While we all wish we could be out bikepacking every weekend, sometimes life gets in the way. Whatever the reason you aren’t able to get out on your own adventure, we’ve collected a list of the best bikepacking books to scratch that adventuring itch from the comfort of your own home.
Number 1: The Best Book For A Long-Distance Adventure
Fatbiking across Mongolia: A 2000-kilometer bikepacking adventure is the most well-rated bikepacking book on goodreads.com. This 2017 adventure is the third installment in Tom Bruce’s 6 book series on his journey cycling across the world. This chapter in his journey details the 2,000-kilometer stretch across Mongolia. Tom, along with his cycling partner Phil, explore some of the best mountain bike trails in the world, all while wild camping in “the best country that Tom and Phil have ever cycled in”. If you’re looking to get lost in a full-on bikepacking adventure, this might be the choice for you.
Number 2: The Best Book For Bikepacking advice
The Adventure Cycle Touring Handbook is now in its third edition. Originally written by Stephen Lord, and updated in the third edition by Harriet and Neil Pike, this definitive guide to cycle touring and bike adventuring covers all the topics you’ll need for a bikepacking trip. From practical tips and gear advice to route planning and hygiene tips, this book covers every section of a long-distance cycling adventure. While specifically targeted at touring trips, much of the advice is suitable for bikepacking, and even if you don’t learn anything new about planning a bikepacking trip (which we highly doubt), the anecdotes and adventures littered throughout the book make it a worthwhile read anyway!
Runner Up – How to Hit the Road by Tom Allen.
Number 3: The Best Coffee Table Bikepacking Book
One Year on a Bike: From Amsterdam to Singapore is our pick for the best bikepacking book to have on your coffee table. This gorgeous book from author and photographer Martijn Doolaard depicts his journey of self-discovery while on his cross-continental cycling journey from Amsterdam to Singapore. With its beautiful full-page photographs covering every element of his journey, this part travelogue, part photographic journal makes the perfect choice for a coffee table conversation piece.
Runner up – Ride: Cycle the World by DK Eyewitness
Number 4: The Best Book From A Female Perspective
Anna Mcnuff’s 50 Shades Of The USA: One woman’s 11,000-mile cycling adventure through every state of America is our best pick for a bikepacking book from a woman’s perspective. This inspiring story of Anna’s cycling journey across every state in the USA covers the highs and the lows of each step in her adventure, with her funny and natural writing style only adding to every tale. You can tell this isn’t Anna’s first time writing about her adventures, having previously written about the challenge that took her and her bike across the Andes mountains. For anyone who’s in the market for a story from a strong, inspirational, female athlete, this is a great place to start.
Runner up – Full Tilt: Ireland to India with a Bicycle by Dervla Murphy
Number 5: The Best Book About A Bikepacking Race
Where there’s a will follows Emily Chappel’s unassisted 4,000km transcontinental bike race across Europe. In Emily’s second attempt at this ultra-distance challenge, you really get to experience the true emotional rollercoaster her journey takes her on. From the moments of self-doubt while navigating mountain passes, to the moments of joy as she wins the race she’d failed to complete only a year before. If you’re thinking of competing in your first bikepacking race, “Where there’s a will” is a great way to better understand a racer’s mindset.
Number 6: The Best Bikepacking Magazine
Far ride magazine is a tri-annual magazine produced by a large variety of freelance writers who rotate on a regular basis. Published and printed in Seoul, Korea, this magazine pushes the boundary between magazine and book, with its full cover picture pages and hardback print form. Articles explore a range of cycling-related topics, from trips over Everest to sustainable cooking tips, even covering topics such as the Afghan Women’s Cycling team. If you’re in the market for a regular magazine covering bikepacking and cycling topics, this might be the one for you.
Runner up – Bike Mag
Number 7: The Best Wildcard Bikepacking Book
Ted Simon’s Jupiter’s Travels, is our “wildcard” pick that might scratch your bikepacking itch. While Ted’s 65,000-mile trip across the world is on a motorbike, and so isn’t technically a book about bikepacking, we really found that some of the key themes carried through. Obviously traveling across the world on a motorbike presents its own set of challenges, but this book taught us that the same highs and lows of a bikepacking trip can be seen in any long-distance journey. Even without the comparison to bikepacking, Ted’s adventure is worth reading in its own right, after all, traveling through war and revolution in the ’70s is bound to lead to some interesting tales.
Number 8: The Best Book To Take On The Trail
While it’s a bit cliched, Dune is our pick for a great book to take on your trip. This epic science fiction adventure by Frank Herbert will surely help you to escape the monotony of your nine-to-five as much as your bikepacking trip. It has a great narrative with some incredible twists and turns, going in directions you could not predict. Dune hasn’t sold millions of copies and won both the Nebula and Hugo awards for nothing, and that’s why we’d suggest this as a great option to take on your bikepacking trip, but then again, we might be biased as it’s our editor’s favorite book!
Whatever type of book you’re looking for, we hope we’ve had a suggestion for you on our list. While we appreciate the comfort of holding a physical copy of a book, we really enjoy getting our books in audiobook form from sites such as Audible, so that we can listen to them while we cycle as well as while setting up camp.