Go Back  Bike Forums > Bike Forums > Touring
Reload this Page >

Bikepacking-Backpacking Comparisons and Options

Notices
Touring Have a dream to ride a bike across your state, across the country, or around the world? Self-contained or fully supported? Trade ideas, adventures, and more in our bicycle touring forum.

Bikepacking-Backpacking Comparisons and Options

Old 03-27-09, 12:41 PM
  #1  
eternalvoyage
Thread Starter
 
Join Date: Feb 2007
Posts: 2,256
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 1 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
Bikepacking-Backpacking Comparisons and Options

As a starting point,

"I want to travel, and am thinking about either walking or biking around...."

"My only hesitation about not having a bike with me is that ~20 miles a day might be a little too slow in some places...."

***

(1) For those who have done both, how do they stack up when compared, in your experiences?

(2) What are the points of excellence for each mode of travel? The good, the bad, the highs, the lows?

(3) If you were just graduating college, and wanted to travel around, which mode would you choose? And what would the reasons be for choosing to go that way?

(4) What about multiple modes of travel combined? What about bikepacking and backpacking combined with eachother, and possibly with other modes of travel? Are there particularly attractive (for one reason or another) combinations?

(5) What are some other ways around the "~20 miles a day" limitation (instead of, or in addition to bikes), assuming a person wants to spend money fairly minimally?

Last edited by Niles H.; 03-27-09 at 05:06 PM.
Niles H. is offline  
Old 03-27-09, 12:54 PM
  #2  
Banned.
 
Join Date: Dec 2007
Location: DC area
Posts: 99

Bikes: Marin San Anselmo, old Mountain Bike, real old schwinn road bike, and Birdy folder

Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
You'll certainly find bikecamping/touring promoted here; this is a biking forum!! I do both and prefer, all in all, the biking option, if one wants to walk you can still do that with your bike. Plus your bike/trailer carries the weight. If i'm more just into camping vs. riding then i'll just backpack. One consideration too is that one can typically ride out their door to tour, while often with backpacking you'll need a lift and often leaving a vehicle somewhere. Just a thought..
daibutsu is offline  
Old 03-27-09, 01:18 PM
  #3  
Hooked on Touring
 
Join Date: Mar 2004
Location: Wyoming
Posts: 2,859
Mentioned: 6 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 347 Post(s)
Liked 143 Times in 93 Posts
Why not do both?
jamawani is offline  
Old 03-27-09, 04:30 PM
  #4  
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Nov 2008
Posts: 502
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 1 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 1 Time in 1 Post
Avid backpacker and newbie bike tourer here.
Hiked the AT a coupla years ago.

It depends on where you want to go.
Extremely remote locales call for hiking.
High mileage days call for a bike.
I also vote for doing both.
Arrange your gear properly and you could bike around wherever, and then hop off, lock up (WELL) at a trailhead and spend a few days (or more) in the backcountry.

Decide and plan before you buy gear.
crawdaddio is offline  
Old 03-27-09, 10:38 PM
  #5  
nun
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Oct 2005
Posts: 3,670

Bikes: Rivendell Quickbeam, Rivendell Rambouillet, Rivendell Atlantis, Circle A town bike, De Rosa Neo Primato, Cervelo RS, Specialized Diverge

Mentioned: 4 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 180 Post(s)
Liked 43 Times in 40 Posts
It seems to me that bikepacking is more technical riding than regular touring. The folks who do it seem to be mountain bikers or hikers who put a small amount of stuff on the bike and carry a small backpack and ride into the wilderness. They ride a lot out of the saddle and need to get behind the seat for some bits of riding. panniers don't have enough ground clearance and would be too cumbersome for them so they go with frame packs and modern interpretations of saddle and handlebar bags. I look at the set ups and wonder if an old fashioned Carradice saddlebag wouldn't work quite well too. I take my bike off road and it works quite well, but I don't tackle rocky stuff on my 700x28's
nun is offline  
Old 03-27-09, 10:45 PM
  #6  
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Sep 2007
Posts: 1,570
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 6 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 6 Times in 4 Posts
www.bikepacking.net
mijome07 is offline  
Old 03-28-09, 09:48 AM
  #7  
Senior Member
 
