By Ambassador Sandra Beaubien

You can do a hardcore bikepacking trip, or you can treat your bikepacking trip like a mini-vacation.  For anyone who has watched a video of an epic bikepacking trip, where it seems like the riders in the video bring the bare-minimum and pretty much starve themselves on the trip, have you thought to yourself “Does everyone bikepack like that?”

My friends and I sure don’t!  We take a much more luxurious approach to bikepacking that keeps us well fed and gives us plenty of time to hang out at our campsites, drink beer and enjoy some good food.

Here are a few tips: 

  1. Choose a moderate route and don’t overdo the mileage.  We are mountain bikers and prefer to keep the distance in the 30-40 km range per day.  This gets you isolated and out of cell phone signal without crushing anyone’s spirit. 
  2. Bring a chair so you can fully enjoy the campsite experience.  We are getting too old to sit on the hard ground for hours at a time.  Sitting in a chair with your feet in a lake while drinking a beer is pretty spectacular.
3. Bring your favorite beer.  Seriously, nothing beats a cold (or moderately cool) beer after a day of riding.  We cool ours off in the lake we are camping near, just make sure to coral them well so they don’t float off.
4. Doritos in the wild taste so much better.  They strap to pretty much any gear you have and don’t weigh very much.  They have a favourable deliciousness to weight factor.  Also look for wild berries on your ride.  This year we were spoiled with blackberries on the first day, but blueberries are the most common in Ontario and Quebec. Yummy!
5. Swimming is essential.  Choosing a campsite with a pristine lake is an important part of your trip planning.  I do save weight here by only bringing a bikini bottom and swimming in my sports bra.  A bikini top is another half a beer, so the choice is easy.  Hearing the loons calling across the lake is so magical and one of my favorite parts of bikepacking.
6. Steak and potatoes are so good cooked over a campfire.  If we do a 3 day (2 night) trip, we freeze our meat and often cook chicken the first night and steak the second night.  We bring tinfoil to wrap up our potatoes, onions and mushrooms which we also cook over the fire.  We bring a small set of tongs and also a small metal grill, because you don’t want to burn the steak. Keep the dehydrated food for a more serious trip.
7. Know about any historic sites or points of interest in your route.  We were super lucky on this last trip to visit an abandoned mine and it was pretty cool!
8. Finish near a pub or brewery so you can replenish any missing calories, and celebrate a successful and relaxing bikepacking trip 🙂 Make sure you have a clean set of clothes in your car, you don’t want to be the only stinky person in the pub.