Embrace the adventure: Bikepacking in Ireland

By We Love Cycling

Ireland, with its historic landscapes and rugged coastlines, offers an unparalleled canvas for any adventurous soul. The growing interest in bikepacking, a fusion of biking and minimalist camping, offers both novices and seasoned cyclists a unique way to immerse themselves in the Irish wilderness.

Read on to discover our top tips, packing advice, and the best routes for both beginners and experienced bikepackers!

What is bikepacking?

Bikepacking combines mountain biking, hiking, and camping into one exhilarating adventure. Unlike traditional bicycle touring, bikepacking focuses on off-road travel and often involves carrying less gear. This style of travel not only challenges your physical limits but also lets you connect deeply with nature.

Ireland is perfect for bikepacking. The island boasts thousands of kilometres of scenic trails and backroads that traverse national parks, ancient woodlands, and coastal cliffs.

Getting started: Bikepacking gear essentials

 To embark on a bikepacking journey, you’ll need the right equipment. Here’s a quick checklist to get you started:

Bike: A sturdy mountain bike or gravel bike is ideal.

Bags: Invest in a good set of bikepacking bags, including frame bags, handlebar bags and saddlebags.

Camping gear: A lightweight tent, sleeping bag, and mat are essential. Consider a small, compact stove for cooking.

Tools and repair kits: Always carry a basic tool kit, spare tubes, a patch kit, and a pump.

Clothing: Weather in Ireland can be unpredictable, so pack waterproof and breathable layers.

Navigation: A GPS device and a reliable map and compass are crucial.

Recommended areas for bikepacking in Ireland

The Wild Atlantic Way

Stretching over 2,500 km along Ireland’s west, the Wild Atlantic Way is perfect for those who want a challenging ride dotted with breathtaking views. You can find shorter segments suitable for beginners, or tackle longer stretches for a more immersive experience.

For more inspiration, check out this bikepacking route which takes you from Doonreaghan to Kinvarra which is ideal for intermediate cyclists.

The Beara Breifne Way

Spanning over 500 km, this route follows the historical march of Donal Cam O’Sullivan Beare in 1603 and is Ireland’s longest national waymarked trail. It’s a mix of off-road tracks, old roads, and open countryside, perfect for those looking for a historical angle to their adventure.

If you’re new to bikepacking, there are a number of shorter routes within the Kingfisher Cycle Trail that are perfect for beginners.

Tips for first-timers

Start small

If you’re new to bikepacking, start with overnight trips and gradually build up to longer tours.

Pack light

Only bring essentials and leave luxuries behind. Every extra kilogram will be felt on long climbs!

Stay flexible

Be prepared to change your plans based on weather conditions or your energy levels.

Hydrate and fuel

Always have more water and snacks than you think you’ll need. The Irish weather can be deceiving, and your energy levels may slump unexpectedly.

Respect the environment

Stick to marked trails and campsites, and leave no trace behind.


Bikepacking in Ireland offers an incomparable way to experience the raw beauty of the Irish outdoors. If you’re looking for something a little different, check out some of the best sustainable cycling staycations the island has to offer instead!