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The Art of Bikepacking: How to Pack for a Weekend Bikepacking Getaway

By Martin Atanasov

Can you think of a better way to spend your weekend than riding your bike the entire time? Yeah, me neither. And since we’ve talked extensively about bikepacking recently and how to prepare for longer journeys, why not give the weekend trips the light of day? After all, weekend getaways are probably the most common bikepacking trips. So, let’s discuss what you should take, what you should avoid taking, and how to pack it all for a 2-day trip with your bike.

Things to consider

As usual, you need to have a plan in your head. Going exploring is also fine but you will need to take much more luggage with you. So, for the sake of being most helpful, today, we will pack for the following trip:

  • 2-day ride (about 100 km)
  • Mostly sunny and warm, with colder evenings
  • Sleeping in the wild in a tent
  • Nowhere to buy food but plenty of water along the way and near the campsite
  • Using mostly mountain paths and gravel roads
  • We will stay below 1,000 m and make the campsite below 500 m.
  • We will be alone (no one goes on such trips alone, I know, but the point is to showcase how you can be the most self-sufficient)

The bike

Since we are going to the mountains, it’s wise to go for a hardtail mountain bike. Considering the roads, a gravel bike can also do the trick, depending on how technical the mountain paths are going to be. If you haven’t been on this route yet, we’d suggest going for the MTB as it can manage far more harsher terrains. Make sure, however, your bike is as light as possible. Still, there is no need to buy a brand-new bike for this weekend trip. I know, I know, that’s a shame, but still, you can always buy a new one for your next trip.

The packs

Considering you will be carrying some sleeping accessories, your pack setup will be similar to what it would be if you go for a ten-day trip. The only difference would be the lower amount of food you will be eating and the fewer clothes you will wear. Actually, you will only need one set of clothes. So, I’d only go for a seat pack and a top tube pack for a weekend trip. You can add a handlebar pack as well if you feel more comfortable but a seat and a top tube pack would be quite enough as you will be strapping your sleeping accessories to your bike. I’d also take at least two bidons with water and I’ll also sneak up a beer or two in the luggage but let’s keep that as our little secret.

So, let’s see what we are going to put in these packs for this weekend trip.

What will you be wearing

Considering the weather will be sunny and relatively warm, we would go for a cycling jersey, a cycling bib, and trainers. I suggest going with flat pedals rather than clipless on such trips, as otherwise, you need to wear an additional pair of shoes for your evening. Going simply with one pair of robust, breathable shoes will allow you to spare yourself some extra luggage. You will also have a pair of socks, a helmet, and a cap.


We won’t need much for this trip. Still, as we are going to sleep under the stars and spend most of the night outside, we will need some warmer clothes. Thermal leggings and waterproof hiking pants are the way to go. Wearing leggings during the evening is optional but you will need them once you are going to sleep, even in the sleeping bag.

On top, you will need a cotton T-shirt, a thermal blouse, and a waterproof jacket. I’d also take a winter hat, just in case. It doesn’t take too much space but it can prove very helpful if the weather takes a turn for the worse. You will also need a windproof jacket. Naturally, it’s a good idea to take one pair of underwear for the evening and two pairs of socks. One you will use for staying around the campfire, and one you will use when going to sleep if you need them and your feet are wet.

List of clothes

  1. Underwear – 50 g
  2. 2 pairs of socks – 50 g
  3. Cotton t-shirt – 150 g
  4. Thermal blouse – 100 g
  5. Waterproof jacket – 250 g
  6. Windproof jacket – 80 g
  7. Thermal leggings – 70 g
  8. Waterproof pants – 150 g
  9. Winter hat – 50 g

Total – 950 g

How to pack them

Place the pants, leggings, blouse, shirt, and winter hat on top of each other. Then, take the underwear and wrap them around your socks. Next, use the underwear roll to start a bigger roll with all your other clothes. Yes, they will be full of wrinkles but the woodland creatures won’t mind. You will get one moderately small roll of all your clothes (except your jacket). Place all of them in the seat pack. Make sure to leave enough space for the food and waterproof jacket as well.

The windproof jacket must be easily reachable, as chances are you will use it during the ride. So, I’d put it either with the tent or in the middle pocket of my jersey.

Sleeping accessories

Tent and bikes
Try to make your sleeping setup as light as possible. © Profimedia

There is nothing to say about the tent except try to make it small and light. Try to keep it up to 2 kg at maximum. Adding the sleeping bag and the sleeping pad, your additional weight should be at most 5 kg. Though going with a lighter sleeping pad and an emergency blanket instead of a sleeping bag is an option, I suggest not compromising the comfort of your sleep over 1-2 kg more. If you want to spare yourself carrying all this extra weight, just find a suitable hut or a village along the way and sleep there.

