Bike Touring and Bikepacking vs. Traditional Touring Bike: Equipment and Differences

When planning a cycling adventure, it is important to choose the right type of bike for the terrain and purpose. There are different types of touring bikes, each designed for a specific type of cycling. In this article, we will explore bike touring, bikepacking, and traditional touring bikes and their differences in equipment and functionality.

Bike Touring

Bike touring involves riding on paved or unpaved roads for extended periods, usually on a pre-determined route. It may involve carrying some gear but not necessarily camping equipment. Bike touring bikes are designed for paved and unpaved roads, and their frames are sturdy and durable enough to carry a significant amount of weight. They have wider tires than road bikes, offering more stability on uneven surfaces. Moreover, they typically feature more comfortable and upright riding positions than traditional road bikes, allowing riders to maintain better visibility and control.


The equipment for bike touring can vary depending on the distance, the terrain, and the duration of the trip. Essential gear includes:

Differences from Bikepacking and Traditional Touring

Compared to bikepacking, bike touring equipment is more extensive as it usually includes accommodation and full cooking facilities. Conversely, bike touring requires less gear and equipment than traditional touring bikes. Traditional touring bikes feature more extensive gear and accessories as they typically involve traveling long distances and carrying more gear than bike touring.


Bikepacking, on the other hand, involves carrying all your gear in a backpack or bike bags, usually for off-road terrain. Bikepacking bikes have frame bags and handlebar bags that allow even weight distribution while cycling. They have wider tires with tread for better grip on rough terrain, and suspension to absorb impacts.


Equipment for bikepacking is relatively basic as you need to only carry lightweight gear. The bare essentials are:

Differences from Bike Touring and Traditional Touring Bikes

Bikepacking is more flexible than bike touring as you do not have to worry about accommodation or cooking facilities, meaning no need to carry extra weight. It is also faster than traditional touring bikes due to its lightweight design, allowing bikers to cover more ground in a shorter amount of time.

Traditional Touring Bikes

Traditional touring bikes are designed for longer rides and heavier loads. They are similar to bike touring bikes but with more accessories and equipment. They have wider tires and drop handlebars, allowing riders to maintain a more aerodynamic position. They also have multiple braze-ons for carrying water bottles and panniers.


Traditional touring bikes require extensive equipment due to their longer rides and heavier loads. The essential gear includes:

Differences from Bikepacking and Bike Touring Bikes

Traditional touring bikes are slower than bikepacking and bike touring bikes due to their weight and extensive equipment. However, they offer superior comfort on long rides, more stability on gravel terrain, and better carrying capacity.

In conclusion, choosing the right bike for your cycling adventure depends on the terrain, distance, duration, and personal preference. Whether you pick bike touring, bikepacking, or traditional touring bikes, make sure you have the right gear and equipment to make your trip enjoyable and efficient.

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