The Top 5 Budget Bikepacking Bikes

Bikepacking is a unique blend of cycling and camping, offering an adventurous way to explore the great outdoors. This comprehensive guide for the top 5 budget bikepacking bikes provides insights into the world of bikepacking, starting with an introduction including the Surly Bridge Club, Salsa Journeyman Claris 650, Bombtrack Beyond, Poseidon X, and Giant Talon. 

We delve into the detailed features of these bikes, factors to consider when choosing a bikepacking bike, and essential gear you’ll need for your adventure. For those on a budget, we provide tips on how to enjoy bikepacking without breaking the bank. We also offer advice on preparing for your first bikepacking trip, from starting small to testing your gear and planning your route.

Finally, we share some final thoughts and advice for aspiring bikepackers, emphasizing the importance of embracing the unexpected, taking care of yourself, and enjoying the journey. Whether you’re a seasoned cyclist or a beginner, this guide aims to equip you with the knowledge you need to embark on your own bikepacking adventure.

Budget Bikepacking Bikes

Understanding Bikepacking

Bikepacking with a bicycle has surged in popularity over the past few years. It’s a fantastic way to explore off-the-beaten-path destinations, get some exercise, and connect with nature. However, one of the key factors that can make or break your bikepacking experience is the bike itself.

In this article, we’ll delve into the world of budget bikepacking bikes. We’ll explore some of the best options available in the market, their features, and what makes them stand out. We’ll also provide some tips on what to look for when choosing a bikepacking bike that suits your needs and budget.

Understanding Bikepacking

Bikepacking is essentially backpacking on a bicycle. It’s about exploring less-traveled backcountry trails, singletrack, and even off-road terrains. It combines the freedom of long-distance touring with the thrill and challenge of off-road biking.

The Importance of the Right Bike

The bike is arguably the most crucial gear in bikepacking. It’s your primary mode of transport, carrying you and your gear over diverse terrains and through various weather conditions. Therefore, choosing the right bike is paramount to a successful and enjoyable bikepacking adventure.

Budget Bikepacking Bikes

Top 5 Budget Bikepacking Bikes

While high-end bikepacking bikes can cost a small fortune, there are plenty of budget-friendly options that don’t skimp on quality and performance. These bikes offer a balance of durability, performance, and affordability, making bikepacking accessible to more people.

Top 5 Budget Bikepacking Bikes

In this section, we’ll explore some of the best budget bikepacking bikes available in the market. These bikes have been selected based on their performance, durability, and affordability. They offer a great balance of quality and value, making them excellent choices for both beginners and seasoned bikepackers on a budget.

BikeKey Features
Surly Bridge ClubVersatile bike suitable for various terrains, robust steel frame, wide tire clearance, comfortable geometry for long-distance touring
Salsa Journeyman Claris 650Budget-friendly gravel bike, wide range of gears, robust aluminum frame, carbon fork for balance of strength and weight
Bombtrack BeyondTouring expedition bicycle, slightly more expensive but offers excellent value, sturdy steel frame, wide tire clearance, high-quality drivetrain
Poseidon XBudget-friendly, 700×40 tire clearance, 48t cassette, mechanical disc brakes, lightweight aluminum frame, carbon fork, versatile geometry
Giant Talon (including Talon 4 and Talon 2)Affordable, durable, efficient, robust aluminum frame, quality suspension fork, wide range of gears

Surly Bridge Club

The Surly Bridge Club tops our list of budget bikepacking bikes. Known for its versatility, the Bridge Club can handle a variety of terrains, making it an excellent choice for those who love to explore different types of trails. Its robust steel frame and wide tire clearance are designed to withstand the rigors of off-road biking, while its comfortable geometry makes it suitable for long-distance touring.

Salsa Journeyman Claris 650

Next up is the Salsa Journeyman Claris 650. This bike is a budget-friendly gravel bikepacking pick, designed for comfort and efficiency on long rides. It comes equipped with a wide range of gears to handle different terrains, and its robust aluminum frame and carbon fork provide a good balance of strength and weight.

Bombtrack Beyond

The Bombtrack Beyond is a touring expedition bicycle that offers excellent value for its price. While it’s slightly more expensive than the other bikes on this list, its durability and performance justify the cost. The Beyond is built for long-distance touring and off-road biking, with a sturdy steel frame, wide tire clearance, and a high-quality drivetrain for reliable shifting in all conditions.

Poseidon X

The Poseidon X is a budget-friendly bikepacking bike that doesn’t compromise on performance. It features a 700×40 tire clearance, a 48t cassette, and mechanical disc brakes, offering speed and agility on both roads and trails. Its lightweight aluminum frame and carbon fork make it easy to handle, while its versatile geometry allows for both aggressive riding and relaxed touring.

