When it comes to outdoor recreation (or anything, really), two is better than one.
Whether it's two-in-one body wash, buy-one-get-one mac and cheese, or that extra taco from last Tuesday, the more, the merrier. The same applies for outdoor recreation. If you've ever been on a bike, hiked in the woods, or enjoyed exploring new places — you need bikepacking in your life.
What is bikepacking, and why is it so great?
Bikepacking is "the synthesis of mountain biking and minimalist camping; it evokes the freedom of multi-day backcountry hiking, with the range and thrill of riding a mountain bike. It’s about forging places less travelled, both near and afar, via singletrack trails, gravel, and abandoned dirt roads, carrying only essential gear."
Simply put, bikepacking allows you to get the intimate experience of backpacking while covering longer distances in shorter amounts of time with a bike.
I interviewed some of our in-house experts on all things outdoor recreation to get the inside scoop on bikepacking. If you are unfamiliar with Auburn Outdoors, The Rec's premier source for high-quality outdoor rental gear, valuable and expert instruction on outdoor activities, and life-changing recreation experiences, you should get to know them. They run the giant climbing wall and bouldering cave located on the Lower Level of The Rec, and they have student-only outdoor rental equipment and a bike repair shop located outside of The Rec. Find out their hours and exclusive opportunities here.
Within Auburn Outdoors, I talked to two super cool employees and expert adventurers, Max and Felipe, about their experiences with bikepacking.
Max mentioned that he loves the sport because "you can use the bike as a tool to carry the weight of all your gear," while it also gives you "more freedom with how fast you can go, so you get the thrill of mountain biking combined with being out on the trail and traveling long-distance like backpacking."
Felipe, an avid biker, is actually leading one of Auburn Outdoors' popular trips this December. For five days, he will be bikepacking across the Southeast with a group of Auburn students, and he gave me the details on what to expect from the trip.
Spoiler Alert: They are taking fat bikes.
What's a fat bike, you ask? Essentially, it’s the monster truck of bikes.
Felipe explained that these are great for bikepacking because "they are really nice on dirt roads and mountain biking trails since you don’t really have to watch out for where you are going; you can just ram through everything because they’re so big." They are also perfect for carrying the extra weight of your gear.
If you find yourself wanting to learn more about this up-and-coming sport, stop by our Rental Shop Monday-Thursday from 12-9 p.m. or on Fridays from 12-6 p.m. Our staff would be happy to help!
Want to join Felipe and other cool students on Auburn Outdoors’ bikepacking trip this December? Sign up here. For a small price, the trip includes instruction, equipment, transportation and great food (trust me).
Any other questions about bikepacking or Auburn Outdoors? Simply comment below, or message us on social media @AuburnCampusRec.
Be well, Auburn.
Photography: Colt F.
Hadden is the epitome of "spunk." Her creative nature and desire for adventure have taken her across the world and placed her in the middle of some interesting situations.
She’s been with Campus Recreation since her sophomore year and has made it her goal to work in as many departments as possible. Along the way, she’s followed her passions from Facilities to Auburn Outdoors, and has finally found her home with the Marketing family.
A senior studying anthropology and minoring in Chinese and business, Hadden thrives with the obscure and strives to talk to everyone she sees. On her days off, you can find her planning out the next Anthropological Society meeting, walking around the woods looking for cool bugs, or working out at The Rec.