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How to Plan a Bikepacking Route

How to Plan a Bikepacking Route
How To Plan A Bikepacking Route

Finding out how to plan a bikepacking route is often a case of trial and error.
Something you develop over many successful (and failed) adventures.
You include bits of a trip you like and leave out the parts you didn’t.
This said there are certain things you can add to your planning to make a route more successful and enjoyable.
And some you should add, as they’re essential.
Planning a route is definitely a huge part of the joy when bikepacking.
The anticipation and preparation of a bikepacking trip is nearly, if not just as, enjoyable as the trip itself.
So lets dive into the points of how to plan a bikepacking route.

Feature Feature feature

Planning in features and highlights on your route help you progress.
These route markers give you targets to reach with rewards to reap when you get there.
Natural beauty spots, historical landmarks, celebrated eateries or maybe a heavily recommended local pub.
Ticking them off and recalling these features help to keep your adventure alive even when you’ve arrived back home.


Ride Through History

Going on a bikepacking adventure is an opportunity to find out about the history of where you’re exploring.
Adding a historical context to your ride will make for a much richer experience.
Imagine what happened 100 or even a 1000 years ago along the tracks of your journey.

End on a High, Low Point

When coming to the end of your bikepacking adventure, a huge hill climb or a energy sapping bog traverse won’t leave you with blissful memories of your trip, only how you thought you’d never get home.
Plan the end of your route as a highlight if you can and try to spread out the points of suffering evenly throughout your route.

Wildcamping spot

Bed for the Night

Having a rough idea of where you’re going to sleep for the night not only breaks up your bikepacking trip but also helps when it comes to balancing the route.
Make your home for the night in a place that feels natural to end a day in the saddle. This could be an official campsite or a suitable wildcamping spot.
You can also use your proposed home for the night to plan what supplies you will need to get you there and then to your next resupply point.

Water of Life

Making sure you always have access to drinking water is essential when it comes to adventuring off the beaten path.
This said you don’t necessarily have to carry large amounts of food and water with you when you know your route passes through towns and villages (although make sure places to re fuel and top up water are, and will be, open when you pass through).
A water filtration system can also be used to obtain water from rivers and streams.

Map it Out

when you’ve decided where you want to go, what you want to see, where you’re going to sleep and what youre going to eat and drink it’s time to map a route out to follow.
There are many route planning apps out there to get plotting on such as Komoot, or you can use paper maps, a pen and a compass (which you should probably bring anyways incase your gps device fails on you).
When plotting your bikepacking route take notice of the terrain profile and remember that a hill on a bike, not laden with bags and equipment, will feel very different with all this weight added.

Prepare to Adapt

Remember plans can and almost always change so be prepared to adapt your route as you’re riding it.
This is part of bikepacking. Part of the adventure.
Your route is really built whilst you’re riding it.
It will change and get refined the more you ride it and will probably never be perfect as each ride will be different and ultimately more enjoyable because of this.


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