BigBlueToe's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2006
Location: Central Coast, CA
Posts: 3,392

Bikes: Surly LHT, Specialized Rockhopper, Nashbar Touring (old), Specialized Stumpjumper (older), Nishiki Tourer (model unknown)

Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 1 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 2 Times in 2 Posts
I'm not sure what you're asking, but here are some thoughts.

I've done plenty of backpacking as well as fully-loaded bike touring. My backpacking has always been in the woods in the mountains - Sierras and Cascades. My bike touring has been in the west - Oregon coast, Seattle-Vancouver area (including the San Juans), and on the Northern Tier from Seattle to Glacier N. P. My bike tours have always been on roads through areas where I could buy groceries at least every 2 days, and every day 95% of the time.

I've never backpacked for more than a week, due to the limitation of how much food I could carry. My longest bike tour was 4 weeks. When I backpack I start easy, with hikes of 5 miles or less. The longest I like to hike in a day is around 10 miles. When I bike tour I start easy: 25-30 mile days. After I get accustomed to the daily routine, I usually settle into a daily average of 50 miles, though 60 and 70 mile days aren't uncommon, with an occasional 80 mile day when the route dictates it.

In comparison, I find backpacking a little more "hardcore". I get more tired from carrying a big load on my back, and there's the knowledge that I'm miles away from help if there's an accident. However, the feeling of being "in the wild" is stronger, and that's an attraction.

Bike touring is a little more civilized, because I can eat at restaurants, buy newspapers, visit stores (grocery stores, bookstores), get cold drinks when I want, visit libraries, etc. At the end of the day I'm in a campsite with a picnic table, toilets, and often showers. I can even choose to stay in a motel. I see more countryside during the day, but I never feel like I've left civilization, traffic, etc. I feel like there would be someone to help if I had an accident, but I feel like I'm more likely to have an accident. I'm still tired at the end of a day - especially a long day with lots of hills - but less so than when I've carried a backpack 10 miles up mountain trails.

I seldom meet other people backpacking - usually we're trying to get away from people, and if I see someone else's camp I move on. I've met lots of great bike tourers when touring, but I've also spent plenty of nights next to annoying car campers, making noise and having their kids run through my campsite.

Bike touring is something I feel comfortable doing alone. I've backpacked alone, but I'm less comfortable - again, because of what might happen if I have an accident or health problem.
BigBlueToe is offline  
Old 03-28-09, 10:18 AM
  #8  
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Nov 2006
Posts: 181
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
Originally Posted by nun
It seems to me that bikepacking is
Bikepacking comes in different styles, too - there's this 2400-mile trail called the Great Divide Mountain Bike Route that gets a lot of riders with panniers/trailers. It's mostly dirt-road, with some segments of pavement. Takes a couple of months to ride it, hitting a town every few days. A two-wheeled AT, kind of.

Then there's the guys who race this course in 20 days or less. 15 pounds of gear, elevations up to 12000 feet. 200,000 feet of climbing. That's hardcore stuff in my book.

There's a hiking trail called Continental Divide Trail that does Canada-to-Mexico, too - that's hardcore in anybody's book! I wonder how long that takes! But I don't think I could move that slow - Great Divide Basin is someplace you want to ride out of in a few days, not hike through for a week

Last edited by SandLizrd; 03-28-09 at 01:11 PM.
SandLizrd is offline  
Old 03-28-09, 10:21 AM
  #9  
Hooked on Touring
 
Join Date: Mar 2004
Location: Wyoming
Posts: 2,859
Mentioned: 6 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 347 Post(s)
Liked 143 Times in 93 Posts
I'll offer more details.

