The Rise of Bikepacking, A Manifesto

“Isn’t bikepacking getting too commercialized? Why do you publicize routes? Don’t we want fewer people on trails? And what exactly is bikepacking? Isn’t that just a new word for touring?” Those are just a few of the questions we’re asked regularly. To answer such queries into our motives, here’s our mission statement, and why we think the growth of bikepacking is one of the best things to happen to both riders and the bike industry…

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Everything that’s great eventually gains popularity and gets bastardized by greed and corporatization, right? Take hardcore punk rock as an example, perhaps a strange analogy to anyone who doesn’t share my musical taste. During its rise in the late 70s and early 80s, it was completely disparate from anything else at the time. It purposefully flipped a middle finger at every type of music that came before it. Then it “sold out,” and now we’re left with spinoffs, punk-pop, and Blink 182. Either way, there will always be a Bad Brains record at arm’s length in my music library.

So, where’s this going? The point I want to make is that at the early stages of any fringe movement there were people in the trenches before it became a trend – the makers, doers, and pioneers who created the original. Then, companies come along and run with those concepts in the name of success and the mighty dollar. It’s inevitable. But that doesn’t mean those original ideas are dead.

Some say bikepacking is in that state of flux right now. It has captured the imagination of a new group of people who want to camp out on their bikes, ride trails, explore the world, and the venture into the great outdoors. And in doing so, it has piqued the interest of an ever-growing number of businesses keen to get in on the action.

As a result, the term itself has grown to envelop an ever broader range of biking touring interests. Perhaps now’s a good point to backtrack a little and share our interpretation of the term, here at While bicycle touring has existed since time immemorial, bikepacking has come to define a style of travel favoring routes that are predominantly off-pavement, sometimes featuring significant components of singletrack. Routes that by their nature tend to demand lighter weight setups than the traditional four-pannier bike touring setup — at least to be enjoyed to the fullest. Now, this doesn’t mean people weren’t riding and camping along remote trails before the word came along. More, that it’s a handy way of describing the lightweight, offroad component favored for such rides. Why dirt and not pavement? As our highways become ever busier with traffic, we’ve noticed a burgeoning group of riders seeking routes that are quieter, closer to nature, more adventurous, and in our opinion, a lot more fun. But it should also be said that we recognize that all terms are simply convenient, bite-sized definitions and are subject to change over time. Ultimately, we’re fans of bike touring in all its many incarnations and tribes, so we’re the first to acknowledge that there’s often a lot of overlap and shared stoke, however you choose to camp out on a bike, and whatever bike and setup you choose.

Anyway, As I was saying, bikepacking has also captured the imagination of a whole new group of riders, and in doing so, the bike industry. In a big way. So be it! We think bikepacking is the best thing to come along since The Misfits (to borrow from my punk rock analogy again), or this site wouldn’t exist. And because of this, we are doing our best to build the stoke. That last sentiment might raise a few eyebrows. But it goes with our mission, which you can read about below, along with all its congruent issues, from public land awareness, to the general perception of the cycling community, to the advocacy of the trails we ride, to the state of the bike industry itself.

When we started, we really had no idea where it would go. It was born from behind the handlebars out of a passion for sharing the adventure. Since then, it’s grown more than we could have imagined. Given that we recently turned two years old as (five years in total), we thought it would be a good time to share where we stand and where we see it going.

Trans-WNC (Western North Carolina) Bikepacking Route

  • Salsa Pony Rustler Review, Bikepacking
  • Trans-WNC (Western North Carolina) Bikepacking Route

1. Change (The Rhetoric)

As the editor at, I see a lot of bike related content. After a while, it’s easy to gloss over the prevailing tone of mainstream mountain biking media, social streams, and culture. You know, the one where trails aren’t just ridden. They’re ripped, crushed, owned, and shredded. Scenery is supplanted by skids, tail whips, and big air. All too often, the image of mountain biking is portrayed as destroying land, not savoring it. This overtly aggressive lexicon has also slipped into the words, visual language, culture, clothing, and graphics that define it. It’s no wonder other land user groups fear us. Don’t get me wrong, I appreciate carving fast singletrack just as much as anyone. Mountain bikes are incredible machines and the skillsets that individuals have developed to push them to their limits is amazing. But I also think there is a softer, alternative voice that needs to be heard, nurtured, and grown.

Fortunately, the rise of bikepacking presents the opportunity to seize a new vernacular. One that offsets aggressive imagery with that focused on stewardship and appreciation. One that places landscapes, cultures, exploration, and solace over hits and berms. The language of bikepacking, both literal and visual, hinges on words like remote, access, wander, and backcountry. Visuals that tell a story that go beyond outright speed and technical mastery. We see this as an extremely positive message, especially in the face of worldwide land access issues. With the right educational information around ethics and advocacy, we believe in the value of encouraging the growth of this alternative perception of mountain biking.

The Trans-Uganda Bikepacking Route, Bike Touring Uganda

  • The Trans-Uganda Bikepacking Route, Bike Touring Uganda
  • Bikepacking and Bike Touring Africa Guide

2. Inspire (People to get out on Bikes)

Bikepacking has grown significantly in the last few years. Prior to 2013, it was mostly reserved for diehard endurance racers, outliers, wanderers, and obscure forum discussions. Since then, the concept has evolved and been pulled in different directions. But the idea is still the same. Strap some stuff to a mountain(ish) bike, ride it somewhere off the beaten track for a couple days (or more), and camp in between. Explore by bike. Adventure by bicycle. Touring with a sense of urgency. Or whatever tagline you prefer. As with anything that has grown in popularity, those who see themselves as pioneers are sometimes prone to protecting their stomping grounds by keeping them secret, as many are apt to do with places that are unique and precious to them.

This brings us to the second question in the intro, and the one that kind of spurred this post — and even the desire to create a mission statement of sorts: “Why do you publicize routes; don’t you want fewer people on these trails?”

In a nutshell, we don’t think overuse or trail abuse from other bikepackers is or will be a threat, especially with the right introduction and education. Given the ever-growing number of routes that are being developed, it’s quite surprising to meet other bikepackers on the trail. And such encounters are usually very welcome. Where there have been issues in the past related to sudden growth, education in the ethics of Leave No Trace and other best practices embedded in our routes and guides will help ensure they aren’t repeated in the future.

In fact, we see part of our goal and responsibility as providing more opportunities for getting people out on their bikes — especially ones that go far beyond a stacked series of trails, rock gardens, berms, and jumps. Creating longer bikepacking routes encourages riders to connect with our environment, historical places, and with other cultures, which we think is especially important given the turbulent times we live in. In our opinion, this overrides any sense of keeping things secret.

I asked Cass Gilbert, co-editor and professional stoke builder, to weigh in. Here’s what he had to say:

“I’ve always felt that encouraging people to get out on their bicycles and have meaningful contact with their surroundings – both alone and with friends – can only be seen as a ‘good thing’. It’s one reason why I’ve often shared details of the places I travel. Whether long or short, such journeys can undoubtedly spur, well, personal growth, for want of a better phrase. They can help us develop a deeper appreciation for the planet we live on and those we share it with, bringing with it the very real potential to change the way we live our lives in the process.

