What types of bikes can be used for bikepacking?
In theory, you can use any type of bike. Suitability will depend on the terrain. Gravel bikes, touring bikes and mountain bikes are popular choices. The idea is to get off the beaten track so road bikes are not recommended.
Can I cycle and camp anywhere in Scotland?
In theory, yes. Scotland’s Right to Roam allows you to roam relatively freely by foot and on a bike provided you do so responsibly. In practice, it’s sensible to start with a recognised trail. Always camp on unenclosed land if not a formal campsite and follow Scotland’s Outdoor Access Code. Within the Loch Lomond and the Trossachs National Park in the eastern part of Argyll there are camping byelaws and you will need a permit in the main season.
Is bikepacking safe?
No cycling activity is 100% safe and you should always take sensible measures to protect yourself and others. It important to be aware of the local weather forecast. You should also and be aware of any forestry operations taking place – typically, these are well signposted.
What to pack for bikepacking?
For a short trip on a planned route, you just need a gravel bike, helmet, high vis clothing, map and compass / GPS and plenty of water. For a longer trip, it would be useful to have a basic bicycle repair and first aid kit, sun cream and a waterproof jacket (it is unpredictable Scotland!), insect repellent and plenty to eat and drink. Always carry cash as cards may not be accepted in remote places.
How do I find out about public transport?
Scotrail's Highland Explorer train is specially designed for cyclists and runs on the West Highland Line between Glasgow and Oban. It has 20 bike racks and seating for 24 passengers.
West Coast Motors operate a network of bus services throughout Argyll and the Isle of Bute. Some buses have bike carriers.
What sort of bikepacking bag(s) do I need?
It depends on your planned route requirements and personal preferences. Whatever you choose, you will need to travel light. Most people start with a large saddlebag / seatpack – they go up to 20 litres capacity. Frame packs are good for heavier items and handlebar bags or rolls are best for lighter pieces of kit such as your sleeping bag. Top tube bags are good for snacks as they provide easy access. Consider how you will keep your kit dry. Most bags are water-resistant so you may want to invest in some drybags to keep the essentials nice and dry.
Can I hire bikepacking kit?
Bikepacking is a relatively new activity and whilst you can hire the full kit, it is not yet widely available in Argyll and the Isles. We recommend that you bring your own kit, or book your equipment hire well in advance.