Oregon 1. Bike & Helmet

Schwinn Fastback Carbon 105 (Size Large)

Schwinn Thrasher Bike Helmet


2. Bags

*Before attaching these bags, wrap your frame with clear, bike-safe tape to protect where the bags rub. See the pic below for what happens if you don't!

A) Ortlieb Handlebar Pack

B) Ortlieb Accessory Handlebar Bag

C) Ortlieb Frame Pack

D) Swift Industries Sidekick Stem Pouch

E) Two Wheel Gear Commute Top Tube Stash Bag

F) Ortlieb Seat-Pack Saddle Bag

G) A sackpack/gympack drawstring bag


3. Main (Large) Accessories

A) Big Agnes Copper Spur Bikepack Tent

B) Lightweigh Sleeping Bag - Eddie Bauer Flying Squirrel

C) Lightweight Sleeping Pad - Klymit Insulated Static V Ultralite SL Sleeping Pad

D) Klymit Luxe Camping Pillow


4. Apparel

A) REI Co-op Junction Bike Shorts

B) PEARL iZUMi Elite Thermal Leg Warmers

C) PEARL iZUMi Sun Sleeves

D) PEARL iZUMi Elite Gel Cycling Gloves and Full-Finger Gloves

E) Moisture-wicking base layer - Eddie Bauer Solarfoil Long-Sleeve or Eddie Bauer Resolution Tee

F) Water resistant/proof outerwear - Sandstone Backbone Grid Hoodie (insulated for warmth) or Eddie Bauer Cloud Cap Rain Jacket (for warmer, rainy circumstances)

G) Neck protection - Trailcool UPF Cooling Clava

H) Sunglasses

I) Bed clothes - shirt, shorts or pants, socks, underwear

J) Hat for when not wearing your helmet - Eddie Bauer Waterproof Cap

K) Footwear - Choose regular or clip-in based on preference. I wore the reflective-soled Brooks Running Hyperion Tempo Road Running Shoes


5. Accessories

A) Bike lock - Ottolock Hexband 60" Combination Lock

B) Bike pump - BV Mini Bike Pump

C) Multitool - Crankbrothers M19 Multi-Tool

D) Tire patch kit, chain repair pieces, and chain lube - Park Tool VP 1C Tire Patch Kit

E) Extra Tire Tubes (2) - Presta Tube

F) Bike light - Schwinn LED Bike Light Headlight USB Rechargeable 300 Foot Beam Distance

G) Headlamp - Nite Ize R170RH-03-R7 Radiant 170 Rechargeable Headlamp

H) Collapsable water bag - HydraPak 3L Seeker Collapsible Water Container - 100 fl. oz. and 24 fl. oz. (700 ml) Vapur wide-mouth Anti-Bottle

I) Fast drying towel - PackTowel Personal Towel

J) Anti-chafe cream - Squirrel's Nut Butter Anti-Chafe Stick

K) Battery pack + charging cords - Goal Zero Flip Portable External Power Bank

L) Toiletries (toothbrush/paste, shampoo, deoderant, sun screen) - Dr. Bronner's Organic Liquid Soap

M) Fast Charging cell phone block + cord - USB C Charger Anker Nano Charger PIQ 3.0 Durable Compact Fast Charger and Anker USB C to Lightning Cable [6ft MFi Certified] Powerline II

All of that, into this...


1. Bike and Helmet


This Gear Guide isn't going to dive into which bike or helmet you should use, as that could be its own blog entirely, but for those wondering which bikes you're seeing in the pictures, I rode the black/white Schwinn Fastback Carbon 105 (Size Large) and my riding partner, Cole, rode the Schwinn Paramount Force (Size Large)*. Each of our bikes weighed 44 pounds total (that weight includes all the gear on them).


*We both upgraded to the Shimano EH500 SPD Sport Road Pedals which have clip-in on one side and wide platforms on the other, and my helmet was the Schwinn Thrasher.

At "Proposal Rock" in Oregon, asking my bike to take me all the way to California


2. Bags


I had a preconcieved notion that I needed a bike trailer or giant wheel panniers over the side of my back wheels to carry everything I'd need for this trip, but Cole (who bikepacks seemingly every weekend) kept insisting there was a better way.


That way?


Sleek packs that attach to the frame of the bike. And as I learned from watching other bikers struggle with huge bags (and as you read from the rider above whose wife might be more likely to bikepack if she had our setup) these are the way to go:


A) Ortlieb Handlebar Pack - Waterproof storage for your tent or other items you won't need access to until camp


B) Ortlieb Accessory Handlebar Bag - Waterproof with easy access while riding or quick access while pulled over, this pack was the one I was most thankful for! Fast access to whatever I needed during the day


C) Ortlieb Frame Pack - Waterproof with easy access while pulled over (comes in a 6 Liter triangle bag--seen here, or a 4 Liter tube bag)


D) Swift Industries Sidekick Stem Pouch - These versatile water bottle holders allow you access to hydration right next to your hands (as opposed to reaching down into your frame). They work especially well if, like my setup, you opt for the larger Frame Pack (6 Liter seen above)


E) Two Wheel Gear Commute Top Tube Stash Bag - Waterproof with the easiest on-bike access to a cell phone or other small electronics/credit card and important items

*The rainbow tree pins and stickers can be found here @ Outside Safe Space


F) Ortlieb Seat-Pack Saddle Bag (Large) - The grandaddy of them all! Noted by many bikers as the largest seatpack available, this 16.5 Liter bag gave me more space than anyone else I encountered with a seat pack...and I was glad to have all of it!