I even think the act of carrying our own gear creates a different level of respect for our surroundings than the one gleaned by driving to a trailhead and blowing through on a day ride. Packing our own food and supplies makes us especially aware of the importance of self-sufficiency and sustainability. It slows us down and brings a heightened sense of awareness for where we are. Of course, with it comes the responsibility of acting accordingly. I don’t believe I’m naive in thinking that it’s one that almost all bikepackers will carry out naturally, even as the market grows. I don’t doubt that they’ll always be the odd exception – the same can be said in every part of life – but we shouldn’t let isolated acts of selfishness spoil and taint the positive experiences of others.

Bikepacking can be hard work and it can put us well and truly outside of our comfort zone, in ways that we’re often denied in a society in which convenience is king. If someone is prepared to commit themselves to such an endeavour, I’d like this site to help provide both the inspiration and knowledge for having the most rewarding experience possible. If sharing information – like great places to ride – is the catalyst for getting potential bikepackers out there, that’s a good enough reason for me being a part of doing what we do. Making connections is what we need right now, and seeing the world on a bicycle is amongst the best ways of doing this.”

So how about too much growth? “Bikepacking is going to get too big and be ruined forever,” cry the diehards. Even if its popularity still pales in comparison with other sub-genres in the two-wheeled spectrum of sports, should we be worried about its future? If you are small bag maker — in some ways, the crux of the bikepacking community — perhaps there is a reason to be concerned, given the big brand products hitting the shelves. Competition is always scary. Will overseas manufacturing squeeze out the cottage industry innovators? I’ve heard some people toss around the old and hopeful adage: A rising tide lifts all ships. Perhaps this is true. For our part, we’ll certainly do our best to provide a platform for small makers.

I asked Scott Felter, the founder of a small bikepacking bag company, Porcelain Rocket, to weigh in. Here’s what he had to say:

“On one hand, I won’t pretend that I haven’t noticed a shift in sales, compared to the early days. In the beginning, we sold full kits (handlebar, frame, and seat bag) almost exclusively, as there were only so many small cottage shops building bikepacking gear. Now, it seems that lots of consumers are enjoying the ability to mix ‘n match. This is undoubtedly in response to the availability of far more off-the-shelf gear options in universal-fit gear. On the other hand, the presence of larger companies has done us smaller shops a service, in that it affords us the opportunity to show off innovation and it forces us to specialize our line-ups to stay competitive. It has certainly changed the way we operate at Porcelain Rocket, but I see most of these things as for the better, and only more so as time passes.”

VMBT (Virginia Mountain Bike Trail) Bikepacking Route

  • VMBT (Virginia Mountain Bike Trail) Bikepacking Route
  • Rise of Bikepacking
  • Bikepacking Kyrgyzstan

3. Inform (No B.S.)

The third part of our mission is more relevant to our goals with the site. The core motivation for — the reason we built it in the first place and the impetus that drives us to work on it countless hours a week — is to inform and inspire. Although this is best encapsulated by our route guides, planning articles, and stories, it’s also equally evident in our gear reviews, where we stress honest, real-world feedback and analysis.

While we’ve experimented with different types of content over our first two years, our aim has always been to publish the best original content we can, beyond the typical regurgitated news feeds and click bait articles that flood the internet. Yes, we do offer quick news and events posts among our deeper articles, but even then our intention is to provide relevant, deliberate content with quality photography and thoughtful opinions and research.

The fact is, there’s an awful lot of gear available these days. We don’t have time to dedicate long hours to publishing reviews on bad products, so the gear we choose to take the time to write up is likely to be quality gear that we want to use. And, by default, gear we think you’ll like too. This said, we’ll always point out its pros and cons, and do our best to help readers decide if it’s the right choice for them.

Sponsored/Not Sponsored

We should add that despite the role our sponsors and advertisers play in keeping this site afloat, their financial help has no influence whatsoever on the integrity of our reviews; we’d rather lose an advertiser than let that happen. We don’t and never will do “paid content.” And we take pride that our reviews are born from real-world testing, are longterm (whenever possible), and are completely impartial. When it comes down to it, the question we always ask ourselves is: is this a product we’d recommend to a close riding friend? We also encourage readers to add their input within the comments field, regardless of whether they agree with us or their experiences differ from our own. After all, the last thing we want is to promote gear that doesn’t last or function as intended, simply adding to the world’s landfill problem. It’s also worth noting that all of the advertisers here are companies we approached because they have helped grow and create bikepacking, and as such, they are all companies whose products we were interested in.

Bikepacking Cuba

  • Bikepacking Cuba
  • bikepacking Cuba

Salsa Cutthroat Review, Bikepacking

4. Balance (the eternal quest)

We’re striving to seek balance as the popularity of this site grows. And we’re aiming to find this balance in every aspect of the site. This includes the way we’re funded, the gear we review and write about (from high end steeds to homemade hacks), the routes we publish (both challenging and newbie-friendly), the styles of bikepacking (from ultraendurance racing to international dirt-road exploration), as well as the industry news we cover. In doing so, we hope to offer something for everyone who is passionate about bikepacking, no matter your budget, riding style, or time constraints. In addition to this, posting quality, in-depth features, ones that rival anything that can be found both online and in print, is certainly our aspiration and an aspect of the site we want to invest in.

Running this site takes up an incredible amount of time, which often impedes our most important personal goal and the drive behind starting this website: to ride our bikes and share our experiences. This leads us to the most difficult of topics: funding. With this in mind, we aim to work with a core group of talented and passionate contributors, as well as guest writers. Our goal now more than ever is to pay these contributors fairly and quickly. To accomplish this, we offer advertising and sponsorship on the site. However, we are finding it more and more challenging to meet our budget with this alone, and we predict it will be generally unsustainable in the long term. With the overall decline within the bike industry, as well as new social media marketing models being adopted within the industry, advertising rates are being affected.

For this reason, we’re considering a range of options to dovetail our advertising revenue for the future, from micro-financing through memberships, to affiliate links, to partnerships with other publications. In an ideal world, we’d have the finances we need to pay our contributors and ourselves fairly (a crucial part to how we see the future of this site developing), let alone the fees for the rapidly growing body of content we host and the bandwidth required to do so. Not to mention the resources to develop ideas that we have on the back burner, such as new routes map functionality, sorting capabilities, and additional website tools. But, the reality is we have to both go hunting for funding and evolve as economic situations change.

We freely admit this balance can sometimes be a challenge to find, and is one that’s very much open to interpretation. For this reason, we value your feedback. So feel free to tell us below what you’d like to see more of and what you enjoy most. We’ll do our best to take it all into account.

