Bikepacking vs. Bike Touring: What's the Difference?
Bikepacking and bike touring are two popular ways to explore the world on two wheels. While they may seem similar, they have distinct differences that set them apart. Here's what you need to know:
Bikepacking is a relatively new form of cycling that combines camping and mountain biking. The idea is to pack all your gear on your bike and venture into the wilderness for multiple days or weeks. Unlike traditional bike touring, bikepacking often takes place on off-road trails and requires a special type of bike equipped for rough terrain.
Pros of Bikepacking:
- The freedom to explore remote locations that are inaccessible by car.
- The challenge of conquering tough terrain and rugged trails.
- The opportunity to disconnect and immerse oneself in the natural world.
Cons of Bikepacking:
- Requires specialized gear, bike and attention to safety.
- Campsites nonexistent, leading to a lack of amenities on the trip.
- Heavy loads affect handling and speed of the bike.
Bike touring is a more traditional form of cycling that typically takes place on paved roads and highways. The goal is to cover long distances over a period of days, weeks or months. Bike touring can take many forms, from self-contained camping trips to supported group rides with a full service crew.
Pros of Bike Touring:
- Access to amenities like food, running water and beds.
- Possibility to carry sufficient luggage and thus more comfortable travel.
- More extended distances easy to cover since many circumstances are optimized.
Cons of Bike Touring:
- Fewer opportunities to escape from civilization.
- Limited exploration of off-road paths.
- Less connection with nature.
Bikepacking and bike touring both offer unique opportunities to immerse oneself in the great outdoors while cycling. One is not better than the other; it just depends on the type of adventure you’re looking for. Bikepacking is all about exploring remote locations and overcoming challenging terrain. In contrast, bike touring offers an opportunity to cover more extensive distances and stretch out through the countryside. Whether you're a pro or a newbie, it’s always a good idea to try both types of cycling and figure out what resonates best with your lifestyle and interests.