I have bike toured for 25 years - multi thousands of miles most years.
So I'm guessing I'm somewhere around 75,000 miles - over 100,000 with commuting.
I've also backpacked in many national parks and wildernesses - mostly as part of bike tours.



These include - the John Muir Trail in Yosemite, crossing the Grand Canyon four different times, the San Juan Mountains in Colorado, the Gros Ventres, Grand Teton, and Yellowstone in Wyoming, many hikes into the backcountry in Glacier in Montana, Waterton, Banff, and Jasper in Alberta, Elk Lakes and Mount Robson in British Columbia, Kluane n the Yukon, Wrangell-St. Elilas and Denali in Alaska.

I've toured for 20 out of those 25 years on a modified Trek 8000 mountain bike. That allows me to get off onto dirt roads and bike right up to wilderness trailheads. (I never bike in wildernesses.) My set-up is such that I can switch over from bike to hike in about a half-hour. I carry a light, two-pack on the rear rack that normally has all my camping stuff in it - tent, drop, sleeping bag. I roll these tightly and strap them to the outside, then have the inside of the pack for stuff I need hiking. I usually stay out no longer than two or three days, but it allows me to get in some good wilderness hiking as part of bike trips.

jamawani is offline  
Old 03-28-09, 02:00 PM
  #10  
eternalvoyage
Thread Starter
 
Join Date: Feb 2007
Posts: 2,256
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 1 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
Thanks to all for the interesting points and postings.

Please feel free to post any others.
Niles H. is offline  
Old 03-28-09, 03:54 PM
  #11  
Slowpoach
 
Join Date: Jan 2006
Location: Melbourne, AU
Posts: 1,091

Bikes: Cannondale T800, Northwood tandem, 1970s Gitane fixxed 45x16

Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 1 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
Day walks to points of interest...
Week-long bushwalk through wilderness areas where there is no other mode of transport...
Canoe camping overnight trip... just for the canoeing...
Week-long organised bike tour with lots of people to meet in an active common-interest sort of way...
Overnight, light-weight bike ride around the Bay...
Rambling around Tassie for 10 days... 1st time in a car with lots of day hikes to mountains, Freycinet, wineries; on the bike 2nd time, mostly riding and relaxing...
Cave is offline  
Old 03-29-09, 05:34 AM
  #12  
oren_hershco
 
Join Date: May 2006
Location: Hod-HaSharon, 25min from Tel-Aviv, ISAREL
Posts: 45

Bikes: Niner EMD , carbon rigid fork

Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 1 Time in 1 Post
Why not do both?

Why not do both?

You can travel with a trailer, and put all your stuff in a backpack which you attach to the trailer. The bike will enable you to cover the distances, and when you get to a park, just lock it and go hiking.

A two-wheeled trailer can be attached to any bike, so you don't need racks and panniers. An example:
https://www.carryfreedom.com/Y-Frame.html

There are some other trailers out there, so you are not limited to this specific one.

I own a Y-Frame small, and it's great for road touring, and good quality gravel roads. It's not for singletracking, beware.

Oren
oren_hershco is offline  
Old 03-30-09, 08:58 AM
  #13  
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Dec 2006
Location: Laguna Hills California
Posts: 478

Bikes: Cannondale R3000, Specialized Enduro SL

Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
Or how about Bikepacking mixed with Packrafting...
Robert_in_ca is offline  
Old 03-30-09, 12:25 PM
  #14  
Prairie Path Commuter
 
Join Date: Sep 2005
Location: Forest Park, IL
Posts: 669

Bikes: Marin Palisades Trail

Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 3 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
Interestingly enough I just bought a back pack with my REI dividend and coupon this year. Most of the stuff I use for touring - tent, sleeping bag, stove, etc, I can use for backpacking. All I really needed was the backpack and a pair boots. Also, backpacking seems to be more socialable. There seems to be more organized groups for it so there is the potential to go on trips with other people.
robmcl is offline  
Old 03-30-09, 02:11 PM
  #15  
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Sep 2008
Posts: 598
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
Originally Posted by jamawani
I'll offer more details.