  • Appalachian Beer Trail, Bikepacking Pisgah, NC

Green Mountain Gravel Growler, Bikepacking Vermont

  • RogSim

    I am extremely glad that this site exists. As a bikepacking hopeful and someone who has a burgeoning interest in all things bikepacking, I am extremely glad that this site exists, as an invaluable resource I can access at any time, provided by those who have laid the groundwork and forged the path ahead. I have learned more about bikepacking from this one website that I ever would have from talking to others, forum posts, or the occasional article on an outdoor lifestyle website.

    If I’m not reading gear reviews and looking at pack lists in preparation for my next adventure, I’m reading stories and looking at the beautiful photographs of others who have experienced stunning landscapes in foreign lands and anecdotes about interesting characters during the journey.

    Thank you for making all of this information available and working to get more people out there to adventure and enjoy the far corners of our world with reverence, respect, and awe.

  • mikeetheviking

    This sums up why I love this site.

  • GolfPappa Norway

    Well said RogSIm. Couldn’t have expressed it better. Summed it up in a nutshell.
    One of my personal favorite most visited, comprehensive and inspirational site. Full stop.
    “If its not broken , don’t fix it…” GolfPappa Norway

  • Nick Mandeville

    As a long distance mountain hiker and average mountaineer who has always had a bike your fantastic site has opened up a whole raft of new adventures to explore. I hope it is more the merrier like climbing where we share the stoke unlike some other activities.

  • I think it is always a good idea after a movement really gains momentum to step back and try to contextualize where you are and think about where you are going. That said, I think the Mekons had the first written punk rock manifesto, and it included things like “We will never have our photographs taken. We will not make a record. We will not have our names printed.” The Mekons still make great music and I still respect their integrity despite breaking most of the rules they penned in 1977. When the last 7 Seconds album came out a few years ago, I told the record store owner that I haven’t been able to stay as angry as I was back in the day, but I still like the music. He said if anything, he was more angry.

    For me, the core values expressed in this manifesto are laudable and sustainable. As someone who just retired from a career as a bicycle advocate, I still believe that anything that gets more butts on bikes is good for the world. More people bikepacking might just shift people from one kind of riding to another, but it should broaden people’s understanding of other cultures and their connection to wilderness.

    Monetizing this site is simply a necessity to keep it sustainable. Paying contributors is a great goal for those who try to support themselves retelling their adventures, but I’d bet most have found more reliable income sources.

    One thing I have not seen in bikepacking yet is the guide service model that exists in most other outdoor activities from hook and bullet to adventure sports like climbing. People have been really happy with our Tour de Chequamegon guided introduction to bikepacking we do in partnership with Fyxation. It also turns a profit while fulfilling the mission of the Wisconsin Bike Fed: Get more people riding; promote our state’s great riding, promote the products from our state our bike industry; and generate support for cycling by showing the positive economic impact cycling can have.

    If every year folks like you, Cass, Lucas, Joe and the crew of other bikepacking ambassadors offered some spots on a few adventure trips you have dialed, it might help offset the costs of providing this invaluable resource that has become for people like me while promoting the tenets of you manifesto.

    Just an idea, and thanks again for creating this great site, adding to my bucket list and generally doing what you do.

  • Heather

    I’d happily pay a couple bucks every time I download a GPS file. Yes, there is nothing to stop people from sharing them freely once downloaded, but I think you would still see most the traffic come through your site. It may even generate more revenue if you just made it a voluntary donation; there may be some data out there on that, as I know some music artists are exploring that option. Thanks for such a beautifully designed and organized site!

  • Thanks Heather! Great feedback…

  • Thanks for the kind words! I am glad you caught the bikepacking bug… and we’ll try and keep the stoke going.

  • Hear, Hear!

  • Zachary Brown

    Hey guys,

    Thanks a million for writing this. It addresses many of the points I brought up in comments on the Sir9 review.

    I don’t necesarily like a premium content/ subscription service but I would personally be willing to contribute to some sort of crowdfunding platform.

    Also, I know I often go elsewhere (UL hiking and camping sites) when looking for gear info so maybe it could help to focus more on the other kinds of articles rather than try to cover gear as well?

    Just my two cents, cheers!

  • I think the Mekons had the first written punk rock manifesto, and it included things like “We will never have our photographs taken. We will not make a record.” The Mekons still make great music with integrity despite breaking most of the rules they penned in 1977. For me, the core values expressed in your manifesto are a bit more sustainable.

    As for the concern about too many people bikepacking, some routes might be inappropriate for a Dirty Kanza style ride/race, but even a really big group of bikepackers who follow leave no trace and travel hoping the embrace new cultures would be a good thing.

    Monetizing this site is a necessity to keep it sustainable. I’d also be fine with a fees or a donation button.

    One thing have not seen in bikepacking yet is the guide service model that exists in most other outdoor activities. People have been really happy with our Tour de Chequamegon guided introduction to bikepacking we do in partnership with Fyxation. It also turns a profit while fulfilling the mission of the Wisconsin Bike Fed. If every year folks like you, Cass, Lucas, Joe and the crew of other ambassadors offered some spots on a few adventure trips you have dialed, it might help offset the costs of providing this invaluable resource that has become.

  • simon kirk

    You have nailed it once again, the trend in the cycling press has been disturbing me for some time now; when I first started riding mountain bikes the message was simple, do no damage to the terrain, skids are not cool, these days the trend is to be aggressive and destroy the trails while riding them, I try as much as I can to distance myself from that kind of rider. I have been a reader of this site since I first found it 12 months ago, it has helped and inspired me in my day to day riding and my own adventures, I would happily support the site through membership or a donate button. Thank you to all the contributors for your hard work.

  • is such a valuable source of information and inspiration to us. Thanks for running this site and making it all happen. However, we can only agree with @Heather’s idea, we would be more than happy to pay a few bucks every time we download a route!

  • Love the Mekons tidbit! And thanks for the thoughts. I am not sure if guiding would be my strong suit, personally, but it’s certainly an interesting idea I’ll take to heart…

  • Thanks for the kind words, Simon!

  • Thanks! But… you already are a contributor! Speaking of which, I owe you some text… this week.

  • tbulger

    Looks like my manifesto “I like riding bikes and looking at pretty pictures of people riding bikes” lines up well with yours.

  • :-)

  • jorge

    Your site is very helpful, and I really enjoy stories and great pics. Your concerns are also the concerns of us who ride. Marketing will make the idea ugly but still some will keep going where masses don’t dare, where the beauty hides.

  • Paul Sylvester

    When I was in my 20’s almost everything dirt was open to 4X vehicles (only vehicles were Jeeps, Land Cruisers and Broncos). I spent most of my free time exploring out of the way places. Then the off road world exploded and many of the back roads went into limited use or no use in the case of wilderness areas. Fast forward 50 years and I see bike packing. Now at 71 I find it much harder to camp than when I was 20 but I’m drawn to the open spaces where others don’t go. I’m drawn to the sense of adventure at a level I can manage. That said I’m not one for just setting off hoping I have the right equipment. This site is invaluable to me both for getting started and continuing on my quest to do more and longer trips in the future. There’s nothing like actually doing an activity to really learn how to do it. There is a start point that a site like this gives you that jump starts you past lots of mistakes strictly just doing it will uncover. Other people’s experiences are so important especially with something that is evolving fast. This site has been so helpful I can’t begin to explain. What a resource and please keep up the great work even if you need to charge for it.

