Why Has Bikepacking Become So Popular
It seems that everywhere you look today, you find an article or watch a video about bikepacking. There are magazines and blogs that tell of the latest trails, trends, equipment, and challenges of bikepacking and even movies . All of this information makes any mountain biker dream of stacking a tent and sleeping bag on the bike and heading out. One would wonder, why did this popularity just explode?
I had a brief discussion with Brett Davidson, a tour leader at Mulberry Gap, while he was preparing for the 2015 Trans Am Bike Race. Brett will be leading the Cohutta Backcountry 101 tour from July 9th thru the 12th, an introduction to the basics of bikepacking. The course will include helpful tips on the planning, the packing, the navigation, and the execution of an inaugural bikepacking journey. He is very qualified to discuss this topic having ridden well known trails throughout the southeast.
"The trend of bikepacking has been building steam for over a decade," says Davidson, "but there are 2 reasons it has become so explosive now.
"Firstly, there is the new equipment. Inspired by ultra-light back packing, there have been some fantastic advances in the design and manufacturing of bike bags. Manufacturers such as Revelate Designs, Oveja Negra, and J. Paks have created unique and versatile storage solutions that keep your essentials dry and safe.
"Secondly, there are some great, long distance trails to try. The most famous is the Great Divide Mountain Bike Route, the subject of the film Ride The Divide. There are several routes, however, that are easier to attempt and worth trying such as the Colorado Trail and Arizona Trail. What I am most excited about are the trails that have been blazed here in the Southeast such as the TNGA, Cross Florida ITT and the Huracan 300. All of these trails make it easier for the novice bikepacker to get started."
We wish Brett luck on his across the country journey. You can learn more about his experiences and bikepacking on the Cohutta Backcountry 101 tour. See you on the trail.