I have bike toured for 25 years - multi thousands of miles most years.
So I'm guessing I'm somewhere around 75,000 miles - over 100,000 with commuting.
I've also backpacked in many national parks and wildernesses - mostly as part of bike tours.
Out of curiosity, what do you normally do with your bike while you are on the trail? Lock it to an out of the way tree? Find a place in town to store it?
stedalus is offline  
Old 04-01-09, 06:06 AM
  #16  
Senior Member
 
balto charlie's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2004
Location: Baltimore/DC
Posts: 2,930
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 170 Post(s)
Liked 156 Times in 99 Posts
Originally Posted by jamawani
) My set-up is such that I can switch over from bike to hike in about a half-hour. I carry a light, two-pack on the rear rack that normally has all my camping stuff in it - tent, drop, sleeping bag. I roll these tightly and strap them to the outside, then have the inside of the pack for stuff I need hiking.
Hey jamawani: I can't make out your setup of backpack and panniers. Is you BP laying across your rear rack? What is a two-pack? If time allows can I see a close up of you setup. Thanks Charlie

PS love the photo
balto charlie is offline  
Old 04-01-09, 07:17 AM
  #17  
Senior Member
 
staehpj1's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2006
Location: Tallahassee, FL
Posts: 11,867
Mentioned: 7 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 1251 Post(s)
Liked 754 Times in 560 Posts
I have toyed with mixing the two, but so far have decided to pick one or the other. Of course I do short hikes when bike touring. It would be a shame to not get off the road a bit in places like Yellowstone. Hikes of a mile or three to a waterfalls or other attraction are a nice addition without needing to go as far as backpacking.

I the past several months I have really started to enjoy trail running so... In the future I plan to mix trail running with bike touring.

That said it certainly is possible to do some backpacking in the middle of a tour.
staehpj1 is offline  
Old 04-01-09, 07:31 AM
  #18  
Hooked on Touring
 
Join Date: Mar 2004
Location: Wyoming
Posts: 2,859
Mentioned: 6 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 347 Post(s)
Liked 143 Times in 93 Posts
Originally Posted by stedalus
Out of curiosity, what do you normally do with your bike while you are on the trail? Lock it to an out of the way tree? Find a place in town to store it?
a) Lock it to an out of the way tree.

I am not a person who is overly concerned.
My bike is a 20 year-old Trek.
I put any valuables in my back pack - like wallet and camera.
I leave old, nasty underwear at the top of my panniers.

There are no guarantees in life.
But I have never had any problems, either.
There is a trade-off between time spent finding a safe place for your bike
And time spent doing the things you want to do.
jamawani is offline  
Old 04-01-09, 07:49 AM
  #19  
Hooked on Touring
 
Join Date: Mar 2004
Location: Wyoming
Posts: 2,859
Mentioned: 6 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 347 Post(s)
Liked 143 Times in 93 Posts
Originally Posted by balto charlie
I can't make out your setup of backpack and panniers. Is you BP laying across your rear rack? What is a two-pack? If time allows can I see a close up of you setup.
Oops! A two-pack - unlike a six-pack - is a two-DAY pack.
Internal frame, lash points. Definitely not a long-distance pack.
I have used Kelty packs for 20 years.
https://www.epinions.com/prices/Kelty...Large_22001904
No longer available, though.
The 2650 is a bit smaller - which is probably better - lash points??
https://www.kelty.com/kelty/products....=180&image=755

And, yes. the backpack is on top of the back rack - sideways.
Hey, it looks like the Beverly Hillbillies - but I don't do it for style.
jamawani is offline  

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off


Thread Tools
Search this Thread

Contact Us - Archive - Advertising - Cookie Policy - Privacy Statement - Terms of Service -

Copyright © 2024 MH Sub I, LLC dba Internet Brands. All rights reserved. Use of this site indicates your consent to the Terms of Use.