  • Mark Atwell

    Well, I think this site is about the best bike porn out there right now. Great reviews, great routes, GREAT pictures. Sometimes the “shredding” thing leaks through but I try not to let it get in the way of the other stuff. (see Trail to Kazbegi, wonderful video, shredding). Thank you thank you.
    …and just to keep it light, Cass Gilbert used the word “taint” which made me giggle…

  • Anthony Turner

    Great article Logan!!

  • Thanks Mark. Yeah, there will be hints of that from time to time; after all, we’re not condemning mountain biking altogether… but the overarching tone is certainly not going in the same direction as mainstream MTB media. And Joey’s films are amazing. If anything, films like that bridge some sort of divide, IMO. Thanks for the compliments. And nice word catch… it needs an apostrophe ;)

  • Thanks Anthony; equal credit due to Cass Gilbert for input and writing…

  • Thanks Paul. it’s great to hear your perspective, excitement, and encouragement!

  • PNT

    Make a Club with paid membership! Club only stuff and it will work because there are enough people here that admire your work and would put some $ to make this page even better! There is nothing worst than dependence from sponsors money and nothing better than growing as community. You have my $ for sure as most of my bikepacking knowledge comes from this site, so I ow you:)

  • Samuel Schlicht

    Regarding the commercial aspect of bikepacking I always try to think positive: One more bikepacker means one less car. And what could be better than that? If you can get people to stay away from cars and out into real nature, I applaud you. You’ve done everything right.
    On a personal level, I’m deeply grateful to be able to discover bikepacking through this site. For years I was looking for ways to a more sustainable approach to travel. I never used cars and never will and through this site I stumbled upon that bikepacking thing. Now I can get out there, ride my bike and sleep outside and try to waste as little as possible. And I’m really grateful for that, as it changed me and the way I look at things now in a lot of positive ways. I think that’s the reason why more people should be getting into bikepacking. It’s sustainable, environmentally friendly (if done right) and it changes people’s behavior towards our shared environment.
    So thanks for all the info and thank you for this site!

  • Thanks Zach. I must add that the gear related content is some of the most trafficked on the site… and I think there is quite a bit of bikepacking-specific gear —as well as bike parts and accessories relevant to the topic — that isn’t reflected on UL hiking sites. But, again, we think it’s all about balance…

  • Thanks, we have considered such … glad we were able to provide some guidance!

  • Konrad Królikowski

    Your website is very inspirational. It is actually one of those few sites I check daily. I bikepack with my friends in Poland where I live. We don’t look for attractive tourist destinations. We cut through the land. We pass sleepy villages and nowhere towns. We break through big cities if they are in our way. We feel perfectly free. Bikepacking is about poetry.

  • Nina Gässler

    Just don’t stop ;-)
    Best source of information and inspiration. Keep up the good work!

  • Cass Gilbert

    Great words and I love that last sentence, Konrad.

  • Cass Gilbert

    One Less Car… sounds good to me (-;

  • Cass Gilbert

    Must be showing my age… looks like I need to catch up on my slang (-;

  • Thanks for the encouragement Samuel…. glad to hear! +1 for fewer busses and cars used for travel.

  • Thank you thank you!

  • tnts

    Thanks for the great post and even more awesome site! In the next browser tab I’ve got flights ready to be booked to go around the Sierra Nevada route next spring. When we’re finished I’ll send you updated information of the whole path. If we can make it…

  • tnts

    For one financing stream you could open a t-shirt shop. There would be many artists who would be happy to support the community with their designs.

  • Cole Taylor (cadoodle)

    I’m packing for my first bikepacking one-nighter currently and your articles have been a huge help (I think you wrote that article on sewing your own frame bag? I’m making one). I loved your first point about using gentler words to promote respect of the relationship between builders, trails, and riders. I really hate the new generation sentiment of being hardcore and ballsy and beating up trails, partly because it gets more music-blasting, oblivious idiots on the trail who don’t know what the word respect means.I sound like a crotchety old man. I promise I’m nicer than that sounded. I guess I appreciate the feeling of just riding a bike with a steady cadence through some beautiful terrain more than some of my friends.

  • ross

    Any chance of bringing forum to Beyond that downloadable PDF of the route pages in addition it the gpx tracks would be great. I think the suggestion below of donation based gpx tracks is a great idea. For all the points the article addressed I still believe this website has driven myself and others I’ve met along lonely trails the inspiration and confidence to get out there and cycle in amazing places. While the gear makes it possible or at least easier, I’m reminded of the old Zen analogy of the finger pointing at the moon which people suck instead of looking at the sky. I’m off to Baja California soon see you all there ! :D

  • Nate justice

    I adore this sight! It has its own icon on my phones home screen so I can check it with ease daily. I went on my first 340 mile bike adventure and now commute to and from work and school daily because of this sight. I haven’t touched my car other than grocery trips for months. I think you guys should start a Patreon so people could back you however much they see fit. I think you’d be pleasantly surprised at how many people like myself value your content enough to dig into our pockets. I have also reached out about merchandise like those sweet T-shirt’s you guys had a while back. I’m sure you could make a decent amount of revenue with an online store too. Just my thoughts. Whatever you do, DONT STOP DOING WHAT YOUR DOING. I escape to some far corner of the globe each day just by reading your articles or flipping through photo galleries. It is informative, inspiring, and entertaining all at once and I hope it continues to grow! Much love!

  • Andrew

    Fantastic site. I really hope you get the financing figured out because this site is invaluable.

    I’d love to see a gear shop attached to the site. I’ve been dreaming of putting together a bikepacking store for years now.

  • Hamish Osborn

    I think is a superb website and I really value and enjoy it. I think you get the balance right in terms of content (gear v trips v advice, etc). It is also aesthetically one of the best websites I visit and the ‘values’ and approach to bikepacking and travel that you express align with my own… If that makes sense.

    I really appreciate the international nature of the content and as a non North American reader I don’t feel excluded or marginalised.

    I recognise that maintaining the website must take loads of time, effort and thought. It must also become something of a responsibility as momentum grows and that responsibility could conflict with the freedom you need to ride yourself and keep the content and inspiration flowing!

    I would pay to use the site – especially if it helped maintain the quality of the content as high as it is. It would be brilliant if you could sustain it through a voluntary payment, but I would understand if you decided to charge. I’d rather pay for general access then by article… because that makes for browsing rather than target reading. Thinking out loud… I wonder if you could also invite people to invest somehow rather than just pay/donate. Not sure how that would work but I am talking small investments from readers/bike packers rather than looking for big rich backers?

