We understand that living with a bikepacker isn't easy. Bikepackers have a ton of dirty, bulky gear in the basement that tracks dirt everywhere. We know. It might also be tough knowing exactly what to get this person for the holidays. However, you don't need to fret. We have your back.
Our first annual Gift Guide For Bikepackers takes a look at all the latest, hottest gear that came out over the past year. It also acts as a round-up of the gear we tested in 2022 that either surprised us or did better than expected. We don't take this list lightly. Everything on this list is something that we would personally love to receive as a holiday gift.
Happy holidays to you all! ✊🎄
|Arkel 15L Rollpacker||Jump|
|Cedaero Viewfinder Camera Pack||Jump|
|Chrome Doubletrack Handlebar Sling||Jump|
|Swift Industries Olliepack||Jump|
|Tailfin Carbon Rack System||Jump|
|Panorama Katahdin V2||Jump|
|Rodeo Labs Flaanimal 5.0||Jump|
|Big Sky Food Pouch||Jump|
|Katadyn BeFree Water Filter||Jump|
|MSR Hubba Hubba 2-Person Tent||Jump|
|Outdoor Research Helium Bivy||Jump|
|Thermarest Stuff Sack Pillow||Jump|
|Aenomaly Constructs SwitchGrade||Jump|
|NOBL TR37 Wheelset||Jump|
|Passchier Gump Bamboo Handlebars||Jump|
|Passchier Astaire Handlebars||Jump|
|Ritchey Comp Beacon Handlebars||Jump|
|7Mesh Northwoods Wind Shell||Jump|
|7Mesh Copilot Jacket||Jump|
|Fox Ranger 3L Water Pants||Jump|
|POC Ventral Lite Helmet||Jump|
|Sealskinz Waterproof Socks||Jump|
The Arkel Rollpacker was easily the biggest surprise of the year for us. This rack and bag system completely rethinks seat bags. At 15L, it's a hefty bag to carry behind the saddle but with the integrated rack, it is snug as a bug and has zero tail wag. We were genuinely disappointed when we had to send it back. Your bikepacking gift recipient will love you forever with one of these.
If you are shopping for an off-road cyclist who also loves to take photos, this is without a doubt the hottest piece of kit you can get. There are not many companies out there creating bike bags designed specifically for cameras and doing it well. The Viewfinder not only does it well, but it also does it off the charts. And at $124 USD this bag is a deal.
The Doubletrack is one of the best multimodal bags we have tested yet. While biking, the Doubletrack works exactly as advertised and can be detached to work as an over-the-shoulder day bag too. It has a large main compartment with smaller mesh compartments throughout. It's a keeper.
The Swift Industries Olliepack was one of the best bags we tried this year and maybe the best seat pack we have ever tried. At 6L, it's a small and tight little package. This well-designed pack has zero tail wag and is perfect for 1-3 day trips on rougher terrain.
For those who know, Tailfin doesn't need much introduction. However, if you are looking for a gift for your bikepacking partner or friend, look no further. The Tailfin system is the highest of high-end technical bikepacking equipment. The system can be configured for any setup or any ride. This is not for the occasional bikepacker.
Bender Bikes is the moniker of William Bender, a custom builder from Fort Collins, Colorado. Building a custom bike in time for the holidays might be a bit tough. However, William's bikes are some of our favorites, and simply getting on his list of projects would be a gift enough.
The Yaupon is the latest ATB by Chumba Cycles from Austin, Texas. The Yaupon is a mountain-ready steel frame with the geometry affordances for drop bars. The Yaupon can be ordered to size or made to order by contacting Chumba directly. The Yaupon is super slack and ready for anything. Dear Santa...
AB-ST stands for Adventure Bike-STeel and that's exactly what it is. A 29er steel gravel bike that's ready for anything. The AB-ST is sold mainly as a frameset but can be built to spec by the Landyachtz team. Again, if you are shopping for yourself or for someone you love, the AB-ST is the perfect machine for any adventure-minded cyclist.
The Panorama Katahdin is the swiss-army knife of gravel bikes. Running the Katahdin with 700c wheels will let you roll fast on roads and light gravel tours. If you want something a bit beefier for the backcountry, the Katahdin can also fit 650b wheels. If you're looking to get a gift that your gravel rider will love, look no further.
