Bike touring has been around for ages, and the same can be said for it’s close cousin, bikepacking. But until recently bikepacking has either been another name for bike touring, or not used much at all. Now it seems to be taking on a category of its own. Many bike tourists have come across the idea of bikepacking, a lighter weight version of bike touring. Recently, there have been a number of guides and books that have covered this thriving submarket in the cycling world, and we are sure this is only the start. The authors of Bike Touring and Bikepacking, Justin Kline and Justin Lichter, released their book today. They have stated that this is the start of many things to come.  Kline and Lichter have become friends over the past decade. Despite living on opposite ends of the country, they have found a way to enjoy trips together and create an adventuresome friendship. BI Cover-2They have both noticed that bikepacking has grown. Noticing bike shops stocking adventure ready bikes, bikepacking bags and even camping gear to go along with it all. It is their passion and what they love, so they figured why not put it all in one place. Thus, they wrote a comprehensive guide including information on bikepacker friendly bikes, routes and logistics. We asked Justin Kline a few questions to get a better understanding of their new 144 page book, why they decided to compose it, and what you can find in the Bike Touring and Bikepacking book published by Falcon Guides. Where do you live? What are you currently doing for work? Justin Kline – The White Mountains of New Hampshire is where I call home these days, but since July 2014 my wife and I have been traveling by bike internationally full-time. While on the road, I head up international sales for Princeton Tec, so when I am traveling through developed countries I am able to visit distributors and meet with key accounts. I am also doing some writing, of course. Justin Lichter is based outside of Truckee California and is a well accomplished long-distance thru hiker. When he is not undertaking long-distance adventures on foot, ski, or by bike he is writing resource books for fellow outdoor adventurers, giving inspirational talks at outdoor events and gear shops, ski patrolling in the winter, and planning his next big adventure. What is your cycling history? Justin Kline –  Like many of us, I’ve been at home on a bike for a long time, but it was college when I really became obsessed and got into racing. For years after college I was commuting 50 miles round-trip a day and racing/riding on the weekend with friends. These days I’m enjoying exploring (currently with a lightweight bikepacking setup) the world by bike with my wife. Justin Lichter is best known for his long distance hiking accomplishments, but he is right at home on the bike (and skis, snowshoes, or surfboard for that matter). Since 2002 he has hiked more than 40,000 miles and is currently making plans to undertake some of the classic long distance U.S. bikepacking routes.
Photo credit Beth Puliti (
Bikepacking History? Justin Kline –  I’ve always loved the outdoors, so exploring the backcountry on a bike was a natural evolution allowing me to go further and travel at just the right speed to still see and enjoy the surrounding environment. During my earlier years with Princeton Tec, I worked with bikepacking legends Jay Petervary and Matthew Lee who were always running our lights and winning the Great Divide Race/Tour Divide. I was inspired by them to go further and longer and eventually lined up for Tour Divide in 2009. I learned that the loneliness of long-distance self-supported endurance racing was not for me, but long-distance cycling adventures certainly were. What prompted writing a book like this, and what other resource books have you created? Justin Kline – Bikepacking has been a noticeably growing segment over the past few years and is now at the point where shops are stocking bikepacking bags, adventure-specific bikes, and even some ultralight camping equipment. The knowledge base for this stuff exists on the web, but much of it is scattered about so we saw the opportunity to combine our expertise and bring the first all-inclusive published guide to the market. The more people we can share our passion with the better. Justin Lichter has also written a collection of ultralight and backcountry resource guides including Trail Tested, Ultralight Survival Kit, and Short Stories from Long Trails. BT_1_AHow did you two team up? Justin Lichter and I have known each other, and become good friends, over the last decade. We also met through PTec since Justin (Lichter) is an ambassador and long-time user and abuser of our lights. With our common interest of exploring the outdoors under our own power, we eventually started hanging out more, following each other’s adventures, and getting out together whenever possible despite living on opposite coasts. Why did you choose Falcon Guides as a publisher? Falcon Guides, now part of Rowman Publishing, was a natural fit since they are the authority in the outdoor space, and Justin Lichter has worked with them on a few ultralight hiking books as well. Falcon’s Basic Illustrated series covers every outdoor activity from kayaking to backcountry skiing, but they were lacking an introductory book on bike touring and bikepacking so it was a perfect partnership. What does the book speak about, is it a one stop shop for our next bikepacking trip? This book is designed to get more people out on overnight cycling adventures and learn about the beauty of traveling by bike and sleeping under the stars at the end of the day. It outlines basic carrying and traveling techniques from a lightweight bikepacking setup to touring with a trailer, so people can understand the differences and advantages of various setups and decide for themselves how they wish to explore. This book allows a cyclist to learn everything they need to know about camping equipment and backcountry basics, it allows a backpacker to learn the basics of selecting a bike and cycling gear, and it allows a novice in either realm to establish basic skills and gear knowledge to undertake an overnight cycling adventure. Touring and Bikepacking in one book, how much do you cover of the ultra-light side of bikepacking? (i.e. no rack and panniers) The book is designed to establish a foundation of knowledge for both bikepacking and traditional touring, but ultralight ethos and bikepacking-specific content is instilled throughout. We outline carrying techniques early on so it’s easy to see the advantages of a bikepacking setup for various types of riding, particularly off-road of course. We also cover sleeping systems, clothing fabrics, and cooking/water filtering systems and other gear specifics to identify where weight can be shaved.
Photo credit Beth Puliti (
Photo credit Beth Puliti (
Can we expect a few more books in the series or just updated editions? For sure. In fact, Justin (Lichter) and I are currently working on a second book due out the second half of 2016. The next title will be a stand-alone, outside of Falcon’s Basic Illustrated series, and have more of a field guide approach and feel to it. The content will be a bit more technical and as the name implies (Ultralight Touring & Bikepacking: The Ultimate Guide to Lightweight Cycling Adventures), it will have an ultralight focus. What difficulties have you guys found in writing a book like this? The subject matter comes naturally to both of us so creating the content wasn’t super challenging. It can, however, be difficult to whittle everything down to fit in the confines of a convenient-to-carry book. Any interesting tidbits about the book you would like to share? This book provides a unique and useful perspective on bikepacking and touring from the eyes of a cyclist and ultralight long-distance hiker, which is especially helpful for selecting gear, choosing a packing technique, planning trips, and enjoying the backcountry or open road. We outline exploring your local wilderness to tips for international bikepacking adventures. The format is designed for quick reference so it’s easy to jump around and find what you’re looking for.

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