  • I am constantly amazed by the beautiful design and the high quality content you provide on this site. Further, I also appreciate your honesty when it comes to the monetization aspect and the brands you choose to work with.

    In theory, subscription based monetization of media content has the potential to relieve media from the influence of advertisers. I could see this as a way forward for your page. I would surely be willing to pay a few Swiss francs for all the magic you supply us with. However the theoretical advantages of subscription based models, only big operations like the NYT and the Washington Post with a huge market have really made this happen recently and local and regional media content providers have struggled to reach the necessary audience.
    I do not know if it would be viable for a specialized, niche, high quality outlet. But what you have going for you is that your advertisers are not really big evil companies, your reach is potentially global (well, developed-world global), and the bikepacking community is probably more open to paying for services than other audiences, based on socio-economic attributes of their average members. Striking the balance between what your manifesto is about (providing the stoke for everyone) and limiting access/ charging for services (necessarily excluding some people), sounds hard, but could be done I think. You have so much material that gets people stoked about going outside that restricting access to some of it must not necessarily infringe your manifesto.

    When I was writing my Master’s thesis, I had a collection of bookmarks titled “outside break”, which I visited when I needed a respite from statistics, models and theory. Your Pedaling Nowhere blog was in there as well as Cass Gilbert’s While out Riding. They got me through many dark moments by reminding me of what I would be doing when the whole thing was over. It is great to see the people behind these blogs still out there and making the internet (and the world in extension) a more beautiful place. I am now writing my PhD thesis, but some things have not changed – is still bookmarked, gives me an “outside break” when I am stuck inside and reminds me to be thankful to have the opportunity to go on a winter bikepacking trip next weekend.

  • John Carman

    Love the site also, it’s my trusted go to. It inspires me, love the reviews and hacks and often share the articles from your site with others esp the Bikepacking 101. Loojs styley n profession too. Keep it up and sounds like you guys are heading on the right track. Big thanks!

  • Thanks and glad to hear you are making a frame bag. I was looking back on that post the other day and thinking of making another to update it and make it a little more fresh…

  • Konrad Królikowski

    Thank You.

  • Thanks Ross. All of these pieces are things we’ve considered. Keep in mind that there are a few tricks for saving and viewing the route guides offline. I may publish something about that in the future :)

  • Thanks Nate. Wow, surely we can’t take credit for all of that, but thanks! We’d love to get t-shirts rolling again. I stopped as it was incredibly time consuming to pack and ship, but I’ve since learned some new techniques, so we may sell a few items in the not too distant future.

  • Thanks for the feedback. And thanks for empathizing, in terms of freedom :)

  • Thanks for the detailed insight, Mario. It’s interesting to see how subscription and recurring payment models have progressed. The hurdle I think many will face in the coming years is the gross realization of how many monthly payments are being made by individuals. Netflix, Spotify, and the many other services add up.

    Glad we can provide an ‘outside break’… great luck in your PhD!

  • John Short

    Whatever label you put on this new thing, bike packing or bike touring, it is still one thing, and that is A BLAST! I am a 56 year old male who has only dreamed of adventuring by hike or bike, but it wasn’t until I saw this bikepacking site that I converted my Motobecane Fantom Comp into a touring bike! I always loved this frame and it even pulled most of its duty as a single speed, full rigid, sandy trail riding machine here in central Fl. I swapped out my Nashbar rigid fork that I replaced the Rok Shox fork with for a Surly Ogre fork. Installed an Axiom disc rack on the rear, Salsa Anything racks on the fork, extra bottle mounts were added via Wolf Tooth’s B-RAD system and off I rode on my first overnighter! It was everything I dreamed about and more! I did some of the Fl Hurcon route, a lot more paved roads than are the norm for bikepacking, but I appreciated the fatter tires my 2.2’s gave me when I got up to Wekiva State park for those sugar sand trails. I may not “own” or “shred” any trails, and have already installed a more smooth/gravel road set of tires because there really is not that much “trail” riding here in fl that I want to do. I would love some of the routes I read about here, Ga, NC, Va, and I feel I could handle it with a set of panniers installed in lieu of a seat and frame bag, but hey, I would be out there and enjoying the heck out of it!
    I don’t feel the countries trails are going to be overloaded with riders due to any sort of commercialism, there may be a higher number of folks giving it a try, but that will be like gym membership’s in January, know what I mean? All I know for sure, is that got me out there and actually doing it AND wanting more. Nothing to add to that except a big THANK YOU!!!

  • This is something I have been thinking about recently and have already culled some of my subscriptions for various things but if was one of them then it wouldn’t even be up for consideration and If I could only afford one monthly subscription it would be!

  • Robin Sansom

    I think you guys do an amazing job and the values and compassion you express here really make the difference. I’m more than happy to support you guys in any way I can!

  • Mark Troup

    I’m a paid member of the Adventure Cycling Association and the Rails to Trails Conservancy. But I’ve gotten more great info right here than from either of those (still very worthwhile) organizations. Give me a PayPal or Patreon button to click already! :)

    PS I also want a T-shirt or patch with the bike skull logo. Sell me one!

  • Doug Reilly

    “They’re ripped, crushed, owned, and shredded. Scenery is supplanted by skids, tail whips and big air. All too often, the image of mountain biking is portrayed as destroying land, not savoring it. This overtly aggressive lexicon has also slipped into the words, visual language, culture, clothing, and graphics that define it.” Yeah right on. I’ve been riding my bike all my life but only seriously cycling for about a decade. I first got a cargo bike to get around town and then a road bike for exercise. I never wanted a mountain bike, in part because the language you are talking about really turned me off. I go to nature to enjoy it, not destroy it, to find some kind of equilibrium with it and not dominate it, and the idea of jumping off an old stump frankly terrified me. Bikepacking, in particular this website, spoke my language. That and I moved to an area where the roads are steep and curvy and scary with traffic…it seemed like the right time to get off the road. But I love the philosophy of bikepacking and the focus on landscape, on cultures, and nary a mention of shredding anything except our preconceptions. Thanks for the work, and for penning a manifesto I couldn’t agree with more!

  • Ian Zuckerman

    Wonderful set of reflections that resonated with me on so many levels. I loved your point about language and metaphor on #1, which also touches on the sometimes troubling gender imbalance I’ve noticed in the sport (including the events I myself organize). At the same time, it points toward broader attitudes toward nature and preservation at a time when the trails and outdoor spaces we all cherish face the most severe challenges they have seen in many decades, sometimes ever. For what it’s worth, I think the marketing and commercialization are perhaps a distasteful but necessary evil. But there are substantial limits to the extent that bikepacking culture can be remade in the image of, say, road bike commercialism and crassness. Bikepacking takes a lot of time, relative to a lot of other activities. It’s not always very comfortable or easy. The number of people willing to prioritize their time in that way is just limited. It can grow, both in popularity and commercialism, but there are real and relatively immobile built-in limits established by the nature of the activity. At least, I hope there are. As to #4, I want to add my voice to many others that would be willing to pay some fee for readership, membership or route downloads. I love getting stuff for free as much as the next person, but as is so often true on the internet, “free”isn’t actually costless in the end. From my perspective, as you face the necessary question of how to make this site financially sustainable for its creators, relying on direct user support over paid commercial sponsorships seems like a very strongly preferable solution, for all the obvious reasons. I don’t know if it’s a model that’s feasible financially, but I hope it’s helpful to hear all the testaments in these comment pages from readers willing to pay as an alternative to paid content. Finally, most importantly, just wanted to express a huge ‘thank you’ for all the amazing work you’ve done, summarized in this manifesto. This site has been incredibly inspirational for me over the years, has helped me plan countless hours of unforgettable backcountry touring, and has helped create a fantastic international community. You guys do an outstanding job.

