Embarking on a bikepacking trip is the perfect blend of cycling and adventure, offering a unique way to explore new landscapes while pushing your limits. However, the key to a successful journey lies in the planning and efficient packing. Whether you're a seasoned bikepacker or gearing up for your first adventure, knowing what to bring and how to pack can make all the difference. In this guide, we'll walk you through the essential gear, packing tips, and strategies to ensure you're well-prepared for an unforgettable bikepacking experience with North St. Bags.

A Few Guidelines We Like to Pack By:

Put lightweight items in your seat pack and handlebar pack:
For example, place your sleeping bag and sleeping pad here since they are light and bulky. This will help maintain your bike's handling by preventing top-heavy weight distribution.

Put heavy items in your lower storage (panniers, frame pack, etc.):
Packing your stove, fuel, bike tubes, extra food, and other heavy items in your frame pack keeps your bike's center of gravity low, which helps maintain your bike's handling.

Keep frequently used items within reach:
Items like snacks, water, maps, your phone, and a small camera should be kept in top tube bags, handlebar packs, and cages for easy access.

Take a test ride prior to your trip:

Pack your bike with your entire kit and take it for a test ride. Double-check that everything rides smooth, all your gear fits with some room to spare, and there is no abnormal movement, rubbing, or loose connections.

Adventure Micro Pannier

An image of someone putting a cup into a bike pannier

The Adventure Micro Pannier is your go-to solution for compact yet efficient storage, particularly when saddle rail- and seatpost-mounted bags fall short. In scenarios where there is limited room between the saddle and rear tire, using panniers is the way to go. Designed to attach seamlessly to your bike rack, this pannier provides ample space for essential gear without adding unnecessary bulk. Its weather-resistant material ensures your items stay dry, even in unpredictable conditions. Ideal for storing clothing, camping supplies, or extra food, the Adventure Micro Pannier strikes the perfect balance between size and functionality. Panniers are a good place to store your sleeping system, such as a tent and sleeping bag or hammock and quilt - whatever suits your fancy. These can also hold your camping essentials that you won’t typically use during the day, such as your stove, fuel, utensils, and coffee maker. The size of your pannier depends on the length of your trip, your packing style, and how much gear you plan to bring. Check out our article "How To Choose The Best Bike Pannier" to find the right one for you.

Handlebar Pack

One of North St. Bags on a bike handle bar

Maximize your front-end storage with the Handlebar Pack, designed to keep your essentials within arm's reach. This pack is perfect for lightweight, small objects that you’d want to keep handy and within arm's reach, like your phone, hat, headlamp, gloves, or camera. Many bikepackers prefer to cram items like their sleeping bag and folded sleeping pad directly into the handlebar pack to save weight and maximize space. The Handlebar Pack's strong construction, made with EPX 200 sailcloth fabric and a bright packcloth interior, ensures longevity. It features rider-facing mesh pouches for quick-access items, D-ring tabs for a shoulder strap, an internal pocket, and an internal stiffener that helps keep its shape. It also includes two Voile Nano straps for secure attachment. The Handlebar Pack not only enhances your bike's carrying capacity but also helps balance the load, contributing to a more stable and enjoyable ride.

Roll Top Trunk Bag

Someone rolling the top of a trunk bag

Versatility meets convenience with the Roll Top Trunk Bag. This bag is perfect for those items you need to access fairly easily, such as maps, a first aid kit, or a dry bag filled with clothes. We recommend packing from bottom to top with the least frequently used items on the bottom (i.e., tent pieces on the bottom, extra clothes on top). The roll-top closure provides extra protection from the elements, ensuring your gear remains dry and secure. Its spacious interior and adjustable straps make it easy to attach to your bike's rear rack, giving you additional storage without compromising ease of use. Whether you're riding through mud or traversing rugged terrain, the Roll Top Trunk Bag simplifies packing the essentials.

Tool Roll

Someone pulling a tool out of a North St. Bags tool roll

A reliable tool roll is a must-have for any bikepacker. Our compact Tool Roll keeps your tools organized and easily accessible, so you're always prepared for any mechanical issues on the road. With designated slots for wrenches, tire levers, and other essential tools, you can quickly address repairs and get back to enjoying your adventure. The Tool Roll features five pockets, providing easy access to essential tools for flat fixes or brake adjustments. Large enough to fit a folded spare tube, the Tool Roll can be secured under your seat or used as a great organizer within a larger bag. Made from durable materials, the Tool Roll comes in standard and classic Cordura colors or a range of sailcloth options, including the all-new EcoPak. Unfolded, it measures 10.5" x 11", and when rolled and secured, it compacts to a neat 5" x 3". At the minimum, we recommend bringing along the following tools: 

  • Multi-tool 
  • Chain breaker
  • Master link pliers
  • Chain lube 
  • Duct tape 
  • Zip ties
  • Tire patch kit
  • Extra brake pads
  • Spare tubes

With the Tool Roll, you'll always be prepared for any mechanical issues on the road, allowing you to focus on enjoying your adventure.

Fuel Pouch

Someone showcasing a bag on a bike

The Fuel Pouch is one of our favorite additions to bikepacking because it usually means one thing: snacks. It’s perfect for storing energy bars, gels, and small snacks. Designed to attach to your bike frame, it is always within easy reach and allows you to refuel without stopping. Adjustable uni-loop straps attach to just about any cockpit, and its durable, weather-resistant material ensures your precious snacks stay protected.

Water Storage

Of course, you can’t forget to pack (or overpack) the correct amount of water for your specific trip. We recommend having multiple bottle cages on your bike, a water bladder, and preferably a water filter or purification tablets as well.

Whether you're a seasoned vet or a first-time bikepacker, we can't wait for you to get out on your bike and into nature. Always remember that simplicity is key, and the main goal is to have fun and enjoy the journey. By organizing your items efficiently and keeping essential gear within easy reach, you'll be well-prepared for any adventure that comes your way. Gear up, plan smartly, and hit the trails with confidence, knowing that your gear was packed with our guidance. Check out all of our favorite bikepacking essentials here. Happy bikepacking!

Curtis Williams