List of sleeping accessories

Tent – 2 kg

Sleeping bag – 2 kg

Sleeping pad – 500 g

Inflatable pillow – 50 g

Total – 4.55 kg

How to pack them

If there is enough space, strap your tent under the top tube. This way, you can put your sleeping bag and sleeping pad on the handlebars. Otherwise, you can place your tent on the handlebar, your sleeping bag under your seat (strap it tothe front of your seating post), and the sleeping pad under the top tube.

Gears and spares

There is not much difference between the spares you would take for a 10-day trip and a weekend trip. The only difference is that you can go with only one spare inner tube and have a robust tyre repair kit with you. You will also need a multitool, chain links, levers, a pump, some zip ties, and some tape. Don’t forget to take some lube along as well.


  1. Inner tube – 156 g
  2. Tyre repair kit – 25 g
  3. Lube – 20 g
  4. Pump – 100 g
  5. Multitool – 95 g
  6. Chain links and repair kit – 80 g

Total – 476 g

How to pack them

You can strap the pump and spare inner tube to the frame if you need the space. Otherwise, everything else will go in the top tube pack.

Accessories and toiletries

You will need some extras. Wet wipes and toilet paper are by far the most important but they are not the only ones. You will also need a lighter to start a campfire, some utensils, and a camping mug. Don’t forget to get an anti-dog spray and some insect repellent as you’ll be alone in the mountains.


  1. Fork, spoon, and knife – 80 g
  2. Wet wipes – 30 g
  3. Toilet paper – 10 g
  4. Powerful lighter – 30 g
  5. Camp mug – 50 g
  6. Toothbrush and toothpaste – 50 g
  7. Soap – 20 g
  8. Anti-dog spray – 100 g
  9. Insect repellent – 50 g

Total – 420 g

Where to pack them

The wipes, insect repellent and toilet paper can go in your jersey pockets. The toothbrush, toothpaste and soap – inside the roll of clothes. The anti-dog spray should be strapped to your bike with fast and easy access. I prefer to keep it right beneath my seat, with the sprayer pointing downwards, just in case.
The camping mug, on the other hand, can be strapped to the sleeping bag or the tent, depending on which one is on your handlebars, and the fork, spoon and knife can find a place in the top tube pack or strapped to the tent or sleeping bag.


For a two-day trip, you won’t need too many electronics. However, make sure to have a powerful power bank and don’t forget your cables. Furthermore, you will need a headlight and your bike lights. Everything else is up to your preferences.


Smartphone – 200 g

Headlight – 75 g

Power bank – 260 g

Total – 535 g

Where to pack them

If you don’t have a specific navigator, having your phone strapped as one is a good idea. This way, it won’t take up space inside the packs. The power bank and the headlight, however, will go in the top tube pack.

Medicine and first aid

As you will be bringing some sleeping gear, you don’t really need an emergency blanket. Otherwise, all other medicines are optional except for magnesium, which you will need one dose of. Make sure to bring along antihistamines, painkillers, and enough sunscreen lotion. As usual, if you are allergic to insects or some plants, make sure to bring along an EpiPen.


  1. Medical supplies – 10 g
  2. Sunscreen lotion – 90 g

Total – 100 g

Where to pack them

The magnesium should be in your jersey pockets as should the sunscreen lotion and the EpiPen. The rest can go in the top tube container or in the seat pack if there are some small gaps left.

Food and water

Bring enough food to replenish your energy. Make sure to have a good mix of protein and carbohydrates. Though not the most delicious option, I’d suggest bringing along some canned food. You can warm it up at the campfire in the evening and it will almost be like a full meal. Some salted meat is also a good choice as well as some bars and protein powder. You can drink the protein powder with water after you set up your camp to replenish your losses and have the bars during the ride. A dose of protein powder is also a great way to start off your second day, along with a fruit of your choice.


  1. Canned food – 500 g
  2. 10 x energy bars – 600 g
  3. Salted meat – 200 g
  4. Banana – 100 g
  5. Protein powder – 60 g (2 doses)

Total – 1.4 kg

How to pack

Put the food can and the protein in the seat pack before topping it with the rain jacket. Strap the banana to your frame and place the salted meat either in the tent (if there is space) or in the top tube pack.

The bars are best placed in your jersey pockets, as you can access them throughout the ride. Make sure to keep some energy bars for the next day as well. You will eat at home in the evening but you still need to get back home.

So, where to?

Now you know how to pack light for a weekend trip. Keep in mind that what you will take and whether you should add another pack is always up to you and the conditions you are going to ride and sleep in. Still, the main point is to remain light without compromising on your well-being. So, bring enough food and warm clothes and make sure to have fun. And if you were wondering, a weekend trip is not that much lighter than a 10-day trip or a one-month trip. The total weight of our setup today is 8.43 kg. With a 13-kg bike, it all adds up to approximately 21.5 kg. Not bad. Especially considering you are carrying your own home for the night.

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