Bikepacking is like touring, just as pears are like apples … they look different, they smell different and they taste different but they’re both fruit. Some people will dismiss that last statement, believing wholeheartedly that ‘bikepacking’ is just a fancy new name for touring dreamt up by suited marketeers in an effort to sell the poor unsuspecting cyclist something new and shiny … but it isn’t. There really are differences between the two, some subtle, others not so. Today, there’s possibly enough differences in equipment alone to validate the point but the real divide is borne from outlook and attitude.
People have loaded camping equipment onto bicycles for as long as there’s been bicycles. The bicycle as we know it today, precedes the surfaced road by a good number of years, so if the first distinction we try and make between bikepacking and touring is off-road verses on-road, it could be argued that the first bikepackers appeared sometime around 1870 … although it would be over 100 years before the term ‘bikepacking’ makes a appearance. In fact, it would be 1973 when an article entitled “Bikepacking across Alaska and Canada” by Dan Burden appeared in National Geographic and chronicled a 3103 mile trip from Anchorage to Missoula, Montana.
|Bear Bones Winter Bivvy 1902.|
|Aussie sheep shearer on his way to work.|
|3000km – 28 days – 100 years ago.|