  • FWIW, I’d happily pay each time I could download a .gpx file AND I’d pay monthly access to the site. has really inspired me to head towards bikepacking in my cycling. The info here is invaluable. Keep up the good work! Just looking at the other comments, it’s safe to say we all support this site.

  • Thanks for all the constructive and kind words, Ian. Point #1… Yes! I get inspired by the posts like today’s article/video!!

  • Thanks so much, Doug. I am glad to hear that this resonated with folks. “…the right time to get off the road.” +1

  • Thanks Robin!!

  • Thanks for the feedback, John. I am glad to hear you transformed your bike and took the leap. There are a lot of great group bikepacking rides and ‘race’ events in FL too, should you wish to meet other riders.

  • Eugeneius

    You guys kill it, all the time, 24/7, on all fronts! Thanks for investing all the sweat equity into the content, particularly the New Mexico writeups ;-) I’d be pleased to pony up dollars to help offset the work you guys are putting in for this community. $25-30 a year for full access to site resources is a figure that quickly comes to mind, one that I wouldn’t think twice to contribute.

  • Laurent Duvergé

    Totally agree. Would be happy to pay for a subscription. Keep up the great work.

  • Travis Butler

    Semirad and may be the best 2 sites on the internet. The quality of content and stoke factor that these sites provide on a consistent are super high. Thanks for the hard work ya’ll put into this site. It has rekindled my love for the outdoors. Tshirts are cool, but a nice trucker hat is what would turn it up to 11. Just wanted to throw this out there! Also, another idea to think about is to look at how crazyguyonabike runs the site. Just a donate now button with a well thought out and reasonable request for funds. No idea if this the direction ya’ll would want to take, but I’ve donated to it because it also provided some much needed stoke and inspiration. Again, great job on creating and producing amazing content.

  • I won’t reiterate too much of what’s been said below except to say that you guys were one of the first on the scene, continue to set the bar with regards to content and credibility (in any industry/genre, not just bikepacking) and continue to be my go-to source for info and inspiration. If it has come to that jumping point, I too, would gladly fork over dollars for some sort of ‘premium access’ or membership exclusivity to help offset costs for contributors and management. I honestly don’t know how you guys have kept going this long and still find time to ride bikes – and in some cases raise families.

    As a veteran of several ‘pet projects’ that have sparked and then faded because of the inability to balance passion and pragmatics I totally understand the position you are in. Dig in and go for it, and know that there’s a community here that wants to help make it viable.

  • Garrett Berkey

    This is my favorite site on the internet and I really appreciate the work that goes into these articles. I have done several of these routes with a group of friends and have loved them. As a college student, I have been able to make my commuter into my backpacking rig and slowly buy enough to survive in the middle of nowhere. Hearing that this site may become a members only site scares me. People like me would not be able to take advantage of this site anymore. Accessibility to the bikes and to the routes is one thing, but shutting it off here stops those people becoming interested. Without young people (broke people) interested in this, there is no sustainability. Young people need to be involved for trails to be maintained and for advocacy of public land to continue. I love the lonely road as much as anyone, please don’t shut this door in my face.

  • Thanks!

  • Thanks… I’ve been thinking hats. stay tuned.

  • Thanks for the encouragement, and thanks for following along since the beginning!

  • Thanks. Don’t worry, there will likely never be a paywall for content.. that would go against our goal altogether. I honestly didn’t mean for the discussion to become so entrenched in the financial aspect, so it’s safe to say there is no dramatic shift coming…

  • Garrett Berkey

    Thank you for the reply! I am so excited to continue to explore and enjoy the land that this site showcases! I am super impressed by everything that this site is doing and really appreciate your hard work. See you on the dirt.

  • Mr. Simon

    First things first: is a great inspiration!

    I do personally share the philosophy of doing more with less, or, being able to get off the tarmac to more interesting places because the lighter rig allows me to do so.

    Now here’s the issue I have.

    While I see that operating such a website costs money, time and effort and that bills have to be paid, I greatly dislike the almost exclusive touting (nice bike porn it is, nevertheless) of upmarket luxury gear and solutions. There are exceptions, but the communicated bottomline is, that one had to get a brand X bike, brand Y sleeping kit and brand Z bags, which will set you back several thousand $$$.

    OK, some people seem to be able to afford it one way or another, but, AFAIC, it would serve the platform well in terms of authenticity if the ratio of “premium” to “budget” would be more balanced.

    But then people would perhaps learn that they do not need costly 3″ tire bikes and the latest gear for 95% of their riding …

    So, long story short, I do support your approach to explore other venues of financing (especially audience driven ones) as this would pose the unique opportunity to achieve greater freedom from industry driven funding and therefore paint more realistic pictures of “John and Jane Doe go bikepacking”.

  • Matt

    I Love everything about this site and always enjoy the gear reviews, and amazing photos/trip reports that keep me day dreaming!! Keep it up.
    Also please run another batch of those t shirts, mine is getting holes from wearing it too much!

  • Thanks! And I appreciate for your comments/feedback. While, yes, much of the gear we review is rather costly, we do have quite a few DIY articles and solutions for cutting costs embedded into various posts — take one of our cornerstone articles, the ‘guide to bikepacking bags’ as an example, which showcases different levels of bags to get people out on trips.

    But you are right, given that much of bikepacking gear is handmade (a lot in the USA), and many of the sought after bikes that are durable and cater to bikepacking specifically are in the $$$-$$$$ range, I’d say our gear coverage slightly favors that end of the spectrum. I might argue that this is the nature of ultralight gear and durable bikes and parts, but I also see your point that much of what we preach is completely doable on less expensive, used, self-made, and budget equipment.

    Even so, I honestly don’t know how much the current ratio would shift if our sources of funding changed to the community. Part of that supposition is based on the fact that gear and reviews of all things “shiney and new” is some of the most popular content on this site. But it’s certainly something to consider as we forward… We are always thinking and looking at bikes, parts, and solutions that are budget friendly, or even better, DIY, and durable to boot.

