Just a few years ago, bikepacking was largely considered a fringe adventure sport, the exclusive domain of foolhardy cyclists who raced the Tour Divide from Banff, Alberta, to Antelope Wells, New Mexico, each June. Today, multi–day bicycle adventuring is one of the fastest–growing segments of the cycling industry and almost every manufacturer offers multiple bikepack–ready models. The boom in popularity has led to extensive route development, too, which gives cyclists nearly endless options based on ability, terrain type and duration.
What is bikepacking?
The easiest way to describe bikepacking is to consider two distinct sports: traditional bicycle touring and ultralight backpacking. From bicycle touring, bikepacking borrows its multi–day, long–distance travel focus, but takes it off the highway and onto gravel roads and mountain bike trails. To make the bikes less burdensome over difficult terrain, it adopts the ultralight backpacking ethos of carrying only the essentials. In place of bike racks and panniers, most bikepackers opt for simple handlebar rolls, frame bags and seat bags that often total as little as a 30–litre carrying capacity to fit everything, including a tent, sleeping bag, warm clothing layers and enough food to travel between resupply points.
Best bikepacking routes in Canada
From weekend–length gravel–road rides beginning in Quebec, to 10–day epic trips on rail trails across British Columbia, deciding where to go might prove as challenging as the multi–day adventure itself. Here are some of our favourite bikepacking routes across Canada to get you started.