Bikepacking is an overnight adventure sport, like backpacking, that trades forest service roads for trails, exchanging your backpack for a pair of saddle bags.
“I always get a little jealous when I pass someone who is obviously through hiking the PCT while I’m on my way to work or running errands,” says Derek Boland, an avid bike packer. “What is so cool is that it takes this experience and makes it much more accessible, you can go on a short weekend trip door to door and still get that rewarding feeling of escaping the daily grind. ”One important thing to keep in mind is that this activity is just as rural as backcountry packing so he advises “expect things to go wrong, be prepared to do some road/trail side repairs. Also try not to do big miles, riding a loaded bike takes a lot more effort”.
The best part about an activity like this, according to Boland, is that “you really don’t have to invest that much for an experience that is incredibly integral in our mental and physical well being which is connecting with our natural environment.”
Boland leads bike-camping seminars at Flywheel, where he is also a mechanic and bartender, they also sell saddlebags and equipment. He eagerly outlined four different local areas perfect for bikepacking. There’s a ride from Applegate Lake up into the Red Buttes over Cook and Green pass and down to the Klamath river that can be done in two-three days. The old miner’s trail loop, outside Kerby, is another two-three day trip that features great rugged landscape. “I’m working on a route from Ashland to the coast that is almost entirely dirt. There are also loops in the Cascade Siskiyous, the Klamath forest and the coastal range” says Boland. “Stay tuned to our website and Facebook page, we’re planning on leading an over-nighter soon”.
Photo credit: Derek Boland