The team at Outfitter Satellite discusses preparing for your first bikepacking adventure and the benefits of bringing a satellite phone. Read on to learn more.

How to Prepare for Your First Bikepacking Trip

If you’re preparing to embark on your first bikepacking trip, it’s essential that you do your research and bring along everything that you need. Bikepacking, essential backpacking on a bike, is an amazing way to get out in nature and explore new areas. Whether you decide to bikepack on your own, or with a small group of friends, you’ll want to prepare yourself and your bike so that you’re ready to handle any circumstance. Read on to learn more in the Outfitter Satellite’s Guide to Backpacking.

Prepare Your Bike

Before beginning any bikepacking trip, you’ll want to ensure that your bike is ready for the adventure. If this is your first trip, you should consult with friends, family, or your local bike shop to find a bike that will work for you. If you have a bike at home already that you enjoy using while biking through the mountains and off-roads, it is likely that this will work just fine for your first bikepacking trip with minimal modifications. As you become more experienced at bikepacking, you can decide what you like about your current bike and what you don’t, and begin looking for an upgrade that will suit your needs better. But for your first trip, you don’t necessarily need to spend a fortune on a new bike. 

You should, however, ensure that your current bike is up to par. You wouldn’t go on a road trip without checking out the condition of your car, and you shouldn’t go on a bikepacking trip without giving your bike the same consideration. You’ll want to do a thorough inspection of your bike from your chains and tires to the seat, nuts, bolts, brakes, and cables. Ensure that everything is in working order and is ready to take on the outdoors. If something doesn’t look right, you can repair it yourself or take it to a local shop for some assistance. 

How to prepare your bike for your bikepacking adventure:

  • Inspect Your Tires

  • Check Your Chain

  • Tighten Your Bolts

  • Check Your Cables

  • Inspect Your Brakes

What You Should Bring

The next thing you should begin to consider is what supplies you’ll need to bring on your bikepacking trip. While your first instinct is probably to pack immense amounts of food and water, and you will need those things, you will have a limited amount of space to bring a large number of supplies, so proper planning is essential. 

For the food, you’ll want to pack enough for the amount of days you’ll be traveling, and to make sure that it is non-perishable. You’ll also want to include any cooking supplies that you’ll need to prepare the food. Next, you’ll want to consider how much water to bring with you. Keep in mind that water is heavy and takes up a lot of space. So, carrying a water bottle with a purifier is a great solution. Just be sure to map out the water sources along your route so you can refill as needed. 

In addition to food and water, you’ll want to bring shelter, a sleeping bag, clothing, bike repair tools, first aid supplies, and toiletries. A satellite phone is also an essential that should be brought on any bikepacking trip. While you’re traveling through the woods and mountains, it’s unlikely that your cell phone will have reliable service. A satellite phone can function as a way to keep in contact with friends and family, for its GPS abilities, as well as an emergency form of communication if necessary. 

Make a list before you begin and collect all of the supplies you need. Your next step will be deciding which types of bags to bring and which bags will carry which supplies.

Essential supplies for your first bikepacking trip:

  • Clothing

  • Food/Water

  • Sleep System

  • Shelter

  • First Aid Supplies

  • Hygiene and Toiletries

  • Bike Repair Tools

  • Map

  • Compass

  • Satellite Phone

Prepare Your Bags

Now that you have all of the necessary supplies collected for your bikepacking adventure, you’ll need to pack them in an efficient manner that allows you access to the supplies you’ll need throughout the day, while other supplies that you may not need as often such as your first aid kit and bike repair tools are still accessible, but out of the way. 

While during a backpacking trip, you are limited to the bag you carry on your back, the same is not true of bikepacking. You will however want to make sure that whatever backpack you choose will not make it impossible for you to bike for long stretches at a time. 

There are many different types of bags available that you should consider for bikepacking from your backpack to seatpacks and handlebar packs. You’ll most likely want to use a combination of bags to hold all of the supplies you’ll need, while still allowing for a comfortable riding experience.

Types of bags ideal for bikepacking:

  • Seatpacks

  • Frame Bags

  • Cockpit Bags

  • Handlebar Bags

  • Backpacks

Choosing a Satellite Phones for Your Bikepacking Adventure

While preparing for your first bikepacking adventure, you’ll want to ensure that you have a reliable form of communication while you are biking through the backwoods and mountains. Chances are, that your cell phone will start off with service and the further you get along on your trip, the more spotty and unreliable it will become. Cell phones are not designed to be reliable in remote areas. They are also not made to be very tough or rugged, which is an essential when you’re bikepacking. 

Below, we have compiled a list of some of the best options in satellite phones for bikepacking. Before you embark on your first trip, consider the peace of mind and assurance that keeping a rugged, reliable satellite phone on you at all times will bring. 

Iridium Extreme 9575

The Iridium Extreme 9575 is designed to stand up to the elements. It boasts an Ingress Rating of IP65 against water and dust intrusion and features a one-touch S.O.S. button for safety. It’s one of the most feature-rich and weather-resistant satellite phones on the market today. And, with the Iridium satellite network, you’ll have truly global coverage. If you’re planning on bikepacking throughout the U.S., the Iridium Extreme 9575 is the best choice for satellite coverage. 

When you purchase the Iridium Extreme 9575 from Outfitter Satellite, you’ll have your choice of colors between standard black, safety yellow, and sporting camo. You’ll also receive a padded soft case to further protect your satellite phone and all of its components from the outside elements. 

Thuraya SatSleeve+

Thuraya XT-LITE

Thuraya satellite phones are another great option. However, they do not provide coverage in America. If you’re planning a bikepacking trip through Europe, India, Asia, or Australia, a Thuray may be the way to go. If you’re looking for something that will provide basic voice and SMS messaging at a lower cost, the Thuraya XT-LITE may work best for you. This satellite phone has all of the services that you’ll require on your bikepacking trip for keeping in touch with friends and family and to provide you with peace of mind that you have reliable communication in case of an emergency.

Thuraya SatSleeve+

Thuraya XT-PRO

If you’ll be bikepacking across seas in the U.K. or Australia, the Thuraya XT-PRO is an excellent choice. It’s the most feature-rich Thuraya satellite phone on the market today and has a large screen made from Gorilla® glass. It’s tough and rugged to withstand the elements and is perfect for making phone calls and sending SMS messages through the Thuraya satellite network. 

Rent a Satellite Phone

For those who are preparing for their first bikepack adventure and are not sure yet how often or if there will be a next, renting a satellite phone may be the best option. Whether your first trip is for a week, two, or even a month, if you aren’t ready to invest in a satellite phone, renting one is the way to go. This is a great way to introduce yourself to the world of satellite phones and how they work. Once you travel with a satellite phone, you’ll likely not want to go on a trip without one, and by renting one now, you may have a better idea of which you would like to purchase in the future.   

Shop Outfitter Satellite

Whether you’re in the market to purchase or rent a satellite phone, the team at Outfitter Satellite can help. Our family-owned company has been providing bikepackers, hikers, and adventurers of all kinds with cutting-edge satcom equipment since 1995. We carry all of today’s best satellite phones on the best satellite networks including Thuraya and Iridium. We also offer 24/7 technical support. Shop our selection of satellite phones and satcom equipment today.