How to Plan a Cycle Tour or a Bikepacking Trip – The Complete Guide

bikepacking trip

Whether you’ve a free month or weekend, a bikepacking trip or a cycle tour in the forest roads may be what you want to satisfy the craving or quest for adventure. Before going for an adventure, you should make a proper and solid plan. A plan could save your valuable time and provide you a memorable experience.

How to plan a cycle tour?

For planning about a tour, you should consider some important things like:

  • Narrow down your choices
  • Design a cycle tour route
  • Creating a GPS track
  • Time to make your trip

1.       Narrow down your choices

The route choices may seem overwhelming and endless when planning for a trip. You should narrow your options down and decide on the trip parameters:

Distance vs time:

Your cycle tour destination would be limited in these factors. Remember that you would be unable to travel far away or fast with a  loaded touring bike. How far or fast you could go exactly depends on factors like distance, terrain, fitness level and elevation gain.

If you have only a weekend for the trip, you would need to decide how miles you need to ride every day and ensure that the route would work with the time constraints. If you are a beginner to bikepacking, plan to ride about 20 to 40 miles every day and you could go up always if you are capable of it. the length of your route would decide how much time and days your cycle trip would take.

Aesthetics and region:

You have to find out if you want to explore any particular region of the state. Picking a region could help focusing on trails. It could be fun planning a tour around an iconic or beautiful location like a hot spring, historic ruin or stunning view where you may soak and relax.

Time and weather:

No matter where you are living, winter riding situations could be different than in summer. Some states are covered in heavy snow most of the time that makes it worse for a cycle trip. Early spring is the suited atmosphere for this type of trip.


The routes that may end in different places, you would need to find out extra logistics. The places where there are many transportation options, see how a train or bus could work with your plan.

2.       Design a cycle tour route

You have to design a route for your trip and there are many ways to do so. Here are the suggestions:

 Pick a route that is pre-planned:

Try finding a developed route for bikepacking. This could be tricky work to plan a tour as you would be able to find information about mileage, trail condition, water sources, elevation loss or gain, camping and more.

Creating your own route:

Guidebooks, websites and consult maps are great sources to plan a cycle tour. You may use any of them for finding forest roads, paved roads, double track trails and single track trails to create your own route. Remember that all roads and trails don’t allow bikes or cycles like protected wilderness places.

Another option is to talk to local people who are familiar with that area where you want to travel. Rangers would have the up-to-date info about the trail conditions.


You should spend some of your time to figure out the place for sleeping. You may find this flat area on the map or make a reservation at a hotel, hostel or campground. Keep in mind that you have to know the rules of the land-use before you are going to pitch your tent. You should take permission from the property owner if you are going camping on their private property.

Drinking and eating:

You should pack enough water and food for your trip in your backpack. But it is not possible to get water and food for many days. After three or four days, you may think how to refill the water bottles and grab for food.

Plan your route in such a way that you would find a supermarket, restaurant or convenience store in your way. You could even refill the bottles by lakes and rivers but in such cases, you have to pack a filter. you could plan carrying freeze-dried meals that are lightweight. Otherwise, you have to ask your friend if he could provide some food at your location.

3.       Creating a GPS track

Riding with a paper map and compass might be a little hard task for you. Thus, most of the bikepackers choose to use a dedicated GPS or smartphone for finding their route. A GPS would display your position as well as recording your way when you go. All you have to do is to load the route onto it before leaving your home. This may allow you to follow the turn of the roads.

4.       Time to make your trip

After making the plan, you have to prepare your bike or cycle according to your desired location. Check the tires and wheels properly and clean your bike. When you are done with all of these processes of planning, you are ready to go on a trip.

To conclude,a good bikepacking trip leaves you with a good and memorable experience and encourages you to go again. But a bad experience will make you upset and probably you won’t want to go on a trip in future. So, do better planning and make your cycle tour enjoyable.

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