Bikepacking Predictions 2016… what the future may hold.

From a dropper post seat pack to a rainy Tour Divide—we’ve pulled 12 predictions straight from our crystal ball to forecast trends, happenings, and gear innovations for bikepacking in 2016…

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Earlier this year, we were contacted by Outside Magazine to share thoughts and gear recommendations for their year-end issue and the Outside Guide to 2016. When the magazine hit the shelves in December, we were excited to see bikepacking front and center with the contentious title, ‘Bikepacking Will Displace Backpacking’. Which got us communing with our own inner soothsayer for what’s to come in the next year. Seance over, here’s our 12 intrepid predictions for bikepacking in 2016…

1. Wilderness Areas will allow bikepacking.

Our top slot goes to a very wishful prediction. For over three decades, bikepackers have been banned from designated Wilderness Areas in the US. That may soon change. Support organizations such as the Sustainable Trails Coalition and follow along as they tackle access to Wilderness via the Human Powered Wildlands Travel Management Act of 2015.

2. Someone will ride the entire Eastern Divide Route.

OK, it’s not even a route yet, but most of the pieces are falling into place. Stay tuned for our upcoming state by state update, and watch out for the pioneering bikepackers who are the first to complete it.

Bikepacking the Virginia Mountain Bike Trail - VMBT

3. A dropper specific seat pack will be announced.

We’ve heard whispers of a prototype seat pack tailored around a hydraulic dropper seatpost. Then there’s Gabe Amadeus’ DIY solution shown below, used on the Three Sisters Three Rivers route. Given all the hype around super-ultralight full-suspension bikepacking in 2015, it’s no wonder why. 2016 is the year, stay tuned.

2016 Kona Hei Hei DL Trail, Bikepacking, Full-suspension

4. Drop-bar adventure rigs will be announced by every major company.

As you’ve probably noticed, this is already happening. And it’s not a dying trend. Companies that haven’t yet released a drop-bar adventure bike will surely jump on the bandwagon next year. Forget pavement; expect more spandex-clad roadies to don overshorts and hit the gravel for ‘all-road’ overnighters.

Steamboat Ralleye

5. Tour Divides around the World

Inspired by the ever growing popularity and awareness of the GDMBR, 2016 will see a proliferation of national bikepacking routes around the world, concocted by local experts keen to showcase their country’s potential. Aside from the US, such trans-country rides already exist in Ecuador, England and New Zealand, as well as long distance routes like 2016’s inaugural Tuscany Trail, and Spain’s Trans-Andalus. Expect others to follow suit. The dream of circling the globe on trail and dirt is getting closer…

6. A waterproof framebag will be released.

After all, it already exists in a custom form; Revelate created a waterproof frame bag for Bjørn Olson’s attempted traverse of the Alaska coastline. And in a step in the same direction, Porcelain Rocket released a roll-top framebag. But next year, look for someone to take it to the next level soon, and make a fully sealed, monsoon-proof production frame bag.

Bikepacking Framebag

7. More big bag manufacturers will get into bikepacking.

Traditional touring companies, such as Arkel and Blackburn, have been seen jumping the fence to graze in bikepacking pastures. Look for more big brands doing the same, creating an ever wider variety of ultralight, bikepacking specific gear.

8. Family Bikepacking will become a thing.

It already is for a few folks. With gear like the Weehoo iGo, the Tout Terrain Singletrailer, and quality seats from Yepp and Thule, ‘tykepacking’ is bound to tempt bike-loving parents into family adventures. Stay tuned for our upcoming Guide to Family Bikepacking, and check out our first family specific route on Aspen Ridge.

family bikepacking in Salida, CO

9. Instagraming bikepackers will replace their slingshots with hand-made guns.

Evidenced via Instagram, 2015 saw a niche slingshot resurgence amongst bikepackers. For 2016, the committed will adopt superior wrist-bracing slingshots ($10 from any hunting store); the fashionistas will turn their attention elsewhere. Crossbows? Nah. Hand-made guns? Maybe. OK, we kid, but it’s fun to give a nod to the year of slingshots.

10. 27.5+ will be the new fat.

There’s little doubt that 27.5+ is a compelling tire size for bikepacking: added floatation, confidence-inspiring traction, reduced weight over 29+, a more manageable diameter for everyone, and room for full suspension designs are just a few of the reasons why. Expect ever more 27.5+ bikes and tire options. And, in case that’s not enough, keep your eyes peeled for a 27.5” fat bike in 2016.

Jamis Dragonslayer, 27.5+ Bikepacking, 650+, B+

11. The Tour Divide will be a rainy one.

With all the random weather spawned by El Niño and our planet’s spiralling climate change, there’s no telling what the conditions will be like in 2016. But don’t let our quack weather-prediction stop you. Check Josh Kato’s packlist; he was ready for anything.

12. BIKEPACKING.com will hit 100 routes.

This is an easy one. We already have 72 routes in the database right now; look for more great rides to add to your bucket list, and additional bells and whistles on the routes pages. Underpinned by greater access – and more familiarity – with the likes of GPS technology and Google Earth, the future is looking rosy for great places to ride!

The predictions above were a group effort from Logan Watts, Cass Gilbert, and Skyler Des Roches. Is there anything you divine will happen in 2016? Or indeed, anything you’d like to see next year? Let us know in the comments below!

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