  • Thanks Matt! We’ll hopefully do some more shirts at some point soon…

  • Olivier Latouille

    As a Frenchie, is in my top 3 website I look at every day (when I’m not out in the bush !). It inspires me on international routes and also on bike packing gear, although most of it is american brands. It also inspires to find and share some routes here in the french Alps. It also inspires my kids who dream of a bikepacking adventure on Colorado trail or other faraway route. So, if you make kids dream, and if their dreams come true, I guess you can be proud of your job ! Keep on going.

  • Jeff Dible

    This is what you should consider. Its difficult to get people to pay beyond the paywall, but the amount of value you offer is worth 5 to 10 bucks every month. An option of allowing some content be free and the “exclusive” content behind the paywall is probably your best option. You are awesome advocates for this, but you do have to eat. My personal ROI in the time I spend here goes well beyond any cash I would spend.

  • Harry Major

    Have you thought about a more developed and serious ?
    Mainline items, limited edition bits, and artists/brand collaborations can all be used to drive revenue, and it gives Fans a means to support but also own and collect. New water bottle design every few months – its amazing how many people collect them – patches , collaborative caps and feedbags, Ts etc… Old mate Prolly is pretty good at this limited edition memorabilia gig. You can work on a pre-order system to avoid putting up upfront money and to be able to accurately gauge interest.

    I’m sure that everyone who said they’d buy a subscription would buy a “thing” a year. And you don’t end up with the problems that come with charging a fee (No offence intended but I probably wouldn’t be subscribing). And maybe it better meets your goal of remaining inspiring if there’s no price hurdle to content.

    Though, I did like the person who suggested a donations thing to download the GPS routes. Diversified income is smart.

  • igormsk

    Maybe you should consider making a paid membership for access to high-res fotos/videos (but not to gps-files) published on this site, while provoding free access to low-res photos&videos – it would both provide some additional funding and not leave behind visitors not ready to pay for it. And it would be nice to get the published photos in even higher quility

  • Stephen Poole

    You guys are doing a great job. Very inspiring photos, routes all over the world (Antarctica excepted so far), helpful gear reviews and responses to comments, etc.

    The focus on stewardship/conservation versus “shred the gnar” really resonates with me, and I suspect many others. It’s super important to convey this attitude across to acess managers, or bikepacking might have “no future for you, no future for me.”

    Another great thing about this site is the overwhelmingly positive nature of the comments here; some sites often get quite negative and uncivil. That might change if you start in with though, so please don’t! :-)

  • Brad St Louis

    I really like your site. I want a T-Shirt and truckers Hat. That’s a great idea.

  • Max

    Bike packers seem to be an eccentric bunch, in a good way. I can say that as I’m one. One common thread is that authenticity is critical. Please continue to provide your stewardship and please don’t sell out to coorprate sponsers. Over time things will rise and and fall but bike packing in all forms is here to stay and it makes me so happy.

  • Scott Pauker

    GREAT article Logan! I’ve been considering writing something similar for some time, and am deeply appreciative that you beat me to it! So much of what you wrote resonates on profound levels, especially changing the rhetoric of “destroying” trail to “wandering” and “experiencing” it. I’ve always tried to travel through the world as an advocate and ambassador to bikepacking, hoping to create a regard of respect, connection and minimal impact. My recent pause here in Moab has taught me a lot about seeing the opposite of that: Huge 4x4s blaring music and skidding tires across the rock, spitting gravel and literally “shredding” the trails. I don’t want people to see a bikepacker like me coming up and think, “oh no”. As for how best to maintain your website and keep the funding flowing, it’s clearly not an easy equation. One that every bike obsessed person is trying to solve. Despite my limited resources, I’d gladly contribute a little something to help keep this site afloat, because I believe in what you guys are doing. I’ve never been happier or more at peace than when I’m living on my bike, and I would love for that appreciation to spread. While of course having the newest and fanciest gear only brings momentary solace from the continuous drain of materialist anxiety telling us we need more “stuff”, it’s good to know what all the manufacturers are creating. I remember when someone first showed me a tire plug for fixing tubeless and I thought it was the coolest thing since the invention of ice cream. I’ve found a few such items through your site and deeply appreciate it. The trick for me would be to keep the focus on getting out there, the simplicity, the peace we find in the silence. So thanks for doing what you do.

  • Rob Grey

    those 210 flexfit in l/xl fit me perfectly. jussayin…

  • Rob Grey

    i think just looking at the comments on every one of your articles over the past couple/three years/however long i’ve been watching your site speaks to the quality of your content: people love it. it is indeed one of the best places on the internet and has become THE resource for bike camping. it’s a great resource, it’s meticulously curated, and worth every penny and ounce of effort you’ve dumped into it. i’d happily click a donation button and buy some branded gear to help out. it’s the very least we could do to keep this incredible site going.

    also, i really appreciate your punk references/preferences. bad brains will always be within my arm’s reach as well.

  • Rob Grey

    ps – we really do need to change the perception of mountain biking. it’s way too “bro” to be taken as responsible, and it’s not how i like to be viewed as a rider.

  • Thanks Harry. Yeah, Selling t-shirts was fine and dandy, but I found I was spending waaayyy more time than its worth dealing with shipping. I know there are better ways, but I found it incredibly time consuming. Plus, that would mean no more bikepacking, as someone would have to be there to handle the shipping. Catch 22.

  • Thanks for the kind words Rob! Punk’s not dead!

  • Thanks Scott! Yes, the jeeping in Moab can indeed be quite disturbing. Long live the non-motorized restricted trails… which brings up a whole new discussion, considering the growing popularity of e-bikes.

  • Thanks! There will be NO coverage of e-bikepacking here… for sure.

  • Thanks Olivier!! It’s great that your kids are growing up dreaming of bikepacking!

  • Eric Collander

    There are sites where you can sell your items and they handle the payment/printing/shipping — basically the pesky business end of things.

  • Yeah, I’ve heard of such companies, but I’ve yet to find one with a good reputation. Any recommendations?

  • Eric Collander

    Cafe Press has been around for a long time. I have a shop there with some of my band’s stuff. The only effort is designing and uploading. After that, it’s up to you to direct people to the “shop”, and market the items. But I think on a site like this you’d get a LOT of traffic with little marketing effort. Off the top of my head I don’t know what percentage they take, but I think it’s worth it for them to handle all the business. The other advantage is that they print as many as is needed, or as little as one at a time, so there’s no upfront investment on your part. Cafe Press is only one of probably thousands of sites, and it’s the only one I have any experience with, for what it’s worth. But I haven’t had a bad experience with them. Etsy seems to be popular as well, but I’m not sure how that works. I believe they just provide the marketplace, and you have to produce the items. Hope that helps!

  • Jamie Lent

    Definitely if you had a “donate” button next to the GPS links, that might have some traction. These days everyone wants to “try” it for free, and certainly not pay for anything before they know it is great. Heck, that’s why everyone comes to you for your reviews! But if I go out and ride a route you put together and really love it, I’d happily come back and buy the creators a 6-pack!

  • Kenneth Bruun Jørgensen

    Hi guys
    Just a quick respond to this great article, and to the question of financing.
    I would, as a regular reader and lover of what you guys do, be very happy to pay a membership fee, a yearly donation, or whatever you would like to call it, to still be able to read such quality content.
    I would like the payment to be a subscription of some kind, as opposed to for example a ‘donate-button’, as it would be way easier, and I would be sure to get it done.

    Thanks a bunch for allmthe hard work you put into this beautiful website. In my opinion, by far, the best online media for bikepacking.
    Keep it up.


  • Mariusz Zychon

    Good idea. While you’re at it, look at some other options along the patron model. Donations in exchange for access to exclusive swag or some such thing. It isn’t without it’s problems, but you can achieve a balance. Incentivizing donors/patrons that can afford to give without restricting access to any of the actual content for the free users.

  • Mariusz Zychon

    There’s also Teespring and a half dozen others. You just upload your design and the rest is done on their end, including choosing a thing to put it on. A few sites support specific causes and have ethics codes and whatnot.

  • Mariusz Zychon

    I wouldn’t worry too much about the rhetoric. You make an excellent point, but it seems to naturally change as new cycling disciplines emerge. …along with the etiquette, the clothes, etc. Paradigm shift. Have you actually seen bikepackers refer to “shredding” a back country singletrack bikepacking trail? (not rhetorical, genuinely asking). Seems like it’d be just weird hearing that, even from someone who typically rides downhill. There’s certainly a place in MTB for conservation and stewardship. The vernacular is aggressive because the riding style is. I don’t see a problem with encouraging it, but it just doesn’t seem like something that has surfaced as a concern really. …within my circles at least.YMMV.

    On a side note, I totally eviscerated Kenai last week. I molested three grouse and had harsh words with a woodchuck on the way back to the trailhead.

  • Stephen Flanagan

    I can’t agree more heartily with your comment about a different take on bike culture…

    “One that offsets aggressive imagery with that focused on stewardship and appreciation. One that places landscapes, cultures, exploration, and solace over hits and berms. The language of bikepacking, both literal and visual, hinges on words like ‘remote’, ‘access’, ‘wander’, and ‘backcountry’.”

    This is exactly why I love reading the high quality content and inspiration at I’ve discovered a class of like minded folks who are interested in the off beat, interested in the scenery and culture. Keep up the excellent content. Well done.

  • Old Bill

    Become a non profit and have a fund drive.
    Wiki does it periodically and I always contribute.
    Hook us up to Paypal. We will help you.

    Please ask for help, that’s hard for anyone, it s for me, and I’m sure it is for you too but please just try us.
    I am sure I speak for all those who care. Public radio does it and it works.

    Don’t build walls, that sucks and you get only those who can afford the luxury.
    Stay open, stay clean. Find the perfect line from the trail to your heart.

    No worries. We have your back.


  • NowhereMan

    Ok….I get you trying to justify this new “sport” through all the aforementioned altruistic values. However, for all the vitriolic blathering back and forth the true justification that belies all the so called good intentions is the same thing that has ruled for generations. That’s right folks. GREED!! Commerce, and the almighty dollar. The routes, the gear reviews, the latest, greatest crap. All specifically designed to keep people chasing the money; their own or other people’s. Donkey and carrot show. Pedal faster, baby, you’re gonna get that carrot. $$$my precious, my precious$$$

  • NowhereMan

    P.S. Full disclosure. I just ordered some sweet new revelate bags. Oh yeah, baby, I’m a sinner too.

  • Joel

    Very well written article that speaks volumes.

    My perception around me is that you only start cycling to race or if you don’t start out that way, you wind up racing. Although you may see me put a number on my handlebars, I’m not very competitive. I bought a mid-fat MTB earlier this year and I kept hearing comments like, “that’s too much suspension (150 mm) for this area” or “you cannot race on that.”

    I didn’t buy it to race and the suspension is nice on my aging back and joints and previous injuries. It’s a plush ride. I don’t repair as easily as I did when I was younger. is a relaxed place that discusses rides and routes and equipment that interest me. Things I’d like to do. Although I’m averse to “tent camping” (I did plenty of that in the Marines), I’m willing to give it a try in the cooler months in the Southeastern US.

    I’m able to read about destinations that I’d love to visit on a bike – rides that allow me to be lost in landscape and thought without competition and without being timed.

    I enjoy the journey *and* the destination.

  • Thanks Joel! I too know about not healing as quickly (my back injury/surgery this summer is still on the mend). Words mean a lot! Thanks again…

  • Brian Kennelly

    I’ve cycled most of my 68 years of life and got into mtb as another way to enjoy nature in a self-propelled mode. My motto was “never ride down what you haven’t ridden up” mainly in disdain of those who seek the instant gratification of a shuttle assisted armoured DH run. After doing some bike-touring on pavement, I sought a more natural, safer, and flexible mode. I stumbled onto bikepacking and this site and became an instant convert.
    Where I’m going with this – growth will come but the appeal will be there only for the limited few. The same percentage of active people who are drawn to self-propelled exercise such as hiking, xc and backcountry skiing, and those who want to explore roads and trails beyond the bikeparks. Growth in bikepacking will never exceed its capacity. A definite part of its appeal is the community it creates of the exclusive number of people who “get it”. I think most of us are willing to subscribe to sites like this to enhance that community.

  • Accidental FIRE

    I would go with Redbubble. They’re the largest of these sites (called POD or print on demand) and they get way more traffic than CafePress and others. I sell on Redbubble and make $100 – $200 a month. I know that’s not huge, but it is extra money. You already have a large readership, so you’d probably get better traction that I do right off the bat.

    I do graphic arts, feel free to reach out to me if you’d like help. And keep doing what you’re doing here, it’s a great site!

  • Arik Peterson

    My 2 cents. This sites greatest value. DIY, Routes, Gear Reviews, in that order. Value to me $5-6/month. Don’t make t-shirts, hats, stickers etc. it ultimately end up In the landfill, takes a ton of time to manage/stress about even if it’s outsourced. Your best product is the tribal knowledge you share. Lastly, you guys have only one life, and don’t let this website take to much of it.

  • Thanks Arik… all good points.

  • petergold99

    Have you seen the Medim membership model? I pay $5/mth for premium content (whatever it really is). I’d also pay for route downloads too.

  • Colby Frontiero

    This is a great website. I’m very new to bikepacking. I’ve only done one trip actually. A 2 day trip with my 4 year old (at the time). We had a total blast. The route was 52 miles and he pedaled 27 totally on his own. The route was very easy and perfect for a first go. This site has spurred TONS of ideas for us and I’m grateful to have found it, although all the cool stuff you have on here is challenging my shopping will power.

    As for raising funds, balance is key. Private small party donors vs large business endorsements vs industry specific funding give lots of opportunity for diversity for your funding model; however, maintaining the integrity of the site’s direction can become a challenge if the balance of the aforementioned 3 entities become in competition with each other. Thanks again for such a great site!

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