In the recent issue of Kootenay Mountain Culture magazine we feature a story about writer Andrew Finley’s experience bikepacking the Purcell Range in British Columbia. Here are the differences between bikepacking and bike touring.
Bike Touring – Like cruising in your RV, only sweatier
• The first person to bike tour around the world was Englishman Thomas Stevens , from 1884 to 1886. He used a penny farthing with a small bag attached to his handlebars.
• Today, most touring bikes are sturdier versions of road bikes with numerous attachments points for front and rear racks and panniers. This set-up allows the rider to carry 80 litres of gear – similar to a large backpack – without compromising stability.
• In recent years, some touring bikes have become beefier and have had bikepacking equipment incorporated into them, like triangle-shaped frame bags. But the road-bike geometry and bag layout still make riding singletrack a scary proposition.
BikePacking – Like mountain biking, only heavier.
• Ten years ago, few people knew what bikepacking was, but with lighter bike frames and new bag designs, the sport is seeing a surge in popularity.
• Bikepackers typically use their existing mountain bikes, and they outfit them with streamlines bags that are smaller than saddlebags, limiting them to ultralight camping gear. Wearing a backpack is not a great idea because the extra weight will ravage your butt after a few days.
• Bikepacking requires load precision: heavy items like food typically go on the middle of the bike, while sleeping bag, pad, and other light items go in the handlebar bag or under your seat.