*Before you add any of these bags, wrap clear, bike-tape around the frame where the bags will touch. Cole's top tube bag rubbed through two layers of this tape in the first three days of our riding. He adjusted it after seeing how it was rubbing, but the tape saved a lot of the expensive, all-carbon frame! Something like this Racertape will work well.


G) Also, you definitely definitely don't want to forget a sackpack/gympack drawstring bag. Every night Cole and I would get dinner & drinks at a grocery store to take and eat at our campsite. Except, we often had to bike 1 - 5 miles first. So we both wished we would've packed one of these collapsible bags that we just throw on our backs for when we needed the temporary extra food storage space.



3. Main (Large) Gear


A) Big Agnes Copper Spur Bikepack Tent - Built specifically with shorter poles so it fits easily in a handlebar pack, this is the top-of-the-line tent when it comes to bikepacking. Comes in a 1-Person and 2-Person version.


B) As this Eddie Bauer Flying Squirrel name suggests, light and small is the name of the game when it comes to bikepacking sleeping bags. This and your tent will take up the most space in your bag, so pick the lightest sleeping bag that fits your temperature needs at night (my Flying Squirrel weighed 1 pound, 7 ounces).


C) I've been using this Klymit Insulated Static V Ultralite SL Sleeping Pad for years everywhere from Alaska backcountry backpacking to this trip across Oregon, and it's served me well for all. Accompanied by their D) Klymit Luxe Camping Pillow.


4. Apparel


A) Wanting versatile clothes since I'd be wearing them for 14 days nonstop, I opted for the REI Co-op Junction Bike Shorts, which I chose both for their affordability compared to other brands but mostly because they offer pockets on both sides of the thigh. Very usual for cell phones, snacks, or Chapstick.


B) Far superior to pants, the PEARL iZUMi Elite Thermal Leg Warmers provide the biking equivalent of zip on/off pants and were perfect for the cold Oregon coast by providing a tight, water resistant, removable layer. Similar to the Leg Warmers, the C) PEARL iZUMi Sun Sleeves are a removable layer that allow you to wear a t-shirt while still being protected from the sun or cold.


D) Biking Gloves were great for giving my palms a break from the 40-50 miles I biked each day across Oregon, and by having both the fingerless PEARL iZUMi Elite Gel Cycling Gloves and Full-Finger Gloves, I was able to enjoy the warmer moments while also being prepared for times when it rained.


E) Moisture-wicking base layer like Eddie Bauer Solarfoil Long-Sleeve or Eddie Bauer Resolution Tee to keep your protected from the sun and wind.


F) Water resistant/proof outerwear like the Sandstone Backbone Grid Hoodie (insulated for warmth) or Eddie Bauer Cloud Cap Rain Jacket (for warmer, rainy circumstances). The Sandstone Backbone Grid Hoodie (seen here in bright yellow) is insulated and water resistant, which helped during the mainly 45 - 55° F, rainy days in Oregon.


G) Neck protection - Trailcool UPF Cooling Clava


H) Sunglasses

I) Bed clothes - shirt, shorts or pants, socks, underwear

J) Hat for when not wearing your helmet - Eddie Bauer Waterproof Cap

K) I wanted something versatile that still allowed me to walk and hike comfortably, so I opted for the reflective-soled Brooks Running Hyperion Tempo Road Running Shoes which were lightweight and comfortable for both biking and non-bike time.


5. Accessories


A) Bike lock - Ottolock Hexband 60" Combination Lock

B) Bike pump - BV Mini Bike Pump

C) Multitool - Crankbrothers M19 Multi-Tool

D) Tire patch kit, chain repair pieces, and chain lube - Park Tool VP 1C Tire Patch Kit

E) Extra Tire Tubes (2) - Presta Tube

F) Bike light - Schwinn LED Bike Light Headlight USB Rechargeable 300 Foot Beam Distance

G) Headlamp - Nite Ize R170RH-03-R7 Radiant 170 Rechargeable Headlamp

H) Collapsable water bag - HydraPak 3L Seeker Collapsible Water Container - 100 fl. oz. and 24 fl. oz. (700 ml) Vapur wide-mouth Anti-Bottle

I) Fast drying towel - PackTowel Personal Towel

J) Anti-chafe cream - Squirrel's Nut Butter Anti-Chafe Stick

K) Battery pack + charging cords - Goal Zero Flip Portable External Power Bank

L) Toiletries (toothbrush/paste, shampoo, deoderant, sun screen) - Dr. Bronner's Organic Liquid Soap

M) Fast Charging cell phone block + cord - USB C Charger Anker Nano Charger PIQ 3.0 Durable Compact Fast Charger and Anker USB C to Lightning Cable [6ft MFi Certified] Powerline II



Lastly, What I Overpacked!


If I did it again, I would NOT bring:

- 2 Bike Shorts, 1 was enough

- 2 T-shirts, 1 was enough

- 1 Biker Shorts with Padded Liner. 1 bike short + 1 bed clothes short was enough (I wore those bed clothes shorts every time I needed to do laundry along the way)


Did I miss anything? Let me know in the comments.


Otherwise, Cole and I wish you a great bikepacking experience, whether it's your first or your fiftieth! Click the picture below to learn more about our Bike Across Oregon! And below that, watch my guest appearance on REI's Instagram Stories answering their followers' questions about bikepacking.


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