The Flaanimal is more than a bike, its a platform for adventure. The bike can be built up for any scale of ride and terrain. Boasting great options like sliding dropouts, carbon forks and a range of rad colors, the Flaanimal is a gift we wouldn't mind any day of the year.
The Big Sky food pouch was another little surprise we had this year. At its core it's a basic thermos bag designed to cook dehydrated food quicker and keep it warmer longer. We however found out that we can use it as a cooler bag for warmer weather and bring fresh fruit with us for days in the forest. Obvious maybe, but amazing nonetheless.
The Katadyn BeFree filtration system is an absolute game changer. The filter fits into almost any bike bag and can be used to filter water on the fly super fast. What's not to love and say about this thing? If you have a loved one that is still using a gravity filter for bikepacking, you want to get this for them. They will love you for it. We promise.
For a quick overnighter, we ended up borrowing a 2-person Hubba Hubba tent. The MSR Hubba Hubba blew us away with its construction and thoughtfulness. Pitching the tent was super fast and its packability was off the charts. This is the Rolls Royce of tents and works for 2 person backpacking teams super well.
The Outdoor Research Bivy has come in handy more than once in our travels. If you plan on being out in the backcountry and are focused on running a super lean setup, there is no better sleep system than the Outdoor Research Helium Bivy.
Having a good pillow while bikepacking is absolutely key to getting a restful night and having a great trip. We ignored this little tidbit for way too long. That's why we were excited when we found the Stuff Sack Pillow by Thermarest. We used the sack to pack all our clothes and then reversed it for a nice soft pillow at night. For the price point, this is a FANTASTIC gift with great value. Put it in a stocking. We have a full review of this little thing coming soon.
The SwitchGrade is a paradigm shift in off-road cycling. It introduces the concept of tilting your saddle to adjust for the terrain. Created with mountain bikers in mind, we found that SwitchGrade is also an amazing product for long days in the saddle with a heavy bike.
If you are shopping for someone who likes the nice things in life then look no further than NOBL wheels. NOBL are carbon wheels hand-built on Vancouver Island by people who know the game and are downright nice. The TR37s are perfect for any bikepacking or cross-country riding loved one.
When we first heard of Passchier's bamboo handlebars we were dubious. Then through some alignment in the stars, we were lucky to try them out, and wow are we glad that we did. The 760mm Passcier Gumps changed how we think about handlebars and the materials that they can be made from. The bamboo is strong yet flexible and eats up a lot of vibration that would normally be absorbed by the rider's arm. Game changer.
Similar to the Passchier Gump's, the Astaires are a work of art and beauty. These more narrow bars are meant for commuters and light gravel riding. Like the Gump's they also eat up the vibration and make for an easier and more stylish ride.
One of the best surprises we had all year was the set of Ritchey Comp Beacon bars that came as part of the build kit in the panorama Katahdin we tested. The 44cm bars were a perfect width for us and the low profile drop and flare were very natural in our hands. These bars opened our minds to wide-flared handlebars for gravel riding and bikepacking. Get these.
There are simply some things all cyclists should have no matter what and a wind shell is one of them. The 7Mesh Northwoods is a wind shell of next-level quality. It packs down to nothing and looks great off the bike too.
If your loved one cycles year round and needs protection from the elements, look no further than the 7Mesh Copilot. The Copilot is a Gore-tex jacket that is super packable and stylish. Like the Northwoods, the Copilot packs down to nothing and comes with straps to secure the jacket to your bike frame when it isn't needed. A quality piece of kit.
Like the rest of the gear in the apparel section the Fox Ranger pants are made for wet winter weather. These pants top of the pops for any off-road cyclist. The Ranger pants offer 100% waterproof protection, a ratchet strap closure, and some pretty awesome colors. Get some.
The POC Ventral Lite is not the cheapest helmet out there but it is arguably one of the lightest and most stylish—and let's face it that matters. Your loved one will love you for this one.
Buy your loved one the gift of dry feet. Sealskinz 100% waterproof socks are made of three layers: a lush Merino wool inner layer, a waterproof membrane, and a durable outer fabric. They work and make excellent stocking stuffers for cyclists living in parts of the world where the winter includes tons of rain and moisture.
Have any other suggestions? Tell us in the comments below.