Bicycle Sport Bikepacking Basics: What to Wear
When it comes to bikepacking clothing options, comfort and convenience rule the day (and the night) here. And, of course, weather, time of year, and length of your trip, will all play big roles in what you’ll choose to pack. For starters, choose something that you know will be comfortable while you ride. And don’t forget you’ll spend some time off the bike when you get where you’re going, so plan, and pack accordingly. There is no right or wrong way to do this, and there’s no official uniform for bikepacking. Since a bikepacking trip can be a 24 hour affair, a weekend, or weeks-long event, you’ll need to adapt our suggestions and your needs accordingly. The most egregious sin you can commit is being unprepared.
On the bike clothing checklist:
- Padded bike shorts or bibs: Always. If your trip is multi day, consider different brands or chamois styles to alter the seat-t0-chamois interaction points.
- Bike jersey: Wicking or wool, pockets are useful. Or…
- Wicking or wool top: ABC is the rule, right? (Anything But Cotton) If you’re carrying a backpack or hydration pack you’ll have plenty of pockets anyway.
- Vest or jacket: Again, with the pockets. Plus, wind and water protection. A light, tight model can roll up and fit practically anywhere for easy access.
- Socks: Wool or wicking synthetic. We’re partial to wool for many reasons. Quick drying, temperature regulation, and the ability to be worn more than once.
- Helmet. Every time.
- Cycling cap: We like these for warmth, and light rain and sun protection. Plus we think we look good in them! Cotton options abound, but a good wool or wicking material is a better choice.
- Shorts or baggies: Over your bike shorts, these can add extra pockets for small bits, snacks, etc. No, not the cotton ones you wear to mow the lawn.
- Shoes: Your mountain bike style shoes are your best option. But there are touring, hike-a-bike options, too.
- Gloves: Short or long fingers, depending on the season and your preference.
- Bandana or Buff: You’ll be surprised how many uses.
Off the bike clothing checklist:
- Short or long-sleeved tee: We’ll go with wool no matter what the temperature. Every seen a sweaty sheep? Of course not.
- Shorts or camp pants: Can’t stay in those bike shorts all day AND night. Go with lightweight, quick-drying, packable versions with DWR coating for stain and water resistance.
- Sweater, fleece or vest: A lightweight, packable option will serve you well when the temperature drops. Can also allow you to carry a lighter sleeping bag during that in-between weather.
- Flip-flops or other lightweight shoes: Worth the extra weight if you want to be out of your bike shoes at camp.
- Cap, beanie, or toboggan: For camp, and part of your sleep system when it’s cooler.
- Gloves or mittens: When it’s cold, they’ll be worth their weight in gold.
- Extra socks: Enough said.
Want more on bikepacking? Check out our Bicycle Sport Bikepacking Basics page!