Giant Talon

Last but not least, the Giant Talon series, including the Talon 4 and Talon 2, offers reliable performance at an affordable price. Known for their durability and efficiency, these bikes are equipped with a robust aluminum frame, a quality suspension fork, and a wide range of gears, making them a solid choice for bikepacking adventures.

Detailed Features of Top Budget Bikepacking Bikes

Having introduced the top 5 budget bikepacking bikes, let’s delve deeper into the features that make these bikes stand out. Understanding these features will help you make an informed decision when choosing a bike that suits your needs and preferences.

Surly Bridge Club

The Surly Bridge Club is a versatile all-road bike designed to handle everything from pavement to trails. It features a robust 4130 Chromoly steel frame known for its durability and ride quality. The bike comes with a wide tire clearance of up to 2.4″ on 26″ wheels or 2.2″ on 700c wheels, allowing you to tackle various terrains with ease.

The Bridge Club also offers a multitude of mounting points for water, gear, and racks, making it a great option for bikepacking.

Salsa Journeyman Claris 650

The Salsa Journeyman Claris 650 is a gravel bike designed for comfort and versatility. It features an aluminum frame and Fantail Deluxe carbon fork, providing a balance of strength and lightweight performance. The bike comes with a 2×8 speed Shimano Claris drivetrain, offering a wide range of gears for tackling different terrains.

The Journeyman Claris 650 also has a tire clearance of up to 2.1″, allowing for both 700c and 650b wheel sizes.

Bombtrack Beyond

The Bombtrack Beyond is designed for long-distance touring and off-road biking. It features a double-butted 4130 Chromoly steel frame and fork for durability and a comfortable ride. The bike comes with a 2×10 speed Shimano Deore drivetrain, offering reliable shifting in all conditions.

The Beyond also has a large tire clearance of up to 2.8″, allowing you to tackle a variety of terrains with ease.

Poseidon X

Factors to Consider When Choosing a Bikepacking Bike

The Poseidon X is a versatile road bike that’s also capable of tackling light trails. It features an aluminum frame and carbon fork for lightweight performance. The bike comes with a 1×8 speed drivetrain and mechanical disc brakes, offering speed and reliable stopping power.

The Poseidon X also has a tire clearance of up to 40mm, allowing for a comfortable ride on both roads and trails.

Giant Talon

The Giant Talon series offers reliable performance at an affordable price. The bikes feature an ALUXX-grade aluminum frame for durability and a lightweight feel. They come with a 2×8 speed drivetrain and hydraulic disc brakes, offering reliable shifting and stopping power.

The Talon series also features a 100mm suspension fork, providing comfort and control on off-road trails.

Factors to Consider When Choosing a Bikepacking Bike

Choosing the right bikepacking bike can be a daunting task, especially with the wide range of options available in the market. However, by considering a few key factors, you can narrow down your choices and find a bike that suits your needs and budget.

Bike Size

The size of the bike is crucial for comfort and control. A bike that’s too large can be difficult to control, while a bike that’s too small can lead to discomfort during long rides. Most manufacturers provide size charts that you can use as a guide. It’s also a good idea to test ride the bike, if possible, to ensure a good fit.

Tire Clearance

Tire clearance refers to the maximum size of the tire that can fit on the bike. Larger tires provide better traction and comfort on off-road terrains, making them a good choice for bikepacking. Make sure to choose a bike that can accommodate the tire size you plan to use.

Gear Capacity

When bikepacking, you’ll need to carry gear such as food, water, clothing, and camping equipment. Therefore, it’s important to choose a bike with enough mounting points for racks and bags. Some bikes also come with integrated storage solutions, which can be a plus.

Brake Type

There are two main types of brakes used on bikepacking bikes: disc brakes and rim brakes. Disc brakes offer better stopping power and performance in wet conditions, making them a popular choice for bikepacking. 

However, they can be more expensive and harder to repair in the field compared to rim brakes.


Finally, consider your budget. While high-end bikepacking bikes can offer better performance and durability, there are plenty of budget-friendly options that offer great value for money. Remember, the most expensive bike is not necessarily the best one for you. It’s more important to find a bike that fits your needs and budget.

Essential Bikepacking Gear

Once you’ve chosen your bike, the next step is to equip yourself with the right gear. Bikepacking requires a minimalist approach to packing, as you’ll need to carry everything on your bike. Here are some essential items that you should consider:

Bikepacking Bags

Bikepacking bags are designed to fit on various parts of your bike, such as the handlebars, frame, and seat post. They come in various sizes and shapes, allowing you to pack your gear efficiently. 

Some common types of bikepacking bags include handlebar bags, frame bags, seat packs, and top tube bags.

Bike Tools

It’s important to carry a basic tool kit for on-the-go repairs. This should include items like a multi-tool with various wrenches and screwdrivers, tire levers, a patch kit, and a mini pump or CO2 inflator. A spare tube and a chain tool can also come in handy.

