Show Us Your (Weekend) Bikepacking Routes

We are always on the hunt for the best bikepacking routes from around the world. We love to receive submissions and are grateful for them. So treat this as a call to arms! From May 13th to July 12th, as summer digs in, why not think up the best weekend epics you can, and let us know about them? To sweeten the deal, we’ve partnered with Revelate Designs to offer a ton of great prizes for the top ten contributions…

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UPDATE: We’d like thank and congratulate each of the Revelate Designs Weekender Route Competition winners: Colt Fetters (Bull & Jake), Zach Miller (Red Meadow Pass Loop), Marine & Maxime (Vavanguer), Daniel Wilhelm (Capricorn’s Trail), Anthony Pease (Gower Loop), Patrick Colleran (Olympic Adventure Route), Todd & Charlotte (Cedar Mesa Loop), Chris Langager (Boulder Loop), Ben Handrich (Mount St. Helens Epic), and Brian & Kara (Blue Blazes/North Country Trail). Stay tuned for more ways to contribute routes…

Although we love big trips, there’s much to be said about the smaller ones too. Weekend bikepacking trips can be extremely rewarding in their own perfectly packaged way. A meditative solo outing. A local adventure with friends. A chance to spend undiluted time with family. A perfect escape of the day to day that brings new meaning to the term weekend warrior.

What are we looking for? In short, great routes, accompanied by evocative, inspiring photography and reliable mapping — routes with great photography and mapping. Routes can be submitted from all over the world. Ultimately, we’ll choose ten that we will showcase, of which our favorite will receive the ‘best in show’. The route designers will receive a prize package that includes the following:

  • $250 gift certificate on RevelateDesigns.com for the Best in Show route creator
  • RevelateDesigns.com pro discount code; 40% off an online store purchase for nine additional route creators
  • 1 Mountain Feedbag; Revelate Designs’ stem bag
  • BIKEPACKING.com tshirt; dark gray with skull on front and new Ride. Camp. Repeat. badge on back
  • Several BIKEPACKING.com patches; we have two new Ride. Camp. Repeat. and skull designs coming soon
  • A Post-Ride Beer Can Cooler
  • An assortment of stickers
  • Your route published on BIKEPACKING.com, with links to your blog or social media accounts

Tips for creating a good weekend bikepacking route

There’s an art to creating the ideal 2-3 day time capsule of a route. It’s about balancing challenges and reward, and placing the perfect campsites in the middle. What makes it special? Places to eat, breweries, epic trails, killer downhills, a great campsite. Maybe there are hot springs or swimming holes along the way. There are few hints to the perfect recipe here, but also take into account these tips and rules:

  • 50-200 miles (128-322km) is a pretty good gauge for route length; but it should take 2-3 days of riding to complete.
  • Factors that affect the length include the technical nature of the trails and total climbing elevation. We don’t mind hike a bikes when they connect places that would otherwise be impossible to reach, but keep them within reason.
  • Gravel, singletrack, or fat bike specific routes are acceptable; but routes should be comprised of 50% unpaved surface (give or take some, depending on rationale). Or at least, we prefer routes in which over half the time spent riding is off pavement.
  • Use Points of Interest (POIs). Basing routes around particular sights or stops is a fun approach. How about breweries, historical landmarks, hot springs, swimming holes, or scenic viewpoints?
  • Create a rhythm. Starting a route with a climb, and finishing with a climb isn’t always a fun approach. Space out the suffering to reward ratio.
  • Use greenways. Tie in a greenway or cycle specific path to the route. Anything that helps avoid traffic is welcome in our book.
  • Place a good campsite. And place it in a spot where it will be natural to end a day’s ride. Having these types of milestones helps balance the route.
  • Watch the resupply points. It’s good practice to plan where the resupply points are in relation to distance; the same goes for drinkable or filterable water.
  • Keep it legal.And it goes without saying that every route we publish must be legally accessible.

Routes will be judged based on several factors including the above concepts, quality of photography, and general inspirational radness. If you can think up a good route name, so much the better!

To submit a route, send an email to pedalingnowhere[at]gmail[dot]com with ‘Weekender Route’ as the subject. Include 5 sample photographs, a link to the map, and a 150-300 word description. If your route is selected, requirements for the published route include at least 20 quality photographs of the route, final copy and bullet points (we’ll provide a template). Here are a few more things to consider while documenting your ride:

Is the route one you’d ‘write home about’?

There are countless potential bikepacking routes in the world. We’re looking for the best—routes you’d recommend to your friends, that are worth the travel time and expense to get there – like the Kokopelli Trail in Colorado/Utah, or Arizona’s Black Canyon Trail. They can be themed around singletrack, challenging or otherwise, or forest roads and gravel. But just because they’re hard or have never been done before… doesn’t necessarily make them great routes!

Route photography

Inspiring, high quality photography is important to us at BIKEPACKING.com. Your route needs to include photos taken on a decent camera (a few steps above a mobile phone). Photos should cover several aspects of the route including trail shots, riding shots, camping photos, and other interesting details (see below for specifics).

GPS File

An unbroken GPS file of the full route is required for submission. We use RideWithGPS for embedding, so it’s preferable for you to load your route onto RWGPS, add POIs (Points Of Interest), and send us the link. Keep in mind that you can also tweak the GPX on RWGPS, or just fully record it using a Garmin or other device.

Also, look for more posts in the upcoming weeks about navigation and route planning.

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