Camping Gear

If you plan to camp during your bikepacking trip, you’ll need lightweight camping gear. This includes a tent or bivy sack, a sleeping bag, a sleeping pad, and a compact cooking system. Remember, the goal is to keep your load as light as possible.

Navigation Tools

Even if you plan to use your smartphone for navigation, it’s a good idea to carry a physical map and compass as a backup. A GPS device can also be useful, especially for off-road bikepacking where cell service may be unreliable.

Hydration and Nutrition

Staying hydrated and well-fed is crucial on a bikepacking trip. Carry enough water for your route, and consider a water filter or purification tablets if you plan to refill from natural sources. For food, opt for lightweight, high-energy options like trail mix, energy bars, and dehydrated meals.

Bikepacking on a Budget

Bikepacking can be an expensive hobby, especially when you’re just getting started. However, with a bit of planning and creativity, it’s possible to enjoy this adventurous activity without breaking the bank. Here are some tips for bikepacking on a budget:

Buy Used Gear

One of the easiest ways to save money is to buy used gear. Many bike shops sell used bikes that are in great condition. You can also find used bikepacking bags, camping gear, and other equipment on online marketplaces or at garage sales.

DIY Solutions

Consider making your own gear. For example, you can make your own bikepacking bags using waterproof fabric and a sewing machine. There are plenty of tutorials online that can guide you through the process.

Borrow or Rent Gear

If you’re new to bikepacking and not ready to invest in your own gear, consider borrowing or renting. Some bike shops and outdoor gear stores offer rental services for bikes and other equipment. 

This can be a cost-effective way to try out bikepacking and figure out what kind of gear you like before making a purchase.

Preparing for Your First Bikepacking Trip

Plan Economical Routes

Choose routes that minimize costs. For example, routes that pass through public lands often have free or low-cost camping options. Also, consider routes that pass through towns where you can resupply food and water, rather than carrying everything from the start.

Pack Smart

Pack only what you need. Every extra item adds weight to your bike and can make riding more difficult. By packing smart, you can avoid buying expensive, lightweight gear. Remember, bikepacking is about simplicity and self-reliance.

Preparing for Your First Bikepacking Trip

Embarking on your first bikepacking trip can be both exciting and a bit daunting. Proper preparation is key to ensuring a successful and enjoyable adventure. Here are some tips to help you prepare for your first bikepacking trip:

Start Small

For your first trip, choose a short and relatively easy route that you can complete in a day or two. This will give you a chance to get a feel for bikepacking and learn how to handle your bike with a full load of gear.

Test Your Gear

Before you set off on your trip, take the time to test all your gear. Go for a short ride with your fully loaded bike to see how it handles. Test your camping gear to make sure everything works and you know how to use it.

Plan Your Route

Research your route thoroughly. Know where you’re going to sleep, where you can get water, and where you can buy food. Also, check the weather forecast and adjust your plans if necessary.

Pack Wisely

Pack only what you need, and pack it efficiently. Distribute the weight evenly on your bike to maintain good balance. Keep items that you’ll need during the ride (like snacks, water, and your map) easily accessible.

Prepare Physically

Bikepacking can be physically demanding, especially if you’re riding on rough terrain. Make sure you’re in good shape before you start your trip. If you’re not used to long bike rides, start training a few weeks in advance.

Leave No Trace

Finally, remember to respect the environment and follow Leave No Trace principles. This means disposing of waste properly, respecting wildlife, and leaving the places you visit as you found them.

Final Thoughts and Advice for Aspiring Bikepackers

Bikepacking is a wonderful way to explore the great outdoors, offering a unique blend of adventure, physical challenge, and connection with nature. As we’ve discussed in this guide, getting started with bikepacking doesn’t have to be complicated or expensive. 

With the right bike, some essential gear, and proper preparation, you can embark on your own bikepacking adventure.

Enjoy the Journey

Here are some final pieces of advice for aspiring bikepackers:

Embrace the Unexpected

Part of the adventure of bikepacking is dealing with the unexpected. You might encounter bad weather, mechanical issues, or challenging terrain. Embrace these challenges as part of the experience and use them as opportunities to learn and grow.

Take Care of Yourself

Bikepacking can be physically and mentally demanding. Make sure to take care of yourself by staying hydrated, eating nutritious food, and getting plenty of rest. Listen to your body and take breaks when you need to.

Enjoy the Journey

Finally, remember to enjoy the journey. Bikepacking is not just about reaching your destination; it’s about the experiences you have along the way.

Take the time to appreciate the scenery, meet new people, and immerse yourself in the adventure.

Whether you’re planning a short overnight trip or a long-distance expedition, bikepacking is an adventure that’s accessible to anyone with a bike and a sense of adventure.

So, what are you waiting for? Start planning your bikepacking adventure today!

We hope this guide has been helpful in providing you with the information you need to get started with